Being an entrepreneur means making quick decisions and trusting your gut… But there are times when we go a little too fast. When that happens, I like to remind my clients that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Yes, it’s a cliche. I’m sure you’ve heard it a lot, probably when venting to friends who don’t really “get” entrepreneurship and this business you’re building. You’ll say something like, “I just want to be there already. I see what I’m capable of and I’m so impatient,” and your friends, well meaning though uncertain of what to say, will note, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
UGH so frustrating! Especially if you’re a person who likes to go, go, go, being told, “Rome wasn’t built in a day…” can almost feel like a challenge. I’ve certainly heard it before and though, “Oh really? Hold my tea.” Luckily, I have the tools and experience to tell me that that isn’t the right response, but it would feel so good in the moment!
Here’s my take on “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and why it’s a good thing that your business wasn’t either — because, when building a sustainable business, you sometimes have to go slow at first so you can go fast later on.
Think of any “overnight success” we hear about. What we don’t see is the years of practice in their craft to get where they want to be. Taylor Swift didn’t just suddenly start selling out arenas and going multi-super-unicorn-platinum on her records. She worked at it.
As I wrote in Phases Of Commitment: Moving Through The Five Steps, Full Commitment is a bond with the Universe. It’s placing trust in yourself that you’ll do everything in your power to achieve your goals and placing faith in the other elements of the Universe to meet you where you want to be.
You don’t get to be a massive success or land in Full Commitment overnight. It is a process. And so is building a sustainable business. But (and this is the key to remember) it’s so worth it in the end because you’ll have a business that brings you joy and makes a true impact on this world…all without stressing or having to repair the plane while it’s flying, so to speak.
Often, I hear from clients that they want everything perfectly in place before they can move forward. They want a fully-cohesive team, the right lead generation / email opt in offer, three revenue streams for subscribers to choose from after they consume the opt in… You get the idea. And I think you’re seeing where the problem is.
Nothing has ever been perfect right out of the gate and no one has ever had absolutely everything just arrive on their doorstep ready to go like a Whole Foods order. But if you’re willing to put the first attempt out there, you can modify it over time.
I also hear from people that they want to have a just-right schedule picked out before they begin their business. Certainly, being in the flow can create novel ideas, but the implementation takes a lot of detailed work — and that takes a commitment to doing the work.
After all, business isn’t about doing everything you love. You will have to do tasks you don’t like (and don’t really want to do) unless you hire it out — and that’s another discussion for another day. So long as you’re willing to just start, you’re already ahead.
To build a sustainable business, I’d encourage you to strip things back to their foundational elements.
For example: Do you really need to build a course and a workshop if your signature offer is still under construction? Obviously, no. You can certainly hold the intention to eventually create those pieces, but this is a case of “walk before you run.”
Perhaps you’re focusing on adding so many bells and whistles to your business because you’re avoiding doing the detailed work of just starting. Discover what you really need at the basic level for your business to run well. Go back to the elemental things your business must have to be viable and survive, then do those really well. Then, and only then, can you add more on.
No one wants to hear it, but I think you’re ready for some hard truths. The first one is that you can’t expect money to come in the door the second you begin your business. This is especially true if you don’t have the foundational pieces created and you don’t have the time or patience to do it yourself.
In entrepreneurship, money always comes up. To that, let me deliver the second hard truth of this section: Fast, cheap, or good…pick two. As an entrepreneur, you’re always toggling between those three elements when you’re making decisions.
I don’t love these people who say you can work 4 hours a day and have a great business. You can, but you have to work smarter or invest in a team. Typically, that means more money invested in your business.
When building a sustainable business, you will have to invest at different times to get the infrastructure you need. Whether it’s your time, money, or a way to be more efficient, it’s all an investment.
It comes back to the commitment you made. Are you willing to do the work yourself or make an investment in yourself and/or resources to help you get there? If you do this piece with intention, you’ll be on your path to building a sustainable business that can scale with ease.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were impactful offers, funnels, and systems! I know you want to get out there and build lots of courses and lead gen materials and snazzy graphics to sell your thing. You probably see people on social media with tons of marketing materials and team members doing it and you want to do it, too.
And you will. But first, you have to go slow to go fast. Like I mentioned before, you need to put your head down and work diligently on one thing at a time. That won’t be the case forever, but you’ll certainly have to at the beginning of your business or when you’re introducing a new offer.
I promise you, if you focus on doing the basics really well, you’ll create a solid foundation on which your business can grow. It’s much better to do that than grow too fast with an unstable base — when that happens, you’re just doing what you can to keep balls in the air without addressing and problems so they don’t become big issues in the future.
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone is cut out to own a business. It certainly isn’t for people who aren’t committed to doing the work or investing in themselves and resources they need to sustainably grow. But since you’re here, I know you’re cut out for it.
So, are you willing to slow down a bit so you can be intentional and build some of the key support pieces you’ll need as your business grows so you can take on more and more down the road and you can reach more of the people who need to hear from you the most?
Let’s call today a line in the sand. Leave me a comment to let me know you’re stepping over this line and there’s no going back! From this day forward, you’re agreeing to slow down to go fast and you recognize that Rome wasn’t built in a day…and neither was your sustainable business.