Proper expectations prepare you to succeed…
The easiest way to end up feeling like a failure — at anything — is to expect success in situations where it’s unlikely or even impossible.
Let’s say someone promises you the moon. They tell you they’re going to make you a rich-as-sin entrepreneur within the next 30 days, with barely any work on your part.
They have a new whiz-bang business opportunity that’s practically plug-and-play.
All you have to do is fork over your life savings, they’ll set it up for you, and the money will start rolling in.
I don’t care what the opportunity is, that’s probably a big-time lie. The only one getting rich-as-sin off that opportunity is the person selling it.
But let’s say for a minute there’s an opportunity that’s a little more realistic. Let’s say, for example, that this opportunity promises you the ability to “retire” from working for others, and make a really solid six-figure income, working from home.
Now, in order to sell this to you, they have to make it feel fast, easy, and automatic.
That by the time you’ve purchased their information on pursuing this opportunity, you’re halfway there.
But in all reality, you’re going to have to go through a few phases to really get this new opportunity off the ground.
As far as I know, these come from copywriter John Carlton. At the very least, that’s where I learned them.
And while he taught them in the context of how to launch a freelance copywriting career, I think they apply on a much broader basis. At the very least, to any freelancer. And frankly, fuzzy the edges enough and the same general trajectory applies to any career or business.
Stage 1: Get Good…
We are inherently lazy. All of us. We’d love to skip the whole “earning it” thing, and just make money.
You ever wonder why the lottery is so popular? Because “money for nothing” is an incredibly tantalizing prospect, even if it’s statistically on the edge of impossible that you’ll actually win that jackpot.
As evidenced by behavior, more people believe in getting rich by luck than either working hard or smart.
But if you isolate just that population of people who get rich within their lifetimes, you’ll find something else.
— They feel fortunate, and indeed lucky, to have had the opportunity to get rich.
— That said, they put in an inordinate and extraordinary amount of effort into developing the skills and putting themselves in the situations where luck is in their favor.
— They work hard to get good at at least one financially lucrative skill.
— They often make incredible sacrifices on the road to getting good, long before it ever really starts to pay off.
— They’re often as motivated by the getting good part as they are the getting paid part, and looking back they’ll agree that the getting good part was far more important.
When you’re starting out pursuing any opportunity or career path, you have to get good at delivering value first. You have to put in your 10,000 hours. You have to do anything and everything to develop your ability to generate results.
This often means working for far less than you think you’re worth. It often means pursuing opportunities where the mentorship is a bigger payoff than the financial reward. It often means doing pretty much anything and everything to improve your skill, even if that means dramatic financial sacrifices.
But then, you start to get a track record. You start to get some successes under your belt. You start to be able to stand on your own, practicing your craft and creating value.
So then you move on to…
Stage 2: Get Connected…
Often in the “Get Good” part of your career, you’re taking little opportunities. You’re working with smaller players in the market you want to succeed in. Your clients are B-list or C-list clients, even if you aspire to the A-list.
But once you start to develop a track record of success, you can move up.
So you start to really network. You might go back to taking minor jobs, just to do them with major players. Your goal here is to expand your network toward the ideal clients/customers for what it is you do.
The good news is that if you’ve truly gotten good, a lot of this can happen without much effort on your part.
That is, peers start referring you to their clients. Clients start talking about you with other clients. Contacts move from one business to another within the industry, and suddenly you have an in at two places instead of one.
The better you are at getting results through your skill or service, the more they’ll naturally want to talk about you with others.
But again, this only comes after you get good, in the previous stage.
As this happens though, your network expands, opportunity comes to you, and then you reach the destination…
Stage 3: Get Paid…
Once you’re great at what you do and you have a network of people who know that, you become pretty much unstoppable.
In fact, you’ll often find that demand for you far outstrips your ability to fulfill it (which can be another problem).
In this position, you call the shots, you dictate your terms of agreement, you are in control.
This is where all the work and effort and sacrifice of the previous two stages pay off.
Here’s the thing…
Again, most of us are lazy. We want to believe we can jump straight to Stage 3, and Get Paid.
The world doesn’t work that way.
It doesn’t change the fundamental laws of the universe to simply desire success without working for it, putting in the effort, investing time and money in our learning process, and doing whatever it takes.
You have to put in the time, effort, and energy to move through the stages.
But when you do, the rewards can be incredible.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,