I woke up the other day and realized that I have been a full-time entrepreneur for a little over a year and a half now. A year and a half of late nights, early mornings, flexible schedules, some 7-day work weeks and some 3-day work weeks. A year and a half of making my own schedule, meeting new people, networking, and personal growth.

Money isn’t what keeps me going through those long nights, stressful ups and downs, and the overall uncertainty that comes with being self-employed.

The reason I’m still trucking along, and the reason I left my secure 9-5 job, has nothing to do with money and everything to do with freedom. I think even the most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that it’s never been about the money.

If you’re starting a business with making millions being your ultimate goal, I want you to reconsider for a moment.

If it were all about the money, I would have quit a long time ago

Believe me, being a full-time entrepreneur (especially in the first 2 years) is stressful. Not a week goes by where I don’t have some sort of doubt or fear or panicked nightmare about the future, money included. Money may come, or it may not, and it’s entirely up to you to make it happen. I stressed FAR less about money when I was working my 9-5.

As a self-employed business owner, you don’t get a tax refund, or health benefits, or a 401k. There are a lot of perks to working a traditional job that you miss out on being self-employed, but that’s never been what it’s about for me.

It’s not about the money for me, it’s about the freedom

When I was daydreaming about starting my own business, I never thought about fancy cars or luxury vacations.

The number one thing that I truly wanted more than anything was to wake up, go to a coffee shop or a café, and work on my own time in the comfort of my leggings.

I literally dreamed about that idea day in and day out. The office I worked in felt suffocating. The hours felt draining and I physically could not imagine waking up every day wishing away hours and days until the weekend arrived, only to fall into an anxiety-riddled sadness every Sunday afternoon.

Even with the financial security, I was at my unhappiest during those post-college months of working in a job I hated.

Freedom was the goal that keeps me going

Freedom to make my own schedule. Freedom to work outside all day and let my dog run around chasing bugs in the backyard. Freedom to work from airports or coffee shops while I’m on a week-long vacation visiting family. Freedom to fly up for a best friend’s wedding 2 days early so I can be there to help out, without needing to take a vacation day or a sick day.

Freedom to schedule appointments at 11am on a Wednesday without worrying about work. Freedom to wake up a little early or a little later. Freedom to turn off my alarm clock and wake up with the sun on a Thursday. Freedom to take a Friday afternoon off simply because I felt like grabbing a drink with friends. It’s the freedom I crave, not money. It still is.

I truly believe that a business fueled on passion will go much further than one fueled on the pursuit of money.

Yes, I still set money goals and do a happy dance when I hit a new income milestone, who doesn’t?

I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t love being financially independent. Believe me, I feel grateful every day for that. What I’m saying is that money is not the driving force in all of my business (and personal) decisions, and I truly don’t think it should be anyone’s.

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal for me is happiness

Don’t start a business because you want to get rich. Start a business because you want to solve a problem in your life or somebody else’s. Start a business because you have a passion for something and you would love to do exactly that for the rest of your working-life. Even if you aren’t looking to start a business, don’t make everything about money.

Think twice before accepting a promotion that pays double but would require you to work 80-hour weeks, taking you away from your friends and family. Don’t apply for a job you hate in an industry that drains you just because they pay you a 6-figure salary.

Find your why and run with it. Let it fuel your fire and guide your decisions. It’s not always about the money.