If I could crochet, I would make a sampler that said, “Stop comparing yourself to your competition that has been around for 5, 10, or 20 years”.
I love starting things. I love launching businesses. But for some reason I expect my first day in business to look like day 5,000 in someone else’s business.
- I want my videos to be produced and shine like theirs.
- I want my artwork and graphic design (business cards, promotional materials, etc) to look as cool as theirs do.
- I want the beautiful website that’s rocking the latest technology.
- I want my website to have 500 pages of content like theirs does.
- I want my phone to ring like theirs does.
- I want people to respect my business the same way their clients do.
- I want income at the same level as theirs.
- I want to serve as many people as they do.
- I want to have the same level of peace in business as they do.
- I want the big fancy office they have.
- I want a big team of employees.
- I want new computers, phones and office chairs.
- I want their work hours (no working late or on weekends).
Do any of these things sound familiar?
But I quickly forget I haven’t EARNED any of those things. Four thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine days ago their company was just as small as mine, and while we may do the same things, they have earned the right to do it in scale…. I haven’t.
I wanted to hit the “Fast Forward” button on the remote and quickly get to the part where my business is super successful and everything is perfect. But life, and business isn’t that way. Like good BBQ, it can’t be rushed by using a microwave.
Microsoft was started in a garage. Amazon.com operated out of a two bedroom house when it first launched. You might be running the next big business out of your guest bedroom or in a 150-square-foot leased office space.
OR…. you could do what most people do: Pretend they’re bigger than they really are. I did this. I borrowed money, got a big office, hired staff and everything was great as long as we had business coming in. However, when things got a little tight, the pressure of growing too fast and using debt as a tool caught up with me.
I’ve come full circle. I started out 15 years ago in my guest bedroom and built up a pretty good business. I crashed it into the ground with debt, and now I write this article in my basement. I can’t wait to have an office again. I can’t wait to have a nice car again. I can’t wait to have a full time assistant again, and a media team, and a…. and a…. and a….. (fill in the blank). I know those things will come. But I will be patient, build and grow my business slowly and deliberately.
Stop comparing yourself to businesses that have been around 10 times longer than you have! They’re bigger than you, and that’s OK. If you have the opportunity, study HOW they got to be so big. Find out what their secret sauce is. Chances are, they started with a crappy website, no staff, worked 80 hours a week, drove beater cars, met with their clients at a local coffee shop, etc. They didn’t charge the same price then that they do now.
If you’re providing a product or service that has value in the marketplace, you’re going to grow… I promise! Just do it slowly, be calculated and intentional. Think about where you want to be 2-3 years from now, and create a plan to get there.
NEVER hit “Fast Forward” on the business remote. Hit PLAY, and occasionally hit Rewind to go back and catch the things you missed.
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