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Purveyors of The Mustard

Emotional Investment – Good or bad?

Posted on by zach

I was having a conversation with someone the other day, telling him about our business and how we got to where we are. And during that discussion I realized that my emotional investment in this business is both my biggest liability and my biggest asset.

It’s a liability because I often make emotionally based decisions or stick with an idea or plan because I want to do it, not because it makes sense. I wrote about this a while back in my How (not) to run a small business post.

Mistake #2: When things aren’t working, don’t change them.

The reason we/I didn’t change things was because of this emotional attachment. I loved working the farmers market in my neighborhood (North Park) – it’s MY neighborhood for Pete’s sake. But we were consistently loosing money (sometimes barely breaking even) for months. But my stubbornness and emotional attachment was difficult to break. And it’s not that by doing that market our business was brought down – we just spent a lot of time selling things but not making money, which is not how it’s supposed to work. And sometimes you do do things strictly because you WANT to, and that’s how it should be. But if you want to run a business, you also need to make money.

My emotional investment is an asset because it’s what motivates me everyday to get out of bed and work (sometimes for 18 hours a day, many, many days in a row – and I still love it). James and I joke that when we’re out socially that our friends take bets on how soon it will be before we start talking mustard. And when I’m hanging out with friends who are also business owners, we inevitably talk about our businesses. And I guess this is natural – people with kids talk about their kids because that’s the majority of their lives. Right now, this business is the majority of our lives. And, for now, that’s exactly the way I want it to be.

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One Response to Emotional Investment – Good or bad?

  1. Rob Humbracht says:

    Without your emotional investment, no one else would care passionately about your business. If you want to create a boring business that delivers a commodity and makes money, that’s fine. But I don’t think you want that. You want a remarkable business, and the only way to get there is through caring about it so much that sometimes it hurts.

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