I have not been a fan of socialism and one trait which I see everywhere is the tendency to “ask for more for doing less.” Humans in general have the wrong idea about self-worth. One primary reason for this is when they see how much they should be valued, they ignore how much value they are adding. Money is a result, not a cause. The more value you add to the marketplace leads to more money creation down the line.
I know from personal experience. There were a few interesting things in place when I started business:
- I started a service business in a highly competitive, commoditized market.
- I bootstrapped business and I did not have the luxury of VC funding or any other external finance.
- I did not even have the luxury of spousal income. and we just had a baby.
So it was a rude awakening. In business, your salary comes from net profit; and also as a part of it, some of it has to be retained earnings. So from a six-figure salary the drop to zero was not easy. The business took its own time to grow and most of the time I was either paying myself zero salary or a fraction of what I was getting in a job. It took almost five years to get to the same salary level which I was getting in a regular job. Twice I completely ran out of money and had to go back to the cubicle.
Now with consistent growth and increasing profitability every day, money seems easy to come by from an outsider’s perspective. Fact is, it was neither easy nor fast. With all growth and profit there is uncertainty. In business there are no guarantees. The only guarantee is your focus on value creation. What has worked so far will not necessarily work in the future. This keeps me on my toes. Always analyzing the market, always learning new skills, always imparting new skills to our employees and future employees.
Even now I do not count my hours, and working 12-15 hours per day has been a norm. I do not have the luxury to curse my boss (as the buck stops at me) for making me work long and hard hours. Someone will say I do it to make more money. But that would be oversimplifying it. In business we try many things. Sometimes we make money, sometimes lose money; but mostly lose. With the right strategy and dedication, the losses are more in numbers, but negligible in therms of amount. It happens due to a sharp focus on value creation and trying to find different ways to add to it.