Starting All Over Again

I realize that this is becoming a bit of a recurring theme with some of the posts I write on here. I also recognize that many people don’t really recognize these truths until they are pointed out to them, and it’s important to take these sorts of insights and observations to heart if you really want to be successful as an online entrepreneur. Let’s get one thing very straight: running your own online business is nothing like working a more traditional kind of office job.

A Steady Paycheck

That’s a big part of the appeal, of course, but it also means that you have to approach this kind of work with an entirely different kind of mindset. You’ve got to think about time in a different kind of way, because you’ve got to understand the incredible role that passive income can play in your long-term success. But that’s not really what I want to talk about today. I mean, not really, but sort of.

In the not too distant past, it was not out of the ordinary for someone to get a job straight of high school, and to stay with basically the same job until they retired nearly 50 years later. They may get a promotion to supervisor or manager, but they’d work for the same company doing more or less the same kind of work. That’s something previous generations valued greatly: job security.

These days, it’s almost like the exact opposite is true. In fact, many experts almost recommend that you should never stop looking for a job, even when you have one. Everyone is constantly seeking greener pastures, looking for new opportunities at other organizations. Assuming that you stay within roughly the same profession, you can typically expect to slide into the new role and continue to make about the same (if not more) money each time you switch jobs. Each new opportunity builds on the one before it. And you can still expect to receive a paycheck about every two weeks, like clockwork.

It’s a different kind of stability or job security, I suppose. For a more traditional kind of job, you start getting paid from day one all the way until your last day. That’s just a given. It’s assumed, because of course it is.

The Volatility of Entrepreneurship

Now, by contrast, think about what it’s like when you run your own business, whether that’s online or offline. If you decide to start a blog today, from scratch, you’re not going to earn a typical day’s pay on your first day. Or even your 10th day or maybe even your 100th day. That’s even truer when you look into launching a startup, whether you’re dealing with digital or physical products. For many of these companies, the founders oftentimes don’t expect to turn a dime for themselves for years.

All the money goes back into the business, investing in its future in hopes of even more substantial gains down the line. You see this with many success stories. The founders need to keep their investors happy and they need to keep up with operating costs like payroll, so they take a substantial pay cut themselves to keep the ship afloat. And maybe, at some point down the line, they find themselves running a multi-million dollar company and they start reaping huge financial benefits.

And that’s great… unless the house of cards comes crumbling down. The market can be a fickle beast, and what was once a hugely successful product could turn belly up tomorrow. But these founders can be eager to get right back into the game with a fresh idea… and so they choose to start another company with another product.

One Brick at a Time

Herein lies yet another crucial difference compared to the conventional day job. When a regular employee “starts over” at another company, they get paid on day one. When a company founder and Internet startup hopeful “starts over” with a new company, they really do have to start from scratch all over again. They don’t have the capital they may have lost in the previous venture. They have to attract new investors or raise their own funds again. They have to forge new connections and contacts all over again.

This building process can take years. Again.

And that’s okay. It just means you have to accept the fact that working for yourself is not at all like working for someone else. The upside is theoretically limitless; you just have to be willing to start from the bottom all over again. Over and over again. Until you find a house of cards that can withstand the test of time and adapt as conditions change. Are you prepared to take on that responsibility? Do you trust in yourself?