Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Secrets to success" aren't really secrets.

I get so annoyed when I see an article or book that has the phrase "Secrets to success" in the title. Please, don't get suckered in by one of these books. They aren't secrets! They are either things that people have been saying for years or they are the personal journey of ONE man or woman.

I've read a lot of self help books and I can categorically say that none of them have really shared anything life-alteringly different. Yes, they may have a unique flavor or the book may be organized in a more pleasing manner but the substance stays the same.

The "secrets" that keep popping up tend to be the following:
Be consistent.
Keep your eyes open for opportunity.
Don't be scared to make mistakes.

Create a quality product.
Build off of what you are already doing well.
Keep trucking along.

Every story I've ever read about an entrepreneur who went from making products by hand on her kitchen table to having an assembly line and a retail outlet has said that those 6 things were the reason for success.

You must be consistent because it takes a while for customers to get to know you and spread the word. Keeping your eyes open for opportunity helps you to see alternative ways of doing things.
Making mistakes is a fact of life and the more mistakes you allow yourself to make the more you will learn.
A quality product is the corner-stone of a great business, not much else matters.
Starting and running a business is difficult and, at times, confusing. But if you use what you are already doing well to guide you to the next step you can never go wrong.
At the end of the day you will probably just have to keep trucking along. No matter what.

Really, though, these statements or "secrets" are an over-simplified way of describing what an entrepreneur's life is like and what she has to do in order to start, grow and manage her business. I understand that, as humans, we like things wrapped in a nice package. We like answers, even when they aren't actually truths. We want to think that we understand what's going on and what's to come. And we love to think that their are secrets out there because if we fail then it's not our fault. We just didn't know the secret, right?

Sorry, but you can't use that excuse anymore. There are no secrets and there isn't a magic pill for life. But this isn't a bad thing. If you realize that you don't have to search for "that one secret" anymore then you are free to do what really needs to be done.

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