Fess up. You’ve wondered.
You see those superstars online busting out killer content, launching high-end programs and racking up Twitter followers by the hundreds.
You watch (with an ounce of envy) as they seem to have the midas touch – everything they do is a success. Six-figure paydays, raving fans for miles and a message so tight and compelling nobody can compete with them.
You try to figure out their strategy. You sign up for their lists in hopes of gleaning some kind of insight into how they got where they did. You even buy their latest offer thinking that *this* will be the thing to enlighten you – to give you the REAL scoop on what it takes to run a profitable, thriving business.
You watch, you wonder and you maybe even obsess (just a little).
What do they have that you don’t?
How did they do it?
What’s the big secret they seem to know that you don’t?
And yet here you stand today – perhaps not as successful as you’d hoped. And you can’t help but wonder…
Do I have what it takes to make it big?
You aren’t the first to feel this way, and you won’t be the last.
But let me ask you…
What if it was all one big fat lie?
What if it was all a hoax?
Then you’re faced with the truth. The honest, raw truth that isn’t sexy but can save you years of anguish.
Success takes time.
The truth is, you hear about someone AFTER they’ve tipped – you don’t hear about all the late nights, and the hustling and the worrying about “where I’m going to get the money to pay my mortgage.” By the time they’ve become a fixture in your mind of entrepreneurial success – they’ve paid their dues.
Any entrepreneur who’s made it big – and has a credible and loyal following of fans, did not do it overnight. Yes, some progressed more quickly than others for a myriad of reasons – but fundamentally, they all did their work to get to where they are today.
Chris Brogan, author, speaker, social media pro and all-around-amazingly-smart-and-nice guy commands well over $20k/day for his consulting work. This is a guy who’s revered in the online community (and offline I’m sure too).
When asked about his overnight success, here’s what he said (paraphrased): “Yes I’m an overnight success – 11 years in the making.” It took Chris 11 years of hustling, working like crazy and connecting with people to become the King of Social Media that he is now. Eleven years.
Tim Ferris, celebrity author of the 4-Hour Workweek did NOT start out working four hours a week. He did the work that allowed him to create a business model that supported this lifestyle. But I promise, he didn’t start out a millionaire working four hours on Tuesdays.
It’s easy to be enticed and entranced by the dream of overnight success.
The notion is perpetuated by offers and sales pages claiming that buying the latest blueprint or formula is all you need to go from struggling small business owner to renowned (and highly paid) expert – in no time flat.
We see sales pages with yachts, family vacations, fancy cars and more (gag). We hear big names throw out list sizes in the tens of thousands promising you that you can have a list of 50,000 too in no time flat – just like they did (don’t believe it).
Note: For the record, I’m NOT saying that marketers are bad. I’m a marketer – and guess what, you are too. There are many wonderful marketers that offer incredible business advice to small business owners. I’m referring to a small segment that make it sound like all you need to do is press the Staples ‘EASY’ button and you’ll have millions pouring into your PayPal account.
Overnight success is a fallacy.
Success takes time. Building a bold, compelling brand takes time. Learning the entrepreneurial ropes takes time. Figuring out a business model that serves you takes time. Understanding your core message and who you are uniquely designed to serve takes time.
Believing anything else will set you up for a massive letdown.
I’m not saying it needs to be hard.
And I’m not saying it needs to take forever.
But if you don’t have the patience and fortitude to play the long game, you’re going to be gravely disappointed in how your entrepreneurial story turns out.
As luck would have it, there are things you can do to speed up your progress. These won’t take you from zero to 100 in 30 seconds flat, but they will keep you positioned for success – in the straightest line possible.
1. Build a financial cushion :: If you’re stressed about how you’re going to eat this month, your best creative ideas won’t come out to play. Get a side gig, stay at your day job until you become profitable, save like mad before you quit, take out a loan – whatever it takes to ensure that finances aren’t standing between you and your entrepreneurial genius (plus, desperation never looked good on anyone).
2. Do the unsexy work :: Websites, logos and business cards are sexy. Facebook ads are sexy. The latest Pinterest course is sexy. And these are likely all pieces needed to build a great business. But if you don’t know what you do, why what you do matters, who you do it for and what you stand for – well then my friend, a Facebook ad won’t add a whole hell of a lot of value to your bottom line. Great brands are built from the inside out – start there first.
3. Watch the stories you tell :: We tell ourselves stories every day. These stories either serve us and our highest potential, or they drag us down and keep us small. You know the stories you tell yourself (“Who am I to do this?” “I can’t make this work,” “There’s nothing unique about me,” “I’m no expert.”). These stories sabatoge your success and keep you out of action (translation: it’s going to take you that much more time to succeed). Stop the stories. Break the pattern.
4. Enlist support :: Nobody who’s achieved great things has done it alone. Fact. Stop trying to do it all by yourself. It doesn’t work and it’s lonely as hell. There’s no entrepreneurial award for flying solo. Hire a coach. Join a mastermind. Build your personal board of advisors. Take programs. Attend conferences. Meet somebody new on Twitter. Hire a virtual assistant. Hire an entire team.
5. Define success for yourself :: Do you even want a yacht? I don’t! Do you want to have a six-car garage? Would you actually want to uproot your family and move to some remote Caribbean island? It can be tempting to want what others have – but the reality is then when you get it – you’ll be left feeling like something is still missing. The best path to a fulfilling and inspiring life is to define success on YOUR terms and then go about doing what it takes to reach it. This is your game – play it your way.
6. Step up and act like the CEO :: News flash. You are the CEO of your business. You are more than your craft. You wear many hats from marketer to financial officer to creative to adminstrator. But ultimately, you are the CEO. When you claim this leadership role, and start making decisions from this place, your route to success quickens. You say no when you need to. You streamline and automate your processes. You delegate to free up your genius time. You focus on revenue-generating activities (vs. hanging out on Facebook all day). You make offers. You create products. You do what it takes to go pro, and you stop pissing around doing things that slow your business growth.
Overnight success may be one big myth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve incredible things quickly. The speed of your success is really up to you. It’s not about magic bullets or quick fixes – it’s about doing the work – each and every single day AND cultivating a winner’s mindset. That’s it!
Entrepreneurial freedom is in reach – maybe just not within the next 24 hours.
p.s. if you’re committed to the long-game, then check out my latest group coaching program, Business Breakthrough. This six-month mastery program is designed for women ready to take their business to the next level and breakthrough the barriers that keep them playing small and achieving moderate results. We start May 8th – will you join us?
Photo Credit: Flikr, Mr.Outdoor Guy
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