The Long Road. (Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash)

I have read so many guides to being successful as an entrepreneur that they have all blurred into the same thing.

A waste of time.

The unfortunate truth about starting your own thing, and turning it into something successful, is this —

Success isn’t formed by habits or lifestyle changes. It really is just down to taking a chance, working your fucking ass off and catching a lucky break now and then.

They really are the only key ingredients required.

You can’t run before you can walk. Before you hit the lofty heights of success, you need to get to stage one.

I have been at this entrepreneur thing for a couple of years now, and I would now say I am a barely successful entrepreneur.

And I mean that in the best sense.

The Long Road To The Jackpot.

Success is a gradual process.

The road you are on is a long fucking road. You are like Master Frodo and Samwise The Brave, setting off on their seemingly impossible mission with the odds stacked firmly against you, with no guide and no support.

There are no shortcuts, no industry secrets and no routines that can speed up your journey to success.

So those tips and tricks, lifestyle changes and new routines that you are told will change your fortunes in an instant?

Forget them. All of them. If you wrote them down somewhere throw them in the bin. Delete the bookmarked listicles on your web browser.

Your first goal of being an entrepreneur is simple.

Learn to survive off your craft.

That is what I deem as becoming ‘barely successful’, or stage one.

How To Be Barely Successful.

My routine is so bland, and so boring, it will probably leave you totally uninspired.

And maybe that is my point. There really is not anything crazy to it.

I am making my way by working hard, dedicating my mind and my time to building a business and focusing on overcoming the obstacles in my way.

That means you can throw out a few of these ‘mind blowing’ changes —

  • Your life isn’t decided by what you do between 4–6am.
    So I suggest you find some time to sleep between those hours. I wake up around 6:30, because thats what most people do. Sleep is wonderful right? What could you possibly achieve between 4am and 6am that is so life changing you have to forgo getting a decent nights sleep? Nothing. You are just leaving yourself susceptible to burnout, which sucks ass. And you will be a total cranky asshole to be around. And you will just go to bed at like 6PM, which is kinda weird.
  • Have a cold shower, but only if you like a cold shower.
    It is heading into winter now. It is freezing cold, dark and rainy. You have just woken up and need to get ready for the day. What better than to step into a torrent of ice cold water and shudder violently, praying it will be over soon? No thanks. I’ll stick to having a nice warm shower and save the cold ones for sunburn.
  • Yoga is good for you, but it won’t make you successful.
    Last time I checked, being able to master the ‘headstand with lotus legs’ pose did not make you a successful entrepreneur. Of course, it is good for you and your body. This goes for all exercise. It will keep you fit and healthy. But if you think sticking an hour or two in the gym a day is going to be your ticket to success? Think again. You are just in the same position, but with killer abs, or stretchier legs.
  • If you don’t like to read — don’t.
    I have learned over the years that I find reading difficult, and very few books hold my attention span. Yet it seems to be successful you need to be consuming around 3 books per day, all whilst building your business. Seriously, who has the fucking time for that? And where do you keep those books? This year I have got into podcasts and find this works for me. The lesson? Consume the medias that work for you, not the ones others tell you to.

The list goes on. Others advise you work less, worry less, give less fucks, eat organic, drink less, learn more languages and start up several passion projects, all while investing time in loved ones, friends, networking and yourself. Don’t forget to also take lots of time off, go see art and music to get cultured, and stay off your bloody phone or computer.

And Yet…

All these habits, routines and lifestyle ‘hacks’ don’t change the fundamental point.

Without the courage to start something, without the dedication and graft to work at it, to take it every single hit on the chin and keep going, without a lucky break along the way, no amount of yoga or 4am alarms is going to make your success happen any quicker.

Do what works for you. You can’t replicate somebody else’s success by attempting to morph into them.

Yes, we can learn from each other. We can learn from each other’s failures, we can share knowledge and findings. We can support each other in times of need, and celebrate each other in times of accomplishment.

The journey from startup nobody to startup success story is one that is different for everyone. The habits and routines you form will be the ones that work for you, and you will only learn this through experience. The way you deal with the highs and the lows will have to be figured out and mastered by you, and only you.

But stage one is a reachable goal.

Becoming barely successful is something to celebrate. To survive off your craft is an amazing feeling, and one that we can all achieve with less thought on how cold your shower should be, and more thought into how much graft you are ready to put it.