How to be an Over-Night Success in 5 years with hard work…
Hard work is all it takes to make things that keep you up at night a reality. Your dreams are valid and they are a window into a potential reality if, and only if, you are willing to do the hard work it takes to make things happen for you. I know that people "know" that it takes hard work. It's not like in this day and age with information so readily available that people are unaware that it can be a down-right uphill climb some days to start a business. It's just that they are not prepared for the level of difficulty at which the work becomes hard.
SO, to that point I would like to give you a list of Hard Work Realities you may or not know that make starting a business really hard. Read this list, scour it and decide if this is for you. WARNING: It isn't for the faint of heart.
Reality #1: You don't sleep at first.
When you first start out on your own you go into hyperdrive. You spam your in-box 1,000 times a day looking for a response to your news letter. The second the phone rings you pick up on the first ring. Any invite to an appointment is a yes when you have nothing in your schedule and the FB/Twitter roller coaster is a nail bite fest when you home someone will like and/or retweet your post as if your existence depended on it. And, in a sick and twisted way, it does.
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All of that sounds tiring and exhausting and it is. But, crazily you will find yourself at 10PM at night staring up at the ceiling unable to sleep. Your mind is racing about things you could have said differently, better time to call to reach that one customer or what would have been a better time to send that marketing blast. You will think about anything but sleep which is what you should do. Does it get better? Yes, when the new-ness wears off and things feel normal you sleep. But then you change company structure or a new marketing campaign and the lack of sleep follows. It is a never-ending merry-go-round that only slows down for a brief time and then picks up again.
Reality #2: You lose some of your friends and family.
Being an entrepreneur isn't for everyone and that includes sometimes friends and family of those who choose to be entrepreneurs. I remember when I first announced my plan of what I was going to do. People in my own family looked at me like I was crazy. Friends who I thought would be supportive weren't. I felt even more alone and on my own during those early years.
But, then something amazing happened. We grew and time marched on. I made new friends through the business and then almost like clockwork a good deal of my old friends came back. Some pretended they never left and I never said anything. Others acknowledged and apologized for their actions and I forgave them. Being a business owner is tough on your own and you need all the friends you can get, so forgiveness is always readily available.
Reality #3: You will make horrible choices, I promise.
I certainly did. I had two other business partners for the first few years of my business. It was one of the biggest mistakes I could have made. I was the youngest of the three. I felt inexperienced and they had experience in previous ventures that I thought would be of value. Both of their ventures failed on their own prior to forming ours which should have been a sign.
What I failed to see is that being in business with someone is a marriage of sorts with that individual. And like in a marriage, it takes two people with aligned values to make the relationship work. I now find myself sole owner of my company with a unified voice. It took a good amount of self-sacrifice (and money) to correct those bad choices but I am so glad I did.
I know people have varying degrees on business partners or not. With my experiences and the failings I have been a part of, I am in the no business partners camp with those of differing backgrounds and goals. I also do not believe in 50/50 partnerships. Someone always ends up doing more work than the other. It's not fair and should be only done if one of you has the right to overrule the other in extreme circumstances.
Reality #4: What you planned never happens. Ever.
I'm a planner and strategist by nature. I like games like Chess and Risk and I liked to early on attempt to view my business in the same manner always looking 3-4 moves ahead. Envisioning myself as an older Bobby Fisher, I would plan a meeting with a customer to advance me into another meeting towards this goal only to have it change drastically and frustrate me in the process.
This used to make me really frustrated. You see in Chess you move the pieces in specific move sets around the board. The pieces don't move for you and you have complete control of your side of the board. That doesn't happen in business. You can guide your pieces and they will sometimes execute the way you would like and sometimes they don't. It's frustrating kind of like playing a video game with REALLY bad controls. But, sometimes someone does something even more genius or insightful than you would have done. And then you realize that you didn't pan that outcome, but you benefited from it and you are okay with that.
Reality #5: You discover new levels of Hard Work Realities 1-4 every day.
Seriously. Every day the business will come between you and a friend or you will hire new employees and struggle with sleep. It continues because your business is a living and breathing thing and you have to raise it. The hard work never gets easier, it just gets harder.
Nice sales pitch, right? But, like continually working out in the gym, the hard work pays off in the end. It doesn't make it any easier, but it makes it worth it. Trust me.