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Many people looking to get started in online business are looking for freedom.
And in some sense, what they are understanding under ‘freedom’ seems to have a meaning close to ‘lack of responsibilities’.
At least that’s what some people pitch at us in my experience!
You know, the palm-trees-on-endless-beaches kind of freedom.
But is that what freedom really is? And actually, is it what you are looking to get out of all this?
Let’s have a look at what it could really be about…
Let’s start by unpacking what freedom actually means
According to the Oxford English Dictionary Online:
- The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.
- Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
- The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
We are able to make decisions as we wish to, and we don’t have anyone above us dominating our business lives. Even the last sentence, ‘being independent of fate or necessity’ is an important part in the longer term of a successful business – financial freedom.
is it having freedom of choice, rather than freedom from responsibility?
Take a moment to reflect.
How does this relate to your definition? What does freedom mean to you?
What about control?
Are you perhaps looking for control instead?
Although we have to be careful here. Control is a loaded word, and all of the definitions listed in the dictionary imply having control over something or someone.
Here of course we would mean having control over ourselves and our own lives.
But is that perhaps just a recipe for disappointment when we realise that certain things will just always remain out of our control.
There will be difficult clients. There will be people that are late with payments and the tech gremlins are always lurking ready to pounce!
That said, I’ve always associated what I’m looking for in business with this concept of having control over my own life. I want to decide what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, what I choose to take on, all of those things.
There is another word that might have stood out to you as well, it comes up twice in the definition of freedom.
Do you want power? Power over your own life. Being the master of your own destiny as such. Here is the definition listed under power:
‘The ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way.’
Does that resonate with you?
Or is it something else perhaps? Something bigger than these terms?
Are you looking for self actualisation?
Just in case you don’t have Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs imprinted on your brain, here’s a copy for you to reflect on for yourself:
Maslow’s theory is that the natural development of an individual’s needs follow this pattern from the base of the pyramid to the pinnacle. That is not to say that at the start of your life you are at the bottom, and at the end of your life, if you have managed everything else, you are at the top. Rather it should be seen as cyclical.
Children for example are quickly in the top three sections, interacting socially, looking for attention and acknowledgement, becoming their own person.
But I’ll bet that once you left home, finished school, university, or became a parent yourself, you suddenly felt yourself right back at the second block worrying about safety and security!
So how does this relate to you now? Maybe it’s different in different sections of your life. Perhaps you feel that privately you are fulfilled, whereas professionally you are still looking for recognition.
Perhaps personal and professional areas are not separated for you at all, but rather integrated.
Are you perhaps more building your business as a part of becoming the truest version of yourself?
As you will no doubt know already, building a business is confronting and challenging!
It forces you to acknowledge your own limitations, but also to push your boundaries and develop in ways you might never have thought possible.
Are you building your business so that you can do work that feels amazing to you?
Because it enables you to become who you are and tap into all the different parts of yourself after all of your other basic needs have been provided for?
I’ve asked a lot of questions in this post, this topic is such a personal one that I didn’t want to draw any conclusions. Rather to start a discussion and give us all an opportunity to reflect.
So what is it for you?
Is it freedom, control, power, self-actualisation or something else?
What is it that you are looking to get out of being in business?
I find often we can start with one goal and end up getting so much more out of it than we ever expected. I’d love to hear your thoughts.