Delayed Gratification

Why This Question Is Important

By Paul E. Casey

There has never been a better time in history to go into business for yourself than right now. (I know the economy is terrible in many places but there are also many opportunities.) We have resources available to help us launch our business that our parents or grandparents never dreamed of. Unprecedented access to technology, financing, education, health care, personal wealth, knowledge and mobility are all at higher levels than ever before.

However, there is a downside to all these advantages. We have created a culture of Instant Gratification, in which we feel we must have it all right here, right now. At times, it seems as if our lives are ruled by speed. This is a culture of instant customer service, overnight shoes, twitter, texting, thirty-minute oil changes and so on.

Thanks to the technological advancements of the past fifty years, almost anything we could ever need is a remote control or mouse click or app away. We can download books in less than one minute.

Instant gratification and starting your own business do not mix. It takes time, typically three to five years to build a sustainable business. During that time, you must live frugally, save as much money as you can and keep out of as debt as much as possible. It will serve you and your business well if you can replace the creed of Instant Gratification in your mind with an ethic of sensible decision-making and with a lot of patience.

I believe the biggest reason why many people will not go into business for themselves is that that they are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to make it happen. When you talk to would-be entrepreneurs, they say all the right things about wanting to start their own business. But when you probe further, many times you find out that what is really important to them is having a five-bedroom home with a three car garage and a band new SUV.

We must make choices in our lives. If you want a top-paying corporate job, you might have to surrender control of your time. You will give up some independence and perhaps some freedom of thought and association. In exchange, you will acquire a nice house in a nice neighborhood and plenty of toys. Again, there is nothing wrong with this kind of life. If that is your choice of how you want to live, I wish you well.

But if you really have the desire to start your own business, it can be done. And yes, if you stick with your business long enough, you will be able to eventually purchase a five-bedroom home with three-car-garage if that is what you want. Just not now.

Bottom Line: If instant money is your goal, your odds are better in Las Vegas. If you can put off that swimming pool or brand new SUV because sustaining your business is more important than any luxury item, your prospects for small business success are much greater. Understand that when you are a self-employed, your business will always come first. It will be the primary motivation behind most of your major lifestyle decisions. If you define success on how may toys you have in the garage, you will have a hard time sustaining your business.

Click here to find out more about available resources on successfully sustaining your small business.

We have created a culture of Instant Gratification, in which we feel we must have it all right here, right now.