If you’re an entrepreneur, odds are you’re tired.
People often become entrepreneurs because they want more freedom.
Yet in the struggle to make money, many entrepreneurs work longer hours and treat themselves worse than any boss would. As both the doer and the supervisor, the entrepreneur gets two jobs: labor and management.
Dorie Clark, author of “Entrepreneurial You” says, “The first challenge is how do you become successful as an entrepreneur. Nine times out of 10, the answer is you get successful running yourself ragged. You work 7 days a week, killing yourself with direct service.”
I can relate. In the early days of my own business, I reached max capacity quickly.
“At a certain point you realize it’s unsustainable,” Clark said. “But you think, ‘I have to be successful, what are the other options?’”
Clark says the answer is, “You have to look at your model.”
When you realize you can’t run yourself through a magic duplicating machine, the challenge becomes scale.
In writing “Entrepreneurial You,” Clark profiles successful entrepreneurs, large and small, all over the world. “I wanted to present a smorgasbord of options, so people can at look what models might work for their business, and how to get started,” she said.”
The subtitle of the book — “Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams and Thrive” — speaks to the aspirations of every entrepreneur. “You have to create passive income,” she said.
Clark’s previous book “Stand Out” was Inc. Magazine’s No. 1 leadership book of 2015. In it, she provides a template for professionals to differentiate themselves. Clark realized, though, that standing out is not enough. “What I came to understand in the course of traveling and talking about ‘Stand Out,’” she said, “becoming an expert in your field, while that is a necessary and important step, it’s not the final step.
“Even if people are recognized for their expertise, many have a hard time figuring out how to monetize their business.”
In “Entrepreneurial You,” Clark tackles the thorny issue of money. She says, “In our culture, money is a very challenging topic, there’s a lot of baggage around it. In the entire world, there is a lot of chest-thumping and baggage, without a lot of facts.”
“I wanted to write a book that spoke very honestly and clearly about what the possibilities are and how people can bring in revenue,” said Clark, an adjunct professor at Duke University Fuqua School of Business. “I wanted to provide real information with real numbers.”
Clark details financial models for several entrepreneurs, including herself. The transparency is both helpful and inspiring.
Another topic Clark addresses is persistence. “People know it as a truism, but I was struck by the dramatic and exponential benefits people get by persevering when everyone else quit,” she said.
For example, people are often reluctant to create a podcast because they believe there are too many to be noticed. Yet in a 10-year study, the average podcast lasted only 12 episodes before the creator gave up and stopped. In 2016, there were 206,000 podcasts, yet only 40 percent were active — defined as one episode in the preceding six months.
“This is true of almost everything in life,” Clark said. “People look at the large field of competition and say that’s way too hard. Meanwhile it’s an illusion, there’s not that much competition. It’s much smaller if you are able to persevere beyond the place where everyone else quits and drops out.”
Entrepreneurship is not easy. But with scale and persistence, it might be for you.
Lisa McLeod is the global expert in Noble Purpose. She is the author of the bestsellers “Selling with Noble Purpose” and “Leading with Noble Purpose.”