Start Your Own Business

Start Your Own Business

Post Series: Starting An Online Business

Ten years ago I started my own business. At that time I felt this was the best decision ever in my entire life. Ten years after I still feel the same with all my heart.

Having your own business is one of the most challenging situations in which you can put yourself. And I’m not talking only about the financial part of a business. Most of the crash-courses on how to start your own business have a strong focus on the profit and financial facts. They are all selling you methods to reach profit quickly. And, to some extent, those are good and proven methods, but they have nothing to do with the pre-conscious choice of having a business. Those profit making courses are assuming you already took the decision.

In fact, having a business is not at all about profit. If you are serious about it, and if it proves to be a good and mature choice, you will have to face the profit challenges sooner or later. It’s in a business nature to have profit in order to survive. But making profit the most important part in having a business is just wrong. It’s something that you deal with months or years after you started your business for real.

The choice of starting your own business is more like an adventure than a spreadsheet. It’s more about risk taking than financial security. It’s more about personal development and growth than bank statements and material wealth.

In today’s post I’ll share some thoughts about how I decided to start my own business, and how this decision still benefit me after ten years.

The Drive

I was 29 year old when I started my own business. Until that age I was mostly dragging around, living by talking out loud (really, I was working as an anchor man on FM radios, I have a pretty radiophonic voice) and never making plans for tomorrow. For several years in a row I was mostly drinking my evenings out with the same people, borrowing their misery and trying to find reasons to wake up the next day.

But around that age something started to change in me. Never knew how to define that. It was a drive for deep, fundamental and meaningful change. And that desire for change was spreading over all areas of my life: personal, as well as professional. To make a long story short, it was a mix of bad personal choices and amazingly risky professional decisions that lead to the final result: setting up my own company.

I won’t go into technical details about how and when exactly I did it. I want to focus more on the inner reasons that took me there. And those inner reasons are made of only three main qualities: courage, curiosity and enthusiasm. All three qualities mixed together created a powerful drive for change.

Courage

The definition of courage is for me the ability to change at any given point a status-quo without hesitation and with all available energy. Regardless of the overall context, of course.

And the overall context at that time was simply horrible for starting a business. And when I say horrible, I mean it. Cash was simply intangible as a resource, you couldn’t borrow money from the bank without accepting an interest higher than 80%. Yes, higher than 80%, which means credit was simply prohibitive.

Cash was the smallest problem, by the way. You had to face corruption, lack of qualified people – which made me to learn a lot of different skills, and an almost desert market for online products. Basically, you were far better at that time if you could secure a job and get on with it.

But against all odds I started this business. And my very first project was worth over 20.000 USD, an amount who let me finance my activities for the first year, until I set up a qualified team and a location. Not even my associates believed me at that time, until they saw the contract.

I started the business as an act of conscious change, despite of an unfriendly context.

Curiosity

Curiosity as a quality is often underrated. It’s amazing how useful curiosity is for a balanced life and for constant growth. I think boredom is a chronic imbalance with curiosity. I also think curiosity is somehow related to our ability to create and maintain happiness.

Although I was working as an anchor man – well, ok, I was climbing on the hierarchy and go through all the levels of a FM radio diagram, up to the position of program manager – well, besides that, I was constantly expressing interest in other, completely unrelated areas.

I remember that I was fascinated by fractals at that time. I was also into computers and internet, and bought my first books on programming. I started to learn Borland C++ on the bus, while going at the radio. I was literally obsessed with learning new stuff.

And out of curiosity I decided to have a business in the online field. At that time online was something yet to be defined, of course, nobody could predict in 1999 that we will actually have the Internet as we have it today. But I had this unstoppable urge to do something in that field and learn as much as I can.

I started the business so I can learn more of what I liked.

Enthusiasm

The first three years of my company I worked 16 hours a day, no weekends. I actually worked more than 1000 days in a row, and I can tell you in all honesty that I’ve never been tired. Not a single day. I was fueled by enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is such a gift. It’s a state of your conscience in which you are channeling a lot more energy than usual. But enthusiasm is also a function of what you like and don’t like. You can’t really get excited about something you don’t like, and then spend 16 hours a day, 1000 days in a row on it. You simply can’t.

I was doing something that I liked, soaking myself in a completely new field of activity. I was courageously spending each day looking for ideas, people or resources in order to build something that I truly believed in. Of course I was literally exhaling endorphins.

If I didn’t have enthusiasm I couldn’t make it over the first three years. And my enthusiasm was a consequence of my choices: I was doing something that I loved and with courage and determination. I finally found something that put me in that enthusiasm state and let me there for good.

I started my own business because I was so excited to do something I really loved to do.

***

As you can see, my drive to start my own business had nothing to do with money. There wasn’t any single mention of the money and profits in my first 4-5 months. I was so confident that things will go well that I simply overlooked this part. And for that period, that was a very clever thing to do, because it allowed me to focus on other, more important areas. Later on, I had some periods in which I overlooked the money flow the same way, but with some disastrous consequences. Maybe I’ll blog about those times some day. Having a business is not at all a pinky lifestyle and every mistake develop a strange tendency to blow everything away.

Starting your own business is not a matter of money and profit. It’s really a matter of courage, curiosity and enthusiasm. Whenever you mix those three fundamental qualities of your being, something big happens in your life.

In my life that mix gave birth to my own business. In your life, that mix can manifest something different, but it will always challenge your core for growth and personal development.

Maybe it will be your relationship that needs courage, curiosity and enthusiasm, maybe it will be your social life. Whatever field it will chose to manifest in, the alignment of courage, curiosity and enthusiasm will change your life for good.

The Catch

I’m sure you already learned by now that “starting your own business” has nothing to do with bank statements and formal certificates of incorporation. It’s all about creating value out of genuine curiosity, with great courage and backed up with enthusiasm.

You can as well work for somebody else as an employee, but if you do that with courage, curiosity and enthusiasm, it would be like you already started your own business, and your boss is just your most important client.




Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 46 Comments

  1. Hi Dragos,

    Reading your blog is like entering The Zen Mode. I like your way of approaching problems so big in our lives.

    A business is not indeed all about money. Usually if you concentrate on the quality of your product or service money will come. Disney only wanted to make people happy and he received millions for his effort (in dollars).

    Thank you

  2. @Marius yeap, that’s pretty strange. TweetSuite is still beta stuff, so I would give it a little bit of time until he behave properly. Thanks for the 1st retweet of this, by the way 🙂
    @BunnygotBlog thank you, you’re so kind 🙂
    @Andrei glad you liked it!
    @Toma Bonciu excellent example! Disney created first a dream world and that world become reality in financial terms for them. Great! Thank you for your comment!

  3. An inspiring post about starting your own business. Makes me want to jump right in. I believe lots of folks get so lost in the ‘get rich’ part they forget to enjoy it. They forget why the went on their own to begin with. My experience with people is that it is rarely about the money at all.

    I’m sad, I’d like to have both. 🙂

  4. Great content you’ve outlined here dragos and I appreciate the personal aspect of it. It’s stories like these that help sell what otherwise might be overlooked content since you put emotion into it with real life experience. I definitely agree with you how you talk about the work being easy if you love it (even if it’s a lot of work) and especially like how you ended it with how some people find this with an employer as well, so many entrepreneurs think you can’t find those same things with someone else and I really appreciate you’ve included that.

    I’ve got my own freelance 3D company on the side, but to be honest, my day job provides much more of those other 3 traits which is why it is more important to me by far. Thanks for the great article and background!

  5. @Todd Jordan Thanks for commenting here. If anyone stops you for having “both”, well, allow me to say that that person is… YOU 🙂

    @Mike King congrats for your freelance company, seems like you’re making big steps. Having a real, formal company is also quite a self esteem buster, and there are moments in our life when we really need this. Good luck with your path and thank you for your valuable input 🙂

  6. Excellent article, Dragos, echoing many of my own “adventures” in being one’s own boss. It is difficult, and oftimes stressful, but the pro’s vs. working for someone else, as you’ve laid out in your article, are many and rewarding.

  7. great posts dragos.

    I was in the same position — starting a business 12 years ago. And yes it was not about the money. There was a certain sense of adventure into it.

    Maybe the significance of building something great fueled us =)

  8. […] social life, while others are strange, like learning so many different things, from astrology to business or productivity . But what I do know, is that I really have to solve my challenges. There’s no […]

  9. […] On the other hand, being confident, manifesting hope and starting to look for another job (or even starting your own business) it’s a conscious choice. Losing your job it’s just a fact. What you do in regard to this fact […]

  10. […] use the rest of the day for yourself. Even if you’re self employed, or especially if you’re self employed, take a day off. And start it clean, from the early […]

  11. Hi ,
    I am intrested to set up my own buisness as well want to improve in my Personility too. kindly, Request to send me relevant books or Links or mails to my Email ID.

  12. […] use the rest of the day for yourself. Even if you’re self employed, or especially if you’re self employed, take a day off. And start it clean, from the early […]

  13. […] On the other hand, being confident, manifesting hope and starting to look for another job (or even starting your own business) it’s a conscious choice. Losing your job it’s just a fact. What you do about this fact […]

  14. Thanks for an insightful post.

    You have highlighted essential personal skills required in business which includes, courage, curiosity and enthusiasm and others like managing your time well, being a self starter, being flexible, adaptable, being creative, possessing good judgements, having self determination, perseverance, and being committed to your business idea.

    I agree that money should not be the first reason to start up in business but you have to be passionate and want to make a difference in this world.

    Every one considering starting up a new business should be open to learning new skills as it is quite different from having a job as you are expected to wear different hats in your business.

    To get business advice and training: Click Here to Discover How To Turn Your Business Idea Into Reality And Start A Highly Profitable Business Quickly and Easily

  15. […] the online business, what you are selling is not a product, nor even a service. It’s a process. You sell an […]

  16. You can choose how you react or interact with any situation. Really. #kjm « Serenity Natural Wellness says:

    […] On the other hand, being confident, manifesting hope and starting to look for another job (or even starting your own business) it’s a conscious choice. Losing your job it’s just a fact. What you do about this fact […]

  17. i was hoping you could be more explicit by giving details about how you set up you business.I work with the government in my country and earn a six digit salary but a voice keep reminding me that sooner or later every job come to an end,then what next ?,yet another provide the answer,create a situation that you alone can decide the path of your tomorrow .OWN YOUR BUSINESS ! .I need details

  18. […] the online business, what you are selling is not a product, nor even a service. It’s a process. You sell an entire […]

  19. […] the online business, what you are selling is not a product, nor even a service. It’s a process. You sell an entire […]

  20. By reading this article..I was greatly motivated & finally I started turning my hobby into business of making greeting cards (mumuncards) 🙂 Thanks!!

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