About three years ago I was doing some research on the most frequently searched terms and words on Google. Being the world's largest search engine I had confidence that I could understand a lot more about the similarities many of us quietly share by simply discovering what questions people are asking. Let’s be honest, the questions we ask are usually quite indicative of our thoughts that are of value to us.
Much to my surprise, as I was doing this research I discovered (what I’d classify as) a shocking truth. I giggled for a moment and then refreshed the browser because I believed it could be quite possible I was an alien or my glasses weren’t magnifying clearly enough. Upon refreshing the browser it was in that moment I learned a few things about life:
My first reaction was disbelief (as recounted above), followed by a giggle and ending with a decent amount of confusion. On that note, you may be feeling slightly confused right now as I’ve realised I’m yet to pronounce the global top 100 most commonly searched question that managed to completely change my life (seriously). Jokes aside, this discovery incidentally taught me a lot about the uncertainty experienced by the (safe to say) average person when it comes to participating in the economy.
How To Make Money is one of the most searched questions across the entire globe on the Google search engine. Are you surprised? If you’re not as surprised as I was and you already know you’re not an alien, then maybe I need to reconnect with my spirituality because I’m obviously not pondering normal questions in life.
If you ask Google this question, I’m confident you’ll discover an excessive amount of resources that can help you in your pursuit of learning the answer. But importantly, I’m confident there is a lot of contradiction amongst those resources (notably some healthy contradiction but also some fluffy-soul-destroying contradiction). As you can likely gather, I didn’t afford attention to the results Google shared with me (not because my glasses weren’t magnifying clear enough, but because I was so shocked I wasn’t in the mood for contents I speculate to be akin to a comic book).
I’m going to stop myself from rambling in an almost pretentious manner - let’s change gears and focus on why I believe this is a conversation we need to be having. When I refer to ‘we’, I mean you, me and everyone else. The value of this conversation is not exclusive to only those of you who are a business coach, female entrepreneur, technology innovator or someone wanting to grow your business.
Whoever you are, you are more than likely required to participate in the economy by exchanging value for money. Do you need to do this? If you do, please keep reading. If you don’t, maybe ask yourself the question again. If you ask yourself again and the question remains ‘no’, maybe check with Google. Just kidding! But seriously, if your answer is indisputably ‘no’, then please keep reading this and invest some of your free time into sharing the message with someone you care about.
Although this conversation is of value to everyone, I’m going to use the analogy of Entrepreneurship, and its usual offspring StartUps, to explain my thoughts. For the record, Entrepreneurship fundamentally is not new - by definition, as an approach to business, it has existed well before you and I developed the body parts we need to read this blog. As our connectedness to the world continues to strengthen and diversify, we’re increasingly more privy and exposed to ‘what others are doing’ (without geographical constraint) than we’ve ever been in history. It’s interesting to appreciate how this social evolution influences, both passively and intentionally, our personal and professional expectations and desires.
A prolific second order effect of this social evolution is the rise in interest to become an Entrepreneur and Founder by developing a StartUp idea. This is great for the likes of innovation and human potential with particular respect to their economic importance - and it is also great for the individuals who make the decision consciously on the basis that it is reflective of their deliberate approach to daily life (remember that we’ve been socially brainwashed to operate passively and comply with traditional norms for the narrative of our life).
One critical second order effect of the rise in interest to pursue Entrepreneurship through the inception of a StartUp relates to economic balance and capital allocation. The idea of Entrepreneurship and building a world class Unicorn StartUp is broadly glamorized which makes it easy for us to develop unrealistic fantasy expectations about what is involved in making that path a success, or even possible. A common case of these unrealistic expectations playing out is highlighted by the urgency to raise capital and recruit investors. Confidence and ambition are impressive, and notably valuable, albeit they are best leveraged in harmony with economic logic to ensure all stakeholders benefit from the scenario in which capital is raised, investors invest, and the StartUp allocates the respective capital.
To achieve Unicorn status is evidently extraordinary (and empowering!). Not too long ago we witnessed Canva, Co-Founded by Melanie Perkins, achieve Unicorn status after raising $US40 Million. At the time this was achieved Bloomberg reported Canva became “the country’s only privately backed technology startup to be valued at $1 billion”.
This statement by Bloomberg is strong enough to highlight how seldom it is for a StartUp to achieve the [presumed] glamorous status of Unicron. In speaking with one of Australia’s most respected StartUp advisors, David Kenney, recently about the value in good people building good businesses, he mentioned something that coincidentally spoke to the core focus of this blog.
He said “if you can make money before you raise money, it’s a good option”.
To me, this statement really highlights a growing trend in the StartUp and Entrepreneurial landscape whereby capital raising is taking precedence over underlying economic viability.
To try and bring together all of my anecdotes and develop some sort of logical conclusive thought, let’s consider the likely [yet not completely known] reason for so many people globally being uncertain as to How To Make Money (presumably the obvious method - offer a value exchange - is not of interest). As our ability to contribute to and engage with the global economy becomes more advanced there are certainly ways to more easily profit from activities and interactions and it appears these possibilities are interfering with perceptions and beliefs surrounding the value and demand for solid work ethic. Unfortunately, building a StartUp and becoming an Entrepreneur do not assure an opportunity for a quick-cash-grab and as such, if Google throws a resource at you suggesting the contrary when you search “How To Make Money”, take the advice with a grain of salt.
How does this conversation relate to the StartUp landscape and Entrepreneurship? We ought to be mindful and considerate to our perceptions and expectations of the art of making money particularly as we start to engage with more stakeholders, notably investors.
So what’s next?
Whenever you are curious as to How To Make Money, always consider purpose beyond profit and never lose sight of economic basics. As most accomplished and globally esteemed Entrepreneurs and leaders will tell you, there’s a strong possibility that if you want to execute on something enough then you will be able to make money in doing so.
Recently I have spoken with several of SBE’s Alumnae and they’ve shared insights relating to their key learnings from building great businesses that are changing industries. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to hear from some of them as they share their stories on the SBE blog.
Related Tag: Female Entrepreneurs