Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Swimming the Moat

In my experience, starting a business is much like crossing a moat. When you 1st approach the castle, the moat doesn't look that bad. It's just a short distance to the castle wall. You can scale that wall no problem and be inside the palace without a hitch. You have a goal, you have a plan and you jump in! It doesn't take long before you realize that that water is very COLD! There are also alligators that were below the surface. Those creatures are ready to eat you for lunch and make sure you don't make it to the other side. The other side? Well, that's a little farther across than you had anticipated. And that wall? That wall sure didn't look this tall before you started to climb it. Just how far do you have to scale before you can sit down to that feast? Sleep in the cozy bed? Wear the finest of clothes with them most expensive jewelry? And ride in the finest carriage in all the land? How long will it take? How do you expect to answer this question if you never get there?

My first six years in the business were hopeless. There are a lot of times when you sit and you say "Why am I doing this? I'll never make it. It's just not going to happen. I should go out and get a real job, and try to survive.
George Lucas, American Film Producer

Can you imagine what your movie going experience would be like without the famous George Lucas? All too often we give up before we even start. How many times in your life have you looked back and wondered, "how would things be different if only I would have stuck with it"? Whether it be a job, school, a home project or chasing our dreams, all too often we give up before we get a chance to even glimpse at how awesome the outcome could be.

Experts say it usually takes about 2 years to get a business off the ground. What people don't realize about a home business is that the same start up structure is there. Starting a business from your home office has all the same concepts as opening a brick and mortar store or office. There is still a period of gaining clients. You will still have to learn by trial and error. Marketing is still key. I remember as a kid my mother owned a clothing store. Some days not one person would walk through the door. Some days only a few. Then other days we struggled to get in a short lunch break and had customers shopping well past closing time. There are valleys and peaks in every business. The question is this.... What will you do when the going gets rough? Is the tough going to get going or are you going to throw your hands up and walk away? 

I really want people to know that I’ve worked hard, very hard, to get to where I am today.. this didn’t just happen overnight. I started in business over 25 years ago and have found a way to build on what I’ve learned through every partnership and opportunity.
Magic Johnson

In my years of working from home, I've done a lot of observing others in the work at home markets. I began categorizing my contacts into two groups
  1. The Greenies - You know these folks. These are the people that are always chasing the next best thing. They are running from one opportunity to another chasing greener pastures. Each time you see them you have to ask them what they are up to these days? And more likely than not, they have a new GREAT venture to tell you about. These eventually become the people that you avoid when you scope them out in the grocery store. And don't tell me you don't have these friends! I know you do.... we all do! People usually view The Greenies with skepticism and wonder how long it will be before they bounce to the next company.
  2. The Lifers - These guys and gals have been with their company for 2 or more years. Sometimes, at this two year mark, they still aren't making the money they had planned to make. But that hasn't affected their attitude towards their business. They are still making goals and chugging along. I admire these folks, though. I quite often compare The Lifers to the family store. You know the shoe store on the town square that is now run by the grandson of the original owner? These are the places that people will drive well out of their way to go to. Why? Because people know that The Lifers know their product, they treat their clients fair, they work hard, and it's the same face each time they approach the business. People are loyal to The Lifers.
Give your business the time that you and your business deserve. Stick it out in the moat. Fight your way to your dreams. Find a "Lifer" when the going gets rough. Ask them how they face alligators and tall walls. Someone that is successful probably didn't get there by not helping others and it's been my experience that most are quite willing to hand out a few tips just to see you succeed, too. 

1 comment:

  1. Following you from MBC! Had fun reading all your tabs, enjoyed Almost Midnight and Behind Cinderella...love the way you write!

    I am following, hope you can stop by for a visit!

    Thanks, Becky Jane
    Raising kids can be a lot like weeding the rose bed...well worth it, but...OUCH!