The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get: 200 year old advice that’s still great for your business today

Benjamin Franklin

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” This quote has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, MGM Founder Samuel Goldwyn and many budding entrepreneurs. (Another example of how all the experts contributing to information on the internet can skew facts.)

Have you been waiting for a lucky break to get some good results from your business — or until you make the move to get started with a new business idea?  

You’ll be waiting a long time — until you put in the hard work that’s required for any successful business.  You may see ads and articles about how you can sit back and watch the money roll in from some internet marketing scheme, but most of them are just what they seem: too good to be true!

I am a big believer in ‘fate’ and the powers of the universe bringing good things into my life, but I also know from experience that the hard work that I put in shapes what happens. The hard work brings about the lucky breaks: meeting influential people, seeing upcoming trends early on — putting your business in the right place and the right time.

You can’t sit around in your office (especially a home office) all day and wait for the phone to ring or hope that Oprah will happen on to your website and decide to feature you on one of her shows.

I’m not implying that you are lazy or afraid of hard work — not at all — but I do see people that work really hard, but then lose steam because they are not doing something that they have real passion for.  When you’ve got that passion, the hard work is a whole lot easier.

I’ve also seen people that were working really hard — but on the wrong things or to an objective that wasn’t ever going to lead to results with their businesses.  There are people that hear about some ‘get rich quick’ business scheme selling something that they know nothing about or even care much about — except for the money they could make.

Too many people jump into setting up their own business without the proper planning beforehand and the organization to carry for years and years in the future.

  • First, you need to put in the hard work to determine the best business for you. If you don’t put in the time deciding on the right business idea and model, you will probably not be happy and not be motivated to do the work required to get great results. You may like the idea of being a masseuse, but when you realise how many massages you have to do to make a living, you may not be so keen after a few weeks. If you do your research first, you may find speciality massage therapies that you can charge more for and can sell products or even start your own massage practice with other masseuses working under you.
  • Second, determine the right mix of products and services and what to charge.  You need to do thorough research on your target market to see what there is a demand for and define the value of your products and services to these people. Pricing should not be based just on what the competition charges, but what is the true value to the client. It takes more effort than just charging what the competition charges — or a little more, or a little less — but if you are working hard and provide great value, you can charge much more. It’s worth the time to really evaluate pricing throughout your industry and similar industries, in your location and further afield and make sure you offer the highest possible price to properly reward you for your hard work.
  • Third, you need to work hard to create quality products and to provide a quality service.  If you are in retail, it’s much more than just finding a great product to sell. You need to find the right way to ‘deliver’ the product (whether it be in your shop or online) and determine which additional products you can sell with it or services you can offer to create a winning package that is irresistible to your market. If you are on a tight budget when it comes to materials and staffing, think about what can you do to make a quality experience for your customers anyway. If you are a service provider, look at how you can package your services to be most appealing and to bring in more sales.
  • Fourth, on top of running the core aspects of your business you need to do marketing on an ongoing basis.  You need to start by developing a plan — most just wing it and hope for the best. After your website is set up you then have to keep an eye out for interesting news and articles on your industry and develop great content to keep your website up to date, manage your social media on a daily basis, build a mailing list and send out newsletters — and that’s just the online marketing.
  • Fifth, don’t forget the admin.  So many people avoid it and it piles up into a nearly insurmountable pile. Instead you need to jump in and keep it up to date on a regular basis.  This way you are on top of you accounts and always know where you stand financially and also get your invoices out and payments in. Chasing debtors as soon as possible also makes collections easier. Also, if something is going wrong, i.e. certain products not really taking off, then you are on top of it before it becomes a problem that could really harm your business.
  • Sixth,  selling can be the hardest task, unless you are one of the few that is a natural at selling, but for the rest of us  it’s hard work: putting yourself out there, following up on leads, going to networking events, facing rejection.  If you love what you are doing and have passion behind your products and services, selling is that much natural — and easier — for you. You’ll be talking about things that you known inside and out and have great interest in and if you have done your research and planning properly, you’ll be dealing with people that are like minded that you enjoy working with.

It sounds like all work, work, work and it is — but, I’ll say it again, if you are doing something you love, you will love doing it — even the admin — really!

When I was doing web design there were many nights that I’d be up until 3am or 4am to finish off a website.  In the early days I loved it, but then I started to resent it.  I then examined where my real passion was — in working on the big picture, the overall online marketing plan, getting more involved in the business side and not just the online marketing.  That’s where my strengths lie and where I’d get the buzz of seeing people excited and enthusiastic about the work we were doing together. Since I’ve made the switch I am much more organised and working harder on the other aspects of having my own business — especially the planning and admin that I used to put off before.

Your 7 Day Challenge for this Week

  1. Look at the 6 aspects of your business, or your planned business, as listed above, and see where you might be avoiding doing the ‘hard work’ required to take you to the next level.
  2. Create a plan for putting more effort into the areas where you aren’t really giving ‘your all’.
  3. Look for areas where you consistently avoid doing ‘the work’ and see where you can clear these blocks.
  4. If there are too many blocks, consider whether you need to go back to the start and determine if you have the right business idea for you.

What areas do you find the most difficult to ‘do the work’?

What tips do you have to get motivated to get the work done?

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