Do you think it’s just those of us that have an analytical streak that want to know “how” all the time, or does everyone question like I do? Take business success for example. I am the type of person that has typically said, “just tell me how to do it, and I’ll do it”! I want the answers. A list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts”. But it just doesn’t work like that! A business is like a live entity with its own personality, goals and energy. Every business is different, unless of course you are building a franchise, those tend to be like clones of the original. There are no hard and fast rules, no “ingredients” that are guaranteed to provide success for every type of business. You need to “know” your business, the vision for it, and it’s customers.
There are lots of sources of information for building a business, many on success principles and practical knowledge. There are webinars, classes, articles, books, videos, training platforms and more. I know, I have chased them all looking for the keys, those ingredients that when mixed together just right create success. All those webinars, classes and the lot are fine, there is nothing wrong with them. All entrepreneurs need to be on a lifelong journey of constantly learning and growing. They need to keep learning about the industry they have chosen to work in, and themselves. However, these things in and of themselves do not make up the secret sauce. There is still more missing.
In my search and struggle I have found that I end up spinning my wheels when I am too much in my head! I have to come to terms with the fact that there is no easy way, no shortcut to success. There isn’t a “secret” ingredient, like something Indiana Jones would be in search of, that is THE answer. There is no one right way, and we can’t copy exactly what anyone else has done.
The secret is that there IS NO secret!
Do you know what the secret to success is? Good old-fashioned hard work! Yup. It sucks doesn’t it? In this age of entitlement and microwave mentality we all want the proverbial “Easy Button”. As Theodore Roosevelt said,
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
In my study of successful people and businesses, along with my own experience of building a successful, traditional brick and mortar type of business, and now learning how to build an international online marketing business, I have determined the following principles make up the not-so-secret sauce of success:
Treat your business like your baby. Your business requires the same commitment, care and discipline you would have toward your own child. If you can treat your business like one of your children and not a hobby, you are on the right track.
Be passionate. Returning to the child analogy, if or when you have children, you are passionate that they thrive, are happy and are successful in this life. If you aren’t passionate about what you are doing stop immediately! You will waste a whole lot of time and money trying to bring life to something that has no life.
Develop a positive mental attitude. If passion is the blood of your business, a positive mental attitude is the iron in your blood! If you have never been anaemic, it is like having your life force syphoned out of you. You need to be able to view your world and your business through the lenses of a positive attitude. It will affect your business holistically, from customer service to marketing, and everything in between! You must believe with your whole mind and whole heart that you will succeed, that it’s a done deal. Your success is on the way, you are just waiting for its delivery.
You must define your way, success. Have a huge “why”! You need a huge “why” in order to withstand the hard days, there are lots of hard days, and frustration. Have you ever seen that photograph of the man standing just inside the door of a lighthouse, while enormous waves are crashing around the lighthouse? THAT is what your “why” is like! Your why has to be as big, and as strong as a lighthouse, firmly anchored against the onslaught of ocean. Your “why” is your motivation to keep going against all odds.
Be teachable. Finding a mentor that is successful in your work of choice is one of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur. However, if you are not teachable it will be pointless. It amazes me how many new entrepreneurs think they either don’t need help, or they know better. I’ve seen it happen! While we all have an independent spirit which is why we are entrepreneurs in the first place, we must be humble enough to be willing to follow in the footprints of those who have gone before us. If you aren’t willing to be teachable and listen I can guarantee you will add needless years, (yes years) to your success journey. You don’t need to recreate the wheel!
The customer is always first. Can you be a servant leader? If you are only interested in the money you should not try to be an entrepreneur. There are many other ways to just make a quick buck. That’s why being a true entrepreneur, and a successful one at that, takes so much time and effort. We can’t be self-centred, only caring about what we want and how fast we want it. We must be able to figure out what our customers need, and meet those needs above and beyond what they can get elsewhere. THAT is how you reach success. If there is any kind of secret aspect to success, that’s it. Of course we all go into business wanting to make money and succeed, but we have to redefine what success looks like in our minds. Chasing the mighty dollar alone will not provide a foundation that you can build a lasting business on.
Are you willing to grow? The life of an entrepreneur (and anyone really) should be a life of constant learning and growth, personally and professionally. All of us have some level of blockers, or thought patterns that keep us stuck. We have to be willing to face these in truth. We can do this by reading books on personal growth and success principles, and by being transparent with our mentors/peers. We don’t have to accept constructive criticism from everyone, but only those we trust to have our best interests in mind.
The back bone, or spine of your business is that good old fashioned hard work, and business process! Any type of real business takes hard work. There is just no getting around it. That’s why all those get rich quick schemes don’t work! It just doesn’t happen fast or easily. As well as that, many businesses have been brought to near corporate meltdown by lack of business process, so make sure this is shored up as well.
So why do it? Why be an entrepreneur? Most of us just have it in our blood. It’s part of who we are and we aren’t fulfilled unless we are building it. It’s a burn. We love to help people, make a difference and change things for the better. That’s the entrepreneurial spirit. That’s what America was founded on and that’s what we have to get back to in order to start turning this country around.