Two years or so into working on Sett, an experienced entrepreneur friend of mine brought up the topic of taking investment. He thought that we should raise money and was interested in being the first person to invest.
So we talked seriously about it. One of the questions he asked was whether I wanted to build a lifestyle business or a "real" business. I felt a tinge of offense to the question and answered that I definitely didn't want a lifestyle business.
And yet... I never did anything that someone building a "real" business would do.
A year and a half ago I declared that it was time for WifeQuest, where I'd get serious about dating and find someone to spend the rest of my life with. That's something I want and everything else in my life was going well, so it seemed like the right time for it.
And yet... I'm totally reluctant to put much effort into dating. While I'm willing to make a woman a priority, I'm not motivated enough to actually find her.
It's a strange thing, to want something other than what you want. Part of me wishes that I was the type of person who would pitch his startup, raise capital, get an office, hire employees, and all that. I'm not so far away from it that it doesn't have its appeal. I also partially wish that I was motivated enough to put everything into dating for a year and meet someone great.
Our wants are much more obvious when we look at the patterns in our past actions. I love work and want to continue to become more successful, but my ideal vehicle for that is a flexible business where I do a lot of the work. That kind of business may never make millions per year, but I can live with that.
It turns out I really like being single. I never get lonely, I have plenty of great friends, and I love having my free time. I'd rather be single than date around, and I'd much rather be single than date someone I'm not crazy about. Better than all of those things is dating someone really exceptional, but I haven't found an efficient way to find someone that meets my (objectively ambitious) criteria.
Not reaching goals is bad, but reaching goals that we don't want isn't much better. I bet that's part of why people have mid-life crises. They achieve everything they wanted... and then realize not all of it is actually what they wanted.
So how do we know what we actually want? The easiest source of answers is looking through your past in search of patterns. What would an outside observer deduce about your priorities if he were to watch you all the time? Chances are that imaginary outsider is right.
It would be pretty obvious to someone watching me that I love building things and making them available, but that as much as I'd like to have a billion dollars, it's not actually an important goal to me. He'd see that I'm just as happy with a girlfriend as without, except for maybe during the best relationship or two.
What takes up your time right now? What takes up your energy? Your attention? Why are those things in your life? Are they leading towards things you really want?
Photo is sunset over Lake Champlain in Vermont.
By the way... I'm going to be in Budapest from September - October. I'll probably do a meetup or two.
What does lifestyle business mean to you? There are a wide spectrum of lifestyle businesses from the coconut cowboy earning just enough to pay for his or her coconut drinks on a Thai Beach to someone running a fast growing SaaS biz on their own terms.
The key part is that the business fits the lifestyle that you want. Perhaps great time flexibility, location independent, no office politics or something else. Not the size or success of the business.
As you must know if you read my blog regularly, I really enjoy making extreme resolutions and then sticking to them. One was deciding in 2012 that I wouldn't date until 2015.
I had a weird mental shift in 2012. I've always wanted to settle down and start a family, but until 2012 I would add the word "eventually" to the sentence. At some point a switch flipped and I realized that if the next girl I dated ended up being the one I settled down with, I was ready.
Being in the early stages of a startup, I didn't feel like I had time to invest in a relationship like that. And I wanted to really focus on work. So, much to the chagrin of grandchild-wanting family members, I stopped dating.
Overall, it worked. Three years may have been a little bit too long, and there were definitely times I wished I was dating, but overall I had great focus and made good progress. I'd give the experiment a B+.
It all started out with myself, my fiancé, and the unborn child that I have on the way. By the way he found the perfect name for her, Summer Ava Copeland. I had just left New York to come and pursue my career in writing on Campus at Full Sail University. Now, I was determined that I could handle it all alone, but I forgot that with having my own place would come a little trouble. Courtney, my boyfriend at the time was active in my life. I heard from him daily and he didn't really fail at trying to get my attention, because he was persistent and always found some type of determination.
When we first started dating, I was living in New York with my mother and he was in his cousin's closet sleeping on a little mat. I'm not sure how he kept that up, but his drive to get a better life for himself was very interesting to me. Anyway, he called me every part of the day to see what I was doing or to Skype with me. That was my first time meeting someone online and actually meeting them, and then living together.
I left from up North with everything that I needed, my brains, money, and beauty. Not even a month down the line I started missing home (NY) and wishing that I could take a road trip back to be with my mom and sister, but that wasn't going to happen. I didn't have money to waste like that on a plane ticket.
My standards started to lower a little, before I realized that I was doing everything that I said I wouldn't do. There was a guy living in my home, I was having sex, and we were practically playing house until stuff got real. I was scared about the situation, because all that was on my mind was to not get pregnant, but that was unfortunate. Before we even knew that I was pregnant, we got hit with an eviction notice because rent was three days late.
I started having a meltdown and thought that I was going to go homeless, but my father stepped in and helped. Courtney and him went half on the rent. I felt bad, because all the money I had I was spending on the comfort of our home after a couple of weeks when I got down South. There was even a past due balance for my school that needed to be paid, before I could even come on campus. Courtney went half with my dad on paying that bill. Something about my boyfriend paying for things didn't feel right, maybe because I was being a mother to my other exes....