The reality of starting a business is that it's really, really difficult to succeed. I know, because I have the scars to prove it.
It took me more than a decade and a whole lot of pain and frustration to get Infusionsoft to where it is today--a growing company with more than 650 people.
But if I look back to why I wanted to start a business in the first place, it wasn't because I was looking to get rich. Sure, I wanted to have financial success along the way, but it wasn't the driving factor. Over time, I've come to realize the three driving factors behind my success were passion, freedom and impact.
And I'm not alone. Having worked with thousands of small businesses over the past decade, it's become more and more apparent that passion, freedom and impact are what really matters when it comes to creating a successful business. Here's a closer look:
This one may seem self-explanatory, but passion is more than just what drives you. Not to sound corny, but it's about what you truly love. Passion provides you with a very special view of the world that others often don't see. You're able to have this vision because it's something you love and believe in.
Every successful small business owner and entrepreneur must have a passion that drives them forward--a core belief that keeps them pressing on, even though others don't necessarily have the same vision. It's an unwavering belief that your idea can change the world.
My strongest passion is helping entrepreneurs and small-business owners succeed. In the beginning, many people thought we were crazy for believing that a thriving company--just focused on small-business success--could last. Today, Infusionsoft serves more than 25,000 small businesses.
If you're thinking of starting a business, stop and ask yourself: What is your true passion? What makes you the most excited about what you are doing? The difference between those who push through difficult times and those who quit is passion.
True freedom in America today is the ability to spend your time and money as you see fit. Creating financial freedom for yourself means that you can not only grow your business and pay your employees, but to also give your family the quality of life you want for them.
Just as importantly, freedom enables you to invest time and money in causes that matter to you, whether that is with your family, friends or hobbies.
Financial freedom means different things to different people. For me, I knew that I wanted to go beyond providing for my family's basic needs. I grew up in a large family who was scraping by on my dad's salary. He was a high school teacher, so we didn't have much. The drive to attain financial freedom served me well for many years. Now I find great satisfaction in knowing that I am helping to create financial freedom for others..
Impact should be at the core of your business, and you should never have to wait to make an impact. Clearly define the impacts you want to make with a business from the beginning, and you're more likely to achieve your goals.
Very early in our business we made giving and helping others a key part of our purpose. If having an impact is a key part of your business from day one, you can make an impact on someone's life every day.
Remember, it's OK if the impact your company makes changes over time. The key is to have a vision for what kind of impact your company can have and let that be a driving force.
Passion, freedom and impact all have to work in unison for a company to be successful. Without a passion for your business, you can't have the freedom you desire or the strength to make an impact. Without freedom, you'll never make an impact and your passion is wasted. If you are not making an impact you're not experiencing the freedom entrepreneurship allows, nor are you allowing your passion to be fulfilled.
If you're working to start a business or struggling in your current one, take a step back and identify what your passion is and what freedom means to you. Then, envision the impact you want to make. Things will begin to come into focus, and you'll start to figure out why you do what you do every day.