Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Business Chat - The price of success

Last weekend I went down to the waterfront to cheer on the runners in the Toronto marathon. I’ve participated in a few smaller distance events and I know how much a round of applause can help you push through a tough spot. And they deserve it. I was positioned at the 37km mark, only 5km to go. At that point the finish line is in sight, all that training was going to pay off, these were the runners who were going to cross that finish line.

It was that training that I was actually applauding. In order to get to that finish line these runners made a commitment a long time ago to train, to work hard. They’ve run on a regular basis several times a week for months or years to get to this point. What I was cheering wasn’t really them passing me that day. I was cheering the stamina of setting an alarm and running for an hour before work on a freezing winter morning. I was cheering the late night runs, the eating properly, the miles and miles they have put in to get to this point.

I cheered these people for setting a goal, making a commitment to doing the work and then doing it.

For every person who passed me I wondered how many people had set the goal and then fallen off the training wagon. How many people said “I’m going to run the marathon in October” and then failed to even get to the start line? It’s a choice you make, when the alarm goes off in the morning, do you get up in the cold and hit the streets or do you roll over for that cozy hour of sleep? Do you do the work? Those that do the work cross the finish line. Some of us on the sidelines aren’t crossing the finish line because we know what it takes and we’ve made the choice not to do the work.

Succeeding in business (no matter how small) is a lot like running that marathon. It’s really easy to say “oh yes, I’m starting a craft business. I’m selling my art”. Words are cheap. Even setting a goal is easy. Go ahead, set one right now. “In the next 12 months I will sell $XXX.” “ I will get my work into 4 galleries and set up an online store”. See how easy that is?

Now here’s the hard part. You have to do the work. Making your art is the easy part of a craft business, it’s selling it that’s the work. This work is anything that isn’t about making. It’s blogging, taking photos, writing product descriptions, researching shipping options, standing in a booth, doing whatever it takes. Understand this, for every one hour I spend making work, I spend 4 hours running my business. This is what it takes. You need to know this.

I know what it takes to cross the finish line in a marathon and I don’t want it badly enough to commit to it. I know what it takes to succeed in my crafty business. This I am committed to doing.

What about you? Are you committed to your own success? Committed to doing the work? It’s your choice, having a small crafty business isn’t the easiest thing. For the few hours in a gorgeously designed booth with your beautiful work there are untold hours of toiling away by yourself preparing. Nobody sees them. Few will acknowledge them. Yet when someone buys a piece from you they are cheering you on and celebrating your hard work.

Those hours are the price of success. For every choice in life you need to know the price of the options and then commit to paying the price. So I’m asking you, are you willing to commit to your own success?

2 comments:

Alicia said...

This is a great post - and having just discovered your Business Chat articles I got my tea and reading away :)

Thank you for sharing and educating the small business owners.

To answer your question: yes, it feels like training for marathon every day... and almost every day I have second thoughts. The interesting part is that while I wonder if I have what it takes to cross the finish line I always find posts like yours who make me think 'Of course I have! I can do it!' and I keep going :)

All I have to figure out now is where to get some hours to sleep too :)

Anonymous said...

While you were cheering on the runners in Toronto on Sunday, I was running the half marathon of the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco! Strangely enough, it is because of the training for the half marathon that I have decided to create and run a crafty business... Long, convoluted story... One for the "About me" section of the website, perhaps!! Another great article to get the ideas flowing... THANK YOU!
Annie in Peterborough