Regrets (personal)

On Friday night I was the lead speaker for the Moms Affiliate Expo, and towards the end I took a few questions. One thing everyone wanted to know was how many hours I work online to run my internet business.

I told them that in "maintenance mode" I could manage my online business in just 5-10 hours a week. With an online business you have two modes: maintenance mode and production mode.

Sometimes I'll work 40-60 hours a week, sometimes I'll just work 5-10. The flexibility, and the option to do that, is one of the things I love about my career.

Next they wanted to know what kind of hours I worked during the start-up years... "It's great you can run your biz in less than 10 hours a week now, but what about when you got started??"

A fair question, and I gave an honest answer...

I actually got a little choked up talking about my start-up years. Its been awhile (this is my 12th year in business) but I remember it well. It wasnt an easy time. Even more difficult were the "restart-up" years, after my divorce and as a single mother to two young children.

So after my initial success I found myself struggling yet again. When I closed my business in the city and decided to work from home full time, I had 1/8 tank of gas and $7 to my name - with two kids to feed. Both of which I was also homeschooling, as my oldest was diagnosed with rolandic epilepsy that same year.

Back to the question, my answer was this:

"I worked 16-18 hours a day, 7 days a week, for more than a year... to get my online business rolling in the right direction."

I was learning. And I was making a name for myself. And I was making huge mistakes that I ultimately learned very profitable lessons from.

I dont regret a single minute that I invested in my career, or in myself, or in the lifestyle that I wanted for my family.

I would give anything to go back in time, and tell myself what my life is like today. Some reassurance would have been nice back then. And I would thank her profusely, for making my life what it is today.

Because I am now living... her vision.

I cannot express to you how wonderful (!) it feels to reach your goals and find yourself exactly where you want to be. There simply arent words that do it justice. But if you watch some of my recent videos, you just might catch a tiny glimpse of it in my smile...

There are a number of people I could thank for helping me along the way - for motivation, inspiration, instruction, examples & more. But in the end, it boils down to personal responsibility. No perfect recipe of those ingredients can help you achieve your goals - if you dont take action on them and MAKE it happen.

You may wonder where all of this is coming from. I'm still a bit nostalgic from the topic we discussed on Friday night of course, but then there was a certain email that came through this weekend. You may have received a copy of it yourself. The subject line was "My Condolences"

The message was a good one, but contained a strong emotional pull to anyone "working weekends" on their business goals. It may have even made its readers feel BAD for being at their computer on a Saturday afternoon "slaving away".

Again, the intention was good (with an affiliate link to a solution)... but I noted my own response to that message and can only assume how other readers may have felt. (here's the great video that was recommended -direct link)

The only regret I have... is not working harder and making it happen even faster.

Go for what you want. Weekend or weekday. Any hour you please. Its YOUR life. And its on you -and you alone- to make it happen...

Best,

p.s. If you're looking for a starting point, see Starting a Free Online Business. It is a detailed explanation of how to get started, and includes helpful free resources. You can also sign up for my free weekly tips. It’s the best way to get the current scoop on free resources, and new online business tips ;)

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Regarding :
    "Ana // Sep 14, 2008 at 3:48 pm
    My only real comment is that, today, one needs money and a brilliant idea to make it online. Without either of those, you won’t make it — as indeed most here won’t, as the majority of posts I see on IM boards consist of either beginners or those who’ve been trudging along for 2 years or longer with no success.

    There’s only so much room for niches, and most good ones are taken. IM has matured. A brilliant idea, lots of time, and the money to invest in it are required these days."

    I've been thinking about this and have to say that I totally disagree. The same comments have been said about brick & mortor. If this was true then Sam Walton would never had created WalMart. There already existed, MidAtlantic states, Woolworths, KMart, Sears, JCPenney, Jamesway, etc. Why bother with so many big names dominating the market.

    The same holds true for all markets Banks, Gasoline, Super Markets, Clothing, Tires, Fast Food, etc....

    My point is you should not give up or give less effort just because there is already competion.

    Rather get creative, brainstorm, put a new twist on it, and develope yourself in to the "go to" person.

    Business is just like sports, every year a new group of rookies comes in to the league and competes with the veterans. Eventually the rookies become those veterans.

    Ana - don't give up and don't get down. You can succeed just as like anyone else.
    For a number of years the Walton clan has made up about half of the Forbes list of Top 10 Wealthiest People. Food for thought:)

    Al

  2. Hi Al,

    I wasn't going to post here again, but I saw your honest and inspiring response to Ana, which led to me writing this passage. Apologies for the length of it, but I hope that someone (particularly Ana) gets something from it.

    Yesterday Lynn inspired me, so I am hoping to give something back here. Here you are -

    Success IS an elite club - but if that thought immediately throws up a negative connotation for you, immediately discard that thought and remember this. The ONLY criteria for entry are these -

    1) The ability to ignore all negative connotations that your mind creates (which CAN and for most of us HAS to be learned and developed).

    2) Know, with every fibre in your body, that everybody has the right to entry to that club. Everyone has the ability to enter that club. Everyone has everything that is required to be a full-time member of that club. But less than 50% of people will CHOOSE to complete the tasks required to gain entry and maintain that status.

    That is why it will always be an elite club. Not because there isn't room for you - there is. Not because some curse was put on you that bars you from entry - no such thing exists in the world. The only doorman who can stop you from entering that club, staying there and perhaps even becoming an honorary member - is you. There is NO other barrier to entry. We all stand in our own way.

    The road to success cannot be completely blueprinted. It is different for every single person. Don't EVER believe that because of this, there is not much to be learnt from others who share their experiences. For most, that is the ONLY way - to study the steps of others and adapt them to suit themselves.

    One of the hardest things to comprehend is that as we walk the path to success, the traps that are set in order to discover whether we have what it takes to enter the success club and stay there, are not easy to avoid and overcome. They are often deceptive.

    They will not appear when you think they will appear. They will not be obvious. They will not test your minor weaknesses, they will aim directly for your biggest weaknesses because those are the challenges that are worthy of our efforts, those are the stumbling blocks that are CURRENTLY denying us entry to the club.

    They will not present themselves only when you are fully prepared. They will trick you. They will arrive through the 'back door', through other people. They will slip into our lives when our back is turned.

    Therefore, the greatest approach to these challenges is to nobly prepare for ALL of them. Prepare thoroughly, without cutting corners. When challenges arrive and you feel that they could not have arrived at a worse time, do not curse your luck. This is a blessing. This is the chance to 'kill two birds with one stone.'

    The reward is always equivalent to the difficulty of the challenge, but ironically this will not be in plain sight until the challenge is completed. So while we are facing the challenge and trying to overcome it, it may seem like a futile endeavour. It may seem crazy. It may sometimes feel like it has no connection with the major goal that we have in mind.

    But we must remember that WE are not the finished article. WE are not the all seeing eye. Often, we must accept our challenges gracefully and without complaint or too much analysis. We must not compare our challenges with the challenges of others with a goal of deciding that we were treated unfairly, given a handicap and given greater challenges.

    If this is the case, so what? It must be so that OUR path leads to a greater triumph, so we must humbly accept this gift with faith that our reward will be worth the effort.

    The illusion that the success club is already full and that no more members are required is simply that - an illusion. And it was put there deliberately because it is one of the first criteria for entry that we must fulfill.

    Once we decide that there is an empty chair in the success club, with our name on it, and regardless of any of the illusions that we see that are simply there to derail our hopes and dreams, we WILL park our backsides on that chair as soon as possible, and once we make that decision we have destroyed the first illusion and we are well on the way.

    Have unbreakable faith that you have the right to be there. Understand that it is your finest destiny to achieve that goal. And let NO silly ilusions block your path. Walk right through them because they only really exist in your mind.

    PS I popped in earlier briefly and I most definitely saw an empty chair with the words 'Ana' written on it ;-)

    If you weren't destined for greatness, why would The Pixies have written such a beautiful song about your name?

  3. Roger -

    Well done and said.

  4. Roger,

    Very well put.

    Warmly,

    Cheryl

  5. Wow,

    What a great post and some fantastic comments... everyone should READ Rogers comment EVERYTIME you feel a little "beaten".

    Lynn,

    You ARE a real inspiration, not only because of what you say here.

    You are inspiring because you are a great mum, a great person, and all these great post and comments are an outflow of THAT.

    It is YOU that makes it so.

    I was homeless myself, but I never had two kids in tow too, thankfully they were with mum at the time.

    The kids are a reflection of their parent(s) and the influence they show, you have two fantastic kids.

    That says it all for me.

    This has to be one of the best and most inspiring blog post I have ever read, I have read a few. ;)

    Lynn is proof of what Roger said. :)

    Take care,

    Rob

    P.s That empty chair does have a label that say's Ana doesn't it Roger? ;)

  6. Lynn,

    Spoken like a champ! I SO relate to your past. I think it's when you can relate to a similar experience -- it's what motivates you to press on... because you've always expressed your journey including the ups and downs, the challenges and success, you encourage and motivate me (and I'm sure a lot others). Thank you!

  7. A big thank you to all of you - your comments here have made me smile, some have made me cry, and all have had a huge impact on me. What a great experience!

    See the link right above this ^^ - its a trackback from Kelly McCausey. She is the one that hosted the interview that inspired this blog post - and if you click that link you'll find that she is giving away ALL of the Moms Affiliate Expo recordings for only $17.

    She also has an affiliate program I believe ;)

    Thanks again - you guys rock!

  8. Lynn,

    You continue to inspire us with your honesty and insight when talking about how you got to where you are today.

    Nobody starts out as a success and businesses aren't built easily, unless you are extraordinarily lucky. Most of us have to work hard to build a business and we make lots of wrong turns and go down paths that lead to dead ends.

    That's where most people give up.

    However, if our WHY is strong enough, we'll find the time and energy to learn the HOW. For some, it happens faster than for others, but we all have to find our dream and find the determination to motivate ourselves to learn how to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

    Even if we don't know exactly how we're going to make it happen, we can identify a few steps and take them.

    If they lead down the wrong path, we retrace our steps and try again, knowing at least one more way not to do what we want.

    I like your idea of going back to the earlier you and letting her know that you are living her vision now. That's a powerful image.

    While I don't know how to go back into the past and start doing something to get where I want to be today, any of us can dream of what we want to accomplish and then put things in motion to be much further along a year from now.

    "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." -- Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich.

    It won't happen overnight and it probably won't be easy, but any of us can do it if we develop a plan and take steps to make our dream real.

    Never give up.

    The more we learn, the more effective we can be.

    We have to develop the vision of who we want to be and then start acting like that person.

    By working hard to make our dream come true, our future self can reap the benefits of the vision we develop today.

    Who will you be a year from now?

    Act on your dream!

    JD

  9. You make a good point, John. When I am talking one-on-one with people, I always encourage them to try to imagine exactly where they will be in one year. Then in 5 years. Then in 10 years. If you cant yet clearly envision each of those stages of your future, its a good exercise to work on. And if you can, its a good vision to improve on.

    I'm still improving on mine :)

  10. I have GREAT news for those of you that are Elite Members at the SSWT Forum: Kelly has given me a copy of the Super Affiliate session to post there in the private forum :D

  11. I'll have to check out the Elite Members Lynn. :)

    BTW, you have mail. Just letting you know. ;)

  12. Just finished listening to the recording. Thank you Lynn and Kelly for making it available on elite forum. I thoroughly enjoyed the recording...I am fully energised and pumped up and am looking forward to putting some of the things I learned today into practice.

  13. Thanks for telling the "truth."

    Even right now I constantly work 12-14 hours a day when I am in "production" mode, as you said it.

    The MMO niche is full of people with high expectation but at certain stage they are going to realize that and start planning for a real business.

    Why should most people fall into the biz opp things first? Greediness, perhaps?

  14. Jennifer Knox says:

    What a wonderful and honest post Lynn!

    I agree...you do what you have to do, as long as you have to do it. I know how fortunate I am to have a husband who has a "regular job" so that I'm not the sole breadwinner in our family. So I won't even try to put myself in your shoes and say that I understand what you were going through at that time.

    You did everything you were supposed to do as a mother and as an individual who wanted to make something of herself and take her life to the next level!

    Those long days....I'm so glad that you don't regret doing them. They're the battle-scars that you can look back on fondly now. I've had times where I worked my butt off for days on end to get something done, and I've had lazier times where I probably relied a bit too much on the fact I have a husband who makes a good living.

    The truth? I also look back on those "single" days when it was just me and sort of feel nostalgic for that time. I also realize that at any time, for any number of reasons, my situation could change and I need to make sure that I have things in place to be able to take care of myself and my son.

    You're an inspiration and I appreciate your honesty so much! Revealing the "not so pretty" times and how you overcame obstacles is so inspiring. Thank you!

  15. Thank you Jennifer :)

  16. Lynn,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story and inspring so many wonderful comments. It's 6:30 am and I haven't gone to bed yet. The kids will be up in an hour. But the content here just gave me the extra juice I needed to know that the time at the computer in the middle of the night is worth it. I've added this post to my list of things to blog about in the future. What a wealth of knowledge and encouragement.

  17. Thanks Lynn for such an open and honest post. So many that have "reached the top" seem to forget how they got there, and tend to make it seem easy for those who are still at the bottom.

    This year I am condensing my email reading and your material Lynn is in the to read folder. (It is impossible to read all, so you have to separate the most worthy from them all).

    One of the things that makes you who you are today are the "mistakes" you made and the regrets you may have. I would not call them regrets, but perhaps necessary detours designed that in the end made you a stronger and better person today.

    These are the things we go through that make us more compassionate and understanding of others while at the same time give us the authority to tell them to stand up and get on with it (because that's what we had to do).

    I am so thankful for the media we have today such as twitter and facebook where there are people to challenge, encourage and even point the way.

    Then there are those generous genuine free ebooks and information rich blog posts written by those who are willing to give back to the "newbies" coming up behind. (Thanks Lynn for this blog so full of information) -

    We have it easier now than even 3 years ago, let alone 12 years ago (I was "dabbling on the internet more than 10-12 years ago when there I had time). Why do we have it easier? Because there are so many great mentors we can look up to, follow and be able to take at least some shortcuts.

    Thanks Lynn for this encouragement. Make this year be the beginning of the best part of your life! There is much more waiting for you and its all good.

    Jill

  18. Thank you Jill :D I am definitely excited about the year ahead, and all of the wonderful things that are happening in my life now as a result of the time I've invested in myself this last decade.

    I'm forever grateful for the hardships that made me who I am, and brought me where I am today. I dont think I would have had this kind of drive otherwise - the kind it took to make it against the odds so many years ago. You're right that it's easier now, and I'm glad for that - EVERYone should jump on the opportunity!

    And Shannon - dont feel bad. I still pull the ocassional all-nighter myself ;) There's something deeply satifying about getting a million things accomplished during those quiet hours ;)

  19. It's nice to see and hear about the tough stories and crazy hours people put in. All too often people are lead to believe working from home and working online is easy, nobody really hears about the hard times. People only sell the easy look what I do now, but it didn't come overnight. There are no get rich quick schemes, you want success you have to work for it.

    I also find it funny that people think it's too much work, yet they fail to look 2 years, 5 years, 10 years down the road. If I put all this work in now, 10 years from now I could be doing 5-10 hours a week. But many don't, it's too much work, I'm going to stick with my 9-5 and in 20 years I will have worked 10x as much as if I had of put the extra effort in at the beginning. I'm ranting now. :)

    Nice to see a tough start to a great success.

    • Thank you, Kevin. I have always talked honestly about what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur - whether online or offline. It does take a special kind of person, dedicated and committed to say the very least. It's not for everyone.

      I saw great success in my first offline businesses as well, but for the same reasons - I invested time and energy into it as if it was "do or die" (and in a sense, it was in my case).

      If you've ever read up on "windfall stories" - people who inherited great sums, won the lottery, etc - they are sad sad stories. There is great reward in working hard to achieve personal goals and enjoying the fruits of your labor...

      • Yvonne A Jones success, setting realistic goals says:

        Lynn, I was led to this post from someone who tweeted about it tonight and I am so grateful she did. I've heard you speak of what your situation was like when you started working from home, but reading about the time and energy you devoted to your business in the beginning was not only moving, but extremely encouraging. One can easily get discouraged when they are in front of the computer for several hours per week and not see the desired results. However, it's frank, honest revelations from successful marketers like yourself that serve to inspire and provide external motivation that it may be necessary to our heart, energy and time into our businesses in order to realize our goals before we can 'take it easy.'

        I truly appreciate you!

        • Thank you Yvonne :D

          I recall the hard times like they were yesterday, and it makes me grateful every single day now that I have achieved my goals. I would give anything to go back and reassure that 20-something me, and let her know it would all come to pass.

          If I could pass on anything at all, it would be this:
          It's worth it. It's *so* worth it...

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