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Why Are You Starting a Business? Have You Connected The Dots?

I started planning the launch of Rizzo Tees back in October 2007, launched it on October 30, 2008, and have been working to grow it ever since.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been at it for almost 2 1/2 years now.

My intentions seem pretty apparent (at least to me): I want it to be the #1 independent t-shirt company in the world. (OK, maybe #4, after Threadless, Busted Tees, and Snorgtees).  Day to day, just about everything I do is designed to point me in this direction.  It all seems pretty crystal clear, right?

Well….. not exactly. The steps I take along the way are not written in stone. Yes, I have a written plan, but circumstances change.  Opportunities present themselves. There are dalliances I’m engaging in that might not be pointing me directly at that t-shirt pot of gold.

Like this blog for instance. As a rather public figure on Twitter, I’m often asked about starting a t-shirt business. I try to provide as much help to my tee brethren as I can.  It then occurred to me… why not formalize all of this advice I’m giving out in the form of a small business blog?  Great idea!

But why?  Isn’t this distracting me from Rizzo?  Yes, it could drive some traffic to my site, it could further humanize me for the 98% of Twitter followers that have never met me in person, but this is taking time.

My ultimate dream is to have this blog be a rich resource for entrepreneurs looking to start up small businesses.  And……. perhaps all of this advice I’m handing out will result in. ……… ???  What? Dominating t-shirt sales? Probably not – this blog is not going to do that.  This thought sorta came over me yesterday like a tidal wave…. what is the point of this blog?

Well, I know what my dream “what” is – I’d like to become a thought leader in small business startup advice, I’d like to be consulted thereon, and eventually have such consultations supplement my income.  Is this blog really going to do that for me?  Can my dream come true?

I have no idea. And the very notion that I have no idea hit me yesterday.  Then, in a moment of divine intervention, I watched the video below.  And I realized that I need not be able to connect all the dots now.  Steve Jobs is telling you to do what you love, and trust that doing what you love will allow you to connect the dots later.

For me, this 2005 video was especially poignant, considering that Jobs later had to take a leave of absence from Apple and get a liver transplant.  As he’s talking to us about death here, he has no idea what terrible maladies lie ahead for him.

The takeaway here is “find what you love, and then do what you love.”  You have to trust that those endeavors will result in your ability to connect the dots.  I love writing and talking about small business and social media, so Rizzo Tees Blog was born!

Comments

  1. Nice post. What do you think of college students looking to start businesses? What advice would you have for them?

  2. Nice post. What do you think of college students looking to start businesses? What advice would you have for them?

  3. Great post, Chris — I like your blog, and your thoughts about starting it are dead on. I started my own small business (a law firm) last September, and I'm still connecting lots of dots myself. I agree wholeheartedly that you have to have your eyes on an eventual prize, but you also have to have good peripheral vision to see the opportunities you hadn't expected. One of those unexpected opportunities for me is getting much more involved in social media — including attending my first #SMCSTL event tonight!

  4. Great post, Chris — I like your blog, and your thoughts about starting it are dead on. I started my own small business (a law firm) last September, and I'm still connecting lots of dots myself. I agree wholeheartedly that you have to have your eyes on an eventual prize, but you also have to have good peripheral vision to see the opportunities you hadn't expected. One of those unexpected opportunities for me is getting much more involved in social media — including attending my first #SMCSTL event tonight!

  5. Jason, I cannot speak from experience, because I didn't even have a job in college, much less start a business. I did a bit of studying and a bunch of partying.When I landed on campus at Marquette U, I ran into two awesome student businesses almost immediately. One, someone selling really cool Marquette-themed t-shirts. He was just standing on campus, selling 'em for $10. People were just gobbling them up. The other business was two dudes that would come in and build a loft in your dorm room. That way, the dorm bunk beds could be taken apart and elevated, leaving your dorm room looking like the Taj Mahal. Word of mouth was all these two businesses needed to fuel sales.I have no idea if either of these businesses had owners that enjoyed what they did, but my advice to a college student is the same as it would be to someone with a degree – find something that you love to do and pursue the hell out of it. It is a bazillion times easier to succeed doing something that you love.

  6. Jason, I cannot speak from experience, because I didn't even have a job in college, much less start a business. I did a bit of studying and a bunch of partying.

    When I landed on campus at Marquette U, I ran into two awesome student businesses almost immediately. One, someone selling really cool Marquette-themed t-shirts. He was just standing on campus, selling 'em for $10. People were just gobbling them up. The other business was two dudes that would come in and build a loft in your dorm room. That way, the dorm bunk beds could be taken apart and elevated, leaving your dorm room looking like the Taj Mahal. Word of mouth was all these two businesses needed to fuel sales.

    I have no idea if either of these businesses had owners that enjoyed what they did, but my advice to a college student is the same as it would be to someone with a degree – find something that you love to do and pursue the hell out of it. It is a bazillion times easier to succeed doing something that you love.

  7. You, my friend, need to be interviewed by me about the trials and tribulations of starting your own law firm. Are you in?Hope to talk with you tonight!

  8. You, my friend, need to be interviewed by me about the trials and tribulations of starting your own law firm. Are you in?

    Hope to talk with you tonight!

  9. Find what you love! That's exactly it. You do what you love, find your niche and go after it. Great post!

  10. Find what you love! That's exactly it. You do what you love, find your niche and go after it. Great post!

  11. Thank you Alex! Hope to see you here again, cheers.

  12. Thank you Alex! Hope to see you here again, cheers.

  13. Great post Chris. It's true, if you do what you love and really go to the mat to be successful in that discipline then the rest will work itself out.

  14. Great post Chris. It's true, if you do what you love and really go to the mat to be successful in that discipline then the rest will work itself out.

  15. Writing your blog gives you practice at communicating, helps you crystalize your own thoughts, and provides a good way to interact with your “audience”. It gives you a chance to show that you do know what you are talking about, or at least a growth path to get to where you want to be. So keep up the writing. I am trying to do more writing myself (but am mostly failing miserably) about all of the software, web application, and random business ideas that I've had over the last year.

  16. Writing your blog gives you practice at communicating, helps you crystalize your own thoughts, and provides a good way to interact with your “audience”. It gives you a chance to show that you do know what you are talking about, or at least a growth path to get to where you want to be. So keep up the writing. I am trying to do more writing myself (but am mostly failing miserably) about all of the software, web application, and random business ideas that I've had over the last year.

  17. I needed this video right now. Thanks for sharing. I know what I love, but it’s taking that leap thats difficult. If it were just me, I’d have lept both feet in by now, but I just have one foot in it, the other in the safe place.

  18. Stay focused. Dedication/practice is the advantage many fail to grasp.  PS. Glad to be in the 98%, hope to join the 2% at some point. 

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  1. [...] Reimer, aka @RizzoTees, started a new blog, The Basement Entrepreneur. His latest post, Why are You Starting a Business, is another thoughtful piece. He’ll remind you of Gary [...]

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