“Be prepared, work hard, and hope for a little luck. Recognize that the harder you work and the better prepared you are, the more luck you might have.” – Ed Bradley
Deeply ingrained in most every entrepreneur’s blood is the concept that hard work will equal success. While I won’t ever dispute the fact that hard work is a must for business owners, I have had to take a good hard look at the mindset behind my work ethic.
Does working hard actually bring success?
I think that we have to break down the mindset behind that question before we can answer the question properly. As I shared in a previous article – I believe that mindset matters in a huge way when it comes to business and this case is no different. While you’re working hard, you might be wasting your time accidentally. Here’s why:
1. Poor People Lack Social Capital
Over the course of my career as a serial entrepreneur, I have found that wealth comes from social capital more so than it does from any other source. So while you’re working really hard on your new service or your new product, you could be missing the boat if you’re not making wise strategic decisions to build your social network and social capital.
Do you remember the true story of Chris Gardner that was turned into the movie The Pursuit of Happiness? Chris Gardner was willing to put in the hard work – but why did he succeed so quickly? He combined his hard work with the social capital he acquired. He cut straight to the top and found a way to connect to his boss at the firm where he completed his unpaid internship.
When you look at that story and many others like it, you can’t discount the fact that the connections that people made are the difference between their success or their failure. It wasn’t their hard work alone, it was their investment in creating and building social capital.
2. Starting at Square One is Foolish
Building from the ground up is an admirable thing to do. Many people do just that, but one thing that I see young entrepreneurs do wrong every day is ignoring the experience around them. Rather than reaching out and getting connected to the experienced individuals in their industry or surrounding network, they think that working hard enough is enough.
Working hard when you’re choosing to not connect with the experience around you is going to make your business grow at a snail’s pace, if it does grow at all. You don’t have to and you shouldn’t start at square one. You’ll need to work hard when the time comes, but there’s no need to be a fool in the meantime.
Where should you get your input? There are all sorts of wonderful resources to get you started out there, but here are just a few:
- Find an expert on Clarity and pay for their time!
- Reach out to your network on LinkedIn and ask for their help.
- Hire an expert on oDesk and pay them to train you.
Most importantly – be sure that you pay for the time of the person you are connecting with, or at least offer. I’ve found that unless I am paying for something, it’s almost impossible to value it. If you’re not valuing the advice you’re getting then why would you implement it?
Getting solid advice from someone with more experience than you will allow you to aggressively proceed towards your goals. Don’t think that working your way up from the bottom is a good idea unless there is literally no one else who has done what you’re doing before. Even if you think that to be true now, I doubt that it is. Go get some help!
3. You’re Not Showing Up On Time
Recently I read this powerful article by Dan Kennedy and it really stuck with me. Dan claims “The Single Most Important Habit of Successful Entrepreneurs” is showing up on time, and I couldn’t agree more. Just this past weekend I decided to take a call from someone whom I am mentoring on a Sunday evening. We set a time and I told them to call me at that time and what happened? They didn’t call.
I’m understanding of life and how busy it can be. I get that there are challenges. I have had my fair share of them. What I don’t understand is how someone thinks that I would trust them with a large project or with my time again after missing their original appointment with me.
I have learned that those who are early or on time have character – and those who don’t show up on time aren’t worth doing business with. This is especially important early on in a relationship. Later, I think that there can be some wiggle room as long as there is a heads up and communication, but don’t mess it up early on.
All your hard work will amount to nothing if you can’t properly plan your own schedule and show up on time. So what if you’re chronically late? Start adding excess time in your schedule until you get it right. Is the appointment an hour away? Leave an hour and a half before hand. Do you need to meet a client on a conference call at noon? Get on the call ten minutes early.
Change your bad behavior and give them a crisp comfortable feeling from day one. Show them that you respect them and their time. Then when it comes time to work hard, they’ll know they can trust you to get the job done.
Are you working hard and not getting anywhere? Is it time to reach out and start seeing the results that you deserve? If you want help then I’m ready to help you. Give me a call today at 312-857-8373 or contact us and let me know where you want to go from here.