I am faced with a curious dilemma this evening. My son, as noted in a previous article, wants to start a business. This business requires a lot of video production. In today’s age of easy computing, it’s not a technically demanding requirement, provided you have the requisite technology on hand! I, however, do not.
Therefore, I spent the evening discussing with my son the various pros and cons of several computer systems. Simply stated, a basic video editing setup started around five hundred dollars and went as high as two thousand dollars. No matter how I defined an “adequate” computer system, I would have to pony up significant capital to fund his start-up. Thus, the core question I faced was “how much do you believe in your boy’s business?” Obviously, that’s something of a loaded question!
The question made me think, though. I’m faced with this dilemma about my son’s potential business. On the one hand, if he makes it big, a couple thousand dollars of seed capital is nothing compared to the windfall he would receive. On the other, more probable hand, if he fails, I’m out the money and, more importantly, the time investment I make! Ironically, we are faced with the exact same decision with regard to our own writing businesses. How much faith do we have in ourselves? Do we believe in our dream sufficiently to warrant the investment of a couple thousand dollars and hundreds of hours each year? What about ten thousand dollars and multiple years invested to become successful?
I have already invested over ten thousand dollars in my own business. Between a hosting account, domains, a couple courses, a speaking certification, and a new suit and haircut, the dollars add up quickly. How much are you investing in your own business? Are you putting your money and your time where your hope is? Or are you investing your money and time where your heart is?
I said to my son “Niko, are you absolutely certain you are committed to turning this passion of yours’ into a business?” He said, “Can I think about it for a minute before I answer?” I was nervous. The fact he had to think about it demonstrated to me a lack of complete commitment to the goal. Sometimes I forget he’s a ten-year-old, from whom such a response should actually be warmly received!
He came back a couple minutes later and said “Dad, I thought about it. I really want to do this and I’ll do my best to make it work.” What more can I ask from him, right? What struck me as important about the exchange, however, is that his response is essentially the same as my response to myself. I’ll do my best. Isn’t that what each of us tells ourselves?
The belief in oneself is a fine thing, but it’s not quantitative. There is no agreed-upon price tag for a reasonable investment of time and money when you’re talking about yourself. So how much are you willing to invest? Are you willing to put five hundred dollars toward achieving your goal? What about two hours each day? Four? Ten thousand dollars? Where do you draw the line?
If you’re not currently investing the amount of time and money that you just told yourself you are willing to invest while reading the last paragraph, why not? What is holding you back? Me, I just spent eight hundred dollars on a computer for a young boy’s business. I guess you know how I make my decisions!