A few years back, when I was at a birthday party for my sister, I got into a conversation with one of her long-time friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. When she asked what I’d been up to and I told her how I’d recently quit my full-time job to become a freelance copywriter after my daughter was born, she made a comment that has stuck with me all these years. She said:
“Yeah, well, you’re lucky that you get to do that.”
As a single mother juggling a full-time job and full-time motherhood, she was referring to the fact that I am able to stay home with my child and don’t have to send her to day care.
Yes, that is a tremendous blessing, one for which I am thankful each day. But it wasn’t luck. And as I stood there reeling from her obvious resentment and trying to think of something to say, she launched into a rant about the rising costs of child care and other challenges of single motherhood.
While I have utmost respect for single mothers and certainly appreciate the role my husband plays in supporting our family, quitting my job had nothing to do with luck.
It was a carefully planned decision, and once I left my job I had to work my tail off day and night to grow my business and bring in enough money to cover my portion of the bills. Which, in the beginning, meant taking on a part-time job I worked in the evenings (causing me to miss dinners with my family most nights of the week and barely see my husband, since I left for work the moment he got HOME from work) to help bridge the gap between my business income and my expenses.
Yes, I am “lucky” to have a husband with a steady job (and paycheck).
Yes, I am “lucky” to be a citizen of a country where opportunities abound.
Yes, I am “lucky” to have been born with a monetizable skillset.
To an extent.
But it was my hard work that brought it all into fruition. All the opportunities in the world won’t do you a lick of good if you do nothing to pursue them. I have plenty of friends and neighbors who were born into the same land of opportunity as I was and who haven’t lifted a finger to take advantage of the abundance all around them. But I knew there was more to life than wasting away as a cubicle, so I went in search of opportunities. I didn’t expect them to come knocking, or drop into my lap. In fact, it took me over a year of research and grunt work before I even opened the doors of my business. That was all me, no luck required.
And yes, I was born with a talent when it comes to writing. But I’ve spent years of my time – and thousands of dollars – fine-tuning that talent, first in the form of 7 exhausting years spent hitting the books at night while holding down a full-time day job and plunking down more than $20,000 for a college degree to help me become a better writer, followed by 5 years of in-the-trenches marketing experience and over $12,000 more cash invested in marketing and advertising courses to hone my skills as a copywriter.
So yes, luck plays a certain role in business success, but it’s only a starting point.
The bottom line is that you have to CHOOSE success, even when it feels like the scariest, most uncertain thing on the planet.
I CHOSE to leave my husband and daughter at home and fly cross-country on my first solo trip to attend a networking event where I knew I could meet gobs of potential clients – even though I was terrified to get on a plane alone and travel to a strange city where I didn’t know a soul (to some people, that’s an adventure; to me, it was a nightmare!).
I CHOSE to work a part-time job to help me fund my self-employed venture, even though I hated not seeing my family.
I CHOOSE to consistently funnel 60% of my earnings back into my business to make it bigger and better – even in times when I would have much rather used those funds for other things (vacation, anyone? :)).
You have a choice to make too. You can CHOOSE to take matters into your own hands and take the action necessary to succeed in business, or you can continue to sit on the sidelines and watch as business success “happens” for other people.
If you choose option A, but aren’t sure where to go from here, I have a coupla resources I’ve put together over the years that can help you take the right action to find your success, whether that involves using your website to attract more clients or sending strategically-written emails to follow-up with prospective clients on your newsletter list. And until midnight EST this Sunday, March 23rd, you can save 17% on your purchase as part of our “Luck of the Irish” sale. (Just enter coupon code luckoftheIrish at your checkout to redeem your coupon.) Here are some of the products available for instant access:
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