[2 of 8] Ancient Principles for the 21st Century Entrepreneur

The Manna Concept – Don’t Get More Than You Need

Into the Wilder{ness}with the children of Israel III

By Louise Lee

“The “Manna” concept in the start-up journey represents the small but just enough opportunities that get every entrepreneur going. The origin of these opportunities is divine, but you need to work hard to consolidate and make good use of them. The discipline of doing small things every day enriches your experience, sharpens your skills and boosts up your confidence” ~ Louise Lee, Ancient Principles of the 21st Century Entrepreneur

The environment for the new entrepreneur might be harsh, but there is a divine supply of opportunities (Manna) along the way; the start-up experience is likened to the wilderness experience of the children of Israel as recorded in the Holy Bible.

In this article, I will carry on with the manna concept and its application in the start-up journey. If you recall, there are “dos and don’ts” regarding the collection of “Manna”…

1. (Do collect everyday) The children of Israel had to collect them every day – early in the morning after the dew laid on the ground. Each one was to collect as per their needs.

2. (Do not collect more than you need) There was no use to collect more, the extra manna would breed worms and stink.

3. (Do collect more when there is a double portion supplied) The only day they would have double supply was on Saturday.

4. (Do not work when you need to rest) There was no manna to collect on Sundays.

I would like to focus on the don’ts in the manna concept in the following paragraphs.

Passion First

The first few years of your start-up are crucial as they determine how far and how long you will go in a certain direction. It is important to set it right from the start. It is also important to make corrections if it does not align with the main course, or what you set out to do.

Did you know that if you do not have a vision or a long-term plan, your needs will drive your business? You might be ended up like a hamster running on the wheel, or running the same rat race, the one that you hated most when you were an employee.

Do you have a plan? How long is your plan? One year, two year, or six months…? It is essential to have at least a five-year plan, and maintain a flexible one year plan and review it every six months. If you haven’t gotten any of these yet, please find time and set them in place before you go any further. You will not regret doing this because this will save you a lot time and effort, as it helps steer your business towards the right direction. Write your plans and your goals down and paste them somewhere you can see every day.

Frist, your plans should align with your passion, your vision, and they shall become your motivation when the going gets tough.
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“It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.” -T. S. Eliot

I find this quote a powerful illustration to describe passion. If passion is light to the blind, you would need to have a passion in what you are doing in your business. Passion helps you prioritise your opportunities, make the right selections, and keep you on track with your goals.

Passion with vision is a powerful team to bring you success. Vision is about the future of your business; it is somewhat like a goal but it is visual. It is also the big picture that guides your goal setting. In this sense, your goals are the lamp posts that lead you along the way towards the big picture. Passion ignites with vision makes your business a powerful rocket. The profit you make from your business will surely be put into good use if you have a vision, or a cause or a solution you see to the problem you felt strongly about.

Does “a passionate entrepreneur of … ” describe you? If your answer to this question is yes, congratulation! You shall see your success. If you have no answer for this question yet, spend some time to find that out because it is the key to your success. Only then the rest of the effort will make sense, it is also the only way to get you out of the hamster wheel!

Ploughing of Ground

Whatever you do in the early stage of your business is an act of ploughing, the ground could be hard and it might be harder than you have imagined. Ploughing is different from planting seeds; the key distinction is that you do not expect a harvest when you plough the ground. Like it or not, you are only ploughing grounds in the first few years of your new business. That is also why your opportunities come in piece and pieces and they are small by nature. They are not significant in the sense of value but they are significant in the way that they can help to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

In fact, if we look closer at this ploughing stage, the ground is not anywhere outside, but inside your heart. Each opportunity shows up to confirm what you have in your heart, and only those stay on and became the seed for your planting later. So, when opportunities come, make it a time to differentiate your passion from your needs.

Answer this question honestly: Is it your passion or your need(s) that drive you?
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Managing your needs

What do you need? Recognition, a sense of significance, respect, money, freedom, success, a sense of achievement are all legitimate needs, but if these are all that drive you on the path of entrepreneurship, you are only running on the treadmill. Likely, you are not going anywhere significant. You may have wondered why you live a life that is not much different from being an employee; or now it is worst because the stress level is much higher that you must constantly look for business opportunity, rather than waiting for the month end pay check.

How is the life of an entrepreneur different from that of an employee anyway? Why did you take a step out doing what you are doing right now?

Don’t be surprised that what set you out might not be what drives you now. So, constantly we need to have a conversation with ourselves. If you are honest enough, you will have some answers. Make sure your business is fuelled by your passion, and you are here for the long haul.

Do not take more than you need.

Now, let us get back to the “DON’T”s of entrepreneurship: Do not take more than you need. What is your business’ basic need? How much business or profit you need to survive? How much do you need to sustain your business? All these determine how much opportunities or jobs you should take on at the minimum.

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You need to be selective. Choose what brings you satisfaction and happiness. Once you get your hands in doing some of the new jobs (opportunities), you should know if that aligns with your passion or not. If it is not, do eliminate them in your future endeavours. Nevertheless, there is no hard and fast rules to tell what jobs guarantee satisfaction, but if you like, you might work on the guideline of three: Work on maximum three niches at one time and spend some time working through them, and to identify one that brings you the most satisfaction, then focus your energy to develop that niche. Be open and prepared to work hard, and prepare for changes. You might be one of be those talented individuals that could manage three niches and be successful in all of them, but it might be rare! So, stay focus on one or two but not more than three at one time.

Why should you be selective? Consider this: if you are not, you might end up getting too much to do that you are working around the clock and making very little profit or progress. Remove some of the unproductive jobs that bring in the least profits. Remember to keep your work-life balance as the entrepreneur’s journey is long, you need to reserve your energy. Remember to set your five-year plan, and set goals to achieve it. Any plan that is shorter than that will not be sufficient to steer your entrepreneurship journey right.

Do not work when you need to rest.

Six days you should work, and give yourself at least one day to rest in a week. It is kind of strange when we worked for people, we demanded from our ex-employer overtime pay, annual leave, sick leave, benefits, bonus, etc., but when we start on our own, we become very lenient on ourselves concerning worker’s benefits. Let’s face it, you are the only worker in your start up, do consider the benefits in a reasonable term. Then, when your company grows bigger, the principles you apply on yourself will expand to those who work for you in the future. Work within your means and that includes your time, and your mental and physical capacity, remind yourself that you are no transformer or superhero. So, don’t be too lenient in demanding yourself an employer, and don’t be too hash on yourself as a worker. Rest well and it will benefit you for the rest of the work week, work years and the rest of your entrepreneurship journey.


In conclusion, the ancient advice in handling our entrepreneurship journey is wise and helpful. They are gold and still applicable today in the 21st Century when knowledge is available from all directions that provide plethora of opportunities. The “DON’T”s guide our process of selection and decision making. Ultimately, no one can be a superhero because we all have limits. We are limited by our mental capacity, physical capacity, experience and resources, do work within these limitations and not to overstretch at the early stage of entrepreneurship. Of course, passion and vision is the team that will help you overcome your limitations and give you the breakthroughs your need, do recruit them early in your journey!

Coming up next is the personal branding principles – inspired from the never worn out clothes of the Children of Israel.

Partridge Publishing


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