This somewhat crude advice was given to us soon after we started Magnus. It was probably sometime in 1994 and the advice giver was a consultant in another field. And, we immediately knew his point; we only make money when we get hired on a case. Entrepreneurs depend on each client and each sale. It is a strong motivator to know that you will not get a paycheck unless you close the sale and perform the work. Not everyone is cut out to do this – they prefer to collect a regular check than to do what is required to own a business and hunt for, and “kill” to get the job and to do it well. We have laughed about this advice many times. But it helps keep us focused on the target.
I like this expression: “You eat what you kill.” It conveys to me that, if I don’t bring in the business, I won’t have any work to do. As the person in my business who earns most of the revenue, I know that many other people and their families depend on me to do what it takes to make the money we all need to survive. Few people who have spent their careers working for someone else understand this premise, but it is the premise upon which every small business owner operates every single day. Neither my spouse/business partner have received a paycheck since 1993, so it is imperative to both of us to work hard to “kill” so that we can, both literally and figuratively, “eat.” Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but as long as I can work for myself, and not anyone else, it is just fine for me.