Creating Memories vs. Owning Things

I read an article this week about buying happiness. The article pointed out that in order to be happy, you need to spend your money on experiences, not things. Spend your money on gathering stories, memories and living in anticipation.

Buy experiences, not things. This was the final thought of the article. It’s true that you don’t remember owning material goods as quick as you can evoke a fond memory or story you had about a particular place, or moment in time that stood out for you. This is why people go travelling, to broaden the mind, experience new places and gather memories. After you buy material goods, we always take it for granted when we own it. It was the anticipation of owning it and the happiness that it was going to bring you from owning it is what you were experiencing. This part I agree with.

But what if you have an entrepreneurial personality. Someone who likes to start projects, ventures, businesses, and like to build and create. This can’t be done when your time is spent travelling and buying experiences.

Time is a finite resource, something we all know too well. If your goal is to build something, you will need to invest in the two most finite resources humanity attains, time and money.

After reading the article, it made me question my motives, and why I wasn’t spending my time and money investing in my own experiences. While in fact I do spend money on good experiences, just not my own.

From a solo entrepreneurial and creative standpoint. How is anything meant to be created, improve upon and built if you are only spending money on your own experiences? I mentioned producers vs. consumers before. I comes back to this premise. Consumers are selfish and take. Producers are selfless and give. As an individual working towards a goal, you have to sacrifice your own time and invest your own money into what you want to create.

As a sole trader, solopreneur, individual artist or creator, you can’t be selfish. We are the people taking a risk, sacrificing our time and money to build something, an app, a website, a service. Something that solves problems for people, something consumable. We are the ones creating experiences. It’s our livelihood. It’s what we love to do.

Experiences are personal, they are important for your brand. Spend money on other people’s experiences of you. People remember the experience they had with you and this will inform their decision to return to you as a customer. Save money, invest in quality products and services. Business cards, your website, apparel. People recognise good quality products and services. Giving your customers good quality products promotes a positive experience with your brand and attributes loyalty to you. A negative or neutral experience results in a loss.

When it comes to brand recognition, you have to go above and beyond. What are you doing differently that sets you apart from the competition?

By definition, a Macbook is a thing. But used in the correct way can create an experience. It’s a tool that can be used to build. Spend money on things that create experiences.

Spend your money on business cards. A business card is a thing, but its a thing that creates experiences for other people, that experience is of you. Your business card, like your products and website, is a reflection of you. Anything that represents your brand or business affects your brand perception and whether someone will remember you or not. Having no business card is better that having a bad business card. The things you use to create an experience of your brand or business speaks volumes about your values and what you stand for.

Do you want to hand a prospective client a flimsy, €20, batch processed card? Or would you rather hand them a custom-made, letterpress business card printed on 500gsm pearl-white paper? Which do you think will leave the greatest impression on your brand?

To the person of whom you just handed your card to. subconsciously to them, it says something about your ability, your confidence, and your professionalism. It’s a statement that you care about the quality you offer. Never cheap-out, invest in your brand. Invest in yourself.

How people experience your brand isn’t out of your control. It’s entirely up to you. Invest in things you can use to create a positive experience someone has with your brand.