Every day I hear of another friend striking out on a new entrepreneurial pursuit/career.
For sure, there’s plenty of opportunity for smart, hard working folks with great big, shiny new ideas.
I know because I did it myself in 1993 as a full time Real Estate Sales Professional.
Back then, I didn’t think of it as an entrepreneurial pursuit . . . Heck I didn’t even think of it as a “Business” until I found a level of “success” that was creating more revenue than I could ever have imagined . . . but it came at a huge cost, mentally and physically. I was all work and no play, and I found myself throwing money at just about anything that I thought would bring more of that “success” I had tasted.
Hind sight is 20:20 . . . By the end of my 3rd year, I was fatter than I’ve ever been and physically and mentally down-trodden . . . Something HAD to change.
I considered “getting a REAL job” but couldn’t imagine who would hire me doing anything that would even close to match my income “needs.” (Focused on revenue and not profit).
I was in crisis with the awareness that, given my condition, I wouldn’t even hire myself . . . I was un-hire-able.
In desperation, I decided to attend a 1/2 day seminar with Joe Stumpf who was peddling a new way (actually ancient wisdom) to sell real estate – He called it “By Referral Only!”
Imagine that: building a business on referrals rather than spending a gazillion dollars with advertising.
Joe was the first person to inform me (and everyone else in the room) that even though we were all affiliated WITH a real estate firm, we were not employees of that firm . . . which, by definition, means that we were business owners . . . entrepreneurs . . . “stores in the mall” (Real Estate firm) and until we understood that at a high level, we would be lucky to find true success with any semblance of quality of life.
THAT was a kick to the head.
So . . . Now that I had accepted this reality that I was a business owner, my whole perspective changed.
That word “Profit” suddenly made all the sense in the world, and the next level goals shifted to developing systems and tools to support a smoother business operation which would lead to “Growth”.
I learned a LOT about all of this with my next adventure working with the team that brought Keller Williams Realty into Nashville circa 2001ish-2010.
Keller Williams wanted to use the “Downturn” of the economy (2007 and following) to springboard massive growth and shifted all of their energy towards recruiting more agents – As Principal Broker of the Green Hills office managing 170 agents, I recognized that the goal was to DOUBLE the number of agents . . . My goals were different . . . I wanted to focus on training and coaching the agents we had to thrive until the economy revived – That became an untenable situation, so I departed and . . . opened Pareto Realty which I’ve run “as a business to date 🙂
Seth Godin is my favorite blogger, and his post today inspired what I wrote above.
For sure, there are more people striking out in the entrepreneurial world every day.
In that world, there’s always talk of “scaling up” . . . That’s “Sexy” . . . to scale.
If you’re one of these folks, please know that you’re likely better off in the long run taking your time with the scaling.
I’ve copied Seth’s post below
“As you gain a reputation for doing projects that work, it’s not unusual for the stakes to go up. For projects to look and feel bigger, with more inputs, more decisions, more pitfalls.
It can be thrilling, but you can also begin to flounder.
Here are two analogies that might help you decode what’s actually going on…
It’s entirely possible that the water is quite deep. The thing is, if you’re used to swimming in water that’s six feet deep, then sixty feet of depth is actually no different. It’s not more dangerous or difficult, it simply feels that way. Giving a speech to 20,000 people isn’t twenty times more difficult than giving one to a thousand.
It’s worth reminding yourself, regularly, that the work hasn’t changed, merely your narrative about the stakes involved.
On the other hand, if you’re used to surfing 6 foot swells and you find yourself on an island in the Indonesian archipelago—where the swells are 25 feet—this is a good moment to sit on the beach for awhile.
Surfing bigger waves is not the same as surfing small waves but with more effort. It’s an entirely different interaction, and it’s not all in your head.
Take a lesson. Take five lessons. Give yourself the room to learn. Don’t jump from 6 to 25 in one day. And don’t assume that just because you’ve figured out how to survive at 25 that you’re ready for 50. Big waves are usually right next to big reefs.
Begin with the question: Is this a deep water problem or a big wave problem?
The internet is filled with deep water moments, and we can get our narrative straight and learn to thrive even when we think the water is too deep.
And our careers often offer us big wave moments. When you see one, don’t walk away right away, but get yourself a coach.”