Business Building and Bike Riding : Learn to Ride the Bike
Recall the first time you got onto a bicycle. Were you successful? Were you confident? If you are like most people, the answers to the previous two questions are no and no. Starting a new venture [or even a new habit] is a lot like learning to ride a bike. When you fall, you get back up. Here are those words again: when you fall, you get back up. Please note the text, it says when, it does not say if. It will happen.
Have you ever met someone who has tried to ride a bike and has never fallen? Does falling off a bike mean you are a failure of a bike rider? If your answer is yes, then I advise against your next big change. Who you were in the past doesn’t dictate who you will become moving forward, who you are today does. As you develop new skills in life and/or business, you are empowered with a choice in how you let your past experiences “falling” define your actions. Will you cower and quit? Or will you learn and go again?
Get Started and Keep Going by Aligning with Your Vision
I pursued my first start-up in college - a summer house painting business. It definitely was not the most glamorous experience, and it was not easy, but it was more fulfilling than anything I had ever done up to that point in my life.
The only way to truly fail at something is to quit. You don’t learn to ride a bike once you start because you quit. It is not because you’re not capable. You quit when your vision isn’t strong enough to keep you engaged despite distractions. You quit because you don’t have a strong enough vision. You quit when your vision isn’t important enough to hold onto when challenges test your resilience or when challenges check to see if you want it badly enough.
I had bad employees and unhappy customers. [Don’t worry there were also good employees and very happy customers, too!] My friends had barbecues that I didn’t go to. I even had a painter stop coming to work because he went to jail! But it didn’t stop me because my vision was stronger than that.
I was personally committed to building traction in the spring and producing over the summer. My vision was that I could achieve something few students could say they accomplished. It was absolutely important to me to finish what I started. At the end of my endeavor, I had produced $60k in revenue. I had hired four of my own employees and learned some business basics first hand. I found fulfillment in proving what I was capable of to my friends and family, but most importantly to myself.
Let’s get back to basics: why do you get up after you fall off that bike? What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to go? Are your desires greater than your setbacks?