Which is more important as a startup: hard work or luck?
I know hard work is important, but I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs work really hard, have great ideas, but who just cannot seem to succeed. I have seen other entrepreneurs succeed quickly with way less work. Does luck play a big role in startup success?
As everybody already said, it's a bit of both. However I truly believe being resilient and consistent will make anybody successful. We all define success in a different way. If you have money, success might not be making more money but to build a strong company that will be able to compete on the market, have a high performing team and is not afraid of trying new things.
However if you don't have money, or have just started a business and lacking the finance to make it huge, your success is most likely defined in making it self-sustainable first, then making loads of money and lastly build a team.
All our priorities are different. The big question is how do we define success for ourselves and how will we get there?
In my experience I've had ups and downs in my business since I started it, and every now and then I wondered if it wouldn't be better to close down shop and re-evaluate the situation. But then I'll get over my 3 seconds of being depressed and make it work, sign up new clients and go at it over and over again. I fall more than I did when I was employed, I have less money now than I had when I was employed but the freedom I have to drive my business forward, the time I can spend with my family and seeing my kids grow up, helping my clients succeed in driving more sales to their business and being able to say "No" to a client if I can't take them on board or feel that they wouldn't be able to handle and manage the workload makes it all worth my while in the end.
I can choose who I want to work with instead of biting down my nails and hope for the next client to come in (if that makes any sense).
I want to grow my business but for that to happen I need to grow slowly.
As long as I can spend time with my family while still making a decent living I'm happy and I consider this the greatest success for me.
That in my opinion is success on all levels, be it personal or professional.
But that is just my opinion on the topic. As I said, everybody has a different view on success. Money is definitely important, but as long as you can do what you love, be with the people you love and help the people you admire the most, that in my book makes it all worth my while.
Hope this is helpful.
All the best
Similar, yet a bit different, perspective... I don't believe in luck.
It is hard to suggest that one does not have to work really hard when they first start up. However, it is imperative that the work be effective. I suggest focusing on 2 things:1. A punchy internal plan and 2. highly effective marketing.
A good plan makes sure you do not work on the wrong things, and waste your time. This can be easily done by putting together just a brief and simple plan (brief and simple, as long as you are not also seeking investors).
This plan is for internal purposes only. Determine where you need and want to be in 3 years, then determine where you therefore need to be in 12 months, and then bring it back to 90 days. This keeps everything aligned and also keeps the future in mind. The 90 day plan must include measurable goals plus not more than 5 key strategies to accomplish those goals. It helps to have that work facilitated, and also to have an accountability coach to ensure you do not unintentionally stray from your defined path.
One could talk all day about marketing, but the critical thing is to take the time to work through the fundamentals before spending the time and money on it. I have several free information pieces on this. I have yet to find a business that does not generate leads through networking. You might find this free e-book of interest, entitled "Networking -- for Those Who Hate It". You can get it by going to: http://bit.ly/NetworkingEbook.
You might also enjoy the video I did on "The Three Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes Small Businesses Make... And How to Overcome Each One of Them". You can find this video by going to: http://bit.ly/1diY1RP
I hope this is useful.
Hi Zack ,
The most important things to entrepreneurial success are :
1)The common sense required to excite , retain and build customers.
2)The ability to make and sustain a difference in the prevalent market.
For hard work and luck, I would say that you cannot expect others in the market not to have it.
Best of Luck,
Both of these can be important but there is another key ingredient that is missing from this recipe for success: working smart. One reason some folks work really hard and succeed while other hard workers don't succeed is because motion gets confused with progress. Just because you're doing stuff doesn't mean it's the right stuff. Every action needs to be evaluated against this simple litmus test - how does this help me reach my objective? If the answer is "well, it really doesn't" then you might not be working on the right thing. Another check point is to consider purpose and results separately. What I mean by that is that just because your purpose may be clear to you, if the results (or reasonably expected results) don't support your goals then you need to re-evaluate your activity.
It's a yes and no question as not every entrepreneur is built the same. Undoubtedly hard work and drive play the greatest part in any endeavor. Luck in my experience comes with the effort made in connection and talking with as many people possible. I have seen so many start-ups that never made it because of intestinal fortified or lack thereof, throwing the towel in just before the fight was won. Also a few of those lucky people came from a privileged environment. Hope that helps you Zack.
I think I prefer to think of it as timing rather than luck, but there's some truth to that.
The challenge is that you have to be ready when the time strikes, but you never know when that will be. If you're not in the game when the moment comes you'll have missed it and likely never even know.
To get (and stay) on the field requires work. Could you step up to the plate and hit a home run on your first swing? Sure. But if your attitude is, "I missed so I must suck at baseball. Maybe I'll try football. Oh, I didn't throw a touchdown on my first pass? Maybe I'll try bowling. Missed 300 on my first set? Maybe darts. Didn't hit a bulls-eye on my first throw? I guess I'll just sit on the couch watching TV until I come up with a better idea."
So enough with the sports analogies ;) The point is that you have to be in a position to take advantage of the right moment when it comes. Whether it's tomorrow or 10 years from now you won't know until it gets here.
Zack you are in a really tough business, local bands have limited resources as do most indie film people. I've been doing consulting for west west side music in New Windsor NY for Years and they have built their business on providing the best mastering services in the industry. Alan Douches is ranked number 2 mastering engineer by album credits.com and he is very well known as an expert in his niche. We have small "feeder" websites set up in many countries where we know our target market is and those cheap sites generate a substantial amount of business. The fact is you need to use every possible, inexpensive way to get business.
Go to http://www.localsocialhub.com and use their free social media tool it works and will save you a lot of time. Then Network with people in the industry, indie film studios, indie record labels, recording studios, etc. anyone who doesn't offer videos but could send business your way, try even offering a referral commission.... You need to find anyone who could possibly use or refer your services and start building relationships. You may also want to start speaking at industry events and festivals to get out there, you will make connections at these events. We were in Stamford Connecticut this weekend and Alan was a guest speaker, we came away with three solid leads that want proposals from us. Most successful business people will tell you that you make your own luck by doing everything you possibly can to make yourself known within your niche.
The Roman statesman Seneca is credited with saying, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." In other words, when you've done the work and the stars align, it all comes together in a most magnificent way for you.
That said, you can also do a lot to nudge the magic in your direction. Between social media and crowdfunding sites, videos and blogs, you have more ways to create "luck" than ever before. Richard's advice about using every possible networking opportunity is spot on.
All the very best to you!
Luck is a real dimension in all walks of life. It can be defined as an event that is unexpected and unpredictable and therefore the specific event or happening is unplanned for. And the event can also have either a good or bad outcome.
The key is: how well prepared are you when the event occurs? In the case of good luck: are you ready to take full advantage of the event? In the case of bad luck, have you the ability to step back and make the necessary adjustments to your business in a timely manner?
The aim should be to make a positive return on either good luck or bad luck.
And you put yourself in that position by doing the hard work beforehand.
In my startup experience, the harder I worked, the luckier I got.
I think, as others have said, Hard work brings the luck. However, I also believe a strong piece of that hard work should be networking and that the hard work should also be with thoughtfulness and an intelligent plan. Using Heart Intelligence is the greatest way to get to the intelligent plan.
I would like to comprehend how different component is at play and the thought that comes to when being consistent in quality factors. Trust of the matter stem from as to Luck don't support real wings like hard work.
Zack- Thank you for the post. Good question. Hard work would be my answer however, I have more nuggets for you. If you really want success in your business, read Gino Wickman's "Traction". There you will know about how the entrepreneurial operating system works (EOS). Go to http://www.eosworldwide.com/#axzz3rCiiyyBr.
Success starts with your Vision.
If you questions regarding business coaching, contact me at @thepotterdesign or my partner Vaughn Thompson @askvaughn.
One thing I have yet hear to be mentioned is intelligence. Being smart plays an important role here. One can work very very hard but fail to create a product that people want (product market fit) and no matter how hard they work, they are burning energy because they are more interred in what they love than in what the customer needs. Work hard, yes. But we have to be smart too and make sure we are meeting a real or perceived need in the marketplace.
Persistence with good startup project, does not need hard-work but good luck will result over time.
While in a hot greedy market some startups seem lucky, and others must keep working hard to find capital and open markets plus further develop the products and services - again, it takes long staying powers with the wisdom I model as A Good Marriage, for any startup to grow in a healthy safe and rewarding way.
It is all part of my pre-patent pre-partnering for global taxation business strategy we employ.
In building a business from the ground up takes a lot of hard work including networking - attending chamber of commerce, BNI's, etc,. But some of it luck. But to quote an old baseball adage: "Luck is the residue of design"
The single most important aspect of a startup is establishing relationships with others. This is neither hard work (it should be fun and fruitful) nor luck. It is smart, good business. The more people you know who have a deep understanding of what you do and how you contribute to others in business, the more business will be attracted to you. My nine year old business is thriving thanks to the many wonderful people I have established great connections with (and continue to enhance).
Hi Zack, in addition to the many wonderful suggestions, I will like to add this: luck comes to the prepared soul. In other words, luck smiles on or gravitates towards the hard working soul. However, I will like to point out that "SMART WORK", not "HARD WORK" works. Work Smart, not hard Zack and you will be one of the lucky souls.
As an old Army buddy of mine used to say when we were playing poker: "I'd rather be lucky than good, be cause some good has his off days."
That said, my answer is neither. It's intelligence - working intelligently. Hard work without an intelligent plan will just get you tired before your fail.
I agree with Gene Doyle's comment and I will add a quote from professional golfer Gary Player 'The harder I worked the luckier I became."