Clients ask me all the time, ‘How long will it take to be a success?’ Now of course, I can’t tell them. But what I do say is that when I got really serious about my business and knowing truly, deeply that it was how I wanted to live and make my income, I committed to showing up every…single…day for two years. It was the bargain I made with myself. If, after those two years, I could not see a way that my business could be the success I dreamed for it, then I would walk away, knowing in my heart that I had given it my best shot.
Because up until then, I had had one foot in it, and one foot in my corporate career. Which meant that every time I got the entrepreneur blues (and we ALL get them), I would just shift focus to my career for a while. Every single time though, I would get restless again and crave my coaching business, my writing, my teaching.
For me, giving myself those two years to make it work meant that I could release a little pressure of replacing my income and the scarcity mindset that would create. It gave me permission to stay in my day job and use the income to invest in my business. It gave me the focus to create my own rules in what would work for me, around my commitments. And it gave me the confidence to step up because now I had a deadline.
The First Two Years
And over those two years I worked hard, I took clients in timezones that meant I could meet them early in the morning before I went to work, and later in the evening when I got home. I wrote, and wrote and wrote when I was stuck in hotel rooms for work, rather than socialising, and I spent many of my lunch breaks on discovery calls, meeting with my coach or listening to webinars.
After the two years, my business wasn’t generating my day job income by a long stretch, but I knew it was time to let it go. I had some health issues that my day job was not helping with, and I was likely to need surgery. My parents were also coming over to New Zealand from Scotland and I had no annual leave left to take while they were here for 6 weeks (which would turn out to be the last time I saw my Dad in person). The internal pull to walk away was immeasurable, but it was so damn hard to walk away from that paycheck. (I used to call my day job my ‘golden handcuffs’. )
I remember making the decision and sitting in my kitchen just letting the tears come. That was when I knew things had shifted.
And scary as it was, I am so glad I did.
The Next Two Years
I am now 2 more years down the track and my business is thriving. I am working on a couple of opportunities that are also both 2 years in the making and will be the biggest and most exciting offerings that could catapult my earnings beyond my wildest dreams.
Without the patience and persistence that I have learned from my ‘2 year experiment’, these seeds would never have even been planted.
I have since shared this with many of my clients, and they too have prepared themselves for what seems like the long haul at the time, but often flies by. And I am thrilled to report that many do not need to use the whole 2 years to build the momentum they need for their successful businesses, but they are prepared for it.
How about you? Did you give yourself a couple of years to get your business off the ground? Or, are you at the beginning stages and wondering how long it will take?