I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. Have never held a “real” job. So you’d think I’ve probably always done something for work that I loved to do… right?
That’s not quite true.
Actually, not even close. You see, entrepreneurs (or someone who wants to break out of their day job and become an entrepreneur so you can control your destiny)… I’ve noticed, generally go through a certain life cycle to get to the point of true happiness in what we do. Some people get to the point of loving what they do for “work” and feeling fulfilled sooner than others.
For me, it wasn’t an immediate thing.
The “hustle years” (21-24 or so) I had only one thing in mind. I needed to find a way to pay my bills. That was my motivation at the time because I wanted to avoid getting a job… because to me, I knew that a job would mean that I wouldn’t have full control over what I truly wanted to do with my life.
Those years I didn’t worry about doing something I was passionate about. I just needed to find something I was good enough at and could provide value to a group of people… and sell it. I was decent at marketing, so I started consulting for a few small businesses. Making peanuts for pay, but gaining a lot of experience.
Those were awesome days where I grew as a person a lot.
From there 24-28 were my “finding my feet” years. The “hustle years” helped me grow a great entrepreneurial mindset and got enough money coming in to where I didn’t have to get a real job (even though everyone around me, except my wife, was urging me to “just get a job”). I could be more picky in these years on what I worked on.
In particular, I discovered how growing an online business would give me much more leverage and mobility so I could make more money, provide more value to more people, and work where I wanted. This is where I learned that trading hours for dollars (i.e. consulting) didn’t make me as happy as creating a business where my income was based on the value I provided to my marketplace… NOT the number of hours I worked.
During these years I learned how to make money, leverage my time, and build a business… but didn’t learn how to become fulfilled in business. In fact, looking back, I was living at about 50% of my potential… because so much of my energy was going into growing my business.
From 28 to today (when I wrote this I had just turned 31) are what I’m calling my “purpose finding” years. I slipped into that comfort zone I’ve mentioned before, at the start of this phase, and realized there was much much more to life than growing a business.
I realized that a business can be both a way to control my financial destiny… but should also be fulfilling and act as an outlet for my passions and purpose.
My mindset on business and entrepreneurship totally changed in these years… but I never would have gotten here if I hadn’t gone through the “hustle” and “finding my feet” phases.
If you’re in a job you don’t like or are running a business that’s dragging you down… just know it’s part of the journey. Finding your passion in business comes with experiencing some of the things you don’t like first. And for me, and many entrepreneurs I know, going through those “hustle” and “finding your feet” years just made the “purpose finding” years that much sweeter. And the cool thing is, you often find your passion when you’re busy “finding your feet” and “hustling”… so get out there and start something today.