Again, the process of creating a vision for your business is similar to the Personal Vision we created earlier, with a few subtle differences. Whereas we allowed you free reign in creation of your personal vision, we’ll be creating your business vision around ensuring that it fully supports and lead you in the right direction toward attaining your personal vision.

A major mistake most entrepreneurs make is forgetting to differentiate between themselves as individuals and their business as a separate entity. In the beginning, it may seem that the entirety of your personal mission, vision, and goals are focused specifically on one thing: starting your business and making it a success. You may even convince yourself that this is all you want in life and once you accomplish it, you will be completely happy and fulfilled.

I’ve been there, many times. The first several businesses I started were my one and only passion, for the time being. After a few years, I inevitably became disenchanted and indifferent about growing and expanding them, or whether they kept running at all. To complicate matters, I had built my entire life around each of these businesses, so when I lost interest in them, I had nothing else to get me out of bed in the morning. I developed intense resentment toward the fact that the business had “taken over my life.” I had been working so hard for so long that the rest of my life was passing me by and I had nothing to show for it except an overflowing email inbox, throngs of angry customers, and confused employees. I didn’t even want to listen to my voicemails, much less pick up the phone when it rang. Not to mention my health was suffering due to physical exhaustion and psychological overwhelm.

Each of these businesses was successful in its own right. We had great clients, provided excellent service, and were increasingly profitable year after year. The part where it all broke down was that I, myself, was not successful in the business of “being me.” I had no separate identity from the business, which makes for a great initial run, but sucks for longevity. I knew there had to be a better way – other people were succeeding at their businesses without killing themselves in the process – but for the life of me, I could never quite get it right.

Well, it took several years, but I finally figured it out: Separation of self and business. You absolutely must do the personal work before you do the business work. You absolutely must ensure that your business supports and sustains your personal mission, vision, and goals. You cannot try to cram some semblance of a personal life into a business that has already gone rogue and consumed everything around it, including you.

So please, please, please take the extra precaution to make sure that you’ve done the personal work before going any further into the business work. Refer back to your personal mission, vision, and goals regularly throughout this process to make sure that your ideal business vision is in congruence with your personal vision. Your “ultimate business” should appear as a supporting character in the life of “the ultimate you.” When your business supports your personal vision, attaining success both personally and professionally is almost guaranteed.

Excerpted from:

Starting A Business 1-2-3
The premier step-by-step interactive training system
for starting your business with confidence and clarity

Module 1: Research and Development