The Causey Consulting Podcast

What's Your Why?

January 18, 2024
The Causey Consulting Podcast
What's Your Why?
Show Notes Transcript

What's your why? Why are you doing what you are doing? If you are thinking about starting a business - or you already have - why? Why did you choose that specific line of work? If you don't have the answers, you may not make it.


Links where I can be found:

Need more? Email me: 

Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!

Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here's your host, Sara Causey. 

Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In today's episode, I want to ask What's your why? And in some respects, this could be like a sister to the first episode I put out for this year 10 Signs Your business is in serious trouble. There's a Viktor Frankl quote, that if you have a why you can bear almost anyhow. Meaning whatever means you have to go through to get to that you will, you will stick with it, you will knuckle down. You'll survive whatever you need to survive, if you have a strong enough why? It is amazing to me how many people decide to set out a shingle and go into business for themselves without ever even contemplating this question of why why am I doing what I'm doing? If I'm talking to a business owner, or a prospective business owner, as a coach or a strategic advisor, and I start probing this question of why, why are you doing what you're doing? Or why do you want to do what you plan to do? If I can't get some clear, coherent answer, that's a huge red flag that in and of itself can be a huge way to predict a business failure. If the person cannot give me a straight answer on why I know that they're probably not going to make it it's that important to have some kind of something that's driving your decision making some passion, some enthusiasm, some grit, because owning and operating a business is tough. I had a couple of things that happened in q4 of 2023. That just, ah, man, it felt like I got kicked in the ribs a couple of times. But I got up, dusted myself off and went on with my life. Why? Because I have a why I genuinely enjoy what I do. Not every minute of every day. owning a business is not sugar plums, and gumdrops and lollipops. There's times where you want to pull your effing hair out. And if anybody says, Oh, I go to work every day in my own business, and it is sunshine and roses, and well, I never make a mistake, and the sun always shines on me bull shit. We can automatically discount that person as a BS artist because it simply isn't true. Without being said, You got to have that chutzpah, you got to have that reason to get up and get out of bed and get back after it. Again, if you're laying around feeling sorry for yourself, or you genuinely do not like the line of work that you've chosen, you're going to be in some big trouble, that might fly in a nine to five job, especially if you're in a large enough environment where you can sort of become a wallflower can blend in a little bit with the surroundings and just sit in a sense of quiet desperation and count the hours until you get to leave. But when you own and operate your own business, or you are running your own freelancing desk, and the buck stops with you, the more of those To hell with it days that you have, the faster you're going to go broke. Yes, you can hire a coach or a mentor to try to guide you along, do some poking and some prodding, you can hire somebody to help you be accountable. But in the long run, you really need to develop those skills for yourself. And that's why I think it's important to have a why. Now, here's how this often plays out. Let's say that I'm talking to somebody who they're thinking about starting a business, but they can't seem to get all the puzzle pieces put together, or they already have a business. But it's floundering, things are not going the way that they want them to. And I will use staffing and recruiting as an example, simply because that's the space that I'm in the most. That's my Bellwether. It's the industry that I know the best. But this is applicable to basically any type of business that you might want to start. So here's how the conversation goes. Tell me more about why you want to do this. And I get answers like, well, I'm tired of working for somebody else. Well, I want to have more freedom and flexibility. Well, I want to make more money. Well, I'm bored at my current job. Well, things are slow and I'd rather do something that's fast paced. Well, my wife said that childcare is getting too expensive and I need to be around the house more to help with taking care of the kids. Okay, Hey, so I let people hem and haw and give me these sort of bullshit answers for a little bit. And then I come back to it. And I think you know, I'm pretty blunt individual, if you've listened to this podcast with any regularity at all, or you've read my blogs, you, you know that you don't have to know me in real life to understand that I'm pretty straight to the point. So after this flippity, flopping in the BS answers, I call them out on it. Okay, but that's not the question that I asked, you're answering a different question than the question that I asked. You're answering a question of why do you want to go into business for yourself? In general, what I'm asking is why do you want to have a staffing agency specifically? Oh, that's invariably you always get the Oh. And then it's followed by this like Ralph kramden, and the honeymooners thing, homina, homina, homina, homina. They're trying to come up with some reason because guess what, they don't have one. And that's freaking scary. Before you spend a dime of money. Before you spend an hour of time trying to get a business off the ground. It seems to me that you would want to have a compelling reason why you're doing those things. Especially in this inflationary time, the economy is in a mess, the job market is in a mess. Wouldn't you want to be as strategic and as careful and as deliberate as possible? Yet? People don't. It never ceases to amaze me. So once I asked the more pointed question, why do you want to do a staffing agency specifically out of all the different jobs or all the different businesses? Why do you want to open this type of business specifically, after the Homina Homina Homina. And the fiddling around, I usually will hear things like, well, somebody said it was easy money. My dog's brother's wife's cousins, uncles, nephews, postman said that there's a lot of money you can make in staffing. Okay. Or, well, one time I worked with a recruiter, and I found out later that she made $30,000 off a place in me and well, that made me mad because she she didn't do that much work. And I felt like that was too much money. And so then I got to thinking, Well, why couldn't I do that? That's easy work. All you got to do is pull resumes off the internet and send them in and then you just get paid. If somebody gets hired. It people really think that they're attracted to the easy money, except they're going to find out that this business is not easy money. If somebody told you that they were lying. Now, they might have been BS in you so that they could seem important, or they could seem cool. Or they may just not know they're behind from a hole in the ground. But if somebody's telling you that you can succeed in this industry by pulling resumes randomly off the internet, and then giving them to people and waiting for a $30,000 placement fee. Yeah, I call mega big time BS on that. The bottom line here is that whether it's a staffing business, or it's something else, maybe you want to open an ice cream parlor, t shirt shop, a makeup store, whatever, whatever it is that you're thinking about doing. If you've got it in your mind, that it's just going to be easy money.

Wow. Yeah, you're going to be in for one hell of a ride. I don't I don't know of any day that I have woken up and operated my business where I've thought, Wow, this was so easy. Now there have been plenty of days where I have sat here and thought I am so glad that I'm not in an office. I'm so glad that I'm not in a bullpen environment. I'm so glad that there aren't people throwing footballs or hitting golf balls all around my head. I'm glad that I don't have to listen to other people on the phone. I'm glad that I don't have all of these distractions. I'm glad that I don't have to do lunch and learns and force socialization. I'm glad that I'm not treated like some third class citizen. Because I'm an introvert because I have a life. I have a home life that I enjoy, and I don't want to hang out at work. 24/7 I've had those thoughts many times. But those thoughts of sheer gratitude to be out of the corporate machine are different from Oh, this is easy. This is easy money. No, no, the cronies might be able to make easy money because they don't have to have any moral hazard. When they screw up royally. They get bailed out because they're too important to fail. But you and I, we have no such safety net. Another red flag that's closely aligned to this is if I get into a discussion with the business owner, and I asked a question like, do you genuinely enjoy this? Does it light you up? Do you feel some sense of passion from it? Do you feel like the warm and fuzzies when you accomplish something for Buy it. If I hear an answer like, oh, well, I mean, I guess? Or a little bit. Yeah. Kinda? Or the worst of all? No, I really don't know, I'm just here for the money, you're probably not gonna make it. Now, as I always say, standard disclaimer, I don't give you advice, and I don't tell you what to do. I sit here, and I opine for your entertainment only. And that's it. I'm not inside your business, you and I are not in a coach client relationship. So I don't know all of the inner workings. And I'm not telling you what to do. All I can do is sit here and speak from my experience, and the things that I have witnessed firsthand in coaching and advising other people. And it is just not ever a good sign. In my experience, if the person has started a business, and they don't even like what they're doing. I mean, let's think about this, you could go and get an eight to five job. Monday through Friday, with three hots and a cot, so to speak, you could have your benefits package, your predictable salary, and a desk to sit at. You could go and do that and not like what you're doing. You could go get a soul sucking corporate job, and sit there and do it. And then at five o'clock, clock out and go home. So why would you want to shoulder the burden of a business, and you're doing something that you don't even like doing? It doesn't energize you, you don't feel turned on or excited about it? You just feel miserable? Why would you want that albatross around your neck. Plus, you have to think about the cost that's involved. If you go to a nine to five corporate job, it may cost you some money to make the commute. If you're not working remotely, if you're having to drive or to take a subway or train to work, it may cost you to commute. But the thing is, when you get there, you're going to be paid for your time to be there. Whereas when you own and operate a business, it seems like you very often have to do more paying than receiving. If nobody's told you that allow me to do so you have to pay to play. So again, I would ask if you don't even like what you're doing. Why would you want to do that and pay money to do that. Just long pause there to think about it. One of the things that I talked about in that top 10 list is people that don't even believe in what they're doing. They don't believe in themselves. They don't believe in the business. They don't believe in the industry. And that's one of the things that I see with people that have this fantasy, this pipe dream in their mind that they're going to open a staffing agency, and it's going to be easy money. It's like some frivolous joke to them. Well, all I have to do is look at resumes on the internet. And then when one of them looks good, I'll send them to a company and see if they want to hire the person. And if I just sit, sit around and do that all day long, day after day, eventually something will hit. And I'll make all this money. Yeah, and you might also lose your shirt sitting around doing that. Because if it were really that easy, everybody would be doing it. They buy into this mythology. And so look, look at how many people set out a shingle and decide that they're going to be a freelance recruiter, or they're going to own and operate their own staffing agency. And then within a year, they're washed out. Some of them are not only washed out, some of them are declaring bankruptcy as well. So if the job were really that easy, people wouldn't wash out. If it was easy money all day long. Apple pie in the sky in the sweet by and by people would get into that line of work and they would never leave. But even within the context of doing this at somebody else's agency, look at how many people wash out there. There are plenty of individuals that get hired on a 90 day plan where it's like you've got 90 days to prove whether or not you're capable of closing deals and bringing in new clientele. If you can't, we'll fire you at day 90. If you can, then we'll keep you going and see how it progresses. If you ever slow down and hit a dry spell, you're probably going to be in trouble. Look at how many people lash out. I mean, go to LinkedIn some time and just look at different recruiters profiles. You'll see a lot of do as I say not as I do, because recruiters will tell you don't job hop, but then you go and look at their profiles and they're here for six months and they're there for three months and they're there for one year and they're over here for another six months and on and on it goes but you'll see this pattern. Well this guy was here for a few months and then he was over there and then he was over there. If the job were so freakin easy and all you had to do was just glom on to a resume and send it to somebody else. There wouldn't be all of this job hopping. If somebody could get in and make a go of it, they would never freaking leave.

Yet look at how many of these businesses go under and how many people wash out even doing it under the auspices of someone else. So you had better do your homework before you think about starting a business? And you'd better have a why having a what is only a start, but you need to have a why behind it. If you were to ask me that question, why specifically, do you want to do this, I would say I genuinely enjoy the work. I've been doing it for more than a decade, and I'm damn good at it. I know how to read the ebbs and flows of the job market. And I understand how the job market connects to the broader economy and vice versa. Have a good sense of how the Feds decision making and these jackals up on Capitol Hill the things that they do I understand how that impacts the job market and then how to translate that into real time for other people. I know what leads to failure in a staffing agency, because Hi, my hand is in the air Been there done that crashed and burned hard. Like that podcast episode I did with Michael free choose about splat at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, embrace the splat. While I had to there was no other choice. I mean, I was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. And man, it was bad. Went into a suicidal depression a dark night of the soul. When I had to go back to corporate America with my tail tucked between my legs. I know how to run a business into the ground. I know how to make dumb decisions. And then I know how to make smart ones. I know how to learn from those mistakes and be able to do better the next time around. Some people don't get it next time around. Some people get themselves into such a position that they're never going to dig out of it. And I don't want that to be you. Why do I enjoy doing this specifically, I love being able to help people solve their HR and staffing related problems. Remove that bottleneck, improve that process. I love it when a client says we didn't think we were ever going to figure out this job description. We didn't think we were ever going to get better job architecture, we didn't think we were going to ever have sensible salary bands. We didn't think we were ever going to find somebody to fill this job for us. But because of you, we now have solved those problems. I love that. For me. That's it. That's what it's about. I love to sit here and create content. I love to write obviously, I have a master's degree in English. I love to record these podcast episodes. I mean, to the point now where I have two successful podcasts. I love what I do. Then I also love the HR and the staffing work and I'm a working Smee I'm not the kind of Smee that's like, well, I will sit on the mountaintop and teach you but I'm not going to get down in the trenches in real life anymore. No, no, I get in the thick of it. So I know in real time what what's happening, the craziness, the insanity candidates seem to want this but not that and employers seem to have pull back on this. But they want that. I know all of those things. Because I'm in the market day in and day out as I have been for over a decade. This is a tough line of work. These people that think it's so easy breezy, are full of it. It's a tough line of work, and you don't stick with it if you don't genuinely care about what you're doing. And I do. So for me, when I have those days where I'm like, dammit, this person's making me want to pull my hair out. Or if I don't find somebody, I think I'm going to jump off the roof. I don't get why this is so hard. Or when I have days like that. It's easier for me to dig deep. And just say Yeah, but there's a reason why you're doing this. There's a bigger picture, being able to get through those moments of hair pulling and teeth grinding. To get to the moments where like, Yes, this is it. This is the person or this, this client is amazing. We're going to do some amazing things together. It's worth it. You know, being down in the valley, having those poop moments. It's awesome when you can get up on the mountaintop and have those sunshine moments. But you gotta have a why? This, this idea of I'm just going to set out a shingle if if I build it, they will come. I'm just gonna sit out a shingle and people will magically find me. No, no, they won't. No, they won't. That's a dream. As I said in the other episode, even large multinational corporations, companies with immediate brand recognition still advertise. If you build it, they will come well, if that was so we wouldn't still see advertisements for Google for AT and T for Microsoft. They would have just said, Well, hell we're established. Everybody knows what our company does. They know who we are and where to find us. We don't have to spend a dime on advertising. Yes, they do. A lot of these companies have massive marketing and advertising budgets, they want to stay top of mind, they want to stay in that top spot. So the idea that you're just going to start a business, particularly if you're in an already saturated market, and people will just magically find you, you don't have to care about what you're doing, you don't have to have a standard of excellence. You can just goof around, set out a shingle and make tons and tons of easy money. My friend, I believe you're in a pipe dream. So before you do anything, just take that extra time to figure out your fly, do some journaling, ask yourself some pointed questions. Why do I want to do this specifically? And if you find yourself wandering off into the generic territory of, I don't want to work for somebody else. My boss is a butthole, my wife wants me home more often. Pull back from that for a second. And think about why you want to do this specifically, why do you want to have this type of company instead of that kind of company was making you want to run this type of business instead of another? What's in it for you? And then what's in it for your clients? What's going to separate you out from all the other 1000s of competitors that you have? Just taking that one extra step? You're at least trying to create a failsafe you're trying to separate yourself out from the many people that I have looked at and predicted failure. And guys, I'm still at a 100% accuracy rate. If I look at some of these business, and I go, I give it three to six months or six to 12 months tops. within that timeframe. They're gone. Just take that extra step and figure out your why. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you in the next episode.

Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. We'll see you next time.