Overcoming the Challenges of Owning a Business

Author : , Date : November 30, 2015



Are you one of the millions who has recently started a business in the last three years?

Have you discovered that owning a business has not at all been what you hoped or thought it would be?

I know when I started my first business in 2003 I felt a lot of different emotions at one time.

There was a lot of excitement, fear, apprehension, courage, and raw tenacity. I had to learn to things I never dreamed I would have to learn; and through the years I’ve learned that there are just no shortcuts to success, profits, scaling or growth.

It required a sacrifice that I never thought I would have to pay.

It required rising to a challenge I never knew I would have to meet.

No one talks about the real issues of entrepreneurship when you go to college. The Small Business Administration isn’t equipped to prepare you for all of the nuances, challenges and adversity that comes with owning a business.

No one tells you the one thing that can tip the scales in your favor because they don’t know how to think outside of their traditional business plans and boxes they put themselves and others into.

But I know how and it didn’t come through academics.

It came through experiences, pain and failures; combined with a few successes, the willingness to read (a lot), learn and understand the big picture.


Why are So Many Turning to Entrepreneurship?


For nearly thirty years American’s have been sold on a brighter tomorrow. Jobs would be plentiful if we got an education and worked hard.

My grandparent’s generation had a phenomenal, stable life. They could be assured that if they were good workers they would have loyalty and long career with one company.

The Baby Boomer generation witnessed and experienced it as well for a short time. But loyalty in the 90’s waned by both companies and their workers and it has since become common for someone to have upwards of ten different jobs in their lifetimes, or more.

Millennials are learning that in the new world great jobs are scarce and their education will take a lifetime to pay back. They are threatened with the reality of artificial intelligence, cheap labor and political unrest.

As of today:


  • 94 million people have either stopped looking for work or are underemployed according to the U.S. Labor Department.
  • 46.7 million Americans are in poverty and 45 million are on food stamps.
  • Corporations like Disney are importing foreign workers and replacing American workers at a fraction of the cost.
  • The U.S. Government and big business are driving down labor participation through free trade agreements as well as through low wage immigration.
  • Generally, the cost of business is getting more expensive thanks to higher taxes, regulations and health care.
  • A college education is getting out of reach for many young people with higher and higher debt required to attend.
  • College graduates are finding it harder and harder to find employment that will pay enough to pay for college and their basic living needs. Recent studies show more and more graduates are moving back home with their parents.


Now for the good news!

Many are turning back to entrepreneurship and small business ownership instead of hoping or waiting for jobs that may never exist at pay rates they can afford to live on.

The first two points above spell that out clearly. Over 25% of the entire U.S. population isn’t looking for work or is underemployed. How many of have known someone who was laid off for more than six months? How many of us know someone who is working two jobs just to make ends meet?

With fewer people able to rely on good jobs, more and more are starting businesses.

The majority of businesses that I work with are young companies between 1-4 years in business.

They are finding it to be hard, challenging, and full of sacrifices. Yet, they have a drive and determination to push through the adversity and figure out what it will take to become successful!

Here is what each one of them has shared with me that they universally have learned about business:


  1. It’s harder to make money than they thought it would be.
  2. There is a big difference between growth and profits.
  3. They know what they sell and why they think their consumers should buy but they don’t really know their consumers and their needs, wants or desires.
  4. They weren’t prepared for entrepreneurship academically or practically and business ownership is an on-the-job training 24/7/365.
  5. Barrier to entry was low and it was easy to start. Therefore competition is high and breaking through takes too long.


For the average business owner that is starting today, in my experience they are starting a business because it was something they were willing to sacrifice and risk because they had a dream. Let’s be honest, striking out on our own is a bit scary, unsettling and uncertain.

There isn’t going to be a guaranteed paycheck and it’s going to be tough for a while.

They are doing it because they can no longer find meaningful employment or they know the writing is on the wall in their corporate job.

So who are these new entrepreneurs?

  1. They are between 25-55 years of age.
  2. 62.9% are male and 37.1% are female*
  3. They tend to start later in life at an average age of 34.9 years of age**
  4. The highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the US is in the 45 to 54 age bracket, with the 55 to 64 age bracket not far behind.***
  5. Only 33% are college graduates ****



Who are they in my opinion and what is their experience?


  • They are used to a regular income and an eight hour workday (or more).
  • They have been taught that success comes through degrees and having a good paying job.
  • They have high debt and monthly bills to pay: mortgage, car loans, school loans….
  • They have less than stellar credit reports.
  • They are usually married and have a family.
  • Extended family is telling them that the sacrifice isn’t worth it and that the new business owner should stop and go get a job.
  • Money is a huge stress point and they need it yesterday and they need it fast now!


(Please, take a moment and share your entrepreneurial journey in the comments section below and share your story – be an encourager and let others know they are not alone!)


This brings me to the heart of what I have to say today.


Too many are starting businesses with the expectations that it has to make money for you now and it has to happen fast!


The sad truth is that it won’t.

They’ve been led to believe that if they start a business, build a website and participate on social media that we can make it. People will just come and give them money.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

In the first year of business you can expect your income to very low or you may not make a take home income at all.

Every week I talk to people who are trapped by their financial limitations because of the business.

They feel stuck, frustrated, desperate, discouraged, and defeated that they have been in business for one year, or maybe three years, and aren’t making it.

But the truth is they probably are and may be measuring their success by the wrong metrics.


Let’s consider an average, successful businesses trajectory:


  1. Year one – Establishing message, marketing, sales and product delivery. Very few customers and little to no take home pay. Yet, many new connections, networks and opportunities.
  2. Year two– New ideas, products and business development comes through experiences and evaluation and re-evaluation of one’s message.  Some sales start coming in and the business owner can start to pay themselves a small amount, still little or no profit on paper.
  3. Year three – You’ve become more established, recognized and approached. Sales start coming more frequently and easily. The message is branding the business and scaling has become a new topic of conversation. Profits are becoming more possible.
  4. Year four – You’ve become an industry or community leader/resource and profits are stable and growing and the business continues scaling and starts looking for new opportunities to grow.


Here is the problem; too many in year one want year four results.


When someone goes to work in an entry level position is it expected they will be paid at the same rate of someone with five years’ experience?

Of course not!

It’s no difference as a business owner. Your business will not make the same revenue in year one that it should in year four.


A Simple Plan to Help in the Beginning of Your Business


In the beginning you will have to decide, and your family if you have one, what level of sacrifice you’re willing to pay?

Today you won’t have what most will so that tomorrow you can have what most can’t dream of!

That means something different for every business owner and entrepreneur. The key here is to start dreaming and never stop!!!!!!

In addition, you have to have a plan in place to cover the costs of your personal living expenses like the mortgage or rent while you’re finding out how to get to the point that you can live your dreams.

You will want to think bare minimum. How much money do you need in order to live?


  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Business necessities


You will have to run as lean as you possibly can. That may mean less entertainment expenses. So, find things you can do that are free. Believe me, I’ve learned over the years there are lots of things you can do that cost very little or nothing and you can learn to find joy in new things and experiences as well.


Don’t Waste Your Time on a Business Plan


Hum… everyone is telling you that’s the first thing you have to do. All the experts, bankers, the Small Business Administration…

I’m going to tell you that comes later. Business plans are only useful if you’re going for funding in my opinion but even then you still shouldn’t do it first.

There is a step you should do before it and that is learn “what business you are “really” in.”

You have to learn how to message your business.

That’s where someone like me comes in handy. I know, you probably saw that one coming, lol…

Here is the truth, your message defines how the world see’s, feels and experiences you.

Can you see how that is the foundation of a business plan? All the business planning in the world isn’t going to make you a sale or introduce you to your audience or make your marketing magical.

Your message will deeply inform your business plan.

Here is what I mean. When I work with a client we spend from 3 -8 weeks (depending on the client; average is 6 weeks) working through the following questions:


  1. What problems are you passionate about solving?
  2. What are the tangible values your customers experience after they’ve done business with you and how did they feel about the experience?
  3. What “specific” problems were solved through each, individual tangible value?
  4. Who do you “specifically” solve each problem for?
  5. How is your product or service “a” part of “a” solution?


The answers to these questions inform your entire business:


  • Vision for the business
  • Marketing strategies
  • Marketing reach
  • Sales projections
  • Growth projections
  • Scaling opportunities


All things that a great business plan has in it and yet it isn’t a business plan… it’s a roadmap that influences every thing you do inside your business.

But the other benefits are more important and more numerous:


  • Clarity – you have it around your entire business
  • Simplicity – you can easily see what to do and where to go
  • Communication – that’s relevant and meaningful no matter who you are talking to or with
  • Networking – Powerful, relevant and meaningful both online and offline


Your message is your brand and your brand is your message!


Use it, leverage it and always be open to developing it further as you grow.


There are no shortcuts to business success. The truth is it takes time to develop and grow a great business. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

I know it doesn’t seem like it, but almost 100% of the time businesses that look like overnight successes were in the planning phases for a long time; and they were in the execution of the plan for considerable time.

Even the fastest growing companies didn’t come out of nowhere.

Take Facebook for example; it started in 2003 at Harvard and let’s just say it wasn’t necessarily for a good reason. The point was to identify who was the “hottest” people on campus. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook)

I’m sure glad that one evolved and changed. Aren’t you?


It took seven years before Facebook roared onto the scene as we knew of it in 2009 and 2010.

Here is the point and I’m going to say it again; it takes time!

You may be saying you don’t have time or that you’re running out of time.

Then you may have to:


  • Get a part-time or full-time job
  • Dip into your savings
  • Your spouse may have to carry the burden of supporting the family
  • Push past the negativity, criticism and hurt from those who feel they have your best intention at heart.


You will have decided, with your family, what the level of sacrifice is that you’re willing to pay.

As I said earlier, there will be sacrifices that must be made so that you can get what you want. There is a risk with starting a business and that is unavoidable.

You will learn to think very differently about life, work, finances, “things”, employment and relationships.

You will see life very differently from the world around you does who is telling you to “just get a job like a responsible person.”

But, who provided that job and what was their sacrifice for that “responsibility?”

The key to success is not found in a business plan, hard work alone or just aimlessly attending one online or offline event after another just hoping for a sale.

Success is not found in blogging or social media.




Most businesses skip developing their message completely because they either have never thought about it, think they are clever enough to do it on their own and waste a lot of time and resources trying, or they don’t think it’s important and don’t value it.

Yet, 80% of all businesses will fail within five years and of those 70% will do so within eighteen months.

Failure is almost always tied to a lack of message; and your message as I outlined above drives and dictates your:


  • Vision
  • Marketing strategies
  • Business strategies
  • Sales
  • Product or service delivery
  • Customer service


Miss this and you will struggle and likely fail.

How do I know this?

A recent IBM study came out and in it consumers by 80% said that businesses are not relevant to their needs, wants or desires.

So what good is your website, social media, video, networking or a business plan if you are not identifying with your audience relevantly with a compelling message?

As a business, isn’t that why you exist? To fulfill needs, wants and desires?

If you’re not messaging appropriately to them why should they buy from you? Why should they spend money with you over your competitor?

Why… why… why…

That is a messaging problem and it’s one that has to be solved for your business.


Do you want to learn more about messaging, statistics behind it and why it’s so important? If so, check out my “Begin Here” page for relevant information, videos and yes options to learn how I can help you.

If you want to learn right now how to discover your message and you don’t need more information, click here or on the image below and schedule a FREE, no-obligation, one-on-one time with me on my calendar to discuss your business and where you are at today. I would love to learn your story and about your business as well as offer a few practical tips and insights that you can use immediately.




Do you have a question, comment or idea you want to share? If so, leave it in the comment section below and let’s talk about it!

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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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39 thoughts on “Overcoming the Challenges of Owning a Business

  1. That message needs to be ultra get to get things popping Don. I was blessed within the past day to be featured on Neil Patel’s awesome blog. Humbled by it, and happy he finally caved to my bribes…joking! But seriously, ya can’t pop up on a big wig’s radar unless your message is clear because these influential folks who promote you far and wide definitely respond to a clear, concise message which resonates with them and their audience. The more clear you get and the more your message is dead on the more you hang with folks who vibe with that message, and nobody else, and naturally, you’ll resonate super strongly with that message and of course, more like-minded folks and customers and clients will find you.

    The whole drill gets much easier and those challenges tend to dissolve pronto when you get clearer and clearer on that 1 person, that individual, who definitely needs whatever it is that you have to offer. When you get clear, that offer becomes more appealing to the individuals who need what you’re serving up.

    Thanks Don!


  2. Hi Don,

    Well, I am proud to say that I’ve encouraged people to become entrepreneurs for the past 10 years, and I can see today more than ever, that was the right thing to do.

    Of course College doesn’t prepare anyone for the real life things that come with owning a business. Those are learned hands on as we go.

    Unemployment is very high right now in France, and as you said, times have changed. I have a friend who is a baby boomer and she was telling me of how job were abundant when she started her career at age 20. She told me how back then you’d get a job and stayed there until you retired. Plus added to the fact that in France bosses cannot easily fire employees unless they have a darn good reason for it, your job used to be a sure thing. But of course, in France or anywhere else, this is no longer the case.

    It is more time than ever before to take our own life in charge and take the challenge of being an entrepreneur. What a great thing to be.

    Thanks for the valuable information again, Don.

    1. Hi Sylviane,

      I couldn’t agree more about college Sylviane. In fact, from my experience as well as that of many I spoken with over the years college prepares you to get a job. It doesn’t prepare you for entrepreneurship.

      It wasn’t that long ago you could expect a long-term, stable job. In fact, society gauged your character on your ability to keep and hold a job. Those days are long gone.

      We really do need to take our life into our own hands. No question. I love my life and I couldn’t see myself working as an employee ever again. While I realize it isn’t for everyone, I believe it is for many.

      I hope you have a wonderful week Sylviane!

      ~ Don

  3. impressive is the challenge, which is granted by all people aspire, who believe the various standards and methods that accentuate the positive effects towards more success and great achievements, thank you for this article and this strong initiative is a challenge to recognition, full of pathways towards significant progress, ultra, for the positive crossover of businesses, our world is really fascinating numerical internet., even more wonderful.

      1. iI is I who thank you, with all these shared that are full of technological wonders that accentuates love for more participation.

  4. Hi Don! Thank you for writing this post- it reminds me that I am not alone. I think it’s easy to feel separated and get discouraged. That’s why I am SO grateful for your coaching!

    It’s comforting to know that you have been through it all and came out the other side! Thank you for your generosity in sharing your knowledge. I’m staying tuned.

    1. Hi Jen,

      You are most certainly not alone my friend!!!! When we site behind screens, don’t have relationships with successful business owners who become mentors it’s so easy to feel alone. But the truth is there are millions right there with us.

      I’m grateful that you allow me to work with you. Something special is going to happen for you!!!!

      I hope you are having a wonderful week!

      ~ Don

  5. Hi there Don! What a compelling article. I love the way you link to sources for your stats…! And to be honest, I’m surprised the 45-54 age group is leading the way for entrepreneurship.

    To be honest, I would have expected it was my self-entitled generation. 😉

    Also, in other news, your book just downloaded to my Kindle. I’ve got some reading to do!

    You asked readers to share their entrepreneurial journeys in a comment, but I think you already know mine.

    I dropped out of college when I was around 20 and spent the next decade working in sales in one capacity or another… last year, I left my director role to begin freelancing full-time without any real clue what I’d be doing.

    Business blew up for me very quickly, and it continues to evolve only a year in.

    The three pillars upon which I base any business decision are as follows:

    (a) FREEDOM: Will I remain autonomous after make this choice?

    (b) FLEXIBILITY: Can I do this at anytime from anywhere in the world?

    (c) FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY: By taking one step back, will it enable me to take two steps forward?

    Those three elements were the basis for why I started working for myself, and they remain crucial to my growth today. After all, business should always serve our personal goals — instead, most people fall into the habit of living to work.

    And if I wanted to do that, I’d go get another job working for someone else. 😉

    Oh, and sorry — I know it’s been a little while since I stopped by your blog. I was on the road until mid-November, and it feels like I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. Thanks for understanding!

    Anyway, in case I don’t connect with you again beforehand, Merry Christmas!


    1. Hi Brent,

      I was a bit surprised as well but as I have reflected on it every client and person who has contacted me over the last ten years has been between 40-55 years old. So, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

      It makes sense. I will say this for the younger generations… they have advantages and for the ones starting businesses they are becoming successful at higher rates than us “old” folks, lol….

      I love your story Brent and I really appreciate your insights and motives. I agree with you that while our focus in messaging is on the consumer we all have goals and dreams we aspire to. They keep us going in the tough times and they remind us of why we do this as we enjoy the good times!!!!

      No problem on visiting here. I knew you were away but at the same time I do miss seeing you around. I count you as a part of my community and I’m delighted to be a part of yours.

      I hope you enjoy my eBook and I look forward to your Amazon review.

      Hopefully we’ll connect again. But if not, Merry Christmas to you as well my friend!

      ~ Don

  6. Hi Don,

    It’s funny that you mention the SBA because when I first considered business ownership I looked to them for insight and there was a lot they didn’t cover.

    You have validated what I always thought. You’re right, when you’re starting out they’re always telling you to write a business plan first. Personally, I didn’t think that had to be your first step.

    It does all come down to your message. It’s very impactful and touches on a number of aspects in your business, it’s like the backbone of it all. I have to admit when I got clearer on what I was trying to do other things got easier.

    Great info and insight you’ve shared.


    1. Hi Lea,

      The SBA is great for businesses who are more advanced and have funding. I have a close friend and mentor who teaches their Emerging Leaders course and one of the things I noticed is how every business is a $20 – $50 million dollar a year company, or more, in that program.

      The SBA doesn’t seem interested in small business the way that you and I think of small business.

      I’m glad I was able to offer you some insights and validation. You are absolutely right, it comes down to our message and clarity. Clarity creates simplicity and it strips the complexity out; and makes life and business a lot more manageable.

      Thanks for your comment Lea!

      I hope you have a fantastic weekend!!!

      ~ Don

  7. Hey Don,

    You were definitely talking about me and a few others I know. I got my 4 year degree, no experience, experienced the catch 22 trying to find a job and experience, and it was frustrating. I did go through 3 jobs before I got the one I have now, but it was definitely a trying process.

    At the time, I had entrepreneurship on my mind. A friend of my introduced me to Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and it hyped me up. But I was so naive when it came to starting and growing a productive business when I started my first offline computer repair business. I had no direction and didn’t know the importance of marketing and networking. But eventually I got into network marketing which was a big help, and then blogging. My computer repair business was short lived but it was the stepping stone to where I am now.

    But yes, with the paradigm we’re taught, it’s not correlating with what’s really going on in this Information age we’re living in. So, nowadays entrepreneurship is the answer and it’s definitely a process. You’re right about coming up with a message that will be relative to what you’re doing and to attractive would be clients. If your business is not resonating with them, then you have very slim to no chance to building your business.

    Thanks Don for sharing! Have a great upcoming weekend!

    1. Hi Sherman,

      I can sure appreciate your experiences! It’s never fun or easy trying to find meaningful work with a company you want to be with or who really wants you. That catch 22 will get you every single time!

      Robert Kiyosaki’s book is a classic!!!! It should be required reading for every aspiring and active entrepreuer.

      I know we’ve mentioned this before, but unfortunately networking marketing has gotten a bad name because some people are pusher’s and terrible “networkers;” and the companies many times aren’t interested in really helping them. It’s a shame really because at the core we are all networking and the principles are timeless behind the companies that do it really well.

      There is a lot of complex changes happening and I believe those of us figure out how to message ourselves through simplifying our communication will reap the rewards. When we communicate what the consumer needs and wants from their perspective in a clear and concise manner we strip the complexity and give them reasons to both resonate with us and buy from us.

      Thanks Sherman for a great comment!

      I appreciate you and I hope you have an incredible weekend!!!!

      ~ Don

  8. Hi Don,
    Congrats! You’ve achieved the one thing that everyone reading your post will ultimately come to understand they need to acquire as you did {pause} …’Visibility’ In addition to developing, sustaining, and improving one’s message, the initial key ingredient to an entrepreneur’s success depends on their ability to garner and increase their visibility! Your message is spot on!

    I, like all of your other readers, am an entrepreneur and business owner. With similar characteristics of everyone that has responded to your blog, I am a few months shy of my 50th birthday.. have had [approx.] (18) functional roles over the last (30) years.. between (12) different organizations. I candidly admit my career journey led me to the decision of establishing a boutique consulting firm. Although everything I did leading up to the planting of my company was well thought out and executed with precision, there’s little planning and/or experience that actually prepares one for what comes after the “…okay, I’m in business for myself, I’ve got this!” And (12) months later questioning “…okay it’s been (12) months, what did I do wrong, why isn’t there more contracts, how did I [ever] reach the conclusion to do this?” {another way of stating this is, “in hind sight maybe I was having midlife crisis!”}

    To ensure your bloggers gain an accurate and positive picture of my experience and I leave them with a positive outlook on what it means to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and ultimately become a business owner, let me say that my business is thriving after a year! This is not due to making excessive sums of revenue or [even] breaking even financially. Our success trajectory is on a high curve because of our deliberate investment in time placed on “becoming visible”, establishing strong business relationships, and giving back to our strategic partners and clients. This has made our first [full] year measure up to your expressed third year. In order for this to have been achieved there “was a great deal of sacrifices made” to accomplish our annual objectives and goals. However, since starting the firm we have achieved greater visibility which has lead to stronger business relationships that have translated to higher gain business contracts than I would have ever imagined had we not spent the majority of our time gaining visibility (e.g., being in the right place to speak with the right resources at the right time).
    It’s obvious by now that we are not an online business yet we have a website. We are not social media centric yet we have readers from all genres of life accessing our social media accounts. If I can steal and re-frame a notable quote from Forest Gump, “social media is what social media does!” But it’s the human element of interaction and engagement which ultimately grows your business!

    This week I returned from a business trip to Dubai and as fortune would have it your blog struck accord with me as I was as the key note speaker for the University of Dubai’s Center of Entrepreneur & Innovation organization. Similar to what you a spouse, I presented a message to the faculty, staff, and doctorate students on what it means to become an entrepreneur.. when you transition from an entrepreneur to a business owner.. and leadership within you company which infuses the entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen that drives you to achieve successful outcomes. Needless to say the trip alone represents how my firm is gaining success through visibility, but it also reflects the consistency in what you’ve expressed to your readers.
    First.. it doesn’t come easy or fast, second.. it doesn’t occur without deliberate personal investment and sacrifice, and finally.. it doesn’t occur without knowing what the basic time frame is for success to be realized.

    Becoming a business owner and entrepreneur is everything I could have hoped it to be.. “and then some!” And, it has shown me that there is more to success than simply the size of my bank account. Hopefully, those out there reading your message that are considering the ‘leap into entrepreneurship and/or business ownership’ will adopt your principles and stay the course ..even after the “questioning window!”

    Last and final note: you know your successful if you are providing a product or service to those that need it ..when they need it ..and know that it was not only good for them, but right for them! (and in our capitalistic society, you were able to profit from it!). Keep trumpeting your message as there are many of us out here that need to be reminded of the realities for walking this path!

    D.T.Anderson, Principal for Tr33 LLC

    1. Hi Darryl,

      First thing, I want to thank you for visiting my website and for the INCREDIBLE value you provided to both me and my visitors through your comment!!!!

      I really believe that entrepreneurship and business ownership is the future. Gone are the days of long-term stable employment. The truth is it’s been gone for 20+ years but it’s getting worse when you look at the stats over the last seven years. I mean really, 94 million who have stopped looking for work or are underemployed? Something has to change.

      For businesses to survive they need a message… it is no longer plausible to just have a business plan and start a business.

      Visibility is the result of a clear, simple message that is relevant and meaningful. They do go hand-in-hand for certain.

      You are an example of the statistics I mentioned in the article. It’s interesting to me that many associate an entrepreneur with millennials thanks to all of conversation floating around them. Unfortunately, many of them are just discovering entrepreneurship (my son being one of them) and they don’t have the maturity or experience they will need. That certainly doesn’t mean they can’t be successful as their are many who are.

      However, I’m 44 years of age and I started my first business at 32. If I knew then what I know now; WOW! Watch out world, lol…. 🙂

      I couldn’t agree more, nothing compares to just doing it. No amount of planning… However, I do think having that foundation that I discussed by creating your unique message sets the stage to handle all of the challenges that will come. It won’t necessarily make it easier but it keeps things simplified and clear and that kind of clarity aids in being able to discern and make the best decisions possible.

      I want to express my gratitude not only for your story but also for your positive exhortation:

      “Becoming a business owner and entrepreneur is everything I could have hoped it to be.. “and then some!””

      AMEN! It’s a blessing to come through the other side.

      I appreciate your honest, positive, inspirational and hopeful comment Darryl. I’m honored you took the time to share your experience and views. I don’t take it lightly when someone takes this much time to share what’s on their heart and mind.

      I do hope to see you again!

      With much appreciation and gratitude,

      ~ Don

  9. Hello,

    Great Post!
    I just got your blog link from “Enstine Muki”, seems like theirs much happening and a lot of bloggers to interact with. I loved you blog and will be sharing it with my circle.

    I’m a writer at Naman’s Board. Naman Board is a hub for English writings including science fiction, poems, quotes, essay on Life, Motivation, Inspirational.

    Hope to see you there!

    Happy Blogging!

    1. Hi Naman,

      Welcome to my blog. It’s great to have you here!!!! Glad to see you are out connecting and networking.

      Please be sure to read my policy. I only allow links that are in line with the article you comment on so I removed your link to be fair to all my visitors and loyal readers.

      Have a great end to your week Naman!

      ~ Don

  10. Hi Don

    I am Shalabh, MBA graduate, running a digital marketing agency in India past 6 years. But i am struggling with the growth. The growth is not there. I had 5 employees in 2010 and have 8 in 2015. So no growth. I want to be a 100 employee company. Please advice me, where i am lacking.


    1. Hi Shalabh,

      Thanks so much for taking a moment to openly share where you are at in your business. Unfortunately, answering that question can be awfully complex and there can be multiple, compounding reasons for your struggles.

      What I would encourage you to do is click on the image above for the 1-on-1 consultation and we can chat on Skype.

      Thanks again so much for sharing your need and I hope to chat with you soon.

      ~ Don

      1. Hi Dan

        Thanks for the realistic reply. Skype conversation would be good.
        Where can I get your skype id ?


  11. Hi Don,

    I know how tough the job market has been. It hasn’t been something people can rely upon…and it really does offer a false sense of security.
    I also remember reading an article several years back about how people weren’t receiving their pensions because the CEO of the corporation they were working for basically took off and stole from them.

    I see numerous opportunities for people to create something for themselves – but it is challenging to start to work for yourself.

    I know I have my own hills to climb in certain areas, and this is a work in progress.
    But the skills to do this are so necessary to learn because I feel we’re in a time where independence and self-reliance are pivotal (although relationships and teamwork are part of this).

    Great topic. College grads should be reading up on this.

    1. Hi Dana,

      You are so right… working for someone is a “false sense of security.” Some are afraid to forgo their regular paycheck and start a business out of fear. Is starting a business a risk? Of course it is. Might one not make it? Sure, that’s a real possibility.

      But, there is another side as well if one is willing make the sacrifice in the short-term for the long-term benefit.

      We all have our hills to climb Dana. Now in my 7th business over ten years I can share that those hills get easier with time and experience.

      Believe in yourself, your dreams and your vision and you’ll find your way!!!!!!

      Thanks for your comment Dana and have an awesome end to your week!

      ~ Don

  12. Hi Don,

    The world is trending toward entrepreneurship and online business for the reasons you’ve mentioned here.

    I first got involved in blogging because I wanted to explore the internet as a support backup to my offline professional practice. I also wanted to see what online business was all about because many of the people I was consulting were suffering layoffs, early retirements, the insecurity of the traditional business world.

    You’ve described a lot of that in the article, and I will be sharing it with those of my clients that I know have been exploring online business lately… and there are many.

    You’ve not only given many of the reasons that people should look into this, but you’ve even given a little crash course in how to start orienting yourself to being an internet entrepreneur.

    Valuable information here, my friend, and nicely packaged.


    1. Hi Donna,

      You are a great example of how the offline world and online world are merging closer and closer together every month.

      The majority of my clients are offline businesses who wanting to market online. The reality is the way you market is the same in both environments and it starts with our message; our foundation.

      There are so many layoffs and people who can’t find work. It’s really sad. I just saw today a survey of US CEO’s of corporations who say things are going from “bad to worse.”

      “Hiring expectations were flat relative to last quarter, with CEOs split roughly evenly between increasing or decreasing their payrolls in the next six months.” http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/12/01/ceo-confidence-goes-from-bad-to-worse/?intcmp=marketfeatures

      Worse, because the US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, many businesses are consolidating and moving overseas to avoid the taxation. It is also referenced in this article.

      That said, small business is about to boom and yet most are not ready for what’s coming and how challenging this will be to start a business. Especially if expectations are not in alignment with reality.

      One massive problem many will have is that they will start chasing strategies without their foundation and run into long-term, chronic struggles unnecessarily because they got the “focus” ahead of the “clarity”; thus creating complexity and confusion.

      That will sink a ship every single time.

      Thanks so much for your comment Donna! I so appreciate you my friend.

      Have a great second half to your week.

      ~ Don

  13. Hey Don, great post here.

    I started my first online business around 2006 and I remember the feeling very well. Throwing myself into the complete unknown, feeling alone much of the time, slightly overwhelmed and scared as well as I didn’t know what was going to happen next.

    The crazy thing was that I’d resigned from the safety of my regular income job as an office worker, I hated it, and so committed myself to building my business online full time, but I soon realised the challenge was greater than I anticipated.

    I had some knowledge of creating a website and doing some basic SEO, but most of what I learned I applied offline, and sure the first year was amazing I won’t lie. Second and third year not so great, and by the 4th year I was looking at doing something else entirely, other than sell original art online, and so I started blogging and offering online services, still on this steep learning curve.

    My first online business died due to my lack of understanding of how to use the internet properly to grow my business.

    I’ll say this, building any online business is fun and the prospects and rewards might sound awesome and appealing to a lot of people. But I think anyone wanting to start an online business needs to really appreciate that it isn’t going to be a walk in the park.

    Having an all-singing and all-dancing website isn’t going to suddenly make them successful overnight. There’s the huge learning curve in the waiting, and learning is just one thing, we can sit and read books all day long, study courses until we turn blue in the face, but if we’re not applying the knowledge then learning itself is useless.

    Owning a business is tough going, but the most wonderful thing is that no one has to do it alone. There’s a wealth of valuable information out there, like the awesome content you strive to put out on your blog frequently Don, so thanks!

    Have an awesome rest of the week.

    1. Hi Fabrizio,

      I LOVE your “Super” comment and your openness. I’m certain it will help a lot of visitors to this article over the coming months and years.

      It really is understandable that most don’t really understand how the internet works. As you may know, the majority of my clients are offline businesses but market online. They read bits and pieces across the web here and there and then just try to execute what they don’t really understand.

      Without the foundation of understanding how any business works and the message behind it; they will fall flat and possibly fail.

      The funny thing is the online world now very much resembles the offline world. They have essentially merged together.

      I was just talking yesterday with a brand new client in Washington D.C. who does consulting work with IT firms and the Federal Government. He was surprised to learn recently how much online research they do of his business. Because he isn’t messaged well and he is communicating one problem/solution/for one person he is missing out big.

      Many still believe they just need a website and Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page and they are good to go.

      Combined with they need money yesterday… there is a HUGE problem.

      Everyone expects the 4 year results in year 1 – like I said in the article; it’s a process that requires strategy, thought and proper execution.

      Thanks so much for sharing Fabrizio!

      Have a great second half to your week and thanks for asking me to contribute to your post that came out today!

      ~ Don

  14. Hey Don

    This is great!. Tough talk yes, but people need to know what business is REALLY all about.

    It’s not about get rich quick, and push button easy. That stuff is for people who believe in pixie dust and fairies in the front garden.

    People absolutely need this info, even if they don’t always want to hear it! Having realistic expectations whilst at the same time being excited about our new venture is the way to do it.

    You are right to detail a 4 year trajectory for a typical business. And yes it’s true – a lot of folk want the year 4 result to magically appear in year 1! People like you act is a counterweight to this thinking – thank you!

    One thing I often say to people is this: ‘people always overestimate what they can make in the short term, but completely underestimate what they can achieve in the long term’.

    If people understood the power of compounding they would not have these silly thoughts. Compounding works on the basis that results are tiny in the short term but massive in the long term. (It works like that for money, but also for business as you know.)

    When these foundational issues have been sorted newbie entrepreneurs can focus on marketing. Getting the messaging right is imperative – it needs to score a bulls eye with prospects every time. You have given us an eloquent explanation of messaging and how important it is for all business owners. Thanks again!



    1. Hi Kim,

      You are absolutely right about compounding! I have always looked at what are all the little things that are happening. Opportunity, growth and success are always found in the little things that add up and lead to the big things.

      That’s why year 1 is about establishing, year 2 is about growth, year 3 is about capitalizing and year 4 about seizing. It’s all about building positive momentum.

      Now, different businesses may take different paths and the time may be different because of the business model or the scale at which they can grow; but the path is generally the same.

      The first step is to learn your message as a business owner. It’s the foundation that affects the entire business and it’s future!!!! It affects the type of employee’s a business attracts and it affects the quality of consumers.

      I so appreciate all of your kind words Kim!

      I hope you have an awesome week!

      ~ Don

  15. HI, Don
    Your post is an eye opener for you to do my future business adventure.

    I, like most of the people, concentrate so much on the business plan which i can’t form at all because I don’t have the experience yet. The business plan is useless for the growth of my business.

    What a good reminder also that success is not found in blogging, social media, hard work, business plan, or aimless attending meeting.

    Thanks for point out that success in business is to fulfill clients’ need, wants,or desires so that the message of the brand is so important.

    Love this excellence post, will share.

    -Stella Chiu

    1. Hi Stella,

      In ten years of entrepreneurship and seven businesses, the lessons I’ve learned through the experiences I’ve had taught me a lot.

      I appreciate your transparency and openness Stella! Indeed, many people concentrate on the wrong things and wonder why it all feels so difficult. It’s a matter of knowing the priorities and then doing them; many times with the right help.

      If there is anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

      Have a great week and thank you so much for sharing!!!

      ~ Don

  16. Hey Don,

    Well you know what age I was when I started my entrepreneurial journey, I was five months shy of turning 50 years old. Still the best decision I ever made. Let’s see, I’d had a total of 12 jobs if you count the two right out of high school that were just to get my feet wet until I could decide what I wanted to do. Several of those companies were owned by the same company but they had a different name. Not fun always having to find yet another position due to bankruptcy, downsizing or closing their doors.

    Starting a business online is challenging and hard but the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learned SO much and you’re right about one very important thing. There is NO overnight success and it’s going to take years before you see any decent results. To me though those are the ones that make it because of how they’ve taken the time to build it all up.

    You definitely can’t count on the jobs like you used to. My nephew is 27 years old and just left the cruise line. Great job he had but he was always gone and never home much. It got old so now, although he has a LOT of great experience, is unable to find a job. There goes all that money he had saved up if something doesn’t come along soon. Think about all those people who lost their jobs due to some of the same reasons I was always moving around.

    It’s time to forge a place for yourself online and although it’s not going to be an easy task it will be so rewarding. I just want to say I hope that those interested will consider it because although there will be challenges they are yours to overcome. We can no longer count on anyone else to provide for your future, it’s in our hands.

    I wish everyone the very best and thanks for sharing this message Don.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Your story is such an inspiring one!!!! You show that anyone with passion, tenacity an a dream can do amazing things.

      I believe our society is going to shift back to entrepreneurship out of necessity. Some will make it and som won’t. My concern right now is as I said in my post; too many need and want year four results in year one.

      There is frustration and discouragement. I totally get it!!!! But, what I didn’t say is that I’m frustrated by so supposed “experts” and coaches online touting themselves as being able to help businesses grow overnight. There is so much that goes into a business that it just doesn’t happen that way.

      My heart goes out to your nephew!!!! There are so many that are going to be where he is at. Knowing that you’re in his family I have a feeling he will find his way!!!

      Thanks for such a fantastic comment Adrienne.

      I hope you have an amazing week!!!

      ~ Don

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