“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch

If there’s an entrepreneur stereotype that lives up to this day, it’s the stereotype of the busy, on-the-go, haggard, hurried, sleepless, caffeine-fueled start-up owner who is chained to her business.

Why does this stereotype still exist? Because it’s such an accurate description of reality.

Many entrepreneurs today think that the only effective way to run a business is to make yourself a slave to it. What they don’t know is that shouldn’t be the case and that there is another way (or other ways) to lead a venture without wreaking havoc on your health, your personal relationships, your values and basically your entire life.

Yes, dedication, hard work, discipline and commitment are truly important to be successful. But no, it doesn’t have to be in the form of frenzied living. In fact, putting yourself in your business too much can be detrimental to success. Your physical, mental and emotional capacities won’t be at their optimal peak due to sheer exhaustion, leading to wrong, costly decision making.

The key is to find how you can be working on your business without working in your business. Here are some ways to do just that:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Look for ways that you can set up several businesses that will let you expect multiple income revenue streams. You’ll be able to manage these businesses better if you go for the small, un-flashy, stable ventures that offer basic needs, can run like clockwork, and will deliver predictable profits for the long term.

Invest in the right team.

If you want to free yourself from the daily demands of the business, then you’ve got to find the right people to manage the day-to-day tasks for you. To do this, you have to hire the right employees. You need employees who are qualified, trustworthy and have ownership of the work they do. To fuel this level of engagement, you must be able to provide them leadership, autonomy, motivation and trust.  The key is to always make sure that your team helps the business grow while you in turn help your team grow.

Sail your own ship.

Many entrepreneurs partner because frankly, they fear going into the unknown alone. But if you listen to self-made multimillionaires and billionaires, many of them frown upon the concept of having co-founders. Make the decisions, face the risks, execute everything as a lone owner, and you reap the benefits 100 percent.  If you can afford to finance your own business ventures without seeking funding from third party investors or partners, you will be free to make decisions based purely on your best business interests, and not so much on seeking short term profits.

Just provide value, period.

Your product or service doesn’t have to be the best or the most original for you to be successful. But it has to address a relevant need in your market — it has to provide value to people. Of course, it also needs to be priced right for your target customers. Most of all, you need to be trusted as a business owner and as a brand. People buy from people they trust, so invest in building relationships and engage in conversations with your customers to understand them better and to make your offers even more compelling.

To achieve long term success, you have to ignore short term rewards.


Thank you for reading.  Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)