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The Law of Success is brutally simple and unforgiving: “Do ONLY the right things, for ONLY the right reasons.”

If you do, you can’t make mistakes. (Think about it.)

At a series of small business seminars we ran in 1996-97 in Melbourne, after explaining the importance of this law (and it’s opposite, the Law of Failure), we conducted a short survey of our audiences (ranging from 300 to 1,500) to see why they were in business for themselves.

We explained that, in our 12 years of research of Victorian small businesses, we had found that around 80% of owner-managers gave one or more of these four reasons (or variations of them)…

  • “To make more money than I could in a job.”
  • “To have more financial security than I could in a job.”
  • “To be more independent than I could be in a job.”
  • “To gain more satisfaction than I could in a job.”

So we asked them to stand up if any of those reasons were their reasons for being in business. Across the board, an average of 80% of the audiences would stand. So then we’d asked them to sit down again if…

  • they were making more money than they did in a job.
  • they were more financially secure than they were in a job now that their homes, redundancy packages and all other assets were at risk.
  • they were LESS dependent on others than they were in a job — like staff, customers, creditors, suppliers, bankers, advisors, etc — now that they carried ALL responsibility, for everything, including staff, leasing, sales, bookkeeping, productivity, profitability, etc, etc, etc.
  • they were less stressed, frustrated, confused, busy or just plain pissed-off than they were in a job.

A very small handful (around 2% on average) would still be standing.

The obvious conclusion?

They could have more of ALL of those things in the right job!

NOT ONE of those common reasons was a valid reason for going into business!

The bottom line: the only real difference between an employee and a self-employee is the degree of certainty involved.

Where an employee can only suspect that his boss is an incompetent ignoramus, the self-employee can be absolutely certain.

There’s ultimately only ONE valid reason for being in business, rather than a job: to sever all connection between your mediums of exchange — your time and money, so you can work less and earn more.

Anything else is an excuse for something else.