Becoming a successful entrepreneur is not easy. I spent five years studying 177 self-made millionaires Rich Habits Study – Background on Methodology and I have to say, they are among the most courageous, fearless individuals I have ever met. They put everything on the line. They took enormous risks in the pursuit of their dreams. Success or failure often hinged on one or two things going right or wrong. The outcome, succeeding or failing, was separated by a margin so slim that it was invisible to the human eye. And some did fail. In fact, 27% of those self-made millionaires in my study failed at least once in pursuit of success.
I learned from my research that entrepreneurs pursuing a dream often feel like they are on the precipice of success or failure. They see themselves sitting on a wall, with one side of the wall representing success and wealth and the other side representing failure and poverty. A strong wind, blowing in either direction, can push them off the wall. Winds of fortune can blow them one way and unfavorable winds can blow them the other way. These winds are unexpected things that go right or go wrong. Success for an entrepreneur is very much dependent on the winds blowing in the right direction.
Whenever you embark on an entrepreneurial journey, you will come face to face with a very frightening reality – that part of your fate is in the hands of variables that are outside your control. And those variables, those outside forces, can be aligned with you or against you. What makes successful entrepreneurs so heroic is how they react when those variables are aligned against them and push them onto the wrong side of the wall. Successful entrepreneurs somehow find the resilience to pick themselves up and climb back up onto the wall. They persevere. They survive. And that survival, in many cases, is day to day. Entrepreneurs who refuse to surrender, are able to endure until the winds of fortune finally blow their way. The story of the successful entrepreneur is really a story about putting everything on the line and of survival. When you put everything on the line, you simply have no choice but to survive. Most entrepreneurs, however, don’t put everything on the line. They quit when the costs and the risks get too high. They give into their fears of failure and poverty. That is why there are so few self-made millionaires.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you will eventually come to a fork in the road. One road sign says “Go All In” and the other says “Cut Your Losses”. If you are already there, you have a choice to make. Left or right? Entrepreneurs who truly believe in their dream do not allow the fears of failure and poverty to dictate the road they choose. For them, there is no choice.
Look, I’m not just a peeping Tom, peering through the window at the lives of these self-made millionaires and disbursing theoretical information. I’m living this stuff. I’ve adopted the Rich Habits and put it all on the line in my author start-up business. I took financial risks that, in my weakest moments, scare the hell out of me. I’ve been at this author business for nearly 7 years. I’ve invested nearly $100,000 into this business. In those 7 years, 99.8% of the time nothing’s gone my way. I paid close to $35,000 on publicists and marketing companies that failed to deliver, forcing me to figure it out on my own. Over these nearly 7 years I’ve spent at least 3 hours a day pitching the media, trying to get them to interview me so that I can get more people to find out who I am and read my books. I’ve had some success, but not nearly as much as I want. During all this time, I can count on one hand when things went my way: Yahoo interview, Dave Ramsey radio interview, CBS TV interview and SUCCESS Magazine interview. That’s it – 4 pitches went my way out of 35,000 cumulative pitches that did not go my way. That’s a success rate of .001%. But those 4 pitches that went my way helped this first time, self-published author sell 40,000 books and secure a traditional publisher.
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur you have to go all in and then stick with it. One or two things can completely transform your life and help make your dream a reality. For some self-made’s like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, the guys from Google and a few others, the winds of fortune blow sooner. But they’re the exception to the rule. For the average Joe, self-made millionaire, those winds take many years to arrive. You must never quit on your dream. Eventually good luck will find you. But luck will never find you if you quit. So never quit. Persist. Be courageous. Believe in yourself and what you’re doing. Go all in and never stop trying. Eventually life will bend to your will. It will go from adversary to ally. And when it eventually does, you will find yourself on the right side of that wall – a successful, self-made millionaire.