When I started Threefold Company, my education, consulting, and business creation venture, I spent a lot of time thinking about why I wanted to do this self-employed thing again. I think that’s a good exercise for any entrepreneur. Knowing why you want to do something could save you a lot of time and money. It’s where I’ve started for each of the businesses I’ve planned. That reason could be “I want to make money”. There are LOTS of ways to make money. Why do you want to work for yourself? This is no time for BS; be honest.
Here’s the process I went through. I just started writing down any reason that came to mind. I did that until no more reasons came to mind. Then I looked at each of those reasons, and started grouping together the reasons that seemed similar to me. Then I looked at the underlying emotion that went with those reasons. I like being independent, I like being creative, and I like giving back to my community. So how could I do those things? Teaching immediately came to mind. I’d taught for other institutions and I decided to do that as a freelancer.
As I’ve mentioned, I had no notion that I was a teacher, or was any good at speaking. Through one of those “happy accidents”, I discovered this latent talent for explaining things to folks in a way they could use in their lives. And a quote from Joseph Campbell, one of the greatest minds of the Twentieth Century said, “If you want to help this world, what you will have to do is teach people how to LIVE in it.” That’s become one of my mission statements; I teach people how to live in THIS world. Does that mean I have the secret to the Universe? I suppose the answer to that would have to be yes and no. There are some things I’ve learned that are helping me create the life I want. So that’s a yes, at least conditionally. But I’m not sure that there is any one secret to the Universe. And if I’m telling you something that somebody told me, it’s not a secret, anyway. So let’s not get bogged down on that.
As a part of that mental process, I developed the Campbell-inspired mission statement. It’s pretty broad. I created it that way for a purpose. Because the world is constantly changing. It always has changed, it is changing while I write this, and it will go on changing. That means that “THIS world” that I refer to in my personal mission statement, will always be changing. Flexibility is the key to dealing with uncertainty. By the way, I believe that uncertainty contains as much or more opportunity as risk.
As for my business mission statement, I went through a similar process. I’ve been a home gardener, a farmer, a nurseryman, a landscaper, and a garden center manager, so plants are a big part of my life. I tend to think in horticultural terms. So here’s what I created: “Threefold Company propagates ideas, plants those ideas in the community, and uses those ideas to prosper, and to share that prosperity.” From there it’s an easy step to a tagline of “Propagate-Plant-Prosper”.
Adapt my process to fit your decision making skills. Take some time to think about why you want to be an entrepreneur. You’ll be surprised at the answers, I think, and pleased at the end result.by