You can only succeed in building a business if you know what’s success: ‘Like a Boss’

The hard part of entrepreneurship may not be succeeding, as much as it is about deciding what success if for you. That might be the cause of so much argument about this moment of entrepreneurship — should it be wealth, mission, personal satisfaction, longevity, legacy or something else? More likely, it’s a mixture of them all, with your own happiness the leader, and deciding on that balance is part of the process.

But the point here is you can’t ever succeed in anything (including building your business) unless you know what you want to happen. That way you can optimize for whatever you most want.

That’s what I found myself thinking about during a lively conversation I moderated at the second ‘Like A Boss’ panel during this year’s State of Young Philly, an event series held by the Young Involved Philadelphia volunteer engagement nonprofit. While last year’s event, which I also moderated, had more of a tech and design focus, this panel had a bit more variation, both in business and experience: from a newly-launched coworking space founder to an early-stage mobile app to a social good study abroad program to a popular local ice cream brand.

A few other things we said that I thought was interesting or important:

  • Learn from service providers, sure, but also from the entrepreneurs who are just a little further ahead than you are — they might have more advice than those much further along.
  • When you email those people for advice, have a focused question. Don’t always ask to “pick your brain.”
  • Quitting your job or leaving the thing you like less to start the thing you love is the easy part. Getting the work done is harder.
  • You should plan to pay yourself. And you should create work-life balance. But you will face variety in both compensation and free time when you’re in charge.
  • As you build your business, the stress doesn’t dissipate, but rather its origins change. You’ll always have payroll on your mind.

Here are the questions I asked.


Leave a Reply