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The Secret to Success as a First-Time Entrepreneur? Persistence.

Leadership & Inspiration

Joshua Davidson wrote this article


It’s remarkable how many first-time entrepreneurs quit.

They might have been right on the cusp of something great, but they decide to get out of the race.

The reason being, for a lot of first-time entrepreneurs, they approach entrepreneurship as a sprint, not a marathon.

If that is the way you’re going to treat your brand new mobile app, web app, brick-and-mortar store, service, whatever it might be, statistically, you are proven to fail.

Here is the thing, there is no such thing as an overnight success.

Sure, there are ones who hit the ground running quicker than others, but not an overnight success. They’re fairy tales in the world of business.

There is a reason why so few companies are called unicorns.

So, if that is the case, what is the secret? What can entrepreneurs do to be in a better mindset to succeed?

It is the art of being persistent. That’s the secret, except well, it isn’t a secret.

This should be a given.

Let’s take a toddler for a minute, as an example.

Imagine if you have a brand new toddler, learning to walk.

After a few months of trying to walk, you throw in the towel and tell everyone your child is just not destined to walk.

Sounds crazy, right?

That is exactly how first-time entrepreneurs tackle their brand new companies, and it is mind-boggling.

(Full disclosure, the toddler example came from a Tony Robbins video; I just repurposed it for entrepreneurship since it was fantastic!)

Listen, I get it. The concept behind insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. But you see, that isn’t persistence.

That is being flat-out stupid.

The reality is if you are determined to succeed, you will.

Without sounding cliche, let me explain. You will try, and if something is not working, you adjust.

You will keep adjusting until you figure out something that sticks, the formula to initial success.

You keep adjusting from there, figuring out how to find what is most sticky, what can help you grow.

It’s the same way a toddler learns to walk. They figure out that first move that works, and slowly, work on that, until the next thing you know, they are faster than you.

It also takes brains.

So many first timers in entrepreneurship aren’t accounting for data. They aren’t paying attention to trends. They aren’t looking at the gray, and instead only the black and white.

Stop that.

Often, you can save yourself trials and experiments by paying more attention to the initial set backs.

Note, not failures. Set backs.

This is so valuable to understand.

Entrepreneurship needs to be a long-term view. You can never say you tried everything and it never worked out, because that is flat out false. There are thousands of ways to accomplish something. To find a market fit. To prove customers exist. To network. To find the right pricing.

Talking to American Magazine in 1921, Thomas Edison had this to say about having tested hundreds of filaments for the electric light. “After we had conducted thousands of experiments on a certain project without solving the problem, one of my associates, after we had conducted the crowning experiment and it had proved a failure, expressed discouragement and disgust over our having failed to find out anything. I cheerily assured him that we had learned something. For we had learned for a certainty that the thing couldn’t be done that way, and that we would have to try some other way.”

If you’re starting your first mobile app, prepare to be patient and try.

If you’re opening your first restaurant, prepare to be patient and try.

If you’re offering your first service, prepare to be patient and try.

And then be prepared to adjust.

And to adjust some more.

Rinse and repeat.

Entrepreneurship isn’t sexy. I am sorry to break it to you.

What the media, the news, what your friends have said is all wrong.

It doesn’t mean it isn’t exhilarating. It doesn’t mean it isn’t incredible. It doesn’t mean you won’t have more fun than ever before.

No, you will.

But it does take work. A lot of work.

More work than you’ve ever imagined.

That is the secret to entrepreneurship.


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