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If at First You Don’t Succeed ...Try, Try Again

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This is a tale about how a solopreneur learned a lesson in perseverance. This morning I returned home from dropping my son off at school and proceeded to brew some coffee. Without fail, nearly every morning I make two cups of coffee in my Cuisinart coffeemaker. Today was different, it took me three tries to make my usual two cups of coffee.

The first time I guess I was rushing and forgot to put in the filter. As a result the coffee pot filled up with sludge. I dumped out the mess and began again. On the second try, frankly, I still don’t know what went wrong. The filter was now in, but again I got sludge. Maybe the lid wasn’t placed securely on the carafe. I really don’t know. I just know that I’d wasted four heaping tablespoons of ground coffee and still didn’t have anything to drink. 

So again, I threw away the sludge and started the process from scratch. This time I paid attention to all of the steps. I looked carefully at everything, making sure that everything, from putting in the coffee to securing the carafe lid, was done properly. I also decided to stay in the kitchen rather than duck into my office as I had done with the prior two tries. If anything went wrong, I could immediately rectify the situation.

As I was drinking my coffee, I was reminded of how most solopreneurs, including myself, want immediate results. In reality, it usually takes us a few tries to get it right. You don’t marry the first person you date. You don’t buy the first house that you look at. Hell, let’s not even discuss how many bathing suits you probably try on before finding one that you’re comfortable wearing in public. So, in most areas of your life you’re okay with the idea that it may take several tries before you succeed… expect in your business. 

As a solopreneur or freelancer, your desire/need to make money is fueling your frenzy to find quick results. You hire a client attraction coach hoping that her system is some magic bullet that’s going to have people clamoring for your services. When that particular system doesn’t work quick enough, you hire a social media expert to help you to increase your online visibility. When in a month you still only have 50 subscribers to your newsletter, you’re off to the next “expert.” In a year—twelve months you may have tried three or four different things to improve your business … and nothing worked.

Hiring experts is fine and necessary, but they’re useless unless you have a defined goal. Moreover, experts can’t help you if aren’t willing to put in a decent amount of time to see if their strategy is working. A goal simply put is what you want to achieve, in a given time frame. This morning I wanted a cup of coffee. You may want: ten new customers this month; $25,000 in sales next quarter; or an article about your business in your local newspaper by January. 

Once you’ve established the goal you’re in a better position to determine the best path to accomplishing it. The point is that you should be willing to stick with one strategy, until it’s crystal clear that it’s not for you or your business. Randomly jumping from the next rarely does anything than waste your money. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that most experts master one topic or one process/procedure BEFORE venturing off into some new territory. 

There are very few overnight successes. Most successful people started out as broke nobodies, this includes Madonna, Martha Stewart or Oprah. They worked hard, sought out opportunities, and connected with folks who could forward their businesses (experts). My point is that your business success is probably not going to come with the first try—it may take several tries for you to make it happen.

I could have given up my quest for coffee and just made some tea. I however wanted the coffee and stuck with it. I’ve had the “shiny ball” syndrome—hoping that this new blueprint or teleseminar series was the answer what I needed. These experiences were learning opportunities. Now that I’ve figured out what I’m REALLY aiming to do with my business, I’m able to dismiss the noise of the business-help marketplace. I’m also now connecting with experts who resonate with me and my business goals.


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