When a successful founder thinks about selling, the goal is often something related to generational wealth.
That the proceeds from the sale can not only take care of the founder’s children, but multiple generations. That the family can be taken care of, forever.
The founders that I have talked to about this have never questioned this goal. It is taken as a given—that along with charity, taking care of the family forever is one of the principle benefits of building and selling a successful company.
While I have no issues with wealth creation, I question whether “generational wealth” is actually the right goal, or even a good one.
The Messed-Up Trust Fund Kid
What if never having to work is the worst possible result for someone?
Many of us know people who have been fortunate enough to have been born into wealth.
There are a few who use that wealth responsibly. They live within their means, they try to make meaningful contributions to society and to raise their children responsibly, for example.
Along with their money, they were gifted a set of values, including gratitude and responsibility to their fellow human beings.
They have a certain humility.
At the other end of the spectrum, we know the “trust fund kid” who blows through their inheritance and then wonders where the money went.
The More Important Inheritance
What if the most important thing you could gift to future generations was not your money but your time?
What if you weren’t the workaholic parent whose children accepted your gifts as a hollow excuse for your absence?
What if instead, you were there to teach them the values that enabled you to build your own financial independence, so that they knew they could do that for themselves?
To teach them to fish?
How powerful would that feel, to know that your influence had taught generations of your family how to both provide, for themselves and their families, but to love and be there for them, too.
Your Business is Better Without You
Your goal in building a business is that you be totally unnecessary to it.
That it run without you better than with you.
And yet that goal goes completely against why most people start a business.
They start a business to prove they are enough, that they are needed, that their parents were wrong about them.
And now they are showing their spouses, their own children that they would rather make money than spend time with them.
What if a different path were possible?
Are You Better Without Your Business?
I’m working with one of my clients on creating freedom for him. For the longest time, whenever I would talk about freedom, he would say that it meant “lifestyle cash.” And he would proceed to build more and more.
After a long weekend together, he realized what he most wanted was to be close to his family. And that he had no idea how to do that because he had not felt that growing up.
He had developed all these mechanisms to make himself feel safe and useful and that they were now isolating him.
Building a business can be like an addiction. There is never enough. 8 figures turns into 9 turns into 10 and still more beckons.
There is no number of homes or boats or planes that will produce freedom.
Because freedom is already there. You are made of it.
You only need to see it. Over and over and over.
But when you see it, it is always yours.
Freedom Is Always an Inside Game
Freedom can mean a lot of things.
Freedom fromthings like stress and negative self-talk.
Freedom to create in a more conscious way.
Including the power to create your legacy. To help your children see that they always have the capacity to create the future that they want.
Instead of relying on their trust fund.
How to Begin
If you are a founder wanting to scale and sell your company, there are three shifts in identity (thought) that can help you do so with twice the impact and half the stress. Take a look at this video.
If building a sustainable coaching business that will replace your corporate income is calling you, here’s a video where I share the top three mistakes I see coaches make when trying to build a sustainable business—
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