When chasing a dream and a job are the same
I’m starting a new business where I’ll be farming and selling locally grown quinoa. There are a lot of difficulties and costs associated with this enterprise. My question for you is: What would you do if the business you wanted to launch had so many variables that you needed to maintain another stable job to support yourself? Is leaving my job and starting my business a responsible decision? My girlfriend once told me that what the world needs is more people who love their jobs.
Gonzalo, first and foremost, your girlfriend sounds like a keeper — I absolutely agree with her. Most people spend more time working than on any other activity. If you don’t enjoy your work, that’s a lot of hours of your life that you’re wasting away.
And if the world is to continue to improve, then it needs more workers who love their jobs. These would be happy, healthy people, engaged in the work and ideas that matter to them most.
Just imagine, for a moment, a world full of people doing work that they love. It would be so different — and continue to be absolutely transformative. Loving your work tends to lead to more success, which, in turn, leads to more job creation. When you build a business, you’re creating something that has the room to grow, thrive and innovate.
It’s no coincidence that entrepreneurship is such a positive force in the world, since entrepreneurs are people working for themselves, doing what they love. So, when you ask whether starting your own business is a responsible decision, I think you know my answer: You should pursue your dreams.
You must be sure to protect the downside. Consider the difficulties and costs that you mentioned, and address them one by one. Create a simple list: each difficulty, paired with a specific strategy to overcome it. Once you’ve done this, the various factors and their individual components will seem more manageable.
Then make another list of all the growth opportunities for your quinoa business, and be sure to spend as much time on this positive, futurefacing task as you did on the risk-management list you just completed. After all, this is supposed to be fun!
You’re farming high-quality produce that’s locally grown. Ask yourself: How can I best market this information and create demand for my product? What other businesses have expanded from a similar position, and how did they do it? What will I do differently from my competition?
Are there other regional markets beyond quinoa is particularly popular?
Those are the sorts of questions we’ve been asking ourselves at Virgin for five decades. Here’s an example: Virgin Mobile — our cell phone company that started as a pipe dream on a piece of paper — now operates in many countries around the world, including Chile.
When we first thought about the opportunity to create a mobile business, we also had all sorts of difficulties to overcome. The main obstacle was infrastructure: We certainly couldn’t compete with the industry giants who already had networks in place.
And they were more likely to see us as a threat to their market share rather than as a partner they could work with to create something fresh and new. What’s more, we had little expertise in the sector, and our team was juggling lots of other businesses already.
But rather than worry about the negatives, I focused on the upside. The mobile market was one of the fastest-growing on the planet, yet customers were being well and truly ripped off.
The industry was ripe for disruption, and I believed that Virgin was the brand that could do it.
We could see opportunities to partner with another company to create a new business model. And I knew I could find people better than myself, with relevant experience and a hunger to create something new, who could run the day-to-day business.
We were rejected by every potential network provider until One 2 One said yes. We launched a pay-as-you-go service, creating the world’s first mobile virtual network operator. It was a truly unique mobile company, and our model is still being used around the world.
While we see opportunities where others might see insurmountable obstacles, we don’t discount the risks; we embrace them and face difficulties head-on. Then we try to bring a competitive difference to the market and go about our work with humour and by taking care of our customers. Put simply, we reach for the stars, but keep our feet on the ground. There’s no reason you can’t do the same. Chile where