Entrepreneur Motto: My Business is Personal

Have you ever heard the classic cliché, “It’s not personal, just business” statement?

You’re not alone. I’ve been told many times in a meeting or being told this in a difficult conversation, and the person saying doesn’t understand. Right?!

As an employee of all different types of businesses (even military), I believe all my bosses have told to me that at least once. I would tell myself, “Nathan, stop taking it so personally. It’s just a job.”

In the Marines, my Sergeant would say, “You don’t get paid to think. You get paid to do what you’re told.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. I always poured everything within I could into my jobs believing it was the right thing to do. Usually, this was when I believed I had a future in the company.

I didn’t want to feel like a number, so I busted my butt to contribute. It was the “we all have to do our part” mentality. I was part of the team. Well, at least I thought.

Reality Hits

And then… it happened. I would receive the talk.

“Nathan, let’s talk about ________. It’s not personal, it’s business.” In almost all my jobs, I’ve heard that. The last time I heard this was for my nonprofit.

How can you anyone tell me not to take it personally?

All that I do is personal. I’m screaming in my head, “Dream Big Community Center is my everything!” You see, God blessed me with this idea on a December night in 2004. I struggled with this enormous task and initially rejected my calling. Over a quick period of time enduring certain business-related tasks, I saw that I could be a huge help to others in need.

So no, don’t tell me that. That’s not accurate. Matter of fact, most business owners I knew disagree with that statement.

Entrepreneurs don’t accept that for an answer. My business is personal. Everything about my business is to help others. My business is to help them find their suppressed passion. I don’t want to see people make the same mistakes I did. Or if I can pass on the knowledge about someone else’s success, that’s an accomplishment.

Business is Personal

Failure is omnipresent in any business professionals, but I learned the learnings of success isn’t always shared to the masses. I found businesses, executives, and companies who don’t share, are not necessary for the game to help others out, but that’s not a bad thing either- because that’s how general business was conducted back in the day.

Every biography that I’ve read is connected to a personal story, background, or lack thereof _________ (fill in the blank). For those who do share, I’ve learned their drive to be successful shines a spotlight on personal drama and/or weaknesses. Their desire to succeed is because of their past.

Ultimately, those individuals are cut from a different mold of greatness.

For those businesses, executives, and companies that do share the success and failure, I believe they take it personally. They believe in their vision, mission, and product makes a difference for all to benefit.

It’s not just a job to them. HELLO?! It’s their PASSION- it’s their dream!!!!

My Rejection Wall

On a related side note, I wanted to share the image of my Dream Big office that faced my desk. It was my rejection wall of multiple–not all–grants who denied us the funding opportunity needed for our programming. When I started to hang up the rejection letters, someone close told me I shouldn’t do that due to perception.

The letters were motivation for several reasons.

  1. For all those who continue to encourage me to write a proposal or submit a grant to a major philanthropist or foundation, telling them wasn’t enough. Showing them was the best.
  2. The wall was encouraging to the donors, supporters, and volunteers to the organization because they knew I wasn’t just talking but there was action behind it.
  3. My rejection wall also demonstrated my business is very personal, and I wasn’t in it for fame or money. I wanted to help teens and give back to the community.
  4. Lastly, I loved to show the grants I did receive came from the entities who rejected me. My rejection wall was a living example consistency and commitment pays off.

In conclusion, I learned not everyone loves what they do. I’m not everyone. That’s why I can’t be scared to be me and not take advice from everyone.

I write this because my business is personal because this service is for the advancement of all humanity. My failures and successes are for your gain. No strings attached.

Nathan A. Webster, MBA
Mr. Social Entrepreneur
Consulting | Marketing | Websites



Author: nathanwebster
From a US Marine to nonprofit executive director, I've been fortunate to do a lot of stuff. My quick history is I’m a brand marketer with a background in social good. In the process of running a small educational nonprofit, I learned the value of storytelling and digital branding. That’s how I got involve in marketing, websites, consulting via my podcast as well, and being an adjunct business professor at the local community college.
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