Ep. #48: Do You Even Want a Business, and START HERE

Struggling or hesitant entrepreneurs commonly ask themselves, “Do I even want a business?” When we ask ourselves this question, we feel half-in and half-out. We start and stop. We think of quitting. Today we discuss why we ask ourselves this question, and we set the foundation for how we’re going to answer this question and solve this problem in upcoming episodes. Also, if you’re new to the podcast, START WITH THIS EPISODE. It will get you up to speed on the work we’re doing very quickly.


Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps serious entrepreneurs get everything they want, and get out from under everything they don’t want. Today’s episode is for every listener who’s wondering, Do I even want a business? I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and if this is you, I’m glad you’re here because too many of us, not just new entrepreneurs who are just starting out, but also existing business owners, are asking ourselves this question, consciously or subconsciously, and it’s causing problems and standing in our way.

How do you know if you have this question rattling around in your head? You may have heard these exact words coming out of your mouth. Or you might not even be aware that this question is lurking in the recesses of your brain, in which case, all you can do is look for symptoms. The symptoms that you’re subconsciously asking yourself this question include: You have an idea but you’re not moving the ball forward. It’s a great idea, but you’re not taking action. Or, you’re half in and you’re half out, you have one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes, or you’re struggling with something in your business, perhaps for a long time, that never gets solved, and maybe you’re even thinking about quitting.

Today we’re going to talk about what’s going on when you ask yourself this question. Actually, there’s a lot going on with this question, and so today marks the beginning of a new series of episodes where, in each episode, we’re going to discuss: i) a common business problem that generates this question and makes you want to quit, ii) at what stage of the business this is most likely to come up and stop you from having the business of your dreams, and iii) the solution to that problem. These episodes will air on Tuesdays. Then, each week we’ll also discuss how that business principle applies to getting the body that you want. That’s what we’ll discuss on Thursdays, because the great news for every entrepreneur is that there’s a lean, beautiful body corollary to every lean, successful business solution.

If you’re here for the first time, I’d like to say welcome! We’re getting a lot of new listeners, and what I’m seeing is that you’re binge listening. You’re starting at episode one, and then there’s a slow wave of listener growth as you consume each episode one by one. If you’re a new listener and you’re tempted to do that, you certainly can, but here I’ll say that it’s not necessary because everything you need to know to get the business and body of your dreams will be discussed in these episodes going forward. We’re almost at fifty episodes now! That’s a lot to go back and consume, so if you’re just jumping in now, you’re starting at the exact right place. You are not behind and you don’t have any catch-up listening to do.

All you need to know to get started is that entrepreneurship done on your terms is the solution to everything that’s vexing you, and it’s the key to creating true wealth. Not just money, but a business where you live and earn on your terms, and you get everything you want and nothing that you don’t.

How do we get this?

The first thing we do is recognize that everything that humans create is created twice—first in your brain, when you imagine the thing you want, and then next in your life, in the real world, where you bring that thing to life, even if you’re not aware that you’re doing it. Have you ever known anyone who says all the time, “I’m always going to be fat?” and then they proceed to chow down because what’s the use of doing anything else? If they’re always going to be fat, they may as well enjoy themselves. The same thing happens with debt. Someone who’s struggling says, “I’m never going to get ahead, so why bother saving?” And then they just spend and spend and spend. If you’ve ever seen something like this happening, or you’ve done it yourself, you have witnessed the universal principle that we get what we think.

What most of us often don’t realize, or if we realize it intellectually, we don’t really believe or trust it on a fundamental level, is that it goes the other way, too. People who think that their lives and businesses and bodies are going to better or even get amazing, get what they think as well.

This concept is not new. It was discussed by Marcus Aurelius and other ancient Stoic philosophers two thousand years ago. More recently, it’s discussed in highly influential books such as Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. I first learned about this concept as a hayseed from Idaho when I started working in the hedge fund industry, and it’s a major underpinning, this concept that you get what you think, of our work in this podcast because that one idea changed my life, and the lives of my wealthiest clients and colleagues. That we get what we think is not new.

But what is new is the idea that you can get the business and body of your dreams at the same time. That’s the foundational concept for this show. Most people say that you only get one goal—you can grow your business or drop some weight and get in shape separately, but the foundation of this show is the exact opposite. You can and you should get a lean, successful business and a lean, beautiful body at the same time. Why? We talked about one reason last week, in episodes 46 and 47. Many of us engage in behaviors that smack of addiction—binge eating or overeating, and binge drinking or overdrinking—that put weight on our bodies, and the cure for addiction is engaged entrepreneurship and meaningful work. So if you’re putting off growing your business while you try to shrink your body, you’re going about things in the wrong order.

Another thing that happens when you build a lean, successful business is much of the emotional weight and logistical weight that drives entrepreneurs to overeat or overdrink goes away. When you rid yourself of busy work, work that goes nowhere, work that’s tedious or beneath you, and when you increase your efficiency, clarity, and productivity, much of the negative emotion that drives us to overeat and overdrink goes away.

Another foundational underpinning for this show is that you can’t break this framework that you get what you think. If you think it, if you truly believe something and decide to live in a certain paradigm, that will generate an emotional response that very predictably drives an action that very predictable creates the result. Whatever it is you’re thinking, you will prove to yourself through your feelings and actions. You will make it come true in the world, over and over again. It’s very linear and logical–envision dominoes falling down–and it’s as certain as death and taxes.

So this year I want to go deeper into this work and prove this framework to myself by achieving both the body and business of my dreams. I want to reach my dream weight of 105 pounds AND I want to double my revenue and cut the time spent on my business in half. That’s what I’m putting in my results line for this year, and so we’re putting this framework to work, to prove that you truly can put everything you want in the “R” line. You truly can define whatever result you want to achieve and make it happen.

And to add further heft to this testing that we’re doing this year, I’m also going to put how I’m going to do this in the R line. I’m going to get rich and I’m going to get thin by doing everything I want, and nothing I don’t want. That’s the result I’m defining for myself. The whole thing is going in the “R” line.

And here you may be saying, what? You can get rich and thin by doing everything you want and nothing you don’t? Think again, lady.

I beg to differ. The key premise for this show is that if wealth is having everything you want and nothing you don’t, you can’t get there by forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do, and depriving yourself of what you truly want. What you truly want is a calling. A guidepost. It is a beacon that’s guiding you towards what will create wealth for you, and towards the place where you will feel wealthy, and if you ignore this call, you’re heading in the wrong direction. You’re heading away from rich and thin, away from the state of true wealth, and towards what I call broke and bulky, where you don’t have something you desperately want, and you’re weighed down by all kinds of nonsense and stuff you don’t want at all.

So that was a very long intro into today’s topic, but it sets a good foundation because today’s topic is I don’t know if I even want a business. If you’re in this boat, what’s going on is that you’ve put the business in the R line, you’ve defined having the business as the result, and you’ve inadvertently, perhaps unconsciously, thrown a whole bunch of other stuff in there too, unattractive stuff that you don’t want into the “R” line, because you’re thinking that those other things are part and parcel of having a business, but that things are entirely optional.

What is this stuff? A listener just emailed me a list of 5 things that are pretty common. First she listed 5 reasons that she would want a successful business, and then 5 reasons that she wouldn’t.

So here are the 5 reasons in favor:

  1. To better provide for my family (to give [my new infant daughter] the best life);
  2. To be able to travel more easily;
  3. Because I’m f…ing WORTH it;
  4. To pay off law school debt;
  5. To have financial, and housing, security.

Now here are five reasons she wouldn’t want a successful business:

  1. Because money is a societal construct, created to separate us from nature, the earth, and our God-given talents that we’ve thrown away for the sake of material goods;
  2. Because more money, more problems; i.e., the bigger the income, the bigger the expenses and the stress that comes with dealing with money;
  3. Because I identify so strongly with the “me” who grew up poor and became much, and I fear losing that part of my identity;
  4. Because I’m scared I would try and fail (and that a leap like that would be hard to recover from);
  5. Because making money is a time and attention commitment that would take away from time with my daughter.

I couldn’t have written a better summary of the reasons behind the “I want it but I don’t it” quandary that struggling entrepreneurs find themselves in, and what I want you to notice is how the reasons for and against are basically mirror images of the same coin:

  • I want it to help my family, but I think it will hurt my family.
  • I want it because I deserve more money—I’ve made much of myself and I’m just that good now–but I don’t want it because of who I was before I developed these skills. I was a poor as a child, so I can’t be too rich as an adult.
  • I want it because I want to travel and see the world, but I don’t want it because money will disconnect me from the world.
  • I want it because I want housing and financial security (and what could be scarier than financial and housing insecurity?), but I don’t want it, because trying for it is scary.
  • I want it because I have problems that money would solve, but I don’t want it, because money causes problems.
  • I want it because money is necessary in modern society, but I don’t want it because money is a societal construct.
  • I want it because it will make my life easier, but I don’t want it because it will be too difficult.
  • I want it because living in my current situation is painful, but I don’t want to try because if I fail it will be painful, so it’s better to fail in advance and live in this pain every single day.

She didn’t mention this particular “I want it, but I don’t” problem, but I suspect it’s in here, and so I’m going to raise it because it exists with every struggling entrepreneur that I ever see, and it’s this: I want it because of how I’m thinking about myself and what I think is important, but I don’t want it because of what other people are thinking about me, and what they think is important.

All of these opposing forces, the push and pull or the tension between these flip sides of the same coin, are what I call the river of misery. You want two things, and your brain is telling you that you can only have one or the other, and you’re stuck in between. This tension between these two things, these two seemingly conflicted ideals, is what leads both would-be and struggling entrepreneurs to asking themselves the question, “Do I even want a business? Do I even want to try to level up and earn more?”

But what I want you to notice here is that all of these problems are mental constructs, and here I’m not criticizing this listener. All of our brains do this to us, because a major function our brains have is to preserve the status quo. If you’re alive right now, whatever you’re doing must be working, so keep doing it.

The trouble is that there’s a flipside to this coin, too, and it’s this: when we’re struggling, whatever we’re currently doing is creating danger. It’s making us less safe. It’s moving us towards the cliff, not further away. So recognizing that our brain is a fickle, illogical monster is key. You can’t listen when it’s talking smack, and your unsupervised brain talks smack to you all the time.

So we have to recognize what our brains do, and direct them to the solution. Your unsupervised brain is like a toddler who wants a cookie and needs a nap and is melting down in the middle of those two things trying to decide. As the adult, you have to recognize that both are possible.

This is what you do with your own brain. You put both the cookie and the nap in the R line. Define both as the result you will achieve. Now, your brain may be asking you how to do this, so that’s what we’re going to discuss in the upcoming episodes in this series. Each of these problems that are vexing this listener apply to all of us, so we’re going to do a deep dive into them and discuss the solutions.

I hope you join me for those. I realize all I’m doing today is giving you a problem and not a solution, but today’s episode sets the foundation for the solution to come, because the problem is big, and we’re going to dive into it in multiple episodes, so you can get the business you want on your terms, and please also join me for the Thursday episodes. They’re going to parallel what we’re doing on Tuesday with our businesses. We’re going to od the same work on Thursdays on getting the body you want on your terms. So please join me for all of those. Thank you so much for being with me today and I sincerely look forward to talking with you next time.

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