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