What Business Should I Choose?

I am a school administrator (20 years) but I have always had a dream of having my own business. I am very analytically minded, and I like to create things of practical value that help people. My question is: how one determines if they should go into a spiritual business (computer programming etc.…) vs a physical (repairing bicycles etc.…)

To me it seems spiritual businesses are low entry, very scalable but high failure. Physical jobs are difficult to enter, hard to scale but seem to provide a more likelihood of a return. I think my ability to provide possible value to people is about equal between the two.

Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. My wife and I just took a 17-hour road trip to South Dakota (Black Hills) We listened to several of your podcasts. It made for the best road trip and my wife is now a big fan as well!

Thank you,
Jeremy D.

Dear Jeremy,

First, thank you for your kind words; Susan and I were happy to hear that you and your wife enjoy our podcast.

We are a bit perplexed by your distinction between spiritual and physical businesses. It sounds to us as if you are using ‘spiritual’ and ‘physical’ almost as an analog for ‘brain work’ and ‘physical work.’ Bicycle repair almost certainly requires thinking skills in terms of marketing, job scheduling, and invoicing. Computer programming has a deliverable in terms of time and performance in the real world. Being a bookkeeper is brainwork but hardly low entry and not at all high failure. Being a driver is physical, and relatively easy to enter. However, for it to become a more successful business rather than a limited job, it would require many mental skills which would be helpful as you acquire your own vehicles and hire other drivers. Most jobs have both a physical and mental component. What is most important, every worthwhile job counts on spiritual skills such as optimism, resilience, honesty, and communication.

The good news is that education, either classroom or school administration, is a wonderful stepping stone to many other activities. Waste no time trying to determine whether to pursue a physical or a mental business. You told us something about yourself, which is helpful and which we appreciate, but the issue is less what you like doing and more whether you see a need around you that you can fill. Sometimes your activity can create a need as did Steve Jobs with his iPad. It’s less about your ability to provide possible value (at least to start with) and more about a need you perceive. A hole you can fill. That’s all you must do.

Sorry to be so blunt but the market doesn’t care about your dream of having a business. It cares only about what you can do for others. That must be the focus because the only worthwhile definition of a business is an entity that has customers. So first find your customers. The most important thing, in addition to assessing your own talents, strengths, and weaknesses is, as we said, to find a need that you can fill. Once you have located your customers, everything else follows logically. Once you have found that need, you can throw all your abilities, physical, mental, and spiritual, into building something sustainable.

We look forward to seeing you post your business in our We Happy Warrior business directory!

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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In America’s Real War, Rabbi Daniel Lapin argues that the real chasm in American culture is not between blacks and whites, rich and poor, men and women, or Jews and Christians.
The real divide is between those Americans who believe that Judeo-Christian Bible-based values are vital for our nation’s survival and those Americans who believe that these timeless truths obstruct progress.

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