Lonely at the Top

Even if you have help from friends, family and colleagues, at the end of the day, it's up to you to make your business work.

It's been many months since I wrote about The Intelligent Entrepreneur, in my quest to share insights from Bill Murphy's fine book describing the 10 rules of successful entrepreneurship. Last time, I highlighted rule number four: you can't do it alone!

I love a paradox, and rule number five — you must do it alone — flies smack in the face of the previous one. As much as you need the support of a team and the encouragement of family, friends and colleagues, in the end, it's all up to you.

In other words, it's lonely at the top!

In my Conversations with Trailblazers' Podcast series, I've had the privilege of interviewing over 50 successful physician entrepreneurs and there is one striking bit of advice they all share with the business newbies ... Persistence!

It stems from self-confidence, passion, and a fierce belief in the idea or cause that is at the heart of your business. This means that a business started out of frustration with the status quo and a desire for change will have a greater chance of success that one launched in reaction to the frustration of being unhappy on the job, or as an escape from dreariness at work.

Your tenacity reveals itself when you make your fifteenth call of the day to prospective clients; when you insist on blogging three times a week in your area of expertise, come what may; and when you give your presentation for the twentieth time, not knowing if this is the one that's going to work.

If you're looking for a lifestyle with a drastic reduction in work hours, starting your own business is not a smart move. Every successful entrepreneurial physician will tell you that they worked harder in the first few years of their business than they ever did in practice. I know I did and still do sometimes! The difference is that you work with a vital kind of energy and freedom that employment seldom offers.

Where does persistence come from? How does persistence show up?

The Intelligent Entrepreneur

One of the entrepreneurs interviewed in had this to say:

"You have to believe, you have to be the kind of person who perseveres. You have to have ingenuity to come up with a great idea. You have to have audacity to think you can ask you do it. You have to be industrious and really work it hard. You have to have serendipity, and a lot of tenacity."

And a researcher added these comments: "One of the tough tensions that good founders face is how to be solo players, but at the same time still be team players. The combination of the two is the critical element. It's easy to do one; it's easy to do the other; it's tough to do them both together."

hat just about sums up the entrepreneurial mindset!

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