What Real Determination Looks Like in Entrepreneurship

10/24/2017 09:11 am ET

By Solomon Thimothy

Entrepreneurs often get pegged as simply being gifted with a great idea in the right place at the right time. That may be true for some entrepreneurs, but the truth is, there’s little luck that goes into becoming a successful entrepreneur. It’s hard work and determination that has shaped even the most iconic entrepreneurs. I like to think of entrepreneurs as inventors. They must first have an idea to change something for the better or create something that the market has not yet seen. But after that, it’s all about hard work, testing, refining and doing it over and over.

But what does determination look like? Over my decade as an entrepreneur and working with many entrepreneurs and business owners, I’ve seen a couple of things that may seem surprising but tend to be reflective of the most successful entrepreneurs.

It Takes Crazy Effort to Get Started

If you listen to the stories of how many companies got started, it’s usually some crazy story about how someone started out selling door-to-door or out of their garage, sacrificing everything they had for this one chance. If anyone would be presented with that plan, they would most likely walk away without even thinking of giving up their luxuries or freedom.

So what does this look like? I often think about my gym instructor who teaches 16 group classes a week. Impressive. Now think about doing that every day starting at 5:30 a.m. Who would be excited to get out of bed and energize people to do a mix-cardio class? I can’t even get myself out of bed at 5:30, let alone in front of dozens of people, getting them pumped up about working out.

When most of us would rather say no thanks, it’s the determined that go from idealists to realists in business. I gave up a lot of my college years to devote to building a business. When most of my friends were going out and having fun, I was working a full-time job, going to class and starting up my own business.

It’s Uncomfortable and Often Painful

Who doesn’t like to be in their comfort zone? We all do. Getting out of your comfort zone is often one of the hardest things that we have to do. Entrepreneurs have to constantly get out of their comfort zone to push their idea forward or get buy-in from those around them.

A few months after starting my business as a freelancer, I realized that I needed two things: to devote all my time to the business and hire help. The thought was uncomfortable, to say the least. Give up a good paying job for something that might not work out? What about asking my own brother to do the same? Definitely not the easiest decision to make.

I am often reminded of this when the same gym instructor tells us, “You either go light on the weights and have an okay workout, or you go heavy and get a really great workout; it’s your choice.”

And it truly is. Choosing the comfort over discomfort yields very little fruits. Even today, I constantly find myself having to be in uncomfortable positions to do something good for the company. From public speaking to mapping the next steps for our company, it’s always an uncomfortable position that pushes the business forward.

You Can’t Quit Once You Get Going

There’s probably nothing truer than this when it comes to being an entrepreneur. While quitting may often seem like the easiest option, it’s the last thing you want to do if you want to get somewhere. Think about it this way. If you give up, you will have lost all that you put into your business or idea. Sure, you might breathe a sigh of relief, but that’s about it. On the other hand, if you don’t quit, you have the potential to make it.

Being a business owner is no walk in the park. Tough choices, criticism and real-life dilemmas can get the best of you. Calling it quits may seem like the only option at times. But don’t forget that you’ve already made it so far to just give up.

My gym instructor seems to do this very well. Just when we’ve all just about drained every ounce of energy in us, she reminds us that we can’t call it quits, we’ve made it through the hardest part of the class to simply give up.

For me, calling it quits isn’t an option anymore. After ten years of building a business and creating a family around our business, it’s not even an option to quit. Even when obstacles come our way, I have to figure out a way to keep moving forward.

Entrepreneurs are often described as passion-driven. Yes, passion is huge when you’re starting a business, but determination is the fuel you need to keep going. While it may be hard to keep up, without it we’d probably never get anywhere. So next time you're faced with a tough situation, remember that being an entrepreneur wasn’t meant to be a piece of cake, that things will be tough and possibly painful and you can’t give up just like that. These three simple things might just help you get through it!

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Solomon Thimothy is the founder of Clickx, a marketing intelligence platform that helps businesses and agencies with marketing attribution.

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