Struggle Is Optional – Work Is Required


Adopt this philosophy and your life and your business will reap the rewards.

One of the greatest entrepreneurial revelations I experienced was the moment I realized beating my head against the wall was not a requirement.

Building a business isn’t supposed to be something that elevates your blood pressure or propels you into psychotherapy.

Struggle is optional.

Instead of climbing up the learning curve with blistered and callused hands (like so many of us did), ask for help.  Help is just a telephone call, an email, a Tweet, or a mouse click away.

Another equally important revelation I experienced was the day I cured myself from “Shiny Object Syndrome”.  I stopped in my tracks, came to my senses, and refused to open another email touting “quick and easy” routes to success.  There are none.

Work is required.

My personal definition of “WORK”:

W — Write a daily plan of action steps
O —  Organization counts
R —  Rinse and Repeat successful strategies
K —  Keep going!

Not only can you keep your struggles to a minimum, you can eliminate them entirely and get on with the work of building your business.  Take solace knowing every question and conern that has you stumped is something a fellow entrepreneur has already faced and mastered.

  • What revelations have you experienced as an entrepreneur?
  • Were you fortunate enough to have a short learning curve or did you climb up the curve with blistered and callused hands?
  • How have you been able to help a fellow entrepreneur?
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  • Hi Melanie,

    Wonderful visual, really conjures up pain! Ouch! Doing W.O.R.K. your way will surely ease it (and a crate of that easyP creme ought to speed along the healing).

    Over time, I’ve had some real starts-and-stops in my offline business. Sometimes it helps to have a business partner so you can both do what you’re best at doing, which minimizes “abrasions, contusions” and generally being dragged around the farm. (Love that @SheilaAtwood!) I’ve never been great at asking for help, a partner was the next best thing.

    One blogger I know gets some extra hands by using interns. She teaches them the ropes and gets a little help in return. And it doesn’t hurt to engage a virtual assistant – from time to time — or a techie, as you suggest.

    Great post, Melanie, and entertaining comments, too! (And thanks for stopping by my blog. Really enjoyed the chat!)

    • Vernessa!

      To coin a phrase … you made my day.

      Thank you kindly for knocking on the door of Solo Mompreneur. I had a blast on my first trip to your blog! Your candor and engaging personality were splashed all over the page — love it. You haven’t seen the last of me, that’s for sure.

      I see you discovered my readers rock! I’m truly blessed with this community and we have a great time.

      EXCEPTIONALLY savvy idea to use “interns”! Thanks for sharing that with us and I can clearly see the benefits and the win-win scenario. And it gives me a whole new idea and outsourcing arena to explore.

      Sending along a virtual hug for your awesome tip!
      Melanie

      • Aww, what a nice thing to say!

        Yes, I can see you have a warm, thriving community surrounding you. As you know, I’ve interacted with some of the bloggers here. I smiled to see Leanne Chesser amongst your friends because I rarely ever encounter other Squidoo lovers. (Do you Squidoo?) I remember her name because she gave me an Angel Blessing on a lens which was a wonderful (and much needed) boost.

        My daughters would love what you guys have to offer as they’re doing homeschooling (one is), work-at-home entrepreneurial activities of one sort or another, and happily juggling hubbies and a houseful of boys (only one girl out of 7 youngsters).

        Didn’t intend to be so long-winded. Lastly . . . I keep a list of people to drop in on. (I really mean a little list in a text document — so old fashioned!) While I might not subscribe to the feed (I’m awful about opening Google Reader), I try to make the rounds on a regular basis. I’ve got your number. Let’s stay in touch.

        • Wow, Vernessa, you’ve got a good memory.

          I’m certain Leanne is going to light up with a big smile when she reads your comment.

          No, I don’t Squidoo but I’ve been promising myself to scoot over there and create some lenses. At the moment, though, I’ve got enough fun zone activities in my online marketing bag of tricks. 🙂

          You have daughters? That’s really cool. Me, too — Four of them and my youngest are twins. I always say there’s nothing in this world like a house full of PMS! LOL 🙂

          Glad you’ve “got my number” (and I’ve got yours),
          Melanie

          P.S. Feel free to be as “windy” as you like here!

  • Hi Melanie,
    In the beginning of my blog I spent too much time on design and programming stuff. I had to drop that and focus on reaching out to fellow bloggers and developing a relationship.

    I also spend very little time on Social Sites and stick to my own goals for the day.

    I get many e-mails from other bloggers asking me for advice. I am more than happy to give it to them.

    • Great to meet you, Justin, and thanks for sharing a bit about your entrepreneurial journey!

      “Focus” is critical, isn’t it? It’s too darn easy to get sidetracked online and spend hours getting essentially nothing accomplished. So happy you saw the light. 🙂

      It’s wonderful you don’t hesitate to to give advice to those who ask. There’s a huge payoff in the “giving” process.

      In life, you “get” what you “give”. 🙂

      Thanks for your visit today,
      Melanie

  • Hey Melanie,
    Loved the acronym. Asking for help is so important but it is as important to find the right people to ask help from. What usually happens is because one has been rejected help we are hesitant to do it again. But don’t worry there are loads of nice people around, at least one might help! 🙂

    • Too true, Hajra.

      Asking for help concerns a matter of pride. And if you’ve ever reached out to someone and got turned away, the sting of that kind of experience stays firmly planted in your mind.

      So I think the best way to avoid getting tossed to the curb is to do what you’re suggesting — ask the RIGHT people for help.

      You can’t just approach any Tom, Dick, or Harry. Ask people you think may go along with an exchange of services for their assistance or the payment of a guest post from you if they can solve your dilemma — fair exchanges like those.

      When you go about asking for help, keep the concept of “Reciprocity” in mind. Always ask, “And what can I do for you?” It works. No one wants to feel taken advantage of or taken for granted. But people are very receptive to kindness, professional courtesy, and good manners.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Melanie

  • Melanie, I absolutely loved the acronym — so simple yet so effective! =)

    I also really admire how you mention the importance of asking for help. Now there’s humility if I’ve ever seen it! =) Maybe the reason it’s so difficult to ask for help is because the image of an entrepreneur is one of a single person, against the world on his/her own. But when we can get past that to reach out to others, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for us! =)

    Thanks for writing this post, Melanie. =) It was so powerful!

    • Hey Sam!

      Happy to know you found some value in this post.

      I’m the guiltiest party of all when it comes to NOT asking for help. That’s one reason I chose to blog on this topic — help for others and a little healing for me. 🙂

      You’re so right about the entrepreneurial “image”. We’re supposed to be “independent” business owners, right?

      However …

      “No man is an island.” And John Donne was right. Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others.

      One thing I know for sure …

      Building a community online is the best way to reach your goals. Bloggers, especially, are some of the most generous, knowledgeable, and helpful people around!

      Thanks for the visit,
      Melanie

  • Hi Mel
    Some great comments coming in on this one.

    I’m wincing at the thought of poor Diana’s hands “blistered hands and calluses”

    I’ll send over a jar of soothing cream. LOL

    • Very generous of you, Keith – thanks.

      But here’s the problem …

      One jar won’t be nearly enough. We have several pairs of callused hands here. Can you see your way clear to send a case? 🙂

      And do they have a product in the UK that works better than Bag Balm?

      Let me know what day we can expect the shipment. LOL!

      Mel

      • Hi Mel
        Situation worse than first thought – stop.
        I large crate on its way – stop.
        Contains Keith’s cold cream cure for chapped and callused hands, extra strength – stop.

        Knocks spots of Bag Balm – stop.

        Guaranteed results or full refund – message ends.

        • Keith,

          Thanks for the giggle and making my wacky Wednesday a little wackier! LOL! 🙂

  • Hi Melanie,

    This is an inspiring post for me because I am definitely climbing up with blistered hands and calluses. Oh and I hope I am climbing up!! I thank you for sharing that you get distracted by the Shiny Object Syndrome because at times, I feel, I just need to know this one thing and I will be ok. But It’s not what you know but more about implementing that gets you results.

    So off to work I go 🙂

    P.S I am now more comfortable with asking :).

    • Way to go, Diana!

      And don’t worry about your hands. Like the rest of us, just keep applying some hand cream with rich emollients that soften and soothe and they’ll be healed in no time! 🙂

      Steer clear of the shiny objects and I’m so happy to know you’re feeling more at ease about reaching out for help.

      Thanks for swinging by today and you’re definitely climbing “UP”,
      Melanie

  • I have no problem with the work part but I absolutely and totally climbed the curve with blistered and callused hands! I had no clue at the beginning about asking for help or becoming part of blogging communities and groups. I did start out with SBI (Site Build It) many years ago, so I had the community in the forum there . . . but I thought I had to figure it all out myself pretty much (and I did). I think my hugest revelation came when I discovered community and the concept of “success together.” As far as helping fellow entrepreneurs, that’s my business. I’d like to think that I do it on a regular basis :).

    • Sincerely embrace and appreciate your candor, Leanne — thank you!

      And if your hands look anything like mine, we climbed the same learning curve. 🙂

      I experienced the same revelation about the value of building community and working toward success through togetherness. My “stubbornness” kept me from opening my eyes a lot sooner than I did.

      You and Cheryl are doing a bang up job of helping fellow entrepreneurs and I would like to encourage my readers to get their fannies over to http://WAHM-Solution.com and soak in your brilliance!

      Melanie

  • What a great post Melanie! I loved how you spelled out “work” and what it stands for. And yes, your business should have some fun to it. Otherwise, it gets to be a boring chore that you have to do everyday. Thanks so much Melanie!

    • Hi Kristen,

      You’re the first person to mention my acronym for “WORK” – thanks!

      I’m an acronym junkie. 🙂

      You’ve brought up a really good point. When lackluster sets in surrounding your business, it’s time to break out of the doldrums and look for ways to make it fun!

      Appreciate the visit today,
      Melanie

  • It is a real challenge for me to work from home because of all the distractions. There are always so many things that I am trying to do at the same time.
    I loved this article, Melanie!

    • I hear ya, Janette, and you’re in a big boatload of others with “Work-At-Home” distractions!

      Here’s a little tip …

      Make a goal to do only FOUR business-building activities a day. No more. No less. Just four. Write your four items down first thing in the morning or the night before and no matter what, don’t stray from your list.

      And they can be activities as simple as “reply to comments on your blog”, “broadcast a message to your list”, “spend 15 minutes on Facebook or Twitter”, and “draft an outline for an article”.

      Give this idea a whirl and let me know if it helps,
      Melanie

  • Great post Melanie! I think a lot of people can especially relate about the shiny objects… So many people try looking for an opportunity to make money instead of looking for ways to start a business they can benefit from in all areas of their life.

    • It’s nice to meet you, Cheryl, and thanks for knocking on my door!

      You’ve spoken VOLUMES with your brief comment.

      Almost everyone, it seems, is in search of the Holy Grail, an easy buck, a magic wand, and a quick fix. And no wonder! There are plenty of less-than-stellar people online who offer such nonsense.

      I like your idea MUCH better. 🙂

      Thanks again for the visit,
      Melanie

  • Hi Melanie,
    I just love your acronym. It’s simple and straight forwards. Yes, there is work and sometimes there is discomfort but if it’s causing anxiety something isn’t right about what you are doing. This post has me wondering. Why do we believe everything worthwhile needs to be a struggle?
    Love this post!
    Sherrie

    • Hello Sherrie — it’s wonderful to see you back again!

      You REALLY nailed it with this thought …

      “If it’s causing anxiety, something isn’t right about what you are doing.”

      I couldn’t agree with you more. And when that sort of scenario shows its ugly face, it’s well worth the time to step back, take a break, and assess the reason/s “WHY” you’re feeling that way.

      Appreciate your insights,
      Melanie

  • What a great reminder that as entrepreneurs we’ve chosen to “go it alone” but we’re not really alone! There are great resources out there just a click or call away. My biggest realization and what helped propel me into action was recognizing I can’t do it on my own. I invest the time and money in getting coached when I’m going through a learning curve or a grow my business to the next level. This keeps the callouses off my hands. Yes, I have to make financial choices and set priorities but without coaching I would have walked away ten times by now and not been living a life I love or serving cancer survivors and caregivers who need and deserve coaching support!

    • What a pleasure to see your smiling face here, Tambre — thanks for stopping by.

      You’ve tapped into one of the greatest entrepreneurial treasures — a coach! Having a business coach, mentor, or mastermind group will definitely help get you closer to reaching your goals!

      And sometimes just having someone as a “sounding board” can be a saving grace. 🙂

      You’re absolutely correct …

      No one can build a business alone.

  • Now that’s keeping things simple! I LOVE IT!

    • Nice to meet you, Alesia, and thanks for the visit.

      “Simplicity” is my mantra. 🙂

      Glad you found some value in this post,
      Melanie

  • I, unfortunately, am still climbing the curve with blistered and callused hands. I think it is definately time to review what I am doing (or quite possibly not doing).

    I know that I also seem to have that “Shiny Object Syndrome.”

    You made some great points 🙂

    • Hi Melissa,

      Callused hands and shiny objects — you’re not alone! Believe me, there’s a big membership in that club. 🙂

      Hold those thoughts …

      Help is on the way. I’m working on a collaborative project right now that’s designed to help entrepreneurs identity the weak (or missing) links in their chain and how to get those issues resolved.

      Stay tuned …
      Melanie

  • Hi Melanie,
    Work is necessary. And all ethical work is noble. My challenge is to always try to identify Maximum Impact Actions. The actions that actually produce results I desire. We can work ourselves to death building trinkets. Or we can build palaces and cathedrals.
    Fun to be here,
    Derek

    • Hi again,
      I think I also like some great artisan trinket makers. So take my prior response with a grain of salt. Sometimes is just hard to generalize about stuff:)
      Derek

    • “Maximum Impact Actions” — Love it, Derek!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I know a few great trinket-makers, too. 🙂

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  • Hi Mel
    What a disappointment!
    No cartoon?

    “Instead of climbing up the learning curve with blistered and callused hands…”
    This is super writing, which makes the post so easy to read.

    Guess I’ve never been an entrepreneur in fact I had to cut and paste the word to get the spelling right.

    Doesn’t really matter because your message applies to anything we do in life…

    “…quick and easy routes to success. There are none.”

    Disappointing but true.

    Now about that cartoon….

    • Hi Keith,

      Well, I aim to please! So I promise — I’ll bring back the cartoons. Didn’t realize they meant so much to you. LOL!

      “Doesn’t really matter because your message applies to anything we do in life…”

      Would even apply to a marriage, wouldn’t it? A lot of marriage partners don’t want to accept the fact relationships require “work” – and you have to do the work EVERY DAY of keeping a marriage healthy and vibrant. You can’t just say “I love you” at the alter and then check it off your to-do list. 🙂

      Thanks for the visit!
      Mel

  • Hey Melanie. Like you, I’ve got some pretty callused hands, no doubt. In fact, it seems I’ve made more mistakes in business than major accomplishments– but it’s also those mistakes that have made me the person I am today.

    Also, like you, I realize the stuff that touts ‘easy’ is junk, pure and simple. There so much of that online but it never has, nor ever will, be that easy.

    Thanks for this nice little reminder this evening Melanie 🙂

    Marcus

    • Hi Marcus,

      As I glance above, the link to your post indicates the Lion’s Den is Rumbling! I better get over there and scope out the action. 🙂

      You and I both know there’s absolutely nothing “easy” about building a business. However, I think you’ll agree a lot of business-building activities are “simple”. But there’s still a learning curve involved and NO such thing as instantaneous gratification.

      The really good news is that fellow entrepreneurs, in general, and bloggers, in particular, are more than willing to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. It all comes around full circle to that all-important element of relationship building — which you do a fabulous job of via The Sales Lion.

      Succeeding in any kind of business takes good old fashioned elbow grease! But struggle is optional.

      Thanks for swinging by,
      Melanie

  • Yes, I decluttered my e-mails not too long ago. I realized I was on lists that I NEVER open their e-mails! Who needs that time guzzler?

    What I did early on to speed up my learning curve was network. I went to a live event and got to know some of the shakers and movers in the online marketing industry. It has been invaluable. Took all the guesswork out of “who to follow and learn from.” My core network was formed from that first live event and we are still a tight-knit bunch!

    • You’re an extremely lucky duck, Martha!

      Connecting with “people in the know” early on as an entrepreneur was a godsend and saving grace. Hopefully, any newbies reading this will grasp the value of networking with successful industry leaders. I’m certain that helped, considerably, to shorten your learning curve. Amen to that!

      Loved your most recent post — brought back all kinds of wonderful memories of “firsts”. 🙂

  • I can relate Melanie. I just finished unsubscribing from a bunch of emails that I opted in for thinking that I would miss out on something. Having a cluttered email inbox is a source of anxiety for me and is very distracting. I feel much better now. Maintaining focus on whatever goal you’re after is critical for success and if you let yourself get distracted by the little things, you’ll go nowhere fast. And, like you said, ask for help when feeling overwhelmed. Great post Melanie!

    • It’s a pleasure to see you here, Diana, and thanks for knocking on my door.

      Since the beginning of 2011, one of my main focuses has been something you just finished doing … celebrating the BIG “unsubscribe”! 🙂

      No offense to anyone whose list I’ve removed myself from but — I’m with you 100%, Diana — a cluttered inbox is definitely an anxiety-provoking experience. And you’re right. It’s distracting and pulls me away from essential, income-producing and biz-building activities.

      Congratulations on the De-Clutter!
      Melanie

  • Hi Melanie,

    Of course your Title caught my eye. Must be the calluses on my hands and the scrapes on my knees. It has been a couple of weeks where even the best laid plans go totally out of control and I get kidnapped, tied to the back of the horse and dragged through the farm.

    I just bit off more than I can chew. I knew I was on a steep learning curve and all was well until a big bug I cold not figure out showed up….Kathy and I are launching a new website. I was just about to hit the publish button when an error page showed up. Now this was one I could not figure out, so I did call my back up man and he is now working on it.

    So now I am back on the steep learning curve….The key for me is to keep the distractions off the line, even if it means no Twitter, no commenting and no emails. I can’t imagine the scrapes and bumps if I let all of that in.

    Plus I do like you say and write daily battle plans and I make sure my organization steps are in. When it gets crazy, my desk tops get messy, so the first step on my battle plan is to get those two in order, it helps.

    Back to work.

    • Hi Sheila,

      “I get kidnapped, tied to the back of the horse, and dragged through the farm.” OUCH. I’m envisioning abrasions, contusions., and a lot of missing skin.

      Sometimes we’re all guilty of biting off more than we can chew. Been there. Done that myself (too many times).

      Hope your “back-up man” has come to your rescue.

      You may want to consider contacting Deb Augur. I bet she can help you out! We have some of the brightest technical experts in our circle of friends. 🙂