‘The one’ business will bring your dormant entrepreneurial spirit to life; you fall in love with it, and believe that no sacrifice is too great. For me, ‘the one’ was The Big Smoke, and I fell in love in 2013. It has been a tough road–The Big Smoke is an incredibly demanding, exhausting, and scary business. But out of that business has come satisfaction and excitement, and not just for myself, but for the thousands of people we engage with on a daily basis.
So, how did I know this was the one? After being involved in a few start-ups that didn’t quite reach fruition, there was something captivating about The Big Smoke.
I fell in love; I would have done almost anything to keep it healthy and ensure its survival. What’s more, I wanted people to love it as much as I did. I knew I could last the distance with it, and that I could build it into a stronger and more resilient company.
In my opinion, knowing it’s the ‘right’ business is a mixture of three core components: timing, ability, and passion. Possessing two out of the three components is not enough. I may have the ability, but if the timing is wrong or I don’t launch quickly enough, the business is unlikely to last. Or, if the passion is there but the ability is out of sync, it is probably not the right business.
A huge source of frustration for me has been when people come up with grand ideas but say that they don’t have the time to implement them, or that the right time hasn’t quite come. I have no idea what constitutes the ‘right’ time to start doing something. At some points in our lives more sacrifices are required to make things work, but that should never be the reason to stop you from engaging with a business you perceive to be ‘the one’. I can’t help but notice the people who tell me they don’t have enough time, seem to be the same people who find the time to go on multiple holidays, or watch every episode of the latest hit-series.
Ability is a sensitive topic for many people. I believe that, if we were to actively cultivate one ability, it should be understanding yourself; that includes knowing what you are and are not good at. I know that I’m not good at every component of my business. But I am good–and am getting better–at knowing what I’m not good at, and subsequently giving the right people the autonomy to thrive in those roles. What I am good at, I focus on daily and I’m realistic about my limitations. This allows me to focus on the areas of my business that will help it thrive, rather than wasting time on something someone else can do much more competently.
Much like lust, passion does not have a strong foundation and is likely to fluctuate. The passion to actually execute an idea often doesn’t exceed the practicality of enduring the boring and hard parts that inevitably accompany the entrepreneurial journey. I can’t explain why The Big Smoke was my passion; like ‘love’, it’s not really something you can orchestrate. What I do know is that I wake up every day ready and excited to go for it–even on the really difficult days, when I know I have to face a hard decision, or when the company is enduring a commercial slump. On those days I may wake up a bit depleted, but I always wake up with the same passion as the day we launched. Passion often breeds vertical elements that see the initial company change, expand and grow, but that same core passion remains.
I can’t really explain the exact science behind knowing when something is right, except that when you do know, there isn’t really any hurdle that can deter you from going after it. That’s true love in the most commercial sense.