How long will I last? How long will you last?
Business is a game of survivors. The best don’t always survive. The survivors are not always the best. I guess you could say most of life goes that way.
Case in point in my most favorite of sports, wrestling. John Stefanowicz qualified for the 2021 US Olympic Wrestling Team at 29 years of age. John never even qualified for his state high school wrestling tournament only 10 years prior. Yet over time, where many state champions, national champions, and otherwise well known wrestling phenoms had long since quit. John was headed to the Olympics to represent his country. Certainly no easy feat. Nonetheless, he was a survivor. He was still in the game.
I’ve been talking with A LOT of owners lately preparing for the launch of my new podcast (see below). And they too, are all survivors. It makes sense, as the podcast is not named “A Former Agency Story.” Each and every owner was faced with one or multiple circumstances that could have wiped them out, yet they found a way. Some via a stroke of luck and some with determination and ambition. And most with a combination of both.
I chatted with one gentleman the other day who started his agency business in 1978. That’s older than me and I imagine older than many of you reading this email. And guess what? He had only recently experienced his first profitable year in almost 45 years of business!!! He had been saddled with debt for some mistakes made in their early years, but was committed to pay it off and eventually he did. How’s that for a runway?
Some owners I talk to create a longer runway by starting part-time or as a side hustle. Some work as a glorified contractor that pays the bills until they can pick up more clients. Some don’t pay themselves and some use loans. No one way seems to work better than the other. Likely just a risk preference relative to where they are or were at in their life at the time.
Most people will figure it out if given enough time. This is not to discredit those that did not “survive.” Whether as a wrestler or former business owner, many still go on to do all things great sans still owning a business (or going to the Olympics). My hat is off to anyone willing to attempt something challenging and difficult, regardless of how long they last.
Sooooooo, what’s the point Russel? The point is this. If you want it. If you believe in it. You will eventually figure it out. If it’s worth it, just keep finding ways to extend that runway. It could be one year from now, or as in the story above, 45 years from now.
Either way, you’ll get there.
Podcast is Live!
It’s taken a lot of work but I’m excited to announce the launch of “An Agency Story Podcast.” The first 3 episodes are live. Take a minute and subscribe on your favorite podcast app!
Instead of an article or video, check out these stories from my new podcast: