Some of the things you read about startups, business and entrepreneurship tell you that the first step is the most difficult.
For some people I’m sure that’s true. Actually, it kind of was for me. I worked a job after college for five years before quitting to run Ghost Blog Writers full-time. Making that jump was difficult…or so it seemed at the time.
But what is actually the most difficult were the steps that came after the first.
Step 2, whatever that might be, is not easier than Step 1. And Step 10 is definitely more difficult than Step 1.
Ideas Are A Dime A Dozen
You can talk to anybody at a networking event and you’ll hear about a business idea. In fact, some people you talk to will have seemingly endless ideas for new businesses. There will even be a spark in their eyes. They’re in love with the idea of running a successful company and maybe even about spending the money.
Some of those ideas are good ones. But most aren’t. And even the good ideas aren’t that important because the people with them will very rarely take it beyond just an idea. And the few that take it past that will rarely take it beyond the first few steps.
And it’s not just with new businesses. It’s with new initiative. We’ve seen it with online marketing. A business will run a Facebook ad and not get the return they think they should and give it up. Or they’ll post once a day on Facebook for their business and give it up after a month because it’s not doing what they expect it to do.
There is no shortage of ideas in the business world. Anybody can find an idea. You could call that Step 0. Some will take the first step to “start” the business. That is relatively difficult and definitely not as common as simply having an idea.
But few will take it beyond the next few steps.
Anybody Can Spend Money
Another item important to this discussion is the idea that spending money on business things makes you an entrepreneur.
I don’t want to pick on any industry because it happens in a lot of industries, but let’s say you want to start a wellness business at a local location. Massage, yoga, health products and more.
You can sign the lease. You can buy all the supplies for inside the shop. You can pay for a website. You can pay for local advertising. You can hire someone to work the front desk.
You can do all that and put the open sign on the front door and it will seem like you’re in business. But underneath the surface you’ve really just spent a lot of money praying that business will come your way.
In this sense, the first step or even first several steps aren’t really that difficult. Anybody can spend money to make it seem like they’re starting a business.
The most difficult steps come after all this spending is over. You have to find customers. That might mean cold calling. It might mean emailing. It might mean forming partnerships with other businesses. It might mean calling the local TV station everyday for a year to get a guest spot to discuss health tips on the morning news show.
The first step is the easiest in many things in life.
Every year in January you probably have a friend or family member that texts you to say that they’re starting a diet. Or that they’re starting a new gym routine.
When I get those text messages I rarely respond. I just wait for the conversation to change.
Starting a new diet or joining the local gym is the easiest step you can do to become healthy. Sure, it’s not easy to step in the gym for the first time in forever. But it definitely doesn’t become easier after that. If it did then everybody that started would keep going and never quit.
We obviously know that most people that join a gym in January aren’t there by June. And those that start a new diet in January might lose 5-20 pounds by March, but talk to them by October and they’re probably right back to their previous high weight if not even higher.
The first step is not easy, but it’s far from the most difficult. Whether it’s business or in life in general, the steps get progressively more difficult.
Here’s one more example. Let’s say you want to start golfing. If you put in 20 hours you can become pretty good. You improve a lot. That’s obvious since you started with no ability. But after you get pretty good the improvements become smaller and smaller. You put in 20 hours to go from horrible to pretty good. Now you have to put in 200 hours to go from pretty good to pretty, pretty good. That’s not as fun.
Successful people, at anything in life, are willing to take the difficult steps. The steps that come waaaaay after the first. Are you willing to take those steps when it comes to your business, your job and your hobbies?