By Andrew Neitlich

Be honest — do you have the intensity required to be self-employed?

By Andrew Neitlich

A colleague of mine had an interesting experience recently.

She is a stay-at-home mom with an online business. With all of her responsibilities, she was devoting maybe a day a week to her business. But she thought she was doing what it took to run a business. In fact, she loved to boast about her business and how exciting it all was. She spent more time playing tennis than on her business.

Her goal has been to get the business up to $250,000 in revenues, and it isn’t even close.


Well, recently, she got some tough coaching about the fact that there is a difference between wanting to have a successful business and actually doing what it takes to have a successful business. In her case, she has a great foundation to build her business, but need to find a way to put in the time. Her competitors are working full time or more on their businesses, so for her to have her business do well, she needs to do the same.

As it happens, she applied for and recently won a contest recently with a major company. The company is giving her business publicity, a free redesign of her website, and some consulting.

Now, inspired that a major company has faith in her, she has become intensely focused on the business. She is putting her all into it and has somehow made it a priority compared to tennis. When it comes time for childcare, she now meets with her business partner regularly to share time watching the kids and making sales calls.

She figured out that running a business takes intensity and commitment.

She’s not so different than many so-called entrepreneurs. Lots of people love the idea of having a business, but aren’t willing to do what it takes to succeed.

Are you intense, committed, and focused enough on your business? Are you doing what it takes?

If not, stop kidding yourself.

  • This is the case with many things. A lot of people like the idea of doing something, but never actually do it.

  • You are right. This is why its fairly easy to be in the top 5%. Just put effort in. “Find your why and you will find the how” (Kiyosaki)

    But let’s stay realistic, being in the top 5% of the top 5% is somewhat harder and that’s what everybody should aim for :)

  • brianmhowell

    While I think Kiyosaki is generally “all fluff, no stuff” I think there’s a kernel of truth in the idea that you have to find your “Why”.

    There are why’s that revolve around the end result, such as “I want financial freedom”, “I want more time for my family”, “I don’t want to make some one else rich anymore”. These can be valid reasons for starting your own business (or going freelance), and can be great motivators for daily achievement, but I believe you have to be motivated by the process as well. Let me explain what I mean by giving you an example.

    I love music, and in my late teens I wanted to play guitar and start a band. I was pretty good, but but not great. I had a friend that shared the same interest, the only difference was he loved the process of practicing. Sure he was motivated by the idea that some day he would play in a band in front of cheering fans, but he found enjoyment in figuring out complex chords from songs he heard on the radio, in running scales to build speed, in experimenting with the sound of his amp. For years, everytime I saw him, or talked to him on the phone, he was playing his guitar.

    I on the other hand, just wanted to skip the process, and get right to being a rock star. Needless to say, I’m not a rock star, but my friend has played with a number of bands, and released two CDs. The dream of being a rock star was not the be-all-end-all for him… He just loves to play. He enjoyed most aspects of the process.

    So ask yourself “Why” you want to start your own business, then really look closely at your answers. Do they solely involve the “Ends” or do they also involve the “Process”?

  • thearticlewriter

    I hope this lady isn’t lulled into sacrificing her kids for her business. Each of us defines success differently, a work-at-home mother has priorties that go beyond managing a business no matter how small it may be.

  • EagleEyesDesign

    Andrew, if not already there, can her business be anchored around tennis items or subjects? That way her passion for the work can have staying power.

    If done right, kids who grow up watching a parent successfully run a business are going to be much more fortunate than kids who think the ONLY option in life is working for somebody else. A good role model is needed.

    brianmhowell – I understand your story well. Also, I do see lots of people passionate about music who base their business around it. Or selling musicians needed instruments or graphics or CD designs. Honestly, they make more money than most of the musicians. And a couple gals who didn’t play music but just started throwing concerts on behalf of musicians at their friends houses and that grew into concert promotions.

    Just ideas of how passions can lead to more fun AND business so you can’t wait to get to work.
    – Christina

  • pdxi

    Ouch. This article is harsh, but a quick, honest reality check can really clear the fog.

    Way to go – great article.

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  • Jason Batten

    Now, inspired that a major company has faith in her, she has become intensely focused on the business.

    That’s the key. Having people show faith in you. How do you gain peoples faith, more importantly how can you gain faith from the most important people to you. How can you show them your ability if they have no interest? What if you have never failed before?

  • So true. It takes lots and lots of hard work having a successfull business. Starting a business is easy – staying in business and making a living from it is the hard part.

  • Loving the process is vital, otherwise when you finally achieve your goal (after years of hard work) you realise that it’s not that big a deal and life is the same as it was previously. If you’ve loved the journey then that’s not so bad!

  • It takes lots and lots of hard work having a successfull business. Starting a business is easy—staying in business and making a living from it is the hard part.

    The discovery of hot water.

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  • www.Enovabiz.com

    intense, committed, and focused

    Frankly, all these three words are the ingredients when you want to do your own thing. I have known failures and I know every time I failed, it was one or more of these three words. Now, I dont take chances with any of these. Thanks for reinforcing my beliefs.

  • Jared

    Very good wake-up call. I didn’t realize the type of endurance you require as an entrepreneur or business owner, especially in web design which is a highly competitive merket.

    My weeks are like emotional rollercoasters. I land a sale today (I actually did) and I’m ecstatic, but 2 weeks from now I could be in a drought. You just have to know deep down that you can do it and don’t look back.

  • Great post, Andrew. Shaking.

  • etechsupport

    Recently I came across with similar article in this blog and get impressed.


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