Starting your own business, or becoming a solopreneur or freelancer, isn’t unique. Thousands of people embark on this journey every day. Some succeed, and some fail. It’s this possibility of failure that holds so many people back from pursuing their dreams. And it’s the mystery of success that holds back others.
Dreams and Ideas
People like guarantees. But when you have your own business, certainty is a luxury. Competition is tough, and always will be. Even if you come up with an idea that no else has, a first of its kind, whether an idea for a new product or a new service, it’s ephemeral. If you do nothing with your idea, you’ll wake up one day, weeks or months later, to read about it being launched by someone else on the other side of the world. If you move forward and action it, and start your own business around this one killer idea, you’ll wake up weeks or months later to discover a dozen competitors have sprouted up around you, seemingly out of thin air.
Anyone can have a great idea. Many people have great ideas every week. Successful business are never about the idea, and always about the execution. Before Facebook, there was MySpace. Before Google, there was Yahoo.
Execution and Outcomes
The thing about execution, is that it resonates on so many levels. Product, marketing, sales, engagement, delivery, strategic, tactical. There’s no single magic combination of elements that consistently produces a sucessful outcome. What works for one business or industry doesn’t work for another. That’s the risk that every entrepreneur and solopreneur takes on a daily basis.
Yet there exists a whisper of commonality that gives rise to a certain flavor of ‘survivalism’ among our ilk. And it has nothing to do with stockpiling food and living “off the grid”.
A Single Thread
Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a funded start-up company or a solopreneur paying your bills with income created from your own business, you are the beating heart of your company. You determine the paths taken, the values adhered to, and the boundaries respected. You decide how far you’re willing to go for success. For profit. You decide how far is too far, or not far enough.
In a global marketplace of tough competition, it’s all too easy to crack beneath the overbearing pressure. To imitate your competition, rather than admire them. To follow the trends, rather than define them.
Don’t be a poor imitation of someone else’s value proposition.
Being authentic is not determinant of success for a business. Indeed, in some circumstances, it may mean choosing failure rather than compromising too much, too far, too deep. Choosing to be authentic means refusing to be something you’re not.
So, yes, authentic businesses fail.
But authentic founders are strong. They’ve had their strength tested, and persevered.
They move forward, knowing there’s never a need to look back.
They look straight ahead, knowing they have no reason to look down.
They are the survivalists in a world of change and uncertainty.