Over the past few years, I have heard people discuss the American Dream. Many times, it is expressed as a desire to be wealthy which is counter to how I was taught as a child. There is nothing wrong with wealth, yet I have always viewed the American Dream as the opportunity to start something for yourself and live the life you desire without harming others.
Wealth is not the central component of the American Dream, instead, it is doing what you love, working hard, and being able to care for your family.
This view is why I have an addiction to entrepreneurship. Being part of a team which creates something from nothing is difficult to fully describe. The combined emotions of excitement, fear, vulnerability, joy, and anxiety can be overwhelming. Yet, there is something magical about building something new which has a pull on my heart.
This pull is the reason I have been part of 6 startups. Those are the ones I have been a team member, that doesn't include the ones I have advised. Counting those puts the number to a dozen. The cumulation of this work is the creation of BizLatte, the one-stop resource center for career advancement. More on this later.
Why do I keep working with startups?
Like an addict, I keep coming back to the same thing. In this case, working with startup businesses and new nonprofit organizations. Why do I continue doing this? In reality, the startup life is not enjoyable.
There are months of planning, few resources, no guarantees, and most of the time epic failure is looming. Of the startups I have worked with, only a couple are still around. The others didn't work out for one reason or another. Some of the reasons for failure included a lack of commitment from the team, poor strategy, and at times the idea simply wasn't needed by the market which was apparent when nobody bought the product.
Even with all of the issues which can arise, when a venture does work out it is amazing! Any successful business has a ripple effect which touches hundreds if not thousands of lives in a positive way. Think about all the small businesses out there. They are serving their communities, providing jobs, and keeping the true American Dream alive. Seriously, take a moment and imagine a business.
The revenue generated pays taxes, builds the economy, and employees give to charities. Even a little financial success can go a long way in making the world a better place. As a good friend told me, "small businesses are the backbone of the American economy." He is exactly right.
Sure, big companies get most of the glory, but we should never forget small businesses are what keeps the economy moving forward. Also, from a practical perspective, all businesses start small which means the next startup might be the giant of the future.
What does this mean for you?
If you made it this far you likely fall into two different thought processes. First, you are an addict like me and love startups. You watch Shark Tank, have an amazing idea, or have started something yourself. The idea of working double the hours and making half as much as someone with a corporate job brings you a twisted sense of pleasure.
Second, the above sounds terrible, but you want to have the same passion for your job, or perhaps you already do enjoy your profession. This is great! I have many friends with corporate gigs who have the same passion for their company as I do for startups. I think that is amazing and brings me to the main point of this article.
You need to understand your professional purpose to fully live a rich life.
Once you know your professional purpose, you can move forward with unfettered ambition. Your purpose could be a startup or working at a Fortune 500 company, small business, or nonprofit organization. One of the wonderful aspects of life is that each of us does not have the same professional desires.
This realization was one of the factors to be part of the co-founding team of BizLatte. We're a merry band of nerds and misfits brought together by our mutual love for helping people, achievement, and caffeinated beverages. Between the three co-founders, we have 3 master's degrees, worked everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofit organizations in 3rd-world countries, been part of 8 startups, and have been featured in a variety of publications. Now, we are setting our sights on helping YOU advance your career.
Our goal is to provide resources to help unemployed and underemployed millennials live a purposeful life, build meaningful relationships, and commit to their passions.
Personally, my desire is to serve and help you find the same exhilaration I find with startups. I want you to wake up every day excited about work. As an adult, our professional life takes up a majority of our days. We should love what we do.
If you are ready to step into your passions, check us out. I recommend starting with some of our success stories. If you want a similar story, connect with us and we will get you on your way to a purposeful life.