I'm not a very good writer - I threw away a promising start in writing to study a finance degree because I was scared of being unemployed and that decision haunts me- but more on that later. I'm not learned, famous nor successful in business, so I feel a little unqualified to write blogs giving advice. So, I'd like to discuss a couple of things I read this year. A multi-millionaire venture capitalist recently wrote on the incentives for starting businesses:
Those who seek to create their own start-up do so more often out of the desires for freedom, dignity, validation and, ultimately, self-actualization (in the full Maslow-vian sense) than for riches. (Indeed, those who seek riches most often fail.) For them, and despite what most politicians and government officials blather on about, it's not about jobs. It's about life.
I personally find that the pursuit of freedom is not just the noblest, but the most rewarding pursuit of all. Of course, freedom has many meanings to many people- to some, it is a number in a bank account, or entry into a certain elite group or community, or even settling scores and moving on. I find and feel with strong conviction that freedom makes people happy. I feel truly happy when I write without a heading and when I engage with people passionate about their ideas and goals. Thanks to Manchester Entrepreneurs' president offering me a ticket, I had the privilege of attending launch48, a competition in London, last weekend to watch over forty people pitch their ideas for businesses to a diverse talent pool and a smaller crowd of angel investors and venture capitalists. The passion and fire in a few of the pitches inspired me and touched me - and reminded me of my own search for freedom. Although at this point, that search has become a bit of a meander, but again, more on that later.
This discussion of incredible fire within, this professionalism brings me to something else I'd like to share. One of my friends, George, is very well travelled and I love that he writes a very good blog on his journeys. I especially liked a post about a chat he had with another successful individual while travelling:
One thing Dan said to me has stuck in my head above all:
"You need to be a professional," he said, "and that means focusing on just one thing. You know what the difference is between an amateur and a professional? An amateur wakes up in the morning and thinks "there are so many things I'm interested in", and then he tries to do all of them at once. A professional wakes up and thinks "of course I'm interested in all these things. But today I need to get to work on building my business (Or writing, or saving people money on their tax returns, or whatever the hell it is you want to do for a living). Once you've sorted that out, then you can start working on other stuff. Not before."
Thanks for reading this post - I hope you find your freedom one day.