Zero Dollar Days
They aren’t fun.
I was pretty new to entrepreneurship, and this was my first foray into work as an owner/operator. I’d been captivated by the sales numbers my friends would boast after wrapping up at the latest location.
What I didn’t understand were concepts about overhead, travel expenses, profit vs. gross revenue, etc. I saw big numbers and wanted to make more money.
When I got to selling, I was shocked when the day came, and no one stopped by my product display.
I had my first zero dollar day.
It was pretty depressing, especially considering I was working 13 hour days at the time. It’s pretty easy to get depressed and want to give up after that. Especially when you’re in the red a few thousand due to overhead.
It was during those times when I learned my most valuable lessons. Working for yourself isn’t easy. It’s not always glamorous, and you often don’t know when or where your next dollar is coming from. But if you can stick through it, entrepreneurship can be the greatest vehicle to grow your character. It just so happens that a growing wallet is often a side-effect that follows sooner or later.
The lessons learned though weren’t directly related to increasing sales. The top three were:
1. Don’t sell, build relationships
This is a cornerstone of sales, or at least; it should be. People don’t like being sold to. If you look at everyone like they’re a walking dollar sign, they’re more likely to avoid you like the plague than buy whatever your selling, even if it is an awesome product.
Building relationships, on the other hand, getting to know people, is much more useful. For one, even if they don’t buy, you’ve met someone interesting and created a moment. Moments in time are all we have in life; they stay with us. Money doesn’t. However, money can enable you to create more memorable moments.
So create moments, earn money, and create more moments for yourself and those around you. There’s a phrase: Have. Do. Be. It describes the state that most of us are in. You say to yourself, “Once I have this thing (Money, Time, Love, etc.), I can finally go on vacation/improve my marriage/start a hobby.” And once you do that, you’ll be happy/satisfied/relaxed or what have you. It sounds great, and makes sense since it’s “not” having that thing that is making your life suck isn’t it?
The converse is: Be. Do. Have. First, be the person that you aspire to be when you ‘have’ all that you want. Do the things you would do as that person. You’ll find that in living this way, you’ll acquire (read: have) the things you want. It’s a simple formula, but simple ain’t easy. It feels counterintuitive, backward even. But live this way and I promise you will see a shift in the satisfaction you get out of life.
2. Perseverance is key
You only fail when you stop trying. It’s simple as that. Sure, you might not be ringing up sales all day long, or at all. But if you stop showing up then you close yourself off from the opportunity to succeed.
3. Believe in possibility
Focusing on what you don’t have will make you miserable. The longer you look at how much greener your neighbor’s lawn is, the less time your spending tending to your lawn and keeping it from dying. Instead of doing that, focus on what your building, on where you want to be. Live in that possibility, rather than sulk in your lack of results today. Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster. It goes down, and but it’ll always come back up.
That’s a bit of what I got from working a 13 hour day and making $0. It wasn’t fun, but there’s always an opportunity to grow if you look. Have you had moments that made you question whether or not you were going in the right direction? Leave a comment below, or tweet me @alexyounglive.