I just met with a former co-worker, and we discussed all the ideas we'd had together and since we’ve worked together. Good ideas. And for some of those ideas, we dedicated ourselves fully, like trying to set up a fundraising site for schools and churches or trying to change the way we taught English and Social Studies as a team. The problem is that dedication doesn’t always pay off.
Last night, I didn’t sleep until 3am because I was moving a site from a scam host to the one I need to have, I spent about 20 hours building the site, 8 hours moving it to a new host of my own, and another three hours bringing it back from being offline with the new host. (Don’t ever use Hostt.com, by the way.) That’s nearly a work week on one site that’s already been paid for. On top of that, I looked foolish when it was down.
I’ve been dedicated to creating a small business, but I still hear the questions about when I am going to get a real job again. I spent hours every week searching for something viable while I was unemployed, and what seemed most viable was just doing it myself, but it takes more than 12-hour work days and pay-per-click marketing ads. Some of it is this: writing content that shows that I know something about the subject matter and that I care about what I do. While that doesn’t negate the fact that a site was down too long, at least the client knows it was on my mind, unlike the host who ignored me.
I’ve read that partnerships don’t always work out because both people are too paranoid to go all-in. While that might be the case, to some extent, when I began writing for Real Wisconsin News or designing sites for Innovative School Funding (both partnerships), I added ten hours a week to my schedule for each. We simply didn’t go about something the right way. My own ebooks and Educabana teacher resource page took hours upon hours of work, with my biggest payouts coming from surprising unit lessons rather than the big ideas I was hoping to keep me afloat, like building websites with Passive Ninja.
So then, what is it? Luck? Connections? A rich uncle? I’m still on that journey, and I’m still trying to figure it out, with lots of ideas, services, and products in place that could lead to the next level. I know nearly 50% of new businesses fail. I know I’ve been part of two ideas that took my FREE time that basically failed. However, I also know that they’ve all led to this point. Right now, I can advise clients on what will fail and what might work. I can see my niche. I can see what people want, and I’m ready for the swelling of commissions from that need I can fulfill. And, as before, I am dedicated. I have the support of my wife and the blind belief from my kids. I have made those connections that might lead to something but have yet to lead to much. When that opportunity comes, I know I am ready, yet, I also know that luck and a rich uncle would certainly not hurt right now.
For a visual metaphor of what I’m trying to say, let’s take a look at Helena’s best chance to score a goal this year. I could show you all the videos of her running around, trying to get the soccer ball or get open for teammates. She had a motor that kept her going all game, harassing kids twice her size on defense and outrunning winded opponents to the ball. Not knowing soccer, I told her to just keep running. I told her she was great at wearing the other kids out, and she’d eventually get a shot. She was dedicated. She listened to coaches. She kept trying, even after those long stretches of nothing. And then she got her chance when the other team was tired of chasing her around. And she missed. Maybe she won’t next time, and she’ll get plenty of next times, but this time she did. Anyone who has tried to start a business can learn from this one scene. She could have walked off the field in tears and given up, but she kept trying, still never scoring all season. Maybe next year. She’ll be there trying, anyhow, and so will I.