When I was a kid, one of my favorite fables was “The Tortoise and The Hare”. But even though I loved this story growing up, I never had any respect for the tortoise because the way he won the race just wasn’t that sexy.
So what if he beat the hare this one time? As far as I was concerned, the tortoise’s win was just a big fluke. What do you think would happen if they came out with the sequel “The Hare Strikes Back”? Who do you think would win the second time around?
The problem with the tortoise is that no one wants to be known as the slow and steady guy. Human nature dictates it’s infinitely more appealing to be quick and speedy rather than slow and steady which is why most people are impatient and expect fast results when they start a business.
The desire to be fast is why all of those scammy get rich quick schemes still continue to rip people off.
For the longest time, I tried to be the quick and fast guy. Whenever I worked on a business project, I’d cram everything into a short span of concentrated and focused effort.
If I had a business idea, I would lock myself in my room, work long hours and burn myself out. And because I worked so fiercely on my idea, I would often expect immediate results which often never came.
Disappointment was inevitable and after a short while I would set things aside and move on to something new.
The worst part about being the quick and fast guy was that it had a negative effect on my attention span. I would flit from one idea to the next without ever following through on anything in particular.
And often times, I would have more projects on my plate that I could ever hope to complete. I was spreading myself too thin and not seeing any results.
Oh Tortoise, Oh Wise One
But something interesting happened to me during my late twenties after I got married. I started having less and less time to myself and I was forced to set a schedule in order to find free time for my side projects. When my wife gave birth to our first child, I had even less time and on top of everything else, I was sleep deprived as well.
But strangely enough, the busiest periods of my life coincided with some of my biggest accomplishments. The reason? The tortoise like mindset. Since I had much smaller blocks of time to work on stuff, I had to tackle every project piece by piece on a set schedule.
Instead of working 20 hours over a weekend and burning myself out, I simply picked a pace that I could sustain indefinitely and all of sudden things started to click.
Working on my side projects became part of my lifestyle and I rarely felt pressured or frustrated due to a lack of time. For example, Sunday nights became my blog posting night.
Sunday mornings before the kids got up became my online store improvement time. On Thursday nights, I would work on my online store course.
Tortoise Like Results
Most people who adopt the “hare” like mindset often make significant progress in a short period of time but then burn out and stop working altogether.
The beauty of the tortoise is that even though you might not be fast, you are always making constant progress towards your goals. And if you manage to integrate your business related tasks into a consistent weekly schedule, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a short period of time.
When my wife and I first started our wedding handkerchief shop, we devoted every Sunday to the business. In fact, it was penciled into our calendar as part of a lifestyle change that we both agreed upon until the store was up and running.
We purposely did not schedule anything on that day and we worked on our store consistently every week. As a result, it took a little longer for us to launch but our store made huge strides every week. Today, we still maintain a set schedule where we add new content to keep our website fresh.
MyWifeQuitHerJob.com is also a great example of the “tortoise” mindset at its best. For the past 3 years, I’ve written at least one blog post per week and to tell you the truth, I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s subconscious. Writing blog posts has become a part of my lifestyle. It is ingrained into my schedule and if I don’t write, I get this nagging feeling of regret.
Even though the blog started out “extremely” slow (Things didn’t pick up until after well over a year), today this website attracts over 175K visitors a month and my email newsletter grows by 100-150 people every single day.
In the back of my mind, I always knew that my blog would make it to this point but I had no clue how long it would take and I didn’t really care. I simply picked a sustainable pace and made blogging a part of my life.
Finally, my most recent “tortoise” like accomplishment has been with my Create A Profitable Online Store course. When I launched on March 2nd, I had no video content whatsoever. The first 35 students that signed up did so based on good faith that I was going to pump out some great video tutorials…and I delivered on a consistent weekly basis.
Today, there are over 60+ videos in my course library representing well over 30 hours of material on how to run a successful online store. Because preparing the material and shooting the footage takes me about 10 minutes for every minute of video produced, this means I’ve spent over 300 hours on my course in the past 7 months.
Could I have done this in one straight 13 day span? No way! I can barely find a nice 2 hour block of time with 2 kids!
The Moral Of The Story
So what am I trying to say here? When it comes to starting a business, it’s not a sprint. If you try and cram everything in a mad rush to launch, you will burnout…guaranteed.
Instead of being in such a hurry, simply pick a pace that you can maintain indefinitely and focus on the long term for a period of at least a year or more.
Being the tortoise is not glamorous by any means. You won’t be able to brag how you made X dollars in just a 2 weeks. You won’t be able to say that you started a full blown business in under a month.
But you will make steady progress long after those rabbits have quit and moved on to something else.
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