How I Got Started & Stay Motivated in Business

Every year on my son’s birthday I’m transported back to the night that I decided to start my own business.  I remember laying awake and fretting about all the things soon-to-be parents freak out over.  You know how it’s easy to let your mind run helter skelter when you’re anticipating something new?  In the soul-searching early hours of the morning your brain can cook up all kinds of absurd scenarios and new things for you to worry about.

I found myself thinking about money in an entirely different way.  Life was no longer just about my wife and I, we would be solely responsible for the health and happiness of a helpless new ball of tears and joy.  How could I live up to that responsibility?  How could I be sure I’d be able to provide for our little one?  What if I lost my job and couldn’t pay the bills?  Or what if I ended up working all the time and became a deadbeat dad?

I had to be there for him financially and as a dad.  Where could I find extra cash but earn it in a way that was flexible enough to let me spend time with him as well?

As I lay there, digesting all these thoughts I realized that I needed to start my own business. It was an idea I’d been playing with for a long time, I’d had heaps of different business ideas but hadn’t gotten any of them off the ground.  I’d gone to a startup seminar from the Small Business Association and begun working with a business mentor from the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE).

I’d been doing a lot of research and reading, Entreprenur Magazine has a big fat, 700+ page book on starting your own business that I devoured. I’d finished graduate school and written a business plan for a cool web startup.  I was primed to act but something was holding me back.

Now, here I was about to be a first-time dad. It was really a bad time to start a business, we were going to have our hands full with a screaming, crying baby that we knew nothing about raising.

Our life would be turned upside down – we’d be sleep deprived, short on free-time, and having to add a sizeable “baby” item to our budget.

If I couldn’t get a business off the ground when it was just my wife and I, how could I possibly succeed with this time and money-sucking new baby around?

Then sometime between dream-o-clock and 4 AM my restless brain found just what it was searching for.  All that work I’d put into starting a business was selfish time. It was all about me, something I wanted to do, but life wasn’t about just me anymore.  Suddenly I realized that my business now had a sense of purpose, a mission. It was time for me to stop messing around with ideas and theories and to start earning some money.

I had to put my fears, shortcomings, and mental baggage aside and get down to bringing home the bacon.

That week I launched my business and made my first sale.  I’ve learned a lot since that night and made more money in my side business than I ever thought I would, but the most important thing to me is that I’ve done it all while being a family man.  I’ve had the flexibility to be a husband and a dad first, and a profitable business owner second.

Of course it hasn’t all been roses and chocolates, I’ve had to work hard and make some personal sacrifices, but the results have been outstanding.  It all goes back to that night when I decided to finally get started and make something happen.  My preparation leading up to that point certainly helped, but without a reason to succeed I might still be reading books and writing up business plans.

I’ve talked to a lot of business owners that went through something similar, they floundered until they found their purpose, their motivation to succeed.  Once they found their mission there was no stopping them – which I find to be an encouraging thought.

If you’ve been looking for ways to make extra money it might help to ask yourself what your reasons for earning are.  If you can figure out what motivates you towards action and determined success then you give yourself an edge that many other would-be entrepreneurs never find.

If you don’t already know, chances are you won’t magically figure it out immediately after reading this. However, put these thoughts in the crock pot of your mind and let them simmer.  It took some soul searching for me to find the purpose I needed to get started.  Sometimes, the simplest way to begin is by listing your biggest hurdles, the things you feel are holding you back.  Feel free to share below what things you struggle with and what obstacles you’re facing to starting a business or just earning some extra money.

2 Responses to How I Got Started & Stay Motivated in Business

  • Helen Love

    Having retired, and having found out about some appalling debt courtesy of my husband, I need to make some extra money.
    I’d love to, and had planned to sell a few handmade items online. What’s holding me back? Resentment and anger that the income I make will be ‘necessary’, not extra.
    That I will lose the sense of release that comes with retirement.
    I know there are positives too; but all my plans seem to have to be postponed. Do I put myself off, or do I just get so little support at home?

  • George Tados

    I guess I really have two different hurdles. The first is that it’s tough for me to find time to work on my business ideas. After working all day and getting the kids to bed, my brain isn’t always up for business mode.

    The other thing I struggle with is that every time I feel like I come up with a good business idea, I start researching it and find out that someone’s already done it.


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