If the first step in a long journey is the hardest, the next hardest is the step, or steps, we take when times are hard.
In a year of economic troubles, war and high inflation, many businesses and professionals are struggling, trying to re-discover their clients and customers.
Amazingly, through social media posts and conversations it is amazing to watch people still pursuing the hustle, the side gig, and the dream. Perhaps, though, this "side gig" is what people aspire to make their full time career, or at least a significant source of income.
I read very contrasting articles about passive income and about quiet quitting. The common thread is the same - there is a disenchantment with the 9-5 grind that our forefathers accepted as an unchanging norm. "Work smart, not hard" is the motto of the day - why should I put in 80 hours a week if it doesn't make a material difference in my quality of life?
Here's the rub - nothing comes easy. The best and most profitable businesses take hours if not years to set up, enduring the risk and heartbreak as fortunes go up and down.
The path forward isn't as predictable as one might imagine. Take Steve Jobs for instance -after founding the company, he was fired from Apple before making his comeback and becoming the Edison of the modern era. He was laughed at for the iPad before everyone decided they just had to have one.
You also have to leave some things behind - such as the feeling (real or imagined) of "stability". I was once asked, isn't self-employment a risk? What if I took up a job and got safe, secure guaranteed income?
Smiling, I answered - there is no such thing as guaranteed income. Anyone can fire you for any reason. Companies go under all the time. The economy is unsparing to businesses large and small.
If entrepreneurship and leadership have anything in common, it's the constant surprises of something new. What it's really about, though, is building the right mindset, the right way of thinking, to carry the boat through all manner of waves.
Ultimately, the power of working for yourself is the ability to decide your future, accept responsibility when a plan goes awry, and bask in the glory when it goes your way.
So the next time you have a moment where all doesn't seem to be in order, just take a moment to look back at where you've come from, how far you've come and then leave it all behind - there is so much to look forward to that we cannot even begin to imagine.