Things that already-rich people will tell you to do.
Strange title for a blog.
But it's something that's been bugging me for a while. In life, and particularly on social media, you will find no shortage of advice. Whether you ask for it or not.
On my own business journey I took some great advice, but also received lots that I wished I hadn't listened to. My general suggestion to any founder is to prioritise advice from people that have done specifically what you want to achieve. That might be selling their business, or growing a team, or becoming a thought-leader. Whatever it is, usually these people can offer good, relevant advice based on real life experience.
However, I think it's also very possible for people that have 'been there and done that' to forget what the journey was actually like. Starting with myself. My recollection of starting, scaling and selling Molzi is definitely rose-tinted in my mind. We were fortunate to have more ups than downs, but it was definitely bloody stressful. I made an effort to prioritise my family over work, but there were definitely plenty of missed moments (even if I was there physically, I was checked out mentally). So as I'm starting to work with current founders, I'm having to make a real effort to double check any advice I give, that it's based on my real experience and not just the parts I've not blurred out!
In terms of wider advice, something odd has happened on Linkedin recently. Maybe it's just the content that I'm being fed, but there seem to be so many posts teaching (or preaching) how to master Linkedin, or how to grow followers. So rather than using Linkedin to document a genuine business journey, Linkedin itself is the project. It feels a bit like a ponzi scheme, people teaching how to gain followers with content that they want people to reshare, which in turn grows their own following. As a result of this apparent need for lots of people to create lots of reshareable content, the quality of the content, and therefore advice, seems to be really diminishing.
If I had a pound for every time I saw a Linkedin post with some form of the quote "people don't leave a bad job, they leave a bad boss" I'd be rich(er).
Anyway, Linkedin clearly believes I need to see all this advice (maybe it thinks I was a bad boss...) but below are a handful of regular suggestions I see from people that either have already gotten rich and maybe rose-tinted their own journey, or have never been anywhere near the cockpit of a startup business and are just posting for clicks. Buckle in.
This is a face that's annoyed about some of the advice on Linkedin.
Purpose over profit
As a life goal I wouldn't argue with this. But as advice to someone starting a business or progressing their career I'm afraid I would have to disagree. Unfortunately, unless you already have significant resources, profit needs to be the absolute focus of any new business. I don't believe that as a business founder you will lack satisfaction or fulfilment if you start a business that you're not passionate about or isn't changing the world. From my experience the business itself quickly becomes your passion and purpose, no matter what the actual business type is.
Profit is certainly a dirtier word that purpose, but it enables the freedom to do whatever you want in the future.
Take time to enjoy the milestones
Bad advice in my opinion. Again, this is specific to founders who are growing a business. I'm not suggesting that everyone should be profit-driven robots. But as a founder I think it's a superpower to never be satisfied and always be thinking about what's next. Of course, for the team you should make sure wins are celebrated, but as a founder I didn't celebrate until the day I left my business. I was far too focussed on whether we were going too slow or too fast!
Start a business, don't get a job
I see this quite a bit on Linkedin. Telling young people that they should be starting businesses instead of joining 'the matrix' of employment. I think encouragement to start a business is always a positive, if the person has an idea or something they believe in. But actually, working as an employee for a period of time, whether that's months, years or decades, is a brilliant way to build a network, learn about business niches and find future co-founders.
Focus on multiple income streams and passive income
It's good advice in theory, but I'm not sure how many people are truly benefiting from multiple income streams versus just doubling down on one thing, whether it's a career or a business.
And passive income is a bit of a myth in my opinion. Again, there will be some people making millions from an ebook or online course, but they are likely only a small handful of people amongst a sea of people pretending that they are.
In my opinion (not that anyone asked) there aren't too many real passive income streams. Ask a buy-to-let landlord how passive their involvement is. Ask a digital course creator how little time they have to spend creating content to drive traffic to their site. You could argue that building a successful business is the best form of passive income. Takes work up front (as does writing that click-bait ebook) but you can scale it to a size where it delivers income even as you sleep.
Maybe it's just me and I'm getting old. Maybe the world is progressing and I'm being left behind. But maybe I'm right and we have a bit of an issue on our hands where we will have a generation of people that believe the best route to wealth is just reposting generic quotes and growing followers. Maybe look up your favourite business influencer on Linkedin and glance at their career history. Are they rich because of their multiple passive income streams, or did they build a successful business years ago and now live off the proceeds?