Location of writing: Rome, poolside. Had a good time in Athens, never been much of a ‘foodie’ but the food was bloody yummy.
Plans this week: It is hot in Rome, like 40 degrees hot. So I will tick the sights off and then jump back in the pool. Heading south to the seaside tomorrow morning, before making my way back up to northern Italy.
Why are you really doing this?
Chances are if you are even bothering to read this post, it is because you do have some sort of inclination, whether an itch or a burning desire, to start something of your own.
If you have reached the point where you have decided to take the leap, and start your venture, it may be time to ‘get deep’ for a second and decide what you are really looking for.
What are your motivations for the business? Do you want more money? Do you want more time? Do you want to escape the 9-5? Do you want to help others?
Are you looking for a business which can become your life? Or are you looking for a business that can run itself, and that might help to finance your desired lifestyle. Neither answer is the ‘correct one’, and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
For me and my decision to start Charlie Spike, the choice of ‘dropshipping’ as a business model leads towards the assumption that I am looking for a business that can run independently and allow me to travel, surf, and enjoy life a little more freely.
This is true, however I will not hide the fact that I do also enjoy the ‘running’ side of businesses and wouldn’t want to become disconnected entirely. I genuinely like to be kept busy and I like to feel like I am in control of something I have created.
These are the things you need to keep in mind when you are setting your goals for your business. Are you aiming for an IPO and a red Ferrari after years of grinding hard (and rewarding) work, or are you aiming for a financed holiday twice a year?
It will also help you with deciding on which parts of the business you are willing to automate, for example, are you willing to allow a virtual assistant in India to handle all customer service queries to free up your time, or would you rather do this yourself and increase the brand’s reputation through your higher quality output?
Now is a good time to recount the little story of the ‘Greek Fisherman’. This is one of my favourite lessons to refer back to in the stressful times that you encounter when 100% of the responsibility is on you.
There are quite a few different variations of this principle and it is featured in a number of entrepreneurial books, but this is the way I like to spin it:
The Greek Fisherman
One morning a middle aged fishermen on a small tranquil island of Greece returned from his morning outing. It was a comfortable 26 degrees, as always, and the water as as clear and blue as ever. As the fishermen started offloading his catch onto the pier, a holiday maker, a savvy businessman from Sydney, watched on from disbelief from his razzy hotel window.
The businessman ran down to the fisherman and asked “How long did it take you to catch them? They are huge!”
“Only a few hours.. sometimes it’s more, often its less!”
The businessmen, in disbelief at the size of the fresh fish responded “Only a few hours!? They must sell for 30 bucks a pop!”
“Sometimes yes, sometimes no” replied the humble fishermen as he started packing up the boat.
“If you fished all day, would you keep catching them?” continued the businessmen.
“Of course. The ocean has always been full on this island. But this is all that I need.”
“Well it’s only 10am, what will you do for the rest of the day?”
The fishermen smiled. “I like to go home by midday.. Have a nap. Have food with my wife, play with my kids, and I always drink wine and dance in the evenings”
The businessmen looked out to the ocean in disbelief. He turned to the fishermen, and made an offer. “Ok, how about this. I can write a cheque, we can get 3 new boats. We can hire some nifty young fishermen to help you, and we can start pulling these things in for 8 hours a day and the money will be huge. We can create a brand, we can have food enthusiasts coming from all over the world to try these fish”.
“And then what?” asked the confused fishermen.
“Well, after a four to five years of hard work, we will have so much cash behind us from the pure profit margins here that we can take the brand international. You could move from this tiny island to Sydney and live in a penthouse. We can launch an entire range! It will take hard work and lots of moving around. But I honestly believe this has the potential to make you millions and millions.”
“How long will that take?” asked the fishermen.
“Maybe 10-20 years, perhaps more perhaps less, it depends on how hard we work!”
“And if we get it there, and if I sell this business for millions, what would I do then”
“Well, let me think… you would be very a rich man. You could move to a relaxing tropical island in Europe.. You could spend your morning fishing in crystal blue waters, and spend the afternoons sleeping, eating, and drinking wine with your friends”.
You get the point.
And again, don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the businessmen’s drive to turn something humble into something huge. If running a business is something you enjoy, and I mean genuinely enjoy, then why not spend your life investing your time and energy into it!? Often these kinds of entrepreneurs are the most fulfilled and satisfied people you can find.
Por que no los dos!?
There is also no reason why you cannot be a mix between the two. Self admittedly, I think I myself would be a hybrid. I struggle to sit down, relax, and not have any projects on the go, yet I am always craving more free time to enjoy the sweeter things in life.
The point I am making here is when entering your venture, take a second to decide the underlying purpose for it, and keep reflecting on this principle throughout the whole process.
This will hopefully help you deal with the stress when it starts to pile up (and it will), and perhaps increase your satisfaction if you get to the point where the business can simply finance your Friday night out on the beers, rather than the shiny red Ferrari you may have had in mind.
Next blog I’ll be discussing some of the primary factors to be checking when you are choosing your suppliers, which is applicable to both dropshipping businesses as well as suppliers manufacturing your own product.
I’ll be proving why this really can be the biggest headache of the whole process. Seriously, lots of banging heads on tables at this point.
Pizza O’clock, Arrivederci!