This is a guest post by Carol Roth writes Unsolicited Business Advice (TM) for aspiring entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and other small business owners, at CarolRoth.com and you can find her on Twitter as @caroljsroth
There’s no question that a new business takes an investment of resources including money, time and sweat equity. It’s also filled with an investment of another kind, the pride of personal ownership. Being personally invested in any business you start is critical. However, taking things personally can be critically disabling to your success.
Think hard: is your ego too involved in your business?
Entrepreneurs often decide to start their own business to bolster their ego. The ego is part of self-esteem and protects you from getting hurt. But ego shouldn’t be the sole motivator to start your own business. You might think that running your own business gives you control of your destiny. But look closer- the desire to control your destiny might be your ego trying to protect you from rejection. After all, if you work for yourself, you can’t be rejected in job interviews, you can’t be ordered around by incompetent bosses and you can’t get fired. In short, you call the shots (or so you may think…).
The problem is that “calling the shots” running your own business doesn’t make you rejection proof. You’ll find that starting a business involves a level of rejection you’ve never before experienced.
Who inflicts the rejection? CUSTOMERS. There are 306 million potential customers in the US alone that don’t want to buy your products or services. Here’s where it gets tricky. The fact is that the ego can’t comprehend that:
It’s much easier to handle rejection from a few potential employers, than to be rejected by 306 million potential customers every day!
Read that last sentence again. When you’re rejected by 306 million people, your ego doesn’t even realize that you’re being rejected (and that you have your savings on the line as well).
Is Ego Your Prime Motivator?
Ego can drive you to try to impress others. Your ego tells you that if you feel down about your career, then starting your own business can be the road to an exciting life. You may think it sounds top-tier sexy and gives you stature to be the CEO and founder of “YouCo.” It sounds accomplished and powerful when people ask what you do. You get license to say: “I’m the BMOC- Big Man on Campus or HBIC- Head Bitch in Charge.”
Starting a business to give you an ego trip at a networking event is a terrible reason to start a business. That distorted outlook will actually decrease your chances of being successful. So, get over it! If you need that feeling, buy a government savings bond for $50 and cleverly explain that you’re an investor in long-term government securities. Now that’s a safer way to sound top-tier sexy, right?
Everyone Tells You that You Should Go For It.
Ego also interferes when others fuel it. “You’re so smart,” everyone says. “Why are you working for someone else?”
You think you have a great idea; everyone tells you to “go for it” and “make millions” from it. After all, you deserve to be successful.
Well, wait just a minute now. It’s time to do a reality check separate from your ego. Who is telling you this? Who is “everyone”? Is it your sister whose business experience amounts to helping her kids run a lemonade stand?
Ask yourself: “Self, do these people know anything about business- especially, the type of business I am thinking of starting? Are they investing anything in my venture? Are they putting THEIR resources at risk?” If the answer is “no”, their advice is probably worthless. It’s great to receive moral support from cheerleaders. But you can’t allow this to fuel your ego. Ego can turn free encouragement into costly risk. Hedge your bet and consider the source.
How can you check when your ego might be driving your decisions?Google+