Four years ago, I set out to write a book about people who became successful entrepreneurs in the second halves of their lives. I undertook this challenge for several reasons but at the heart of it all was a personal one. I wanted to know what it takes for an ordinary boomer like me to excel at business ownership.
It took hundreds of hours of research, more than 40 interviews and at least six or seven manuscript rewrites (I lost count after the fifth round) but I finally finished. This month, I self-published Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40.
The journey renewed my admiration for authors of all stripes, including the ones mentioned in this post by Debra Eve of Later Bloomer. It also taught me that self-publishing is very much an entrepreneurial endeavor.
Like any startup, a professional-quality book requires seed money, third-party resources, marketing, timetables and risk. But to me, it seems like the biggest must-have is persistence.
This is the time when many people think about goals for the New Year. When you set your sights on something big and difficult, you have to find ways to keep trudging along. Here are five suggestions based upon what worked for me:
- Make appointments with yourself to work on your initiative. Honor them as you would any other commitment on your calendar.
- Celebrate milestones. Give yourself rewards along the way to your destination.
- Read books that motive you. Some possibilities: The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg), Think and Grow Rich (Napolean Hill), Drive (Daniel H. Pink) and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey).
- Expect setbacks and take them in stride. If you fall down, get up. Brush yourself off – and keep going.
- Have a strong support system. Find good mentors. Join online communities with members facing the same types of challenges. Avoid naysayers.
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the U.S., had a wise perspective on going the distance. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence,” he said. “Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race ”
Whether your goal for next year is a new business, a book or some other big challenge, don’t just start it – commit to it. As Coolidge would say, press on. See it through to the end.
Best wishes for 2014 –