When we hear the word fitness we immediately think exercise. However, that is really just a specific niche where this term applies. Fitness in the general sense takes the angle of being physically fit and healthy. We workout in order to get in shape and become more and more accustomed to the demands of exercise. This in turn benefits us by looking better, feeling better, and providing us with a higher quality of life in many cases.
We are all born with different levels of potential for physical fitness. LeBron James was born a naturally gifted athlete. He found his passion in basketball and decided to work extremely hard at it. He combined his natural talents with hard work to optimize his ability to succeed. He didn’t make it to the NBA without doing any training.
Natural ability is obviously a big part of success. In basketball, being 6’8″ and 250 pounds of pure muscle bodes well as opposed to being 5’10” and 160 pounds of pure skin and bone. LeBron has all the natural talent in the world but he still spends hours each day working on his game. This allows him to have the readiness to use his talent come game day.
Let’s take a minute to look at fitness as it applies to business.
We will define fitness as the readiness to use a certain skill set. Just like someone aspiring to run a marathon will train daily to get to a level that allows them to do so, people aspiring to run a successful business need to allow themselves the necessary time to develop the required level of fitness in their field.
Like athletics, business requires some natural talent combined with a lot of work in order to have the readiness to use that talent to benefit a client base. This “readiness” to use our talents is what makes up our fitness level.
Understanding when we have the necessary fitness level in our given field is what makes or breaks our chances of success.
Many people who want to launch a startup do so before they have put in the work honing their skills. This is one of the reasons the majority of startups fail. We are too quick to pull the trigger on an idea when we haven’t even tested to see if it’s viable, let alone prove to ourselves and others that we have the necessary skills needed to succeed.
We come up with an idea that makes sense in our minds but we fail to confirm our hypothesis by demonstrating value with it. The one thing above all others that will determine success in business is the market and providing our market with free value is the best way, not to mention the most cost effective way, to prove our idea holds weight.
The problem is that we look at super successful people and immediately want the quickest way to obtain a similar level of success. It’s not our fault, we are bombarded each day with emails and tweets that read…
These clickbait headlines can be the worst thing if we don’t take them with a grain of salt. We have to understand that the majority of people out there are putting their best foot forward on social media. We see the link to someones income secret and think they achieved that level of income on their first try. That’s rarely the case. Just like it’s rarely the case for people to upload the first selfie they take of themselves to Instagram. We all know they’ve taken at least 10–20 selfies they hated and couldn’t get a good enough filter for to make worthy of posting.
With all this being said, let’s look at some case studies of HOW LONG it actually took some super successful people to achieve their high levels of fitness in their field…
Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook when he was in college. Yes he was young, but he also learned to code when he was in his early teens. He demonstrated those skills by building games for his friends as well as computer programs during his teenage years… he provided free value first. Not to mention that when Mark launched Facebook he was still in school. He didn’t drop out until he gave away enough free value by working on the site that he was confident he could monetize it. He tested the market and let them dictate if his product would work or not. Yes he is naturally very intelligent, just like LeBron James is a naturally gifted athlete, but he still took the necessary time to develop the skills he needed to succeed. He developed a high level of fitness which gave him the readiness to use his skills when opportunity presented itself.
Gary Vaynerchuk created wine library TV in his 20’s and then VaynerMedia in his early 30’s. Again, super successful at a young age. What goes unnoticed is the weekends he put in when he was 10, 11, and 12 years old at his local mall selling baseball cards and learning about consumer behavior first hand. What also goes unnoticed is the years of work he put into his fathers wine store when he was a teenager learning what his target customers wanted and how to successfully convert them by organizing his store in a way that facilitated them to buy specific wines. What further goes unnoticed are the weekends of his college life where, instead of going out drinking and hooking up with girls, he came home and worked for his family wine store. Yes he made it big in his 20’s which is very young but we forget he put upwards of 10–15 years honing his skills and perfecting his craft. It should also be noted that Gary repeatedly says in his books that he wasn’t a great student. Where he lacked though in the student category he made up for by his unmatched ability to hustle and work harder than anyone else. Thus he read books on wine tasting and spent endless hours selling in his family store until he got to the point where he could talk about wine better than anyone else. He optimized his chances for success by maximizing thefitness part of the equation.
It’s crazy to think that us aspiring entrepreneurs get upset after a year or two of no income coming in… we have to put it in perspective, it takes time.
Troy Dean is another great case study. In Troy’s case, he taught himself how to create websites for people. He learned HTML and CSS and then progressed to learning WordPress after a friend convinced him to do so. He took time to work on his fitness level so that when opportunity presented itself, he could cash in. Opportunity did present itself, as it always does, and Troy developed a plugin that kicked off his online income stream. This plugin was successful because he worked on his craft and provided a ton of value that gave him the credibility he needed to monetize the plugin.
Check out Troy’s full story here.
The take home point is that success does not come easy. No matter how predisposed we are to success in a given field, we still have to put in the dirty work. The guys I talked about above were all very talented but they all still took the time, in some cases that meant years, to develop their skill sets to a point where they were able to eventually monetize them.
Check out Gary Vaynerchuk on the importance of having skills here
That excerpt from Gary V says it all. Obviously if we have the audacity to develop a business we clearly think we have skills. The reality of the situation is that most startups fail. This doesn’t mean that if our startup is one of those that fail we aren’t intelligent. It just means that we need to take the time to become masters in our market by being patient and putting in the dirty work to develop the necessary fitness level to readily use our skills.
So what should we do if we think we have an idea for a business?
Once we think we have a skill that will make money we can find out if there is demand for it or not by testing our potential market. Do this by providing free value first.
Take time to build credibility and then when your target market eats up that free value go ahead and find a way to monetize it. Remember Mark Zuckerberg didn’t drop out of Harvard and attempt to monetize Facebook until he knew it had value.
What do we do if people don’t find our product valuable? Tweak the product and pivot to make it more appealing. Remember, the market always dictates whether our product is good or not. While success is never guaranteed, certainly never guaranteed overnight, it becomes more and more palpable for those of us willing to put in the effort to develop a high level of fitness in our field. In time, this will allow us to have the readiness to use that fitness to cash in on opportunity.
Author: Nick Banar