Inc. Magazine recently came out with their coveted Inc 500 list of entrepreneurs.
Because I have a subscription, I got the physical edition of the magazine that listed all 500 of these entrepreneurs worthy of the honor.
One of the people on that list who had almost 1000% growth over the last year was Marie Forleo. I’d heard of Marie before and had visited her website briefly but I didn’t know much more than that. Amongst the incredible things she’s done with her life ;
- Appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show
- Hanging out with people like Tony Robbins and Sir Richard Branson
- An online TV show she hosts that typically has 200 comments or more.
- Running her B-school that has churned out successful entrepreneurs
I don’t think the English language has a word that will begin to describe this gorgeous lady!
If I could ever do even a tenth of what she has done in business, I’d be content (I am content now but I I could be “contenter” , right ? And yes, I reserve the right to invent English words).
But that is not what really caught my attention about her (or the other 499 entrpreneurs that were on the Inc 500 list.)
My attention was drawn to an article that was written about the people on the list.
The article described what set this group of people apart from pack.
What makes the Inc 500 the Inc 500 ?
Using the Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder’s test, Inc had surveyed 150 of the entrepreneurs on the list. Gallup then compared those results from 2700 entrepreneurs across the country.
What they found is what intrigued me.
On every entrepreneurial strength there is on the test (there are 10), the sample from the Inc 500 list scored twice or even three times higher than the national sample.
The two strengths that provoked this post were “risk taker” and “determination”.
I’ve always known that to do anything great, you have to be willing to take risks and you have to be determined. I know that.
The thing is, I’ve hardly had to take risks or be determined about most things in my life. Most things up until this point have come easily to me. I was an A-student in elementary and junior high school. Slacked off in high school a bit and still had okay grades. College was a breeze. Getting into a Microbiology PhD program was not that hard. So the idea of taking a risk or being determined is actually foreign to me.
And so when I started a blog back in 2011, I figured, how hard could this possibly be ?
Imagine my shock when I realized that blogging and building a business around your blog and becoming successful is harder than getting an A in Calculus 2.
To set yourself way apart from the pack and be different enough to be on the Inc 500 list or even get within 500 miles of it, you had to be willing to take huge risks that scare you and set your teeth to grit-mode with a “I don’t care how many times I fall down, I am going to get up and I am going to make this work” kind of determination.
Truthfully, although I have made a decent amount of money from online gigs, I have never seen myself as a “successful” person in this online space. And so for the last month or so, I’d been asking myself “How did Marie do it ? How did Pat Flynn go from losing his job to uber-succesful entrepreneur ?”
Truly, it made me pull at my nappy hair.
Is success only preserved for a few chosen ?
My answer kinda sorta came with that article.
I have to be willing to take risks that scare me. I’ve never done that. I’m usually a safe better and most things in life have come quite easily to me.
One of my mentors always says “Do things afraid. That’s the only way you get it done. And that’s the only way you will be great.”
That’s thing about quotes though ; they are nice to put on a plaque until you have to live them out.
And then I have to put on my grit-face or else or I will not last on this turf !
Two things I am naturally disinclined to do. Yet, they are two of the things that will get me to where I want to go.
And so while this post could have easily been a me telling you that you need to be a risk-taker and determined so that you can make it in business, it is not.
It is a letter to myself reminding me that when that day comes when I feel like quitting because of a lull in traffic or because that squeeze page I wrote did not convert or my well-meaning friends start saying “all those people making online are scammers”, I will remind myself to keep it moving because like Theodore Roosevelt put it :
It’s the only way, I can achieve one tenth of what people like Marie have done in business.