Wellbeing / Work motivation

How to consciously build a business you’ll love

You build a business and years into your business journey you discover, to your horror, that you didn’t love the business you’ve built. Does this sound like you?

8 March 2016 by

It’s not a nice feeling – and it’s a situation that takes a while to remedy.

I know how it happens. When we build a business we tend to be quite reactive. We need to pay the bills so we take on whatever work comes our way. Anything a client asks us to do, we tend to do it regardless of whether it’s part of our core service offering or not.

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But here’s something I’ve learned over the years:

And quite often, you won’t like what you end up with.

So how do we prevent this happening?

It all comes down to making very conscious decisions. It involves being very clear about what you don’t want as much as what you do want.

Here are the questions I ask myself:

"If you aren’t clear about what you want in your business, you will simply get what you end up with."

  • What type of customers do I want to attract and work with?
  • What type of customers do I want to avoid at all costs?
  • What type of projects do I want to attract?
  • What type of projects do I want to avoid at all costs?
  • How much money do I want to make?
  • What poverty actions am I going to stop?
  • What will I do and what won’t I do for money – my moral compass.
  • What type of people do I want in my life?
  • What type of people don’t I want in my life?
  • What do I want people to say about me and my reputation?

I define these in absolute detail and carry them with me in a folder that I review pretty much every day whenever I get a quiet moment or two. This is what gives them real power.

What’s the end result?

My life has been indelibly shaped by these conscious declarations. All of them have become reality.

Am I still working on certain things? Absolutely. And I’m sure I will be until the day I die. However I always go back to the starting point of making conscious decisions about both sides of the argument.

I use this method when I am struggling to make a decision or a call of some kind. I figure out what I don’t want and what I do want – and generally the decision making process become a whole lot easier.

Going through life in a passive way generally gives us life we don’t want. Make conscious decisions about every part of your life and you might be surprised (and a little amazed) at what you get.

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you’d built a business you didn’t love?

Andrew Griffiths

has developed an international reputation as one of the leading global entrepreneurial authorities. His books and articles are considered street smart wisdom, designed to both inspire and challenge conventional thinking.


  • Andrew I love the term “Poverty actions”! That’s a nice label I can now go and stick on a bunch of tasks I need get rid of. Calling them what they really are puts them in perspective. Thanks a bunch 🙂


    • Haha – yep, get rid of those poverty actions – they serve no purpose but the make us grumpy!

  • Thanks Andrew-great article. I’m going to copy and paste the 10 questions into a word doc, and use these at my next “meeting with myself” (I have these throughout the year to keep track of where, how and why I’m going). By “poverty actions I’m going to stop”, I gather you could mean doing work below cost or out of desperation or kindness? Others may have further suggestions. I have built a business I love, but I want to keep loving it and so it needs adjustments, improvements and thinking time- this article will help do that.

    • Hey Kath – yeah poverty actions do mean that, but also poverty clients, that really bring nothing to the relationship except grief – even if they are bringing money, sometimes that simply isn’t enough. And that is the key – we have to work on this stuff every single day, not when it has all turned to tears…….Cheers – Andrew

  • There are some clients I’ve worked with who NO I didn’t really envision or want to work with them but they were paying my bills and giving me valuable experiences, reviews/testimonials so I could prove to my community what I am providing has value. Though now I’ve begun to answer who I want as a client I’m wondering if I have to leave gorgeous Cairns to do so!!

    • Well Robert, I’ve managed to run my business from Cairns – and build an international client base. It’s much easier to do today. You need to be prepared to get on a plane to go and see people. That was the game changer for me. People used to feel sorry for me living in Cairns (kinda like what was wrong with me). Today they are jealous.

      • Robert and Andrew, I run my small business from Innisfail and can’t imagine doing it anywhere else! Our piece of paradise!

  • This is a great article. Having run my own show for 18+ years, I’ve occasionally felt I was losing my way. Happens to us all I guess. I’ve used and stuck by these exact principles many times. They’re a great compass, and always work!

    • Thanks Nigel – nice positive confirmation. Cheers – Andrew

  • Perfectly timed article for me, Andrew. I recently left my job “working for the man” to pursue my passion in my own small business. Those guiding questions are spot-on – I’ve copied them down to include as part of my business plan.

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