In How To Get Rich: One of the World's Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets, Felix Dennis’s prequel to The Narrow Road: A Brief Guide to the Getting of Money. Dennis stated emphatically that you cannot be in business and be a poet at the same time. I remember finding this opinion quite unsettling at the time. I was starting out on my business journey but in my heart and through my hobbies I had always engaged in creative activities. I had also studied the dreaded poetry! What did this mean for my future business success?
Dennis had touched a nerve. I had often felt that business people and creative people seemed very different personalities, but in myself I saw elements of both, and I wanted to have both in my life. So although I partly understood what Dennis was saying, I still felt I wanted to prove him wrong. But I was also slightly puzzled. Dennis is a published poet; the initial pages of Get Rich contain verse, one by Dennis himself. What exactly was he saying, or not saying? It was all a bit of an intriguing mystery to me, much more interesting than the other soul-less business books I had around me at the time.
Now, it's 2.5 years later and I’m reading the sequel to Get Rich: The Narrow Road. I’m still in business – which to me is an achievement given the recession and severely restricted bank funding available to start-ups. I have grasped opportunities that were right in terms of what I needed to learn to progress and gain competency, not because they helped me to get rich. Maybe I am doing things the long way 'round, but for me there is definitely an element of needing to learn certain things first, especially if business is new to you. Yes, you absolutely have to focus on finances, but you have to get your systems and processes working smoothly first. In previous financial eras a bank loan would have enabled a new business to hire staff to carry out these processes while the founder focused on increasing and extending the reach of the business. I started in the recession so it would not have been wise, I felt, to have gone down that route. I made the decision to do it all myself. It has led to a slower journey, but it was the right decision at the time.