Success does not come overnight, but from a long tedious process of striving to improve everyday. Whenever you admire someone for being successful despite knowing them for a short period of time, be well informed that their hard work have started years in advance of that glory. The time investment to achieve success is not about the many times an individual loses or fails, but more so of the same amount of time – he or she rises up, dust off the sand and try again.
Time is what truly measures success.
Time is the only measurement of the many occurrences of failing, rising, trying and learning. No one can learn everything in one night, which is why success is not easily or quickly attainable. To learn, one starts with making mistakes from repeated bad decisions. Those lessons, through time and many repeated mistakes, will dictate future decisions of an individual to be more of the right ones. That is why, the impact of great returns come much later after a person started a business or career. You will become a more mature, wiser person and that is one of the attributes of being successful.
Early beginnings of entrepreneurship
Being at home for seven years, I knew nothing about running a business. I’ve been out of touch with my corporate career that I barely can remember when I last opened my email inbox. I was caught up with children, so learning new business skills does not happen often. When I started with my first small business, Bebebows, I learnt the simple skill of making hair bows from watching Youtube at night when my children are asleep. I bought some ribbons online, made time to practise and before I knew it, I could make a hair bow.
Acknowledge small successes.
It might not be a big deal to you, knowing that I can make a hair bow but at that time, it was a stepping stone for me. It was my first progression. I started making tens and sell them online. And when I realised the orders are piling up, I stayed up again till 3 am for months to learn how to make my own website and learnt Adobe Photoshop to create my own marketing assets. They were not the best in the market, but the best I could do then. I invested a lot of time improving the skills of design, because I felt that was necessary for me to push for more sales. Building my own website, and improving through time was my second progression and I celebrated even further when I finally got a good grasp of Adobe Photoshop design after months of learning and practising.
My progression continues when I started to learn how to write a deck presentation, how to present better in a corporate presentation which is how I won my first contract 6 months later with a large department store. I read up and try to understand the role of a visual merchandiser, as then my home based online business have started supplying to major department stores – up to 54 stores within the region in 2 years. I knew I have to get help with production, so I bold up my courage to head to China at some point to connect with factories to launch my design. At this point, I’ve hired part timers so I need to learn how to manage and delegate employees to benefit my business and lead them well.
I did not stop progressing, though the successes were little compared to other people. I was more focused on what I do, and channelled my energy and time to be better and do better. I must admit learning to step up is not something easy for me, because everything seems new to me. There were skills and talents, I did not have but never stopped believing without determination – I would master these very skills.
So past forward two years when I started from making simple bows from home, I’ve became a boss with employees and supplying to the retail consumer market across many department stores. And I could have chose to stop there, and be happy enough with what I received but I was more encouraged to where more progression can take me.
I tried my luck with raising capital funding in 2011 that fast forward, invested and incubated several brick and mortar businesses in multiple industries. I knew in order to be successful, there is still so much more to learn and I have to invest just as much time into learning everyday as well. Why? Because I don’t want to always do the same thing, I wanted to progress. No matter how small.
Chase for progression, not perfection.
People who are successful are people who are constantly challenging themselves to do better and be better. That means, consistently putting themselves in bigger roles and taking bigger commitments, just so they are forced to learn and improve. They may fail from time to time, but they are people hungry for lessons that contribute to their growth and those lessons are what took them to the next level of progression.
Over a period of time, these progressions level up – one after another like a stepping stone up a flight of stairs – which take them to places they’ve never imagined they would be. But they are more attached to the experiences more than the rewards, that progression is their main ingredient to success as it is their main goal to chase for.
Keeping yourself motivated.
If I worry about how successful everyone is around me back then when I started a home based online business from home, I would have been demotivated to give up almost immediately. I knew as a stay home mother, with no degree or working experience, it would take me a longer route to success unlike most people who started their career well after graduating with a degree. I had doubts if entrepreneurship is for me, or if I ever had the slightest chance to make it.
But instead, I’ve decided to focus on the small progressions each day I made on my own business. It boosted my income – bit by bit, and as more opportunities came along, I never rejected them no matter how tough it would be. And before I knew it, despite the troubles and issues in between, these progressions add up to me being here.
So celebrate these little things.
If you’ve learnt to build a website for the first time today, be proud of yourself. If your first customer ordered even for $5 worth, be happy. If you got connected to a person, learn to collaborate, raised your first investment, set up your home office, print your first invoice – whatever it is, that takes you to a new level, celebrate it.
Keep yourself motivated, and look back often at the wonderful contribution and progress your business achieved through your efforts.
People are successful not because they went to a store a bought a large chunk of success or sleep and wake up to a big gift of success in the morning. But because they accumulate small successes each day, in small little packages often overlooked in the things they do for their business every day.
And in due time, these small little packages are what add up to the overall big achievements.
That’s how success is attained.