Success takes hard work. Lots of it.

By | 12th February 2017

The first rule of Financial Independence(F.I.) club isn't this

Success for the self-employed requires an investment: short-term sacrifice in return for long-term gain.

Those sacrifices can take many forms: perhaps working 80 hours a week, driving an £800 car, or even delaying starting a family.

In return for those sacrifices you rightly receive the rewards.

Sadly, there are those who would criticise or even attack you for those choices and the resulting rewards.

I had an upsetting experience last week in a supposed professional business networking forum. Simply posting about how ‘the more you save, the earlier you can retire’ led to a deluge of comments against this and how it was impossible.

I’m afraid I have a zero-tolerance policy for negativity from those who just complain rather than take action, so chose to leave the forum when the comments became personal. Sad, as I had been a member for many years.

There are even less barriers to getting ahead now than there were when I started my own business back in 2006. For example, free training available to all – IF you put in the effort.

As the famous quote says:

The harder you work the luckier you get

The harder you work the luckier you get

While some complain about “how they didn’t get the breaks”, let me give you an example of how you make your own. Anyone could do what I did, IF they were willing to take action:

Back in 2008, in the early stages of my business, I joined a local business networking group. This was one that you had to stand up and do a 60 second talk each week, something I absolutely hated at the start.

Yet, I realised that this would be good for me and my future business success, so forced myself to attend those meetings – putting up with the discomfort because I realised that there is no success without hard work.


Even then, I could have just stayed a ‘normal’ member, bringing in referrals and visitors regularly.

But, the harder you work the luckier you get, so within 4 months I volunteered to run the finances of the group – more of a speaking role, but again something I pushed myself to do.

3 months later I volunteered to run the weekly networking meetings, another giant leap but one I pushed myself to do.

6 months after that I volunteered to become a director consultant – training members in networking and how to grow their businesses, as well as being responsible for the growth of several groups myself.

Yet another giant leap, when a year ago I could barely present for a minute, but opportunities are all around you – IF you take action.

No-one will save you, but they will help you - IF you take action

No-one will save you, but they will help you – IF you take action

I didn’t stop there – I then went to California shortly afterwards for a director’s conference. This wasn’t easy and was a real financial stretch requiring considerable sacrifice but I took action.

(Whilst some might think, it’s ok for him going all the way to the US – even though it was subsidised it was such a stretch that I could only afford cheap fast food while there and had to use public transport late at night. Not a good idea when, on leaving a bus near the hotel in Long Beach one night, I nearly got mugged by a group of young gentlemen who said they would ‘pop a cap in my ass’ if I didn’t give them money! I couldn’t afford to stay in the conference hotel, the one I stayed in had rooms small even by prison cell standards. With walls literally paper-thin, as it was an old ship. With no air-con the tiny window had to be left open, meaning I was often woken by small boats passing with their exceedingly loud outboard motors in the middle of the night.)

As a result of doing this, I found out about the author mentoring programme they ran and signed up – resulting in my first book a year later, as well as my second book a couple of years afterwards.

At one point I had 3 jobs(yes 3!) at the same time – in addition to my own business, I was spending a lot of time as a director consultant(taking one group right up to ranked 15th in the whole UK, out of around 600 groups) and took on an additional role as social media coordinator. This additional role meant getting up regularly at 5am to visit groups throughout Essex, Kent and Surrey. One time I even had to get up at 4am, leave at 4:45am and drive 70 miles to deliver a presentation.

Going beyond this, I have even given up time on holiday to visit local networking groups and make presentations – the opportunities are there, you just have to take or make them. (I’d asked if I could present to a group in Spain, which meant getting up at 6am on holiday to drive 15 miles in the dark to get to the meeting.)

As the Chinese proverb says:

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

After building up 17 years experience in industry and practice, James started his own business from scratch in 2006.

He now helps others to do the same, while minimising both the risks and costs.

James is dual qualified in tax and accounts, and has won multiple awards for small business. In 2014 he was invited to Downing Street, as one of the Small Business Saturday 100 winners.

5 thoughts on “Success takes hard work. Lots of it.

  1. FIRECracker

    Wow, you nearly got robbed? Yikes! Sorry to hear about that.

    I’m so impressed with your insane hustle (how many people can say they’ve worked 3 jobs?!)! Way to go! The haters will never understand because they don’t have what it takes. And if they continue to dismiss FI, it’s their loss. We’ll be sure to send them a nice postcard from Chautauqua UK. 🙂

    1. James McBrearty Post author

      Thanks, yes it was late at night in a deserted badly lit area of Long Beach port at the end of the bus line – not a good place to be. During the day the area seemed ok, but turned out to be not too good when I came back after a full day at the conference.

      When haters complain, they fail to see that they have the power to change their situation. Whether it’s doubling your income by working 2 x 40 hour weeks, moving from a HCOL area or reducing unnecessary expenses. Sadly, many people aren’t willing to do what it takes to get ahead. Even just increasing your knowledge in your own time gives you greater earnings potential, at no cost.

      I’m looking forward to the Chautauqua, it will be a great event.

  2. Sarah

    Just come over to your blog from the rockstar finance directory- I’m a UK blogger too 🙂

    Your story tells me more than just money, and more than just being able to retire early, but pushing yourself has given you something we all want really: an interesting life with interesting stories, and experiences that shape and strengthen you.

    You could have just sat back and whinged. But then, how dull would this article have been?

    1. James McBrearty Post author

      Thanks Sarah, I’ll check out your blog.

      I’m always reminded of that great line in the first of the rebooted Star Trek films:

      “You can settle for a less than ordinary life, or do you feel like you were meant for something better? Something special?”

      All it takes is for people to take action:

      “Now is the time for us to believe in ourselves… or leave our dreams behind.”


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