What’s the point of your business?

We were having an interesting chat at @freelanceworld a few days ago during a workshop on our core values. I was talking about “the point of Freelance World” and someone said “well, it’s obviously to make you as much money as possible!” or something like that.

I was aghast! I said, No! That’s not it at all! The moment that money becomes the main purpose of what you do, is the moment your business loses its’ soul.

Twice in my career I’ve made decisions based on money rather than values and it’s cost me dearly both times. I’ve ended up working with people that I didn’t like, and who had very different values from me. It’s the only time it’s ever felt like a job. And on both occasions the financial rewards that I’d been promised never came to pass.

So I’ve learned the hard way.

Over the last decade, the point for me has been to think differently. To improve the customer experience. To make things better. You can apply this thinking to any business, in any industry. We’ve done it to roofing, to snooker, to tech, and of course to accountancy.

And funnily enough, you generally reap the rewards anyway! But as a by-product, rather than as the main purpose.

So what’s the point of your business?

3 thoughts on “What’s the point of your business?

  1. The point of my business is to allow me to be a good role model to my daughter.

    My own mother was intelligent, talented, and loving. Her interests ranged from ballet to gardening to floristry, and our home was filled with the sights and sounds of culture. I never went cold or hungry, and I had everything I needed.

    But my mother was raised in a time and era which taught her that her sole function was to be a wife and a mother. So she did what she was “supposed” to do and got married at 20. That’s what you did then, right?

    Unfortunately she married a controlling, twisted psycho who parlayed her low self-worth into twenty years of abuse. She wasn’t allowed to work. She wasn’t allowed to have friends. She wasn’t allowed to have a social life. For many years, she wasn’t even allowed to contact her own family. Today we call that domestic abuse. Thirty years ago it was called “being a good housewife.”

    I can remember, and I can still hear, the sound of her pleading with my father: “I don’t want to get AIDS!” I was far too young to comprehend the meaning, much less the implications, of her plea. In her later years she told me that she didn’t visit a hairdresser for over 15 years. She cut her own hair in the bathroom sink. That is the extent to which she had been abused into believing her very existence was a source of shame.

    So that was my role model: someone who put her talents and intelligence to the side, as if they were something obscene. Someone who negated her self-worth into a limited role rather than a place to dream. Someone who let the values of another decade dictate her future. Someone who, indeed, loved and cherished her children more than anything in the world, but never made that connection that the example she set for them was as important as the meals she cooked for them.

    By the time “we girls” grew strong enough to band together to kick the piece of $hit out with the same cold cruelty he had shown to us all of our lives, my mother barely knew her own name. And just when a good therapist was helping her to find a sense of self-worth for the first time in her life, a doctor confirmed her suspicion: motor neurone disease. My mother died at age 50, in a US state hospice, with less than $1000 to her name. Her life ended without ever having begun.

    I run my business on two assumptions:
    1) My daughter needs a strong, positive woman to act as her role model.
    2) I may not necessarily live to a ripe old age.

    Everything I do in it and for it stems from those two assumptions. Everything else is just details. As it should be.

  2. Hi Heather, thank you so much for sharing that. I’m quite humbled by your story. I can totally understand your motivation and why that should drive what you do. I think we all have our own story, but some just don’t realise or acknowledge it.

    I’ve met far too many people who are just going through the motions. Surviving, but not really living. As I’ve learned, life is short, so I plan to make the most of it, doing great stuff, whilst I’m here 🙂


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