How Long Does It Take to Create a Successful Business?

Question:

Are you satisfied with the level of success in your business?

Subscriber Osman isn't.

He asks:

How old were you when you first started seeing success in your online business ventures?

I turned 31 this year and the older i get the more depressed and demotivated i feel. The “time's running out” kinda feeling.

I know they say “age is just a number” but i would love to hear from a real entrepreneur like you—what are your thoughts about this?

I have *definitely* struggled with this myself.

There are a lot of highly successful people I've followed over the years who have achieved far more success at a younger age than I have.

My business partner John, for example, who effectively retired as a millionaire at 32.

Or graphic designer-turned startup CEO, Nathan Barry, who's built his ConvertKit email software into a multi-million dollar juggernaut.

It's easy to look at hard-chargers like that and think, “What am I doing here?”

Me, I didn't get started on whole direct marketing and entrepreneurship path until I was 31—exactly Osman's age.

Prior to that I was working as a software developer, and frankly I was coding my butt off for a very mediocre salary.

I didn't discover copywriting and digital marketing until 2012. That's when I launched my first book, and I made around $2,000 with that launch. It was a huge success for me at the time, but looking back it was pretty small potatoes.

I earned around $30-40K from my efforts over the next couple of years.

Again, not bad, but not enough to quit my day job either. What was way more valuable back then was everything I was learning. It was like getting paid to earn a master's degree in marketing and business.

In 2014 I realized that my little book business wasn't going to get me where I wanted to go. That's when I decided to go all in on becoming a copywriter.

I spent the next year hustling and struggling to get established as a freelancer. In August of 2015, I found myself with zero clients and no idea how I was going to pay my bills, so in desperation I started writing my daily emails, hoping to pick up some clients.

Those early emails are what caught John's attention and led to our business partnership with Simple Programmer.

To be honest even today I don't always feel very successful, even though looking back I have had some good wins.

There are always people who have accomplished way more than you have and make you feel like a complete slacker.

And that voice that says, “Betcha can't do that again!” never completely shuts up and goes away.

Couple of thoughts in closing:

1. In the past, I'd set goals for myself, like, “I will have enough passive income to retire by 35.”

This is a horrible, horrible goal masquerading as a good one.

It's horrible because it depends on a lot of external factors that you can't control.

Focusing on this kind of phony goal will make you a little crazier every day as the clock ticks down.

2. For a while now, I've been working through this bodyweight strength/fitness program called Gymnastic Bodies.

The program was put together by a world-class gymnastics coach named Christopher Sommer.

One of the first questions people ask him is, “How long will it take me to get through your program?”

And he says, “It'll take the time it's going to take.”

Everyone's body is different. Some people can cruise through the entire program in 18 months, others take 5 years.

You can't force your body to go faster—the time for healing and recovery between workouts is essential, and my body's genetic capacity for recovery and adaption is beyond my control.

Is it super frustrating at times?

Yup.

But all I can do is show up and do my work to the best of my ability that day.

This strength training is helping me to take a longer term perspective in every area of my life.

So what if it takes me an extra year, or even five, to achieve something I want?

You can't rush this stuff.

You can only work hard, and educate yourself so you continue to work smarter too.

Results?

They'll take the time they're going to take.