It’s OK to Want a Big Payoff

The volume has always been high on ESG-related brands in the past twenty years. Organic. Regenerative. Upcycled. Vegan.

The founders of these brands are not motivated primarily by money. They have missions. Disproportionately, they also come from privileged families. This is why they can focus on more esoteric, world-saving outcomes. 

But no one should be embarrassed to have money as their primary driver for scaling a consumer brand. 

I don’t know where this ‘shame’ appeared or who, precisely, is enforcing it. Not me, even though wealth admittedly is not my primary driver.

Here’s a conversation from my client’s work that should remind us that, for some, entrepreneurialism is about the financial payoff because they didn’t grow up financially secure.  And there is nothing wrong with this.

Client: Oh, I’ll be honest; I’m in this for the money. Absolutely.

Me: I love brutal honesty.

Client: When I was growing up, my Mom’s income was up and down. We would drive by McDonald’s, and she’d say, ‘Oh honey, we can’t afford that right now. Maybe next time.’ I told myself that when I was an adult, I wanted enough money to buy McDonald’s whenever I wanted to.

Me: That’s intense. In a few years, though, you’ll be able to buy an entire McDonald’s restaurant, if you want. Good for you, man.

Focusing on a big financial return for your company is not evidence of greediness.

Greed is when you’re born well off (75% of my Harvard graduating class) and want 100x more – when you have no idea what money even means because you’ve lived in a bubble of unearned privilege all your life.

Image courtesy of Dall-e

Dr. James Richardson

[email protected]