There’s an interesting commonality I see among successful business owners that might surprise you.
It’s something I’ve been thinking for the past two years but have been too sheepish to say out loud.
I’ve remained quiet because I know that some people will hate me for saying this. It shines a light on a truth that many don’t want to admit.
But I’m tired of holding back because someone might be offended. After all, I’m here to help kick-ass women build kick-ass businesses they love. And sometimes we need a kick in the ass to make that happen!
First, I want to tell you a story.
In April of 2009, I gave notice that I was quitting my job.
I had been making a nice six-figure corporate salary with five-figure bonuses and a fat benefits plan. But I was tired of corporate America and ready to embrace freedom and entrepreneurship.
I walked out the office building for the last time on June 12, 2009, and never looked back. I was determined to work for myself.
I floundered for over a year. I wasn’t making much money, and honestly, I wasn’t enjoying entrepreneurship.
I was, however, willing to live on beans and rice and not spend a penny on new clothes before I’d consider crawling back to my old job. I was willing sacrifice everything to make my business work.
I kept at it.
12 months after leaving my job, I finally got clear on what I really wanted to do for my business. I regrouped for six months and launched jennyshih.com on March 1, 2011.
My new business as a project manager, virtual assistant, and make-your-ideas-happen coach took off quickly. I finally had some momentum.
But let me be clear: momentum didn’t mean I was raking in the dough. It just meant that money was finally coming in. I wasn’t making enough to pay the bills each month; I was still relying on savings.
And that savings was nearly gone. There were about two months’ of our meager living expenses left, and after that, I had nothing to fall back on.
I didn’t have a trust fund.
I didn’t have a rich husband.
My family wasn’t financially supporting me.
And I was NOT returning to cubicleville.
My back was against the wall. “Making it” was my only option.
I think you know what happened next, but in case you don’t: My business kept growing. And growing. I kept pushing forward, determined to make it work.
Just as the savings vanished, my income met our monthly expenses. 18 months later after jennyshih.com launched, I hit six figures. And as they say, the rest is history.
When your a** is on the line, …
I know, without a doubt, that a big part of the reason my business exploded like it did, when it did was because my ass was on the line.
I did not want to go back to my previous job, or any job for that matter. I had no more money and no other means of paying the bills.
My only option was to make my business work (or move in with my in-laws, which, in my mind, wasn’t an option!).
Making my business work WAS my only option!
You see, when our asses are on the line, we’re pushed to make things happen. Unless our back is literally against a wall, we shy away from doing the hard things. The scary things. The risky things. The chancy things. The OMG-I-can’t-do-that things.
Business isn’t easy. We have to learn about marketing, bookkeeping, taxes, delegation, technology, and so much more. All just to be in business!
If my ass hadn’t been on the line, would I have made it work?
I’m not sure. After all, I hadn’t made it work until the last possible second, when there was no other option in sight.
Where’s your a**?
Is your ass on the line?
Do you think you want your business to work or do you really need your business to work? There is a HUGE difference. Tweet that!
Putting It on the Line
If your ass isn’t on the line, it might be time to put it on the line… if you really want to make things happen in your business.
Maybe you’re fortunate to not have you ass on the line. Maybe you have a trust fund, a huge savings account, a rich husband (or just a working husband), a job, or some other means of support. Maybe you have something that keeps you from really needing your business to work.
Now, I’m not suggesting you throw away your securities; that’s absurd. You’re likely grateful for those things and that’s the perfect attitude.
However, if you really want your business to work, you might need a little fire under your derriere to make it happen.
You might need to fine or create a way to put your ass on the line. You can…
- Make a huge, public declaration about what you will achieve in your business.
- Take the leap from your job into your business (with a plan, of course)
- Put something on the line that will light a huge fire under you to make it happen
Theirs Were on the Line
Like me, my friend and former client Kendrick Shope had her ass on the line. She was struggling to make her business work and considering returning to pharmaceutical sales to bring in money and pay the bills. But the thought made her want to vomit. She kept moving forward, determined to make her business work. With her ass on the line (and husband breathing down her neck), she finally made it happen. She’s created a reputation as one of the best sales coaches around and is a truly inspirational success story.
When Anna Kunnecke left Japan three days after the 2011 earthquake, she took one suitcase and no plan. She and her four-year-old daughter camped out in her brother’s spare room in Portland for weeks while she dealt with the emotional aftermath of the tragedy and figured out what to do next. In Japan, Anna’s coaching business had simply been an enjoyable hobby, something she never planned to do full-time. But with her voice acting career in Tokyo suddenly over, her ass was on the line to support herself and her daughter as a single mom in a new city… while starting her life over from scratch. You guessed it; she made it happen.
Kristen Kalp put everything on the line to make her huge dream come true in 2014. She believed so strongly in Brand Camp that she hired a team and signed a contract that put her ass on the line for over $140,000 (yes, you read that right) so she could hire world-class speakers and ensure the event was everything she’d dreamed it could be. Failure wasn’t an option. Brand Camp happened, executed with 27 back-up plans, because there was no backing out. She refused to give up even when it looked impossible. She made sure it would happen and put her ass on the line to do it.
What’s your reaction?
I told you, today’s post was likely to cause an extreme reaction. Please tell me…
Are you cheering or are you pissed off?
Have you had your back against the wall (in business or elsewhere) and did it help you achieve your goal?
If your back isn’t against a wall but you see the value in it, how do you plan to make that happen?
I can’t wait to read what you have to add to the discussion in the comments below!