The Many Moons of Overnight Success in Entrepreneurship

As an entrepreneur, you are eager to know exactly when you can expect money to pour in, especially if you’ve already quit your day job to pursue your passion. Or perhaps you’re thinking about quitting your day job and trying to figure out how much money you need to tide you over until the first wave of cash rolls in. And, if you’re on the internet, especially Facebook, you’ll have no trouble at all quickly finding stories of near-instant success such as five-figure sales your first week all without a website. There are countless tales of $20K weeks and how to get clients “today”.

The truth is somewhere in between and reliant on many factors. Can you get a sale for your product or services today? Yes. Can you make $20K and more in a month? Yes. In your first month? Well that depends mostly on what you call your first month. Is this literally your first month taking any kind of action in a business, or your first month that you’ve launched a product or service that has taken you weeks or months to develop and weeks or months to set up your network for sales and distribution? The truth is that there are many moons to every overnight success.

If you are an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur want-to-be, dreaming of doing something you love, there are a few things, I have found to be critical success factors, to success itself:

  1. How much money you make and when it starts flowing in depends on you. You have to rid yourself of money mindset obstacles you may not even realize you have but that will quietly send cash away from you while you dream of profit. And, you have to know, intimately, how much you need and want to make and how you will get there with what you’re offering.
  2. How will you know when you’ve made it? Define success in your own terms. Define short, medium and long-term success. Describe it in detail and give it a dollar figure where appropriate. Think about success, not only in dollars, but in life satisfaction and happiness. Success isn’t the same for everyone. Be clear about your definitions of success so you’ll know when you get there.
  3. Do what you love and the money will come. The reason this is true is not woo-woo but sheer tenacity. If you love what you do, you will have the endurance needed to face obstacles and naysayers and keep going. If you’ve thought of it, someone else has too, and needs what you’re offering. That doesn’t mean the road won’t be bumpy. Loving what you do gives you the energy you need to glide over the bumps.
  4. Be yourself in all ways. If you are not authentically a sales person, figure out how the sales will come. Your customers will resonate with your vibe, your personality and why you do what you do much more than they will gravitate toward what you’re doing. There’s a lot of marketing advice that will tell you how to generate cash quick, but the strategies won’t work if you have to become someone you’re not in order to implement them. Not to say that you won’t have to do things that are uncomfortable, like putting yourself out there for people to see, but there’s a difference between uncomfortable and disingenuous.
  5. Know what makes you happy in life and business. Success without happiness is unfulfilling. Understanding what you love, like, merely tolerate and what your deal breakers are will help you find clarity with life, your relationships, yourself, and your work. Delineating the things you value most (for example, honesty, kindness, integrity, contributing, love, free time, time with family) and things you can’t put up with (narcissism, dishonesty, lack of work-life balance, neediness, lack of sleep, living paycheck to paycheck, etc.), will provide focus, which, when partnered with action, increases your happiness and your likelihood of success.

Success takes time. Going from concept to cash flow depends on your commitment, whether you are going to “try” to do it or you will do it no matter what comes at you. The only thing you are ever ruled by is how badly you want something; everything else is an excuse. Knowing yourself, your mindset, your loves and don’t loves, and what truly makes you happy will shortcut your path to creating the life and business you see in your dreams. Success still doesn’t happen overnight, but taking the time to elucidate these five critical success factors minimize the moons between concept and cash flow. Cash flow isn’t sufficient for success, but it is necessary for it.

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