Creating a Business – What Nobody Tells Beginners

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As an entrepreneur, you are a creator. You take ideas and turn them into reality. Whether you view your industry as creative or not, your business, your brand and your impact never existed until you created it. That said, as an entrepreneur, the process of creation is never easy, and many times we are disappointed in our results.

Have you ever had a great idea that is crystal clear in your head? You can visualize the concept in all its glory, and it is beautiful. In fact, you are so excited about it that you are driven to start putting that idea to paper immediately, to breathe life into it, and make it real. You had such high hopes.

And then…then… things go horribly wrong. Somehow on the way from your mind onto the page something went awry. Your beautiful creation comes out looking like a troll.

Baby Troll

The work is an abomination, you feel dirty. Showers are taken, prayers are said, and it is left locked in a drawer or in a file on your computer where it hopefully dies or disappears, and you pretend like you had nothing to do with the monstrosity.

Unfortunately, at some point, you realize that the work has to be finished and you begrudgingly go back to see what you can make of your disaster. You put on your scrubs, don the surgical mask, and pull on your surgical gloves.

It’s time to save the patient. Cue the drill sounds and bone saws, “I NEED MORE SUCTION!” This is triage at its best. At some point, the patient flat lines. “BEEEEEEEEEEP!” You grab the defibrillators and charge the paddles. Everything goes quiet, then…..”BEEP, BEEP.” Finally you stumble out of the ER, quietly sobbing, sweating, exhausted, but the work is complete.

Your project has had enough plastic surgery to become tolerable and you have submitted it, ready to move on to the next project.

It’s a terrible feeling, you feel like a fraud. You are disappointed, and you debate ever trying something like this again. At least, this is how I feel.

If you have ever tried to create something, then you can identify with the feeling of falling way, I mean WAY, short of your own standards. This feeling can drive you crazy. How can you be so passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated to building something that you clearly have no capability creating? You might feel like giving up or throwing in the towel.

But wait; there is a reason why you cannot seem to live up to your own expectations. It’s because you are not yet good enough to perform at the level you enjoy or have developed a taste for. Like a foodie, who knows the finest exotic foods, and can list the herbs in a dish, but cannot boil an egg. If you want to get good, it is going to take some time, effort and practice.

Malcom Gladwell identifies what he calls the 10,000-hour rule in his book Outliers (A great book if you want to check it out). The rule claims that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. At that time, someone has finally developed the specific skills and knowledge necessary to perform in that field at the highest level.

What you struggle with is that while you are building those 10,000 hours of experience, your work is nothing like the professional work that you enjoy consuming. Frankly, your work seems lousy when compared to others. The key is not to give up, to understand that it will be a journey getting from where you are, to where you want to be. You don’t have to settle for substandard work, but you have to realize that it will take time for you to get as good as you desire to be.

Ira Glass is a radio personality, and host and producer of the radio and television show “This American Life” on NPR. He has a great quote that captures this, the challenge between taste and ability. You can watch the video here or read the quote below.

The bottom line is that you can’t let your good taste get in the way of your learning and development. You need to put in the time to grow as a creator, as an entrepreneur, and develop the stomach to deal with your own limited abilities as you put in the work to get to the level of performance you want. As you put in the time, the gap between what you have a taste for and what you actually make will shrink.

So don’t give up, the journey is worth the pain!

Make your own path.


Ira Glass Quote


3 Responses to Creating a Business – What Nobody Tells Beginners

  1. militarylifesmoments2014 October 28, 2014 at 21:39 #

    Yes! I agree as I type and laugh. My “business” has taken a long time to come about as I started with an idea to create family friendly military greeting cards for all occasions, learned to create them online and am now learning to share them through social media. I must be getting closer to that 10,000 hours in some of those areas. : ) Thanks for sharing this. It is definitely encouraging.

    • Damian October 29, 2014 at 09:57 #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this with me. I can say that over time, things get easier and better. I look back on how this site and the interviews started out, both were terrible compared to now. Looking forward, I think that I’ll look at the work I do now as being subpar as well. How did you get started and where are you in your business development?

      • Ruth Logsdon October 29, 2014 at 12:27 #

        Basically, I was looking for something to fill my time around my duties as the “primary parent.” Even with my husband retiring and moving to the civilian sector, his schedule is still tied to a military flight schedule. I am still the one who makes life at our house happen.

        Additionally, I had realized throughout the course of our Navy life that they make greeting cards for doctors, lawyers and golfers but not for our military families. So, I thought … why not me and why not now? That is when I started to create some and began my on Greeting Card Universe online store. (This made the most sense to reach the most far flung military families.) Then, I started my store at Cafe Press for additional exposure to a different demographic. Over the past year, I have been working on my website, social media presence and now a blog. LOL!

        It has been great to find other military folks working on different businesses in different ways online and to connect with them. We already have a kinship and appreciate the opportunities to both learn from and to help each other out.

        Yes, I agree whole-heartedly that my first greeting cards were a bit less than zesty. I think they have improved as I have learned. Honestly, though I have run a successful home based business in the past and worked outside the home, I know a lot about business. Yet, with things moving online, I still feel quite the technologically challenged novice at times. This is still definitely a hobbie level business for me. However, I am spending more time focusing on it. Bit by bit … I am getting both bigger and better. : ) Thanks for asking.

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