Have a happy business

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are obsessed with goals. We eat, sleep and drink our goals.  Heaven knows, there are a ton of opinions on how to set and achieve goals.  A quick search on Amazon revealed over 17,000 titles focused on goal-setting. Clearly, people like to achieve their goals.

What’s the right goal for business?

What is the goal for your business?  It seems like a simple question.  Your goal might be to:

  • be profitable
  • be ranked on the first page of Google
  • grow your mailing list
  • have 5000 followers
  • live your dream lifestyle
  • work less and earn more
  • create the next great product
  • change the lives of your clients
  • bring awareness to a cause
  • be successful

All great goals, really.  I’d say yes to all of them right now, and I’m willing to bet you share these goals.  (If that’s not true, I’m not sure how to explain internet marketing-lol)

You know what goal I rarely, if ever, hear another solopreneur say?

My goal is to have a happy business.

What is happiness

Entrepreneurs don’t generally talk about happiness. I’ve heard solopros say they launched their business to be happy, of course.  That tends to mean they want to be happy in their personal life. They want to spend more time with family and friends, maybe travel more, you know live the lifestyle.

I’ve heard micro business owners say they want their customers to be happy, which generally means satisfied with the services or products they received.

My question is, why isn’t  having a happy business a goal?

After discovering Simon Sinek’s great TED talk on how the most successful people communicate, I started to question why I run my communication and conflict practice. I’m pretty surprised by the answer.

I thought I was about teaching you how to be assertive in a kind way.  I love seeing someone find her voice and power and use them wisely. It really excites me when  a naturally generous person make a small mindset shift to realize that she is most deserving of her kindness and that by giving to herself more, she has more to give to others. But that wasn’t the bottom line.

I actually practice what I preach.  So, after bumping up my mindfulness practices and getting quiet to listen for the universe’s whispers, I found the answer.

The why behind my business is I want you to be happy. 

The 85% Rule

Most of us define happiness  in the way Supreme Court Justice Stewart defined obscenity, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I know when I see it’.  We strive for happiness, yearn for it, but it might be tough to say exactly what makes us happy.

Josh Freedman of 6seconds wrote a terrific article on happiness that gave me the perfect definition.  Happiness is the gap between your expectations and reality.  The closer the two align, the happier you feel.

Personally, I believe most of us are happier than we think.  We set our sights on a lofty goal and set out, never stopping to see how much we’ve closed the gap, and end up disappointed because we miss the big goal.  You can turn that around by minding the gap!

For instance, my dream job when I was 22 was  be to become a restaurant and movie critic at a major newspaper. ( Great goal, I might have to revisit that)  Long story short, I never achieved the goal and it kinda nagged at me.  Until I realized, I met my expectation.

No, I’m not secretly the critic for the Times.  I do, however, have a nice following on Yelp.  I regularly post my honest opinion of the food, decor and service at the new places I try in Oakland.  My expectation was the share great food and my reality meets that, although not in the lofty way I originally intended.

I call this the 85% rule. At any given time, you’re likely to be 85%  happy and meeting your own expectations.  You can get the other 15% by changing your expectations or your reality.

Have a happier business

Having a happier business is the path to achieve the goals mentioned earlier: profitability, dream lifestyle, attracting clients and followers, transforming client lives.  

You build a happier business by setting expectations about your client, client work, payment, work style, emergencies and other key topics specific to you.  Sure, in some places the gap will be wide, but I bet you’ll be  surprised to see how close you are to hitting the mark in other parts of your business.  And, think how much easier life will be when clients understand your expectations and what the reality is when they aren’t met.  Who doesn’t want better clients who pay on time and appreciate you and your talents?!!


Why is this important

Two reasons why I wanted to talk about this with you.  First, I wanted to share a fresh perspective on how to evaluate your business and be assertive in a less direct way.  Building your expectations into agreements and onboarding conversations is a way to ‘draw the line gracefully.

Second, I wanted to share my why for SpeakupPowerfully.com. I truly believe that your business is a vehicle that can take you anywhere you want to go, if you’re willing to drive. I say that  with complete confidence because I’ve lived it.   My job is to help you put the pedal to the metal through communication, conflict and emotional intelligence skills.

OK, now it’s your turn.  What do you think of this idea?  What’s your WHY???



photo credit: 6seconds.org

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