What it means to be an entrepreneur: The daily grind
It means doing something really hard, learning some tough lessons about self and life, and gaining something in life that is worth more than what is sacrificed.
A smart business person I know said, (paraphrasing) “The most important step to being rich is to make the decision.”
Most people won’t be rich because they’ll never make the decision to do so. But this is not just a decision to be rich. In fact, it’s not about the money at all. It’s about something much greater. Money tends to be the metric we talk about because it is a side effect of entrepreneurial success.
Entrepreneurship is a way of life. Making the decision is bound to happen for most of us. It’s just a matter of time. And this decision becomes an extremely significant moment because there is no turning back. If one does turn back, they were not an entrepreneur to begin with. The not-willing-to-turn-back is part of what defines an entrepreneur.
We, entrepreneurs, take a tough road. We fall much more often than normal people. We are ridiculed. We are different. We often give up the part of life that most people live for: free time and family time. We are dedicated at all costs. We’d pursue business after losing everything and being homeless. Nothing will stop us. Being an entrepreneur means being beat down over and over. And getting back up EVERY SINGLE TIME. It means learning lessons. And not just business lessons. Hard lessons about self and life. And as a result, we change and view the world differently.
I’m at a point in my life where things are looking really good. I’m not making much more than I have been, but my positioning is changing. A foundation is being built. Business is good. But, man, when I look back, I really seemed crazy.
I remember when I was learning how to sell as an agent, I was always so nervous in front of people. The pressure was on. I’m an introvert and not comfortable being aggressively persuasive. And I was losing money. This was a really difficult part of my life. It challenged my pride, my marriage, my sanity, and who I thought I was. A time came when I had to get a job to catch up and dig myself out of a hole. And as soon as I did that, back on the horse I go. I had to figure it out. I was willing to challenge my pride, my marriage, my sanity, and myself all over again. But this time around, I met someone that planted a seed in my head. I won’t go into detail about it here. Maybe that will be a different post. But it had to do with success through connections. I eventually learned that the absolute best way to market is to not market at all. When I figured this out, I could relax and be myself. It was a turning point for me because I could have confidence again. The pressure will never be on again.
Well, believe me, there is a whole lot more to the story than just what I wrote here. But the moral of the story is: Being an entrepreneur is hard. It’s a way of life. We put ourselves through hell and we love it. We are few. We are different. And we learn about the world in ways that “normal” people don’t get.
(By the way, different does not mean better. It just means different.)
“Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans backed by definite desires through constant persistence.” – Napoleon Hill
I pulled this out of Think and Grow Rich which was written in 1937. I love these old books because they show us that much of what we are figuring out today, has already been discovered.
I really liked The Secret when it came out. Belief is a huge part of succeeding. Most people only hope they succeed, but they don’t believe it. But The Secret lacks a major part of the formula. And that is execution. If you want to actually make things happen, I would recommend reading The Four Disciplines of Execution, by Sean Covey.
In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon goes on to explain (paraphrasing)…
“Examine the first hundred people you meet ask them what they want most in life and 98 of them will not be able to tell you. If you press them for an answer, some will say security, many will say money, some happiness, others will say power, and still others will say recognition. But none of them will be able to define these terms or give the slightest indication of a plan by which they hope to attain these vaguely expressed wishes.”
I believe in having a purpose. Your purpose states your core principles and why you exist. It serves as your “master compass”. But I also believe in writing definite goals because it is the goals that will pave your path immediately in front of you. If you make a definite goal 2 years out, it should change what you do today. This is where the dots connect. But of course, it looks chaotic when you follow your dream. The dots are only visibly connected when looking back.
I answered this question in the Austin Freelance Gigs Facebook Group. I felt compelled to share my answer in more places so here it is...
Introverts are often the ones that REALLY think outside the box instead of just saying so. For this reason, I wouldn't be surprised if the freelance world is dominated by introverts. And many of us do better than just fine socially when we are in our element and talking about what we have passion for. We might be socially awkward under "normal" circumstances, but that rarely affects the success of business.
What do you think?
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One of the things I value in my life the most is Freedom. Not just constitutional freedom. That’s great, but I’m talking about a different kind of freedom.
I’m talking about the freedom from a 9 to 5. And what do we often give in return for that freedom? More hours! I know, it makes no sense at all. That’s because the thing that holds freelancers together is a great passion for not feeling under control of someone else.
We don’t want to be stuck somewhere or on some project or on some agenda. We want to create these things for ourselves, even if it means taking the rocky road where we often fall.
Once people get good at treading this path, they can smooth out their ride, become more efficient, and ultimately create more free time. This is all awesome! It’s one of the most rewarding things a person can do. But it has limits and that’s where the whole idea of freedom clashes. For me anyway.
I value freedom too much to even be tied down to my own passion. Yes, I love what I do. But I don’t want to feel like I have to do my trade in order to live. In fact, someday, I want to be able to do nothing and be ok financially. This is why I view freelancing as just one part of a journey.
I’m proud of being a freelancer. But I’m also looking forward to seeing freelancing as part of my past. I want to grow a business beyond a few people (which basically takes me out of the freelance category), teach my trade to others, and generate residuals.
Are you a freelancer? What does that mean to you?
- University of PhoenixBusiness, 2007 - present
- Hard KnocksSEO and Internet Marketing, 2007 - present
My name is Scott True. I’m an SEO Strategist and Co-founder of True Connect Marketing. While that keeps me busy during the business day, my son and family keep me busy during the rest of the time. I like motorcycles, Calvin and Hobbes, and love all kinds of travel. I am also the founder of Austin SEO Meetup.
I have co-founded a company called True Connect Marketing. It’s an innovative idea that has to do with connecting businesses with people in a meaningful way. The goal is to earn the lifetime value of advocates as opposed to traditional lead generation. This is a concept that will be in development over the next few years.
I got into SEO because I hired some SEOs when I was a Realtor. Being a Real Estate Agent was not for me and the SEOs I hired broke the rules. I found myself trying to figure out what they did and I loved doing so. So, naturally, I gravitated to SEO and now I run an SEO and Inbound Marketing Agency.
- Scott True MarketingOwner, 2013 - presentI help Real Estate companies establish a creative difference, a more attractive brand, a larger online presence, greater lead generation.
- True Connect MarketingCo-founder, 2013 - present
- SEO Strategist, 2011 - 2013
- Scott True MarketingInternet Marketer, 2007 - 2011elped Real Estate companies with website production, Lead Generation, Online Marketing, Social Media, and Real Estate Transaction Coordination.
- True Dream RealtyOwner/ Online Marketing, 2007 - 2008I founded True Dream Realty® when I got my Real Estate License in 2007. My focus was with the Online Marketing and Lead Generation while my partner was the agent. The company is an agency that helps buyers and sellers in residential Real Estate.