The decision to open your own business comes with a lot of changes: responsibilities multiply, work schedules and priorities are reorganized. Vlad Craioveanu, co-founder of Impact Hub Bucharest, talks about the important questions one needs to ask oneself.
I remember that, somewhere at the beginning of my entrepreneurship adventure, I was talking to one of my colleagues, who wanted us to establish more concretely what she had to do, to "contract" the allocated time and her responsibilities. Back then, I found the term "to contract" funny, because I was coming from an area where everything was done ...haphazardly. The "we do what we have to" principle was deeply rooted in me and in the way I did things and my energy and time were 150% dedicated to the Impact Hub that we were just starting in Bucharest.
Our conversation stuck somewhere in the back of my mind for years because it made me realize that a lot of what we build in life comes in the form of a contract. And, like any contract, it should come with both responsibilities and benefits. Moreover, there should be a balance between the two, because otherwise we risk abusing others or being abused.
I know I cannot turn back the hands of time, but I've started doing things slightly differently when it comes to talking about the future or new projects with some of the most important investors: my family. There are a few questions that we explore together on a case-by-case basis and they work as a kind of "contract" between us.
And, like any contract, it should come with both responsibilities and benefits. Moreover, there should be a balance between the two, because otherwise we risk abusing others or being abused.
What is our financial reality? But beyond our good intentions and ideas, how prepared are we to support new projects or continue to invest in the current ones without jeopardizing the standard of living we want?
What is the plan? We all believe that our business idea is the best and that our success is guaranteed, but how responsible, aware and determined are we to turn it into a stable source of income? And how long will it take to get there?
What if something happens to me? We often think that we are invincible and we are animated by the belief that "it will not happen to us". And, most likely, it is so, but this possibility is worth considering. One’s responsibility does not end with the annual financial result, it only ends when this chapter of one’s life ends.
When do we say STOP? We must be aware of the limits of our resources and that they will run out at some point. That’s why it is useful to agree, from the very beginning, on a point of evaluation that will help us make that difficult decision, because what is beyond that point is very painful for everyone.
- What do we do if things go well? After getting a new car, gifts and that long-dreamed vacation, we should think about investing the money we earn. In addition to the investment, we make in our business, we should also invest something in our safety. Consider item 3.
- Are you aware that we do not see each other anymore? Maybe there will come a time when you will be able to leave the business in the hands of others and travel the world, but the road to that point long and very difficult. The 9 to 6 working day no longer applies, most probably just as the "I don't work on weekends” concept. So we also have to think about the fact that we don't want our loved ones to forget what we look like, so we need to make a plan, preferably with them.
- Are you aware that we do not see each other anymore? (part two) And do you think that your loved ones are what’s most important to you? Well, think again, because if the "I” is missing from that equation things cannot work. So, don't forget about yourself and don't forget to breathe, enjoy life and your passions. And if you don't have any passions or hobbies, find some!
This list could certainly go on and on, but these are the most important lessons that i have learned during all this time. When I first stepped on the entrepreneurial path I didn't think much about these things, but I think I would have liked someone to challenge me. So here is my challenge to you: take some time and think about yourself because YOU are the most important ingredient in your success recipe, and for the trip to be smooth you need to make sure your place your boat just right in the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship.
Opinion published in Biz magazine no. 316