Are you in this for the long haul, or will your business disappear tomorrow?

December 7, 2010

Between 1995 and 2000 (approximately), the internet experienced what is known as the dot-com bubble. People were starting online business left and right that experienced extremely rapid growth. If you added an “e-” prefix to the front of your name or a “.com” to the end, investors were more than ready to throw a ton of money at you, even if you never made a profit. Millionaires were made almost overnight. Never before (or since) was it as easy to make a ton of cash using the internet.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), this bubble burst for a number of reasons at the beginning of the year 2000 and a lot of companies ended up filing bankruptcy.

In my opinion, this is one of the things that have contributed to a vicious rumor that's spreading almost like wildfire (at least, that's the way it seems sometimes). So many people think that you can come online and make a ton of money quickly. People seem to think that having a website might be the thing they've been waiting for that will propel their businesses to the next level automatically. Yes, it does happen that way sometimes, but is it likely? Nope!

A Knack for Business

If you've been following what I've been doing recently, you probably know that I've been doing a lot of reading, and listening to audiobooks. Well, at the moment I'm listening to an audiobook to “The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up“, written by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham. So far, it's been a great book and has been giving me a lot to think about when it comes to my business. It's definitely one I would highly recommend!

The more I read, the more it reinforces the idea that in order for my online business to succeed, I need to treat it like a REAL business, and not just a website. Taking that into consideration, I also need to face the following unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on how you look at it) that:

  • Approximately 40% of American businesses fail within the first year.
  • Approximately 80% of all American businesses fail within the first five years.

These figures seem to vary slightly depending on which book you read, but the general idea holds true. MOST businesses fail.

One of the things “The Knack” brought out was that one of the main reasons why so many businesses fail is not because they don't have the potential to be a great business, but because the business owner doesn't have the determination to see it through the tough times that most businesses go through, especially in the startup stage.

I don't want to make it seem like this is THE main reason, or a major focus of the book, because it isn't. However, it's one of the things that really stood out to me because I believe that it plays a major role.

As a High School science and Math teacher, I must be honest with you and let you know that I'm growing more and more concerned about the future of this nation. I'm not American, but I have grown to love a lot of what this country has to offer. That being said, I'm seeing more and more that students have been conditioned to give up too soon.

If I had a penny for every time a student jumped to the conclusion that they don't know how to do something, but ended up showing me that they could definitely do it (with a little prodding from the teacher), I could probably buy myself a ticket to a nice Caribbean getaway (and I'm way overdue for that now).

The thing is, it's not only our students, it's even us adults. And by us, I'm even including myself. I've given up on doing a number of things in the past because they were too hard. This has to change!

Are you ready to work on your business for 5 years?

I'm starting to look at my Biology website as my main business, although I haven't started monetizing it as yet. However, there are A LOT of stuff going on behind the scenes that are just really exciting and I can't wait to share it with you guys, so that you can implement the same things to grow your business.

Since I'm looking at my online stuff as a real business, I've had to ask myself a few questions:

  • Do I really Love what I'm doing?
  • Am I ready to give it my all for the next five years?
  • Am I willing to stare disappointment and challenges right in the face and still work my butt off to make it grow?

Answering those questions were easy? YES, I love it, YES, I'm ready to give it my all for five years, and YES, I'm willing to stare disappointment and challenges right in the face. I'm ready to be in this thing for the long haul. I don't care how huge the mountains are that stand before me. I believe I can do it.

But the purpose of this post is not for me to answer the question. I already know my answers. It's for you. So here goes:

  • Do YOU really Love what YOU'RE doing?
  • Are YOU ready to give it YOUR all for the next five years?
  • Are YOU willing to stare disappointment and challenges right in the face and still work YOUR butt off to make it grow?

Here's the thing. I know that you can do it. Do You?

I'm asking these questions now because I'm about to embark on a journey, as you may already know if you are a reader of my blog. As I take this journey, I will be sharing what I'm doing with you – what I've learned, the challenges I'm facing, what works and what doesn't, etc. In order for you to take your business to the next level with me, you will need to make decisions. The sooner you make them the better.

Everything else is just details. The details will come, but the commitment needs to be made. Are you ready to take action? Are ya?

Let me know in the comments below. If you are reading this via email, click here to leave a comment.

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14 Comments

  • Ryan says:

    Wow, Leslie, I had been thinking of something similar to this for about a week or two now. I had some plans for some posts and products for my blog but was getting a little lackadaisical with all of it. And there you go reading my mind again! I’m serious I was actually saying to myself over the weekend. “Dude you need to get your butt movin on this or it will never happen.” Then I would ask my self if it was really what I wanted to do at the time. To be honest I’m still not sure. I think it just might be Blogger ADD running at it’s peak. I want to do my driving blog but I do that all day and feel like when I get home that I dont want to write about it. Then I try to think of it as a business and my posts start looking and feeling like a big corporate blog. And I dont want that. Then my mind wanders to wanting to start a weight loss blog. Because that is what I am focusing on a lot here lately. But then the ADD kicks in and I say “Go start the podcast again” and I will go so far as to start to hit the record button and say nah, dont want to do it.
    But now here you are making me think. I can definitely see myself writing about driving for the next 5 years. But I would feel like it was my j-o-b. I would love to start the weight loss blog but the business side of me says way to many competition in the niche. I’ll toss it around in my big ol head again while I’m working out today.
    But if it is any consolation I am old school. I welcome failure because every failure is one step closer to success.

    • Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for being honest. It’s not strange to not be sure if what you are doing is what you want to be doing. However, I think that over time, it will become clear to you. That’s what’s happening with me.

      However, you can still make a decision to work at accomplishing your goals for growing your online business for the next 5 years. Then you take action and make it happen. Clarity will come over time.

      And like you said, failure is a part of the game. Every successful person has had their share of failure! Keep your head in the game and you’ll be fine.

  • frank says:

    I’ve heard the argument countless times before, but nevver tire of reinforcing it in my head. For what it’s worth, I think you are going to b e a survivor

  • Anonymous says:

    first of all Lesley, I wish you All the best in your Journey on what your doing, and always look forward to your new posts and updates.
    Very True about determination, i believe any business can be a success if the owner relay relay wants to – and it all goes down to how much more does he want his business to work, some may be satisfied at what their business are doing already, but to grow and to stay competitive and to achieve new targets and to really stand out from others, you need the determination and focus, and true said this will only come, if you really really love what your doing, if not, id say find something that you enjoy and make it a success.

  • Saif says:

    Thank you Leslie for the valuable information. Infect resources count in business but resources without determination is like water without glass. You understand what I mean. But please tell me one thing what made you so honest and truth lover? Actually I am reader of many blogs but I find you different. I know what techniques people use for their business.

    I say yes to your questions and show readiness for action but please don’t forget met.
    Thanks again
    Saif

    • Hi Saif,

      Glad you find my stuff different and glad you are finding value in it. I do nothing but write what I feel, so I’m glad it resonates with you.

      Also glad that you are saying yes to those questions. Looking forward to seeing your success!

  • IretiPaul says:

    Leslie you’re always touching the right point. I read a free report lately (4hr Sleep Week) that pretty much summarize what you’re saying. The question we need to ask ourselves is : Are you willing to make real sacrifices to achieve your dreams and goals before you start? If you have already started, are you making the sacrifices? Nothing good is going to come easy. We’re going to encounter so many road blocks, disappointments and the likes but to overcome, we need to be commited.

    I’m on this journey with you because i believe you’re starting out right. The future looks so bright.

    Cheers.

  • Dlevitt0508 says:

    True that Mr. Freebieguy! After a year and probably close to a half and not having any meaningful success at doing things people told me and what I thought could make me money, I’ve settled into doing what I would do for free anyway, and although not making any money from it yet, I am starting to get some response. So I guess I am finally getting the horse in front of the cart so to speak, and see if anything comes of it. If not, although I think I might in time because I am actually enjoying this unlike my other efforts, I will still have something to look back on and be proud of. I’m proud of the other stuff I did because it was a lot of hard work, but tired of because it wasn’t necessarily what I enjoyed doing. So I guess that should have been job one to begin with. Thanks for helping me realize that the starting point is probably the most important part of the adventure. Nice post.

    • That’s awesome to hear David. I’m right with you on that. I’m doing what I love and it’s a great feeling. The big bucks will come later, and that’s alright.

      It’s great that you are starting to get some response already. That’s just awesome, and also very encouraging. It shows that it can definitely build over time. All the best on your journey, and I’m definitely looking forward to your success!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am looking forward to following you on your new journey. I find it hard to keep my focus on one thing there is so much going on that it is hard to balance God, Family and life but with a little work all things are passable. If I can keep my focus on one project at a time I get more done. Thanks Leslie.

    • I know the feeling Ryan. Balance is the key, but it can be hard sometimes. God, family and life – keeping it all in balance is a challenge, but definitely possible. It comes down to prioritizing, setting goals, and then attacking each goal one at a time.

      Sounds like you are thinking in the right direction. All the best on your journey.

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