How do you look at the current world?
The now-famous writer, Kurt Vonnegut, wrote for 25 years before he was discovered.
Another famous writer, Charles Bukowski, toiled away in obscurity for thirty years before he received a small publishing deal.
A modern best-selling author and marketing expert, Seth Godin, said he wrote 900 query letters to publishers — all were rejected.
Colonel Sanders started dozens of businesses and didn’t succeed with KFC until his 60's.
Henry Ford’s first two attempts at business failed miserably, and he begged investors to give him a third chance and fund the Ford motor company.
Why am I sharing these stories? Because they’re all examples of people who succeeded in the old world — the world with gatekeepers and real obstacles to success.
Not too long ago, you had to rely on others more for business and creative success.
On top of that, the risks were higher.
If you wanted to write a book, you’d have to first write the book — at least 50 pages of it and a query — and submit it to a laundry list of publishers who’d likely never read it.
Even if you somehow managed to get your book published, the chances of it being a success were low, unless your publisher bought placement in the bookstore, got you on T.V., or it became a hit through accidental word of mouth.
Back in the day, if you wanted to start a business, it likely required capital — and lots of it.
You’d need a building. A factory. Inventory. Investors.
There were no “laptop entrepreneurs.” You could easily go bankrupt trying to fund your idea and even ruin your social/family life in the process.
We live in a different world now.
I’d argue we’re living in the best possible time to be alive in human history.
What a Time to be Alive
There are basically no barriers to entry in business, creative pursuits, or employment (if you use the right process).
If you want to write a book, you can write one and publish it yourself. With thousands of freelance editors, designers, and marketers, you can make it look as professional as a publisher would.
If you want to start a business, you can test the idea in a low-cost way — find a developer to build a website, get a prototype of your product made, run a few ad campaigns to track engagement, etc.
I’ve seen artists make a living by finding creative ways to market their creations online. There are business owners on Amazon who carry no inventory of their own and make profits from the middle.
If you want a different job, you can network through LinkedIn, try creative ways to showcase your skills, or even create your own job title.
With so so so much opportunity in the world, why are so many of us stuck?
“This Won’t Work for Me”
I’m sure you’ve seen the advertisements…
“Make six-figures in six months!”
“The million-dollar mentor program.”
“Make money flipping houses with no money down!”
The opportunities seem too good to be true? Don’t they?
Here’s the reality of the times we’re in.
It is much much much much easier to start.
There’s really no excuse for taking the first step.
However, no amount of technology, opportunity, or ease of entry makes it easier to finish. Persistence, grit, the ability to adapt, focus, resilience — these have been the keys to success in 1818 through 2018.
I’ve seen the world of internet business opportunity chew many people up because they think the technology itself replaces these intangibles. It doesn’t. If you buy an online course on starting your own real estate business and you give up after six weeks, it’s not the course’s fault you quit.
It’s easy to look at programs and opportunities like these and scoff at them, say they’re scams or come up with reasons why they won’t work for you.
Some are scams. Some of the opportunities are bogus. But many of them work, as long as you work.
How do you work? How do you make it work? By waging war against the emotions that have held back dreams in all periods of history.
The Undisputed Dream Killing Champion of the World
The inner critic.
It goes by different names, but often produces the same results — procrastination, stagnation, apathy, helplessness, so it goes.
Tackling fear and doubt is a lifelong task — one suited for multiple blog posts and books, which is why I harp on the subject so much,
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few of the strategies I’ve used to take advantage of the times we’re living in (even though I’m constantly filled with doubt).
1) I use the “ready, FIRE, aim” technique — This just means I commit to things before I’m ready to do them. I’ll send a message out to attract new clients for my business. They’ll set calls up with me, which forces me to call them because if I don’t I’ll look silly. I entered a pitch contest for a TEDx conference and I didn’t have a speech prepared. If I want to send an email to an influential person, I just hit the send button without thinking.
2) I use positive feedback as reinforcement — If you’ve been in the world of online business or technology for long, you’ll come across other people online. Some will leave positive comments about you, your ideas, your business, etc. I collect those comments. I have a folder for every positive reply I receive from these messages. They keep me going.
3) I find examples — I spend quite a bit of time looking for stories of people similar to myself who’ve succeeded in similar circumstances. It’s my way of proving the doubt in my mind wrong over and over again.
I wrote today’s post because I’m guessing you’re entrepreneurial or want to express yourself creatively. Why am I guessing that? Because the data shows most people want to do these things.
You have unlimited opportunities to do so, too.
If you have a laptop, a couple of dollars, and a dream, I suggest you get started.
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.