Do You Feel Like You Have To Be An Overnight Success?

Albert Einstein once said: 'Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. You’re level of insanity will determine how many sh*t sandwiches you...

Photo: Sarah Alford, founder of The Biz Revolution; Source: Lee Niel Photography
Photo: Sarah Alford, founder of The Biz Revolution; Source: Lee Niel Photography

I’m sure you’ve read sales copy that boasts: “I made X amount of money in six months, let me show you how!”

When you read marketing copy like this, do you feel manipulated?

Do you feel a slight dis-ease around messages like this, often touted by prominent online entrepreneurs or coaches? 

Don’t get me wrong. I love knowing what people earn.

I love it when the people I follow online open up about their earnings in an attempt to be more transparent. But recently I have noticed that some people use their earnings as their only message, hoping to entice you to sign up to their courses, programs and services. And it makes me itch.

It feels like I’m being manipulated. It plays on my triggers to desire the perfect business and lifestyle. And, like most, it’s easy to start believing their way is the only way.


We’re all gonna have to take a bite (or two)

I am someone who follows the breadcrumbs … and this approach has lead me down some very interesting rabbit holes. I recently saw an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and the new ‘Big Magic’, hosted by Marie Forleo.

During the interview, Elizabeth mentions a notion of “the sh*t sandwich”. She explains that along our great journey of following our passions there are a lot of sh*t sandwiches to eat because that road is not an easy road to take.

I like this metaphor, because it really does highlight the effort it takes to create a successful and abundant business. It’s not an easy journey and there are times when you want to quit. But the rewards of entrepreneurship are worth it in the end, if you can stick it out.

This is one of the reasons why “make money like me” messages seem like mystery meat and don’t resonate because many imply they are an overnight success. Yes. Some entrepreneurs do find an incredibly quick rise to the top, but they often fail to share the story (or we don’t listen closely enough) preceding their epic rise. We are often dazzled by the bright lights, and the ca-ching sound of sales. 

And that’s when we start to put enormous pressure on ourselves.

We start believing we have to do it the same way.

Yet we have to take personal responsibility to not buy into a perceived notion that business is easy because, actually, there are a lot of sh*t sandwiches to eat. And this is what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the quitters.

For example, when I followed the breadcrumbs of three entrepreneurs I follow online I learned:


  • Life coach Marie Forleo took seven years before she started feeling like she was on the right track.
  • Derek Halpern, founder of Social Triggers spent a whole year building his business before he even offered a paid service.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, spent half his life working the floor of his family’s wine store before starting Wine Library TV, which catapulted him to internet fame.


So, yes there are some great inspirational stories there, and I do not begrudge their success one bit. I love what they do. But just be aware of what goes on back stage.

Which flavor do you prefer?

Don’t feel like you have to be an overnight sensation. Business takes time. It’s an evolution. Ultimately, your rise to success will have it’s own time-line. Sure! You can shorten that time-line through sheer determination and focus, but it’s impossible to snap your fingers and be an industry superstar.

So you may feel like you’re struggling to get going, or take your business to the next level. Be persistent. Keep going. Eat those sandwiches — and sprinkle on some passion and daily hustle to stomach the taste — because the reward will be there for you.

Remember there are certain tried and tested ways to accomplish certain things, but you are you. Find the things that fit your brand and your business. Experiment, keep testing, try news things until you find what works for you.

Albert Einstein once said: ‘Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. You’re level of insanity will determine how many sh*t sandwiches you have to eat.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Sarah Alford, founder of The Biz Revolution, is a coach for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to harness their potential to achieve their dreams. She believes clarity, focus and freedom are the foundations to achieving what you want, whilst honoring your truth and authenticity. Connect with @thesazza on Twitter.


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