As I was pulling out of my garage this morning, I had the general realization that money is the only area of my life that still pisses me off.

In general, I am content. Sometimes I make myself be content, but I am content. Money wise, I’m rarely content.

This has been made worse as I prepare to retire from active duty. This retirement could be in a couple years or it it could be in 10 years, but eventually I need another way to provide for my family. As I consider options, I am pretty sure I can’t work for someone else. I’m not an egomaniac, but I’ve been a boss too long.

I think I want to do a bunch of different things, but I really like the idea of starting a business. Wanting to start a business is a terrible reason to start a business, however. I’m pretty sure I only truly realized this a couple years ago when I read this post by Derek Sivers. As he explains,

I meet a lot of people who want to start a business.

Some don’t have an idea yet. I don’t understand this. It’s like wanting to wear a bandage when you don’t have a wound.

Most have an idea but no customers. For them I always say, “Don’t start a business until people are asking you to.”

This is not meant to be discouraging. It just means you need to get the ingredients before you turn on the oven.

First you find real people whose problem you can solve. You listen deeply to find their dream scenario. You make sure they’re happy to pay you enough.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and many of them tell the stories of successful entrepreneurs.1 All the good ones all begin with folks making money doing something already in their wheelhouse, before ever spinning it up into a real business. They’re already creating value when they decide it’s a business.

I need to find my value.

  1. Let’s not even get into Survivorship Bias right now. All good internet nerds know the risk. ↩︎