Why Making Meaning is More Important Than Making Money : Under30CEO Why Making Meaning is More Important Than Making Money : Under30CEO
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Why Making Meaning is More Important Than Making Money

| December 14, 2009 | 17 Comments

young entrepreneurs Ask yourself why you decided to become an entrepreneur.  Really ask yourself (that was not rhetorical).  Was it a strong desire for money, riches and fame?   Was it that you had distaste for the corporate lifestyle and their rigidly bureaucratic ways?  Maybe it was that you wanted to change the world for the better.  No matter what the initial reason was that pushed you towards your entrepreneurial leap; to be a truly successful entrepreneur, your end goal must be to help make the world a better place.

Almost anyone could balance a marketing budget and collect a freshly pressed check every other week.  What separates authentic entrepreneurs from the rest of pack is not their ability to solve problems or make the big money.  Authentic entrepreneurs separate themselves from the status quo by finding innovative ways to make meaning.  They are the ones that add value to their customers, client or users by not settling for mediocre. Guy Kawasaki, a role model of mine and a person I hope to meet soon has been known to preach, “If you make meaning, you will probably make money.  But, if you set out to make money you probably won’t make meaning and you won’t make money.”  Powerful words from an authentic entrepreneur who knows what it takes to make both meaning and money.

If that is not reason enough, here are a few reasons why:

Building Value Builds the Bank

What do Mark Zuckerberg, Pete Cashmore and Jake Nickell have in common?  They are young, wealthy and have all added great value to millions of people’s lives.  We all know Ivy League Mark whose intention to build an online social directory for college students turned into the social hub for over 350 million people to connect and share. Pete Cashmore’s vision was to give people the latest and greatest in web 2.0 and social media news.  He succeeded, and now his site Mashable is the leading source for everything social media and is pulling in millions.  Jake Nickell was an artist slash programmer that wanted to give artists an opportunity to showcase their art and gain recognition.  That idea turned into Threadless.com.  A crowdsourcing website that allows T-shirt designers to have their work voted on and bought by the Threadless community.  Jake has changed the lives of thousands of designers while making millions out of his passion.  Basically, it pays to build value.

People Power Your Business, Not Money

Many times, entrepreneurs have the misconception that building business is all about efficient lines of distribution, upping margins and sales volume.  However, none of that is important without the people that support your business.  After all, without people paying for your product or service there would be no microeconomic discussions in the first place.  People fuel the economy, people buy your products, and people spread your brand.  Nowadays, in a saturated market place, people are demanding excellent products.  So to stand out, you must make meaning in people’s lives.

Anyone Can Make a Quick Dollar, Only the Truly Special Can Change the World

Every 10 years or so there is an opportunity for a lot of people to make a whole lot of money.  We all remember the house flipping craze, the dot com bubble and even sports cards and comic books being a vehicle for quick money.  But why don’t we remember those people who have made it big during those periods of economic upswing?  We don’t remember them because those entrepreneurs failed to create meaning.  Almost anyone can spot a gigantic wave and find a surf board large enough to ride it.  However, not everyone has the creativity, ingenuity and the bravery to make something meaningful for the betterment of the world.  With sheer faith in themselves and their purpose, authentic entrepreneurs can change the world for the better.

Forget about the reason you became an entrepreneur.  From now on ask yourself, “How can I make meaning?”  If you do that, you will be heading in the right direction.

Brenton Gieser is an Internet based entrepreneur focused on developing businesses that adds value to people’s lives.  As the Community Strategist for Unstrapp’d, he is helping build the community of Gen-Y entrepreneurs that will shape the new age of business.  Concurrently, he is working on building and advising multiple startups in the social media space.  Find out more about Brenton on his blog, A Life With No Walls(http://brentongieser.com).

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Category: Startup Advice

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    I really like the idea of creating meaning. I think if you look at any successful blogger or entrepreneur, the ones that really get there have a focus on adding value to the lives of their readers.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/atkuebler Adam Kuebler

    Guy Kawasaki is an inspiration to me, I love The Art of the Start!

    This article is really good, instead of looking for money, look to solve problems and the money will come!

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Solving problems is the key to any successful business. When you aim to help people and give them something that will improve some aspect of their life that is true value. The money will come if you create that.

    I also like the point about the people who make the quick buck but then fade away. Those are the ones who make a million then end up broke 2 years later. They are constantly looking for the next quick trend rather then creating any type of lasting image.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Brenton, I really like the topic of this article. To me entrepreneurship is about making a mark and leaving a legacy. I want to be remembered, but better yet I want my work to be remembered. If I can carve out my niche and make meaning I really will be headed in the right direction.

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  • brentongieser

    I like that Adam! “Solve a problem and the money will come.” Thanks for the comment my friend!

  • brentongieser

    Very true Srinivas. I think the thought process should be: how do I add value to people and then….how do I monetize that? Thanks for your insight.

  • brentongieser

    I think if you are adding true value you are most likely creating something sustainable for yourself. Short term thinkers get short term riches.

  • brentongieser

    Hey Matt…I love your idea of legacy. I would love to see your write on the topic sometime! Thanks to you and Jared once again for the opportunity!

  • http://www.beginnerblogger.com/ Sarge

    Loved the last point. There are too many people playing it safe and not reaching their ultimate potential.

    My doctor (of all people) said the greatest thing to me just before I made the ultimate decision

    'You're never going to be the next google working for an employer'

    I'm not saying I'm going to be the next google but if I stayed in my previous job I will still be doing the same thing today as I was a month ago and not making my own MEANING. It's not the money I'm after (I need to eat though) – it's the lifestyle and following my passion and trying to solve problems within society based on the skill-sets I have and mediums I choose to deliver.

    Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com

  • carlescarrera

    Nice post, but bad example for the big wave. I'm on both lifestyle design ans surf, and liked the post, but hated the example.

    Anyone can spot a big wave, but only a bunch have what it takes to ride it.

    Bye from Spain

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    It's true Sarge…you will never be the next google working for an employer. Now most people will never see that kind of success but the cool thing about starting businesses is you just never know. Success like that is possible, rare, but possible and that motivation and idea is cool to think about.

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  • brentongieser

    Hi Carles,

    You're right…not everyone can ride a wave. Point taken!! Thanks for the comment.

  • http://brentongieser.com/ Brenton Gieser

    Hi Carles,

    You're right…not everyone can ride a wave. Point taken!! Thanks for the comment.