The Dirty Little Word That Prevents Success

January 29, 2008

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Many people want to stop doing it altogether by the time they’re in their fifties. And author, Tim Ferris says we should be doing a lot less of it right now.

Work is a dirty word for millions of people. It’s impossible to be successful doing something you hate. So many people are doing as much work as possible now, in the hope that they can retire early and do something they actually enjoy.

And some dream of giving up work to start their own business but, many never move on to the actual starting stage.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could find work that we love doing to begin with? Then maybe we wouldn’t be so focused on retirement, or working a four hour week. Or is it just not that simple?

Perhaps one of these problems is preventing you from doing what you love: Excessive debt; lack of finance; not knowing, or indifference. And if so, how do you deal with them?

Not Knowing:
If you’re not sure what it is you’d love to do, try this:
1) Make a list of every job you’ve done in the past.
2) Add hobbies - past and present to that list.
3) Add things you’d be interested in learning.

Now cross out all the ones that you wouldn’t be interested in doing full time. What are you left with? Can you think of ways you could turn any of them into your dream business?

If you think your hobby is too odd to have business potential, seek inspiration from these people who turned their unusual hobbies into a business:

White Dove Releases: USA Today Interview with Norm Brozovitch.
Scrapbooker For Hire by Janna Farley.
The Shark Diver - an interview with Cristian Dorobantescu.

Excessive Debt: Do you feel as though you’re stuck on a treadmill? Are your monthly expenses so high that you need to stay in a job you hate to cover them? If so, you need to cut your debt and outgoings if you want to pursue your dreams.

And to do this, you’ll need to cut your spending and use any money saved to pay off your debts. Check out these great resources for tips on doing this:

Mrs Micah: Finance For a Freelance Life
The Simple Dollar: Financial Talk For The Rest Of Us
Personal Finance Quicktake: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Money

Lack Of Finance:
Lack of start up capital is a problem many new business owners face. In addition to start up costs, you also need at least one years living expenses, if you’re hoping to start up full time.

But, if you’ve struggled to raise start up capital, it may be an option to start out part-time as a freelancer. And How To Be A Rockstar Freelancer will show you how to get started.

Indifference: Some people just don’t have the necessary drive to succeed. They moan about their jobs and how unfair life is. And they’d like to win the lottery, but beyond buying tickets, or becoming involved in some get rich quick scheme, they’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get ahead. If you come into this category, there’s not a lot I can suggest.

Do you hate your work? Have you come up against any of the problems mentioned above. Or is something else holding you back? Are you already doing work you love? What obstacles did you come up against before you started? How did you overcome them?

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16 Responses to “The Dirty Little Word That Prevents Success”

  1. Ian Denny on January 29th, 2008 1:29 pm

    I was chatting to my colleague Steve. An amazing bloke.

    He’s an IT guru. He has one of those special licences that allows him to drive huge wide-berth lorries. He worked on a farm. He’s been a welder. A car salesman.

    He fitted our toilet a few weeks ago. Today, he fixed a leak in the attic.

    And we got chatting over a cuppa.

    When he sees a new client, he wants to know whether they are ambitious or just want a job to pay the bills and to stand still.

    While he gets up off his backside and gets on with stuff, I happen to agree with him and the thrust of this post.

    You see if a client is the sort who just accepts their lot in life, we have to limit our advice. We can talk until we’re blue in the face about all the bells and whistles stuff we can do with their IT to really make them rock’n'roll.

    But it’s a waste of time if they want to stay as they are. So he now just gives them what they need.

    Equally, if they’re a negative person and someone we just won’t get on with, we’ll now polite exit the conversation and recommend another company.

    One of the problems with people who think others are lucky, want to win the lottery as their biggest effort to get somewhere, is that they bring you down.

    So it’s best to avoid people like that wherever possible.

    But also respect those that perhaps don’t have ambition and instead choose to do an honest day’s work and focus on the far more worthy parts of their lives like their family.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..For Blog Addicts Only: Putting Pictures In A Blog Post

  2. cathlawson on January 29th, 2008 1:39 pm
    That is true Ian - they’re always the ones who say “But, it won’t work for me.” Or the ones I really love - “But, I don’t have as much time as you.” As if everyone else has been blessed with a couple of extra hours in the day.

    It’s always the ones who moan the most that won’t put any effort into doing things to improve their situation.

  3. Hunter Nuttall on January 29th, 2008 2:41 pm

    A close cousin of indifference is self-sabotage. Life’s hard enough without people trying to convince themselves that they can’t do something!

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Fighting Chain Letters With Common Sense

  4. cathlawson on January 29th, 2008 2:55 pm
    Hi Hunter - that is so true. Some people actually spend more time doing that than they spend trying to do the thing.
  5. Nicole on January 29th, 2008 4:26 pm

    I’m one of the lucky ones being able to do what I love, thanks to hubby supporting me :)
    He even stopped laughing at the Nickles & Dimes that I make ;)

    And you have motivated me in the last few days to get my kazy butt rolling again.
    Means, I love my “job”, but being “self employed” needs loads of more motivation ;)

  6. cathlawson on January 29th, 2008 4:49 pm
    Hi Nicole - thank you. I’m glad you’re already doing what you love. And I’ll keep trying to think of more ways to motivate you!

    It can be a struggle to get into a good pattern of working at first, but you get there eventually.

  7. Bush Mackel on January 29th, 2008 5:35 pm

    Ferris’ book is awesome isn’t it? I bought it an audio CD, and then bought the book so I could quickly go back to my favorite parts.

    Personally I’m working hard to get out of that 9-5 and I think if I do it in the next 5 years I’ll be very happy. Of course, I may have 5 more kids by then so I may be a bit stressed for other reasons. (#);D

    Bush Mackel’s last blog post..Thanks for a Great Jan 2008 Sponsors!

  8. cathlawson on January 29th, 2008 5:50 pm
    Hi Bush - I like much of the stuff that Ferris covers in his book and I think it’s great for people who just want to earn enough money to free up their time.

    But, I personally would rather do work that I love, then I wouldn’t want to do less of it.

    Five years to quit your job is not a bad aim. Hopefully you’ll do it sooner if you stay focussed.

  9. RacerX on January 29th, 2008 6:05 pm

    I believe that a lot of people hate work becausethey Have to go. Knowing that you are a slave to your paycheck, makes you feel like a prisoner!

    RacerX’s last blog post..Performance Review Time

  10. cathlawson on January 29th, 2008 8:11 pm
    Hi Racer - that is so true. Which is why they should read blogs like yours. If they got out of debt, they would be able to do something about it.
  11. Barbara on January 29th, 2008 9:27 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    As always, you raise great questions.

    Many so want to leave 9-5, but don’t know how to take that first step. Others, love the security of a weekly paycheck,and will always be employees.

    For those wanting to get out of the 9-5, it should involve planning.

    When we started our business almost 16 years ago, my husband was working for a paycheck, and the owner died. He got another job offer at the same time was asked if he wanted to do a project (we weren’t licensed yet). We bid the project. We decided if we got the project, we would start our own business. We were awarded the bid, and the rest is history.

    I wouldn’t advise others to start a business based on the toss a coin, so to speak, but it did work for us. It has been lots of long hours, worries, financial sacrifices, etc…, however, we are happy we made that decision. It makes a difference when you do what you love.

    I like Nike’s motto “Just do it! Too often, we can analyze until we paralyze ourselves.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Sign Up For Google’s Saving Account

  12. cathlawson on January 29th, 2008 9:50 pm
    Hi Barbara - You really were thrown in at the deep end. But, it is good that it worked out for you.

    I think sometimes starting a business is like having a baby. There never is a perfect time. But, you can’t start a business by accident, so sometimes a redundancy, or ill health can be a push in the right direction.

  13. Robyn on January 30th, 2008 1:09 am

    Hi Cath, I’m very inpired by the work I currently do. I’ve never been more vibrant. But it took a leap of faith to quit and leave what wasn’t working to carve out a new pathway that does. It can be scary, but if you do not do it it can live with regrets when you finally do retire.

    Robyn’s last blog post..Age of Conversation - Bigger and Better!

  14. cathlawson on January 30th, 2008 6:54 am
    Hi Robyn - that is so true. I read that people regret what they haven’t done more than the things they’ve done.
  15. Nez on January 30th, 2008 6:28 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    There are so many people out there with talent, but not the drive. Why else would the Michael Jordans, Jerry Rice’s and the like are so few amongst all thousands of elite athletes out there? After all, almost every NBA team has a 6′ 6″ guard, and every (American) football team as a 6′2″ receiver, right?

    I’d say the difference is their drive and determination to be the best they can be: hard work, constant practice, open to criticism (coaching), never settling for being “just good enough”, etc.

    For the rest of us mere mortals, the same principles apply, even if the vocations are different.

    Lastly, what we need taught in University/College are business courses for the laymen (or laywomen). I always hear that many self-employed artist/artisan/whatever fail in the first 5 years, not because they lack the skills to do high quality work/service, but because they don’t know how to run a business.

    So, yes, success does involve work.

    Reading blogs like yours should help. :-)
    Nez’s last blog post..Why I Switched to a Mac: A Critical Analysis

  16. cathlawson on January 30th, 2008 10:56 pm
    Hi Nez - thank you. It is a great shame that all those talented people fail because nobody tells them that they’ll also need business skills.

    In the uk, more schools seem to be teaching kids about business now. And one school I looked round for my daughter also had it’s own business department, which was impressive - so hopefully things are improving.

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