Today, we’re thinking about the ‘Ikea Effect’ - the idea that something has perceived extra value because you have made it yourself. Whilst the title suggests it’s only applicable to flatpack furniture, this theory works in most aspects of life, from children to your career.

As the famous anecdote goes: a certain famous cake company wanted to sell more instant cake mix. Focus groups reported that the instant egg should be replaced with a fresh egg because instant sachets undervalued the baking experience and was ‘too easy’. Even when buying a cake baking kit, consumers wanted to feel involved and proud of their finished result. Fresh eggs allowed them to feel like ‘real’ bakers.

And so the ‘Ikea Effect’ was understood. So named after the build-it-yourself furniture company, the ‘Ikea Effect’ posits that a consumer places more value on something they have built themselves. This do-it-yourself pride is applicable through almost all consumer brands and trends, and none more so than with the business owners of the world.

“labour alone can be sufficient to induce greater liking for the fruits of one’s labour”

Similarly to home grown vegetables, a vehicle or bike you repaired yourself or even your family, the science doesn’t lie; if you’ve worked hard on something, the results will be more satisfying. When you’re looking at your career, if you are an employee - doing admin support, for example - you’re essentially contributing to someone else’s success. This can take away from your many achievements and successes, whereas a business owner running an admin support business can achieve the same as a normal employee and be more proud and more attached to their career and professional milestones.

Even a market-following brand, a second-in-show, will mean more to its owner and be perceived to be more important than the market leading brand they used to work for. Clients will have more value and life will feel more successful, all because you built it yourself.

Whether you are looking to expand a small business further or simply feel more fulfilled than you do in your 9-5, building your own business will mean more to you than any employed career ever will.


Whether you need help building your business from a remote workforce, or you’re ready to start your own virtual assistant business, SmartPA can help you feel this kind of pride and passion towards your career.

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