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Failure is almost guaranteed if you ignore this one simple truth

RazorCut

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A thought struck me whilst coming back from a walk in the forest this morning.

I was thinking on how potential success can be derailed for an article I am writing when, all of a sudden, I remembered a thread that I had contributed to, and had this thought that new entrepreneurs might misinterpret the meaning.

I had posted an image, a meme, a poster (whatever you want to call it) on a thread about mentally preparing yourself for the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. The image was this one:

26633

My worry was that people could easily see this as just trying one business idea, then another, then another and so on and so forth until they hit on something that worked. Although a certain amount of this is almost inevitable, it is far more powerful if you look at it in a linear way. With one business model, one idea, one single point of focus.

You see the simple truth of the matter is:

You get better at the things the persist in.

I often read on here intro posts where someone says "I tried Forex trading, drop shipping, online poker, property developing, Amazon FBA, Cryptocurrency, Digital Marketing, Copywriting, book writing, Blogging, Podcasting etc. etc.. and failed". The list goes on and on.

All of these business models have made people millions of dollars so they do work. But only if mastered. If you persist through the failures. Learn from them. Course correct and move forward. However they will all fail if you don’t follow through. If you fail to persist.

Now I am as guilty as the next man for throwing in the towel well before I have mastered a subject. I have done so many, many times in the past. But I have also persisted in several areas in life and, although I might not be a world master, I have earned a comfortable living from them by being in the top 10%. Now that might seem a lofty goal but I can assure you it doesn’t take much extra effort to reach the top 10% if you persist. You see most people are just happy to be mediocre. As soon as they reach that level of average they take their foot off the gas. The problem is mediocre does not make you stand out from the crowd, and that is what you need to do if you want to be truly successful. Be it a better product, better strategy, better service or better analysis. But if you strive to continue to improve you can’t help but beat the opposition.

So once you have a business idea that meets all the criteria you set for yourself don’t give up when things get hard (which they invariably will). Know that the harder it is the more rewarding it will be when you eventually overcome those obstacles and frustrations and truly master it. Be content in the knowledge that there will be far less competition as many, many people will have thrown in the towel on that very same journey. And, once you break through, don’t take your foot off the gas. Push on, don’t slacken. Persistence is the key as you will keep getting better and better, putting more and more distance between you and those content to wallow in mediocrity.
 

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MTF

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So once you have a business idea that meets all the criteria you set for yourself don’t give up when things get hard (which they invariably will). Know that the harder it is the more rewarding it will be when you eventually overcome those obstacles and frustrations and truly master it. Be content in the knowledge that there will be far less competition as many, many people will have thrown in the towel on that very same journey.
100%.

This is the very reason why I love business models that require good old work ethic, doing the same things over and over again. Most people drop out when things get boring and repetitive, which is when the stubborn and determined are rewarded.

Also, thank you for emphasizing this:

And, once you break through, don’t take your foot off the gas. Push on, don’t slacken. Persistence is the key as you will keep getting better and better, putting more and more distance between you and those content to wallow in mediocrity.
I'm currently dealing with a giant downturn in my business and there's always this little temptation in the back of my head to try something else but I know that a person truly dedicated to mastery keeps going even when things suck (particularly after a long and very satisfying upswing).

Also relevant to the topic (some on the inside):
 
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RazorCut

RazorCut

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I'm currently dealing with a giant downturn in my business and there's always this little temptation in the back of my head to try something else but I know that a person truly dedicated to mastery keeps going even when things suck (particularly after a long and very satisfying upswing).
Yes, it does take considerable self restraint to stick to one course when things are going against us. The grass is seldom green and I’ve had businesses suffer from spreading myself too thin across multiple enterprises.

I remember several years ago starting over and suffering major analysis paralysis as I just could not decide which direction to take. I was all over the place. I'd start on one idea for a few days then decide that something else looked better. Then I'd come across something else and begin to wonder if I was following the right course. I was literally just treading water and getting no where.

Today I have total clarity. I have one goal, one objective and one business plan (despite the protracted delays). Yes there are loads of potential new businesses that look really interesting but I barely give them a second glance. I have learned to ignore the noise and just press on.

Thanks for the extra links. Great threads.
 

PureA

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Great post brother. Key message.

Relevant book - The Dip by Seth Godin

The grass always looks greener when you are in the trenches with your current biz.

Staying the path is when you hit GOLD. Something that helps me when times get tough is imagining the number of people who drop out and switch lanes at the pain point you are experiencing. Every time you stay at it through a hard moment is the moment you are 'beating the competition'.
 
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Great post brother. Key message.

Relevant book - The Dip by Seth Godin
Excellent book (I remember listening to it while packing orders when I had an eCommerce business).


Every time you stay at it through a hard moment is the moment you are 'beating the competition'.
So true. Beating them and also thinning them out. A double win.
 

LA_Jau

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I find the post very relatable, not just the dead poker dream lol but lack of execution and excuses for my past business 'failures' (small revenue or no sales and quit after 1 year).

Small thought - If the CENTS are reasonable, is there ever a good reason to give up on a startup? Or should we just keep persisting until 'success'?
 

Brewmacker

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So once you have a business idea that meets all the criteria you set for yourself don’t give up when things get hard (which they invariably will). Know that the harder it is the more rewarding it will be when you eventually overcome those obstacles and frustrations and truly master it. Be content in the knowledge that there will be far less competition as many, many people will have thrown in the towel on that very same journey. And, once you break through, don’t take your foot off the gas. Push on, don’t slacken. Persistence is the key as you will keep getting better and better, putting more and more distance between you and those content to wallow in mediocrity.
Totally agree with you here! The more challenging the task ahead, the harder for people to imitate your business idea and this can only help your CENTS rating ;)

It is still a grey area between pure grit and pure ignorant stubbornness. You can bring a horse to water, but you cant make it drink and all that.
So yes to perseverance! On the other hand I agree that credit should also be given to taking time to reflect and self assess with a healthy dose of product/process/market performance analysis.

Question is, how does one recognize when something is a total flop or when to push through on something that appears to be a totally flopping (e.g. after 2 years)?

Product belief (Actual Value) +
(Market Response (Interpretation of Value) X Available Time & Energy (Steering Interpreted Value towards Actual Value)) =
Success
(Valuable Product All Along) OR Failure (Not a Valuable Product All Along)

A good example is AirB&B of which no-one in the beginning bought into the idea. Welcoming strangers into ones home was something humanity lost and forgot (at least for the 'western world'). When it finally took off it was a paradigm shift on a global scale. This came from pure belief and determination from the co-founders regardless of the market response and it took years.

Guess I am just philosophizing here, as in principle I agree with what you posted. Just a gut feeling that the devil is in the detail when it comes to staying at it and walking away. Especially when a product affects human social dynamics on a global scale with the aim to inspire change, in contrast to releasing a 65% recyclable drinking straw on to the market.
 

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RazorCut

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I find the post very relatable, not just the dead poker dream lol but lack of execution and excuses for my past business 'failures' (small revenue or no sales and quit after 1 year).

Small thought - If the CENTS are reasonable, is there ever a good reason to give up on a startup? Or should we just keep persisting until 'success'?
I think you have to analyse the probability for success and weigh that against the costs/benefits. If there is a huge upside then, even if the chances of success are less than 50/50, you have to give it your all. Maybe set a time frame in which to do it or at least reassess the situation.

One thing to bear in mind is if others have managed to make a success of something then you know it can be done so there are then very little excuses for quitting. You just need to FOCUS and follow through.

I'm not talking about sending a rocket to Mars or inventing the latest high tech gadget, I'm talking about businesses within your level. Yes you will surely have to up your game but setting your sights on something that is attainable means there is far less impulse to quit. Look for models that are currently working in a non saturated marketplace. Ones where you can add value, pivot to a different niche or better market. As long as it is not a closed shop, (where you cannot get a footing), what can stop you? Only your own doubts, fears, weaknesses and glass ceilings. Those are natural reactions but you can push through them if you look at each logically.

Don't try to run before you can walk. Start with something manageable. As you gain experience and confidence you will move up to larger and more ambitious projects. There is no rule to say that your current project has to be the big one that will consume the rest of your working life. Your persistence will create new and exciting opportunities further down the line as you get to be a better and more experienced entrepreneur.
 

Brewmacker

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I think you have to analyse the probability for success and weigh that against the costs/benefits. If there is a huge upside then, even if the chances of success are less than 50/50, you have to give it your all. Maybe set a time frame in which to do it or at least reassess the situation.

One thing to bear in mind is if others have managed to make a success of something then you know it can be done so there are then very little excuses for quitting. You just need to FOCUS and follow through.

I'm not talking about sending a rocket to Mars or inventing the latest high tech gadget, I'm talking about businesses within your level. Yes you will surely have to up your game but setting your sights on something that is attainable means there is far less impulse to quit. Look for models that are currently working in a non saturated marketplace. Ones where you can add value, pivot to a different niche or better market. As long as it is not a closed shop, (where you cannot get a footing), what can stop you? Only your own doubts, fears, weaknesses and glass ceilings. Those are natural reactions but you can push through them if you look at each logically.

Don't try to run before you can walk. Start with something manageable. As you gain experience and confidence you will move up to larger and more ambitious projects. There is no rule to say that your current project has to be the big one that will consume the rest of your working life. Your persistence will create new and exciting opportunities further down the line as you get to be a better and more experienced entrepreneur.
Very good answer :) Thanks for taking the time to respond.
 

Ernman

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I remember several years ago starting over and suffering major analysis paralysis as I just could not decide which direction to take. I was all over the place. I'd start on one idea for a few days then decide that something else looked better. Then I'd come across something else and begin to wonder if I was following the right course. I was literally just treading water and getting no where.

Today I have total clarity. I have one goal, one objective and one business plan (despite the protracted delays). Yes there are loads of potential new businesses that look really interesting but I barely give them a second glance. I have learned to ignore the noise and just press on.
Awesome thread RazorCut, thank you for sharing. I've been wrestling with the paralysis issue these last several months myself, so your post cut to the bone. Fortunately, I saw my way through to a specific need and I'm taking action. But it is so easy to get tempted into other shiny objects. Great thread, thanks
 

Andy Black

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What’s the phrase?

“The grass is greener where you water it.”
 

Timmy C

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I feel you with this, my last business i did it sort of felt unfinished....

Granted there where good reasons i did not continue, but this is one of the reasons i told myself i am seeing what i am doing right now through to the bitter end!

I will finish it, till it turns into something or... just another failure that gave me some learning experience and didn't cost much other than my time.
 

VigilantCMDR

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It's very important and I am glad you reminded us of it!! I see so many of my friends give up after things don't look great at first, when in reality if they just stuck with it for a few years they might be billionaires!!
 
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RazorCut

RazorCut

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What’s the phrase?

“The grass is greener where you water it.”
Yes, if you remember that plus our natural tendency to be attracted by shiny new objects I feel it helps stave off the effects.

26726
 

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