Stop Committing to Your Success
The very first difference I noticed shifting from being an employee to an entrepreneur was my commitment. Don't get me wrong I was always a dedicated employee, but would not have worked every day for a year straight, wouldn't have worked for free, would not have served as the CEO and the janitor, nor would I have made personal sacrifices to make sure the business survives. But for my own business, yes I would have and I did. I soon realized that being an entrepreneur was like the commitment of marriage. I was committed to my business for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part. Aahh, what we do for love.
The single most vital characteristic of an entrepreneur is their level of commitment. Motivation, positivity, drive are all important, but they are simply garnish if you do not have the commitment to stick to your plan when things go to hell, and you’re drowning in a pool of insecurity and bills. That is why if you want successful business longevity, you need to understand the difference of being committed to succeeding and being committed to surviving.
Small Biz Trends recently reported that 90% of all start-ups fail and we already know that almost half of all marriages end in divorce. I promise you that each was dedicated to succeed and zero were committed to surviving. Actors are a great example. I have met plenty of actors who spend years doing small roles and working as Uber drivers or waiters before they find success. While many people are impressed by the entrepreneur who is committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed, I want the entrepreneur who will do what it takes to survive.
Daymond John from Shark Tank and the founder of FUBU waited tables at Red Lobster while building his brand. John Paul DeJoria (the founder of Paul Mitchell) said: "Every week, for almost two years, we should've gone out of business." But he didn't. Instead, he sold hair products from his trunk, printed their bottle labels in black and white because they were only two cents to print versus the pricey colored ones, and often went to Happy Hours for the complimentary hors-d'oeuvres, his only meal of the day. They were committed to surviving while working to succeed.
So whether it's your first or fifth year as an entrepreneur, ask yourself if you would eat Top Ramen for a year, downsize to a studio apartment, or drive for Uber in between your clients if that’s what it took. Know what your survival boundary line is and make it part of your in house business plan. You are going to have a lot of successes and failures, but it is the survivors who make it through both.
Above all else, remember there is a reason Gloria Gaynor’s hit song from the ’70s was titled, “I Will Survive” not “I Will Succeed.”
Jody Taylor is a former women's professional football player who also served as the Women's Professional Football League's Media Relations Director for seven years working with 52 teams nationwide and some of the largest media outlets in the nation. After hanging up her cleats she officially launched her own Public Relations, Marketing, and Talent Management firm, Sixty5 Media named after the jersey number she wore her entire football career. Taylor works with clients that range from small businesses to celebrities, recording artist, and professional athletes. Additionally, she serves as the Assistant Editor of What's Up Hollywood, is the lead Correspondent for San Diego's Bolt Report and writes as a guest journalist for five other national publication.