Hey Evolving Entrepreneurs,
I get it – you want to grow a business that allows you to make $50,000 in passive income, and/or move to Bali, and/or retire at age 40.
That is entirely doable. However, most business owners are looking in the wrong place. Most owners think they just need a funnel to bring in more customers et voila! First class ticket to the Gili Islands.
In reality, many business owners only make it partway there before they hit their ‘glass ceiling’ – an upper success limit that they cannot seem to break through.
This is for the business owners who feel they have run out of creative energy, or who struggle to imagine how it is possible for them to accomplish their long-term goals for their life.
Here is what usually happens:
Step 1) The entrepreneur gets excited about their new business venture that has the potential to accomplish all of their goals.
Step 2) The entrepreneur starts the business and realizes it is more work/more money/less feasible than they expected.
Step 3) The entrepreneur gets stuck in the trenches, spending all their time working in the business rather than on the business. They have created a job for themselves – often making less money than an actual job – and feel discouraged.
Step 4) The entrepreneur claims they are ‘bored’ when they are actually burnt out, and starts something else.
Maybe you have felt this before in the past. This lifecycle can be explained by a wonderful graph known as the transition curve:
This curve helps us understand how to manage our expectations. The entrepreneur who can manage her expectations has the best shot at achieving their goals (IMO). Here is what usually happens:
1. Uninformed Optimism at the beginning – “This is going to be amazing!”
2. Informed Pessimism a few months later – “This is more difficult/complex than I thought.”
3. Crisis of Meaning when motivation hits an all-time low – “Why did I get myself into this?”
4. Crash & Burn aka burnout – “This is too hard/life is too short – I’m doing something else”
OR Informed Optimism aka committing to stick with it – “I just have to keep going and success will come”
Now, for those of you who have started a business, you know the transition curve actually looks like this:
It is a wild ride! At the same time, it can be incredibly demoralizing if you go into business expecting results to come quickly… kind of like investing, relationships, or just about any meaningful endeavour you enter into expecting short-term gratification.
Success in business comes from playing the long game. For the first few months/years of a new venture, you might not make a dime – or you might go into astronomical debt – all the while working full-time hours. Compound this with mortgage payments, stock market volatility, and other financial responsibilities… How do you summon the courage to keep going?
You must understand the Hockey Stick Effect: success in entrepreneurship is NOT linear, it is exponential.
Check out the performance of Netflix, Amazon, AirBnb and Lululemon:
Don’t pay attention to the right side of each graph – pay attention to their success at the beginning. Look how flat it is. The owner of each company had to toil for years until the company started taking off. None of them had a crystal ball telling them their hard work would be rewarded.
Running a business is not all sunshine and rainbows. Some days are tedious and boring. Some days everything goes wrong and you doubt your ability to reach your goals. Some days you feel like a crazy person for starting a business in the first place.
In those moments, my advice to you is to remember: all you need to do is keep showing up.
Most often, the successful entrepreneurs you meet are not some genius with a brilliant idea that changes the world. They are a person who has the tenacity to stay motivated, the vision to see past their short-term obstacles, and the consistency to not let how they feel direct how they act.
Keep putting it out there: “Hey, I’m the fitness guy”, or “Hey, I’m the real estate gal”. Even when you feel demotivated. Even when your 500th cold email ignores you. People respect consistency, and the universe rewards persistence.
Keep showing up and your hockey stick moment will come.