A Guide To Purpose Driven Entrepreneurship
October 22, 2015

Why do you get out of bed each day?What’s the reason you rise early and grind late? That you wake up before everyone else and push through long hours on your own vision?

Why did you give up a 40 — hour work week to sacrifice every waking moment to an idea or product?

Why are you here? What question are you trying to answer?

Most people answer, “to make a lot of money!”

Sure, we all want more nice things and to provide quality lives for our loved ones. However, money is not your motivation. It is merely an output of your work.

The only people who wake up solely to make money might be bankers and honestly for them, it’s just a way to keep score. They’d trade potatoes if it came down to it.

So I ask again, why are you here?

In this age of overflowing abundance of every product and service under the sun and the combined lightning quick pace of rapid innovation, one needs to know the story that truly sets them apart. Entrepreneurs in particular must have a clear picture of their purpose here on earth. In the face of constant failure, lack of resource and continuous struggle it’s important to remain resolute in the game plan behind the scenes and the real reasons we go to battle.

Below are a few principles I use to guide (and refocus) my quest for purpose:

The Golden Circle

What kind of communicator are you? Outside-In? or Inside-Out?

I’ll preface this by saying you should go watch Simon Sinek’s incredible tedX talk — and reading his even better book, Start With the Why.

I’ll do my best to honor his thinking:

The majority of people can tell you very clearly what they do. If it’s a company that’s what products or services they offer; if it’s an individual it’s their job title or roles within an organization.

A few more people and brands can tell you how they do it. This might be their differentiator, what perhaps makes them special or different to other consumer options or businesses.

However, very few people can get to the root and tell you WHY they do what they do. This is the sweet spot; where some of the most successful brands and individuals have gotten to — Apple, Martin Luther King Jr and the Wright brothers to name a few.

It answers these questions:

Why do you exist?

Why do you get up each day?

And most importantly, Why should it matter?

In the space of a million products and services under the sun, people no longer buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Starting with the Why communicates your purpose first and foremost. It puts your heart, your drive and your motivation right on your sleeve. It’s honest and transparent.

Here’s an example of 2 approaches to communicating the Golden Circle:


What: Here is our agency!

How: We have the best designers and strategists in the world! We’ve won a lot of awards. Have you seen our impressive client list?

Why: Oh yea, come do business with us! We’re amazing


Why: We believe that technology, design, art and people have power to change the way we look at stories.

How: Through an intelligent team of designers we create stories through experiential media, technology and entertainment

What: We design immersive experiences that move audiences.

Root yourself in the why. Root yourself in communicating the most difficult question first. Root yourself in the Inside-Out approach. Then start your journey with clarity and purpose.

Inch Wide, Mile Deep

Since Elon Musk was a child his focus was rooted in answering one question: “What will affect the future of humanity?” Early on he listed 5 answers that have gone on the shape who he is today: The internet, sustainable energy, interplanetary existence, artificial intelligence and reprogramming the human genetic code.

Not what I would have done with 180m!

After selling PayPal. Musk walked away with $180 million dollar. Immediately he invested $100 million in a rocket company, Space X. It’s purpose thereafter to revolutionize and minimize the cost and scope of space travel in order to one day establish multi-planetary human colonization.

He then invested $70 million into an ill-advised car company, Tesla. In line with his vision of a sustainable energy future, Musk created the company to revolutionize the car industry through the accelerated development of every day electric cars.

Musk took $10 million to co-invest into Solar City, which has had the sole goal of changing the way humans produce energy through installation of solar panels. Once again, Musk’s future goal was for large — scale adoption of sustainable energy.

Throughout his life and career, Musk has remained focused on the same motives that have led to the creation of 3 of the most successful and influential modern businesses. Rather than looking a mild wide and an inch deep, trying to accomplish every idea and opportunity he’s ever though of; Musk has delved only an inch wide but mile deep for true world changing impact.

His purpose has been bigger than merely impacting his own future but rather the world’s future.

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk


What are you hoping to leave behind?

Where do you see yourself if 10/20/30 years?

Retired on a private island cashing in from all the companies you’ve sold? Driving a Ferrari? Traveling across the world with your partner?

Nothing wrong with these plans. All fair dreams and goals to strive for.

But let’s take it up a notch.

Your time here is finite.

It could end today, even as you read this article!

Don’t get me wrong! I like nice things too and I hope to see that G Wagon in my driveway soon!

But you can’t take anything with you.

So what’s the most important thing you can leave behind?

A legacy.

Personally, my why is rooted in a desire and passion to help more entrepreneurs succeed along their journeys.

I’d like my success to be measured not on my wealth, number of companies under my belt, how many cars I have. I’d rather measure my success in life on how many people succeeded, were able to purse their dreams and excel beyond me, because I got the opportunity to help them grow.

What are you going to leave behind?

If you enjoyed the post, please let me know!

Be sure to check out some other recent posts I have written:

– Becoming an Entrepreneur — The Hard Truths

– Entrepreneurial Lessons from a New Father

– What Art School in Italy Taught Me About Business

Feel free to also follow me on Twitter and Instagram or email me on

For more insights, rants and motivation tune into our weekly radio show, The Opportune Time, telling the stories of Joburg’s entrepreneurs, Wednesday 4–6pm CAT on

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