Curious Fact: According to the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, fewer than 1% of successful entrepreneurs come out of extremely wealthy families. Furthermore, most of them have started (and failed) in least one business endeavor before succeeding. When I talk to successful business owners in the course of my work as a writer, I am astonished at how often I hear the same theme, repeated in different words, about the early years of their businesses: “I was hungry, and hunger is a powerful motivator” (Rob Slee, founder of Midas Nation), “The next few years were sheer terror” (Philip Van Hoy, Van Hoy, Reutlinger, Adams & Dunn), and so on (Jim Stikeleather, Providence Technologies, Chip Scholz, Scholz & Associates, the list goes on and on).
A friend sent a message recently about her young family’s struggles to pursue their passions and beliefs while maintaining financial stability. She mentioned that she likes what we’re doing but that she may not make all the same decisions that we have.
Her message resonated with me because it reminded me of three critical points: 1. We are all on the same journey, but we don’t all have to follow the same path, 2. We’re all at different points on that journey and it’s easy, especially in the early stages, to feel like the journey is impossible, and 3. Try try try fail fail fail–the most successful people in the world got there by failing a whole bunch of times before they finally succeeded.
Point 1: There is no single right way to do anything. Humanity’s greatest beauty is our vast capacity for diversity and adaptability. It is what makes us what we are.
Point 2: Carey and I are not financially independent, but I think a lot of folks look at us and think we’re doing pretty well. And we’re doing all right, it’s true. But when Monty was a baby, we really struggled financially. There was a time when we had all our belongings packed in boxes and were in the final planning stages to move to Alabama to live with Carey’s family because we couldn’t pay our rent any more. At the last minute, a friend stepped in and found Carey a job at his company–it was a low-level, low-paying, crappy job, but it did the trick and kept us on our feet until we could move into something better.
It’s a stinker, but money plays a big role, and we all have to take the journey as best we can to what feels right. There have been times when I’ve gone back to work at nights, so Carey could be home with the kids while I vacuumed floors, emptied trash cans, or carried drinks to obnoxious bar patrons.
Point 3: Try try try fail fail fail it’s okay… learn from failure get up and do it again, success will come. I’ve tried many different ways to make money from home. I’ve made cloth diapers, sold life insurance, edited & proofread things, given writing seminars, and so on. I learned something valuable from every single attempt and although it took many years to get where I am now, able to make a reasonable income doing something I love, the journey was necessary and my only regret is that I didn’t relax and enjoy it more. I was so worried about *outcomes* that I didn’t know that the struggle itself is worthwhile too. The beauty of it is, I am still on that journey, I do still face struggles, and I’m learning to cherish the struggles along with the successes. There is no success without the struggle, and both are worthwhile in their own right.
Carey and I are trying to find a word that defines all the many pieces of what we talk about in our blogs, but the idea is that as long as you are living by your own rules, doing so without harming others, and not demanding that anyone else live by your rules, then you’re cool. Live your passion, rule your life. You don’t have to raise your own eggs, unschool your kids, or work from home to be part of our tribe. You are already part of it the day you start trying to find your own way in the world.