Money. No matter what the guru’s or life coaches say, money is your first concern when starting your own business. You want it, you need it and you don’t have it 🙂 In the academic world, professors call this, a ‘problem’. I come from an awesome lifestyle (read: ‘Why I quit my awesome job and threw up.‘) and just finished my first week as a full independent worker. Boy did I get confronted with reality…

I didn’t have my car yet, it was freezing cold, raining and my wife wasn’t going to be home for another 2 hours and I was in the mood for pasta. Only thing missing was tomato sauce. I put on my flashy ski coat and helmet to get warm, I took a plastic bag for the groceries and hopped on my hibernating Vespa. That was just as shocked as me, to go outside in this below zero temperatures. I arrived at the store where in the past I would pull up in a fancy car, now looking like a soaked hobo with crippled fingers, botox frozen face and snot stripes all over my cheeks. I walked in and when I saw people looking at me and I felt the warm glow of the store defrosting my face, I realized that I couldn’t be more happy at this moment. Why? Because the reason I was standing there like that, was because I chose to go for myself and my goals. This moment for me marked the beginning of that journey. Back to basics to start laying the foundation for an empire to come.

That still didn’t change the fact that I went for the cheap tomato sauce 🙂 Like I said in the beginning, money is something that will keep you busy. Which is normal, but you need to find the balance between thinking about it and it leading your every decision. The moment money and fear of having none is in control, you will limit yourself in the exploration of your future and it will guide you towards making the wrong decisions.

If you are starting on your own, try to keep these 5 guiding principles I learned from seasoned entrepreneurs, in mind before saying ‘yes’ to business coming your way:

  • Bad business will come to you first: When you start on your own, people will come to you no matter what. They will have propositions and amazing opportunities that could change your life. A great feeling to have in the beginning, but realize that bad business will come to you first. I’m not saying you need to say ‘no’ to every business offer you get when you start out. You could be so lucky, that all first offers are indeed amazing, but most of the time you need to be extra careful not to jump on the easy money, that might not be so easy after all.
  • Eyes on the prize: You quit your job for a reason. You were fed up, you had a dream, you got fired,… Whatever it is, the reason for starting your own business is to lead you towards more happiness and a professional goal you always wanted to achieve. Keep that goal in front of you 24/7. Make decisions in function of that goal. Business that pays good, but will not help you to achieve that goal in the long run. That is business you need to consider skipping. It will consume all the time you need to realize your main objective.
  • You only have 24 hours in a day: Going for the money is tempting and filling up your days with work is ok, but make sure what you are doing is actually what you want to be doing. We all have to take the good with the bad, but make sure there is a balance. Filling up your days straight away is good for finances, but make sure you are not too busy realizing somebody else his dream and not having time left to build your own. What is the difference with a regular job then anyway?
  • Don’t get scared and take your time: The expenses, the taxes, the lack of income,… it will all scare the sh*t out of you. Don’t let it, don’t let it lead you into going for things you know are not in your best interest. The need for security is programmed in our DNA. Resist it, take your time, don’t buy designer clothes for a while, eat only once a week…Everything to make sure, you can take the time to build yourself, your business and your master plan. Don’t let anybody scare you into following theirs, just because it offers sweet honey roasted security.
  • Have a nose for trust: Make sure whoever you do business with, that you can trust them. Your potential business partners, clients, suppliers,… Trust is the foundation for all business. It will help you in the good times and will serve you in the bad times. Not everything is going to turn out to be a smart choice or good business, but as long as the trust is there and communication lines are open and transparent, knots can be untied and expectations can be fulfilled or managed.

But how can you learn if somebody is to be trusted or not? Well, there are many ways, but maybe it is worth trying dressing up for a meeting and seeing if the other party does the same thing 😉



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