As we celebrate our 5th anniversary in business this week, I find myself reflecting on the journey of starting and sustaining my own pakihi (business) for half a decade. In this article, I share the five favourite perks I enjoy from being the founder and owner of my business, Maimoa Creative.
1. Pursue Passion
Creating a business around your passion offers a unique blend of creative freedom, legacy-building, and profound fulfilment. My journey started after a year-long immersion course learning te reo Māori, sparking a deep desire to create products and resources that celebrate the language and support fellow learners. The synergy between my creative instincts and advocacy for te reo Māori has made my mahi (work/job/role) incredibly fulfilling. It has come with a lot more responsibility, sacrifice, risk, late nights, and seasons of exhaustion, and can even feel lonely at times. However, the fulfilment I get from dedicating each day to my passion provides an incredible sense of purpose to my life that feeds my intrinsic desire to contribute positively to the world in my unique way.
2. Flexible Freedom
Many people are drawn to the idea of flexible hours in entrepreneurship, but let's get real for a moment. Flexibility doesn't always mean having a super glamorous schedule with fewer work hours. The first few years as a startup I lost count of all the late-night sessions, not to mention the constant mental energy I spent thinking about my business or solving problems. But now I am in a season of intentional energy being spent in the right places to ensure I maximise my skills and receive more enjoyment and fulfilment at the end of every day. It was a process to get to that point, but I have a lot more flexibility now in how I arrange my week and I love it.
For the record, before I became a business owner, I loved my 9-5 job working at a design agency. I didn’t start my business in an attempt to ‘escape’ an unsatisfying lifestyle, I just wanted to have more freedom with my hours and be more intentional/focused with the types of projects I was involved in. Now I have gained that and so much more.
I aim to set things up so my business isn't so overly dependent on just me. Currently I like how things are, but I'm slowly and intentionally working on expanding my team so that I can have an even more balanced and flexible lifestyle.
3. Financial Independence
Entrepreneurship provides control over success, with the potential for substantial growth and financial freedom. It is empowering. It is important to acknowledge the initial challenges, such as personal investment and sacrifices required to start a business, but achieving profitability is that much more rewarding when you have laid a solid foundation. The journey involves preparation for losses before gains, and accepting that growth is more likely to be slow and steady rather than rapid gain. Every business is different of course, but that is from my experience. In some ways I am grateful for the slower-paced growth, as it allowed me to take my time at each stage to grow and expand with the business without having to rush big decisions, but be intentional with where I steered the waka (boat).
I was so stoked the year I was finally able to pay myself a decent salary, and had such an incredible sense of achievement. Doing what I love while also providing for my whānau was my ultimate goal. I have job security and financial stability. That's not to say there aren't risks. There are ALWAYS risks. But being in the driver's seat means you're more in control. It is also important for me to allow any financial success to create avenues to support other kaupapa that I value.
4. Rules? What Rules?
Being your own boss not only provides boundless creative freedom but also empowers you to defy conventional business practices that may not resonate with your core principles and values. This includes diverging from conventional marketing strategies and reconsidering providing payment options such as buy-now-pay-later schemes. The autonomy allows you to prioritise social impact, emphasising values over purely profit-driven motives in shaping your business approach.
This freedom to determine the ethos of your business is, in my experience, one of the most rewarding aspects of the entrepreneurial journey. It allows for a genuine alignment of your business practices with your values, providing a sense of purpose and authenticity to your journey.
5. A Better You
The entrepreneurial journey guarantees personal growth, preventing monotony unless one intentionally allows it. My business knowledge has developed organically through hands-on experience, trial and error, networking with seasoned business owners, constant consultations with online resources (aka Matua Google and YouTube 😅), and investing in professional guidance and workshops. The consistent pursuit of improvement of self and my business has been a guiding principle in my mahi.
“The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.” - Matty Mullins
The entrepreneurial journey is more than just starting a business—it's about translating passion into meaningful solutions, dedicating oneself to success, and embracing the journey's challenges. From the pursuit of passion to the flexibility of self-employment, financial independence, creative autonomy, and continuous personal and skill development, each aspect contributes to a fulfilling and purpose-driven experience. As you contemplate starting your own venture, remember that the path is dynamic and requires dedication, but the rewards are immeasurable. Ultimately, success in entrepreneurship is not just about financial gain; it's about creating a meaningful impact and leaving a legacy that resonates with your values and aspirations.
If you are considering starting your own business, ask yourself this important question to help kickstart your journey: "How does my passion translate into a meaningful solution or service that addresses a genuine need in the world, and am I ready to dedicate myself to its success?"
For more insights on running a business, visit our article from a few years back: "Reflecting on Three Years of Maimoa Creative: Insights and Experiences of Running a Business"