I’ve been involved in stock market investing for over 40 years, creating new businesses for about 25 years and lecturing on economic trends for 20 years. I’ve worked hard at each one and have had success financially with all three. But, if I had to pick just one of the three that has given me the most personal satisfaction, which one would it be and why?
First, I think I would choose “the creation of new businesses” as the most personally satisfying. For me there has been nothing like building something of economic value starting out with little more than an idea. After creating four businesses, I think I understand the process of how business creation happens; nevertheless, it still has the power to evoke big emotions in me. I continue to find myself wondering how in the world is “something created from nothing.” I like the wonderment of it all. To create and to ponder having created makes me feel comfortable with where I’m at in the world. I feel nicely fit into the universe.
I also like the fact that I can make a lot of money from starting a business. I make no excuses for feeling this way. Neither do I believe I have to put the joy of making money into some larger philosophical context in order to justify it. I’m simply happy owning my own business, and creating good solid profits. It’s a truth unto itself, meaning I don’t have to be doing this for some greater cause. There’s enough meaning within the activity of creating a business to make every effort I put out worthwhile.
I also like how I behave as a business owner. With a start up, I am acutely aware of the importance of every little resource I have, consequently I treat everything with care, including people. Over the years, the act of creating new businesses has given me a better sense for what is important and what is not, what’s worth worrying about and not. And at the end of the day, I have learned that there is very little, if anything, to get angry over.
Last, I like the free exchange of goods and services that are at the core of a start up. When I sell something it means a lot to me. The buyer did not have to buy my product at the price I affixed to it. When she does, she’s saying, I need that product and I think the price you have established for it is fair. “Fair,” now that’s a big word. How is fairness established in life? For me it’s hard to beat the way we do it in business. The producer creates something, attaches a value to it, and the consumer freely chooses whether or not to buy it. Both sides are empowered and equal at the moment of negotiation and possible exchange; what can be fairer than that?