If you want your business to succeed, you have to work hard. You have to hustle and grind. You have to burn the midnight oil, give up your weekends, and wave goodbye to your hobbies. While you’re building your business, you have to assume that that business will be your life. It’s going to be a long, hard slog.
This is the message we hear so often. We hear it so much that we assume the only path to success lies through sacrifice and sadness.
It doesn’t have to be that way.. For many incredibly successful people, it isn’t that way.
Some of the biggest successes I’ve had have come while developing products where the process was so much fun that my team and I barely knew we were working. We didn’t stay late at the office. We didn’t burn through weekends or miss school concerts to attend boring meetings. We just focused on enjoying ourselves and making something that we thought had a viable market.
We believed that a product that was fun to make would be even more fun to use. And we were right.
The same principle applies to every business and field. You don’t have to choose between enjoying yourself now and achieving success in the future. You can have both.
Start by finding the thing you love to do. That might not be the highest paying thing you could do, but as long as it pays your bills and puts a roof over your family’s head, it is the thing you should do.
Identifying that activity isn’t as easy as it sounds. Because we assume that work is hard, and fun isn’t work, we don’t always see the activities we enjoy can also become sustainable businesses. If you have doubts start slowly. Test the ground by selling your cupcakes at a food fair and checking the feedback, or by trying out a stand at an art fair. The more you sell, the more experience you’ll build and the greater your confidence will become.
You don’t have to rush into the business. Do it at a pace that feels comfortable.
You can also learn to say “no.”
So much of the work we do is work for others that we’d prefer not to do. Sure, you have to keep your customers happy, and it’s important to show your dedication sometimes. But the penalty for declining to take work that pays little and delivers large amounts of frustration is often much smaller than you’d think. It’s often a price you’d be more than willing to pay.
It’s not easy to say “no” to work. But once you start doing it—and your business life starts getting better—you’ll find it becomes easier to do.
But the most important way to build a business that compliments the life you enjoy is not to worry about the stuff that other people are doing.
Part of being in business is being in competition. But being the best isn’t the same as making the most sales, landing the largest number of new clients, working the most hours, or growing at the fastest rate. Its also about enjoying your life as much as you can.
Some other entrepreneur might appear to be more successful than you. They might appear to be taking on more staff, spending more on advertising, and building up a bigger following. But if they’re working more hours, spending less time with their families, and enjoying themselves less, then you’re coming out ahead.
Your business doesn’t have to be your life. But the two will always be connected. As long as you enjoy your business, you’ll be enjoying your life and doing good stuff.
About Joel Comm
As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has been at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.
Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.
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