While scrolling through Instagram, I came across this pretty well-known post that resonated with me on a personal level. The post contained the image of two men, John and Ken, side-by-side digging for gold and diamonds. While John uncovered a few nuggets of gold and was satisfied, Ken kept going to see what he could find; unknown to both the men, just a few feet below from where Ken was hard at work lay a vast bounty of treasure just minutes from being uncovered. The moral here is quite simple — when you truly invest in what you are doing, treasure awaits.
I would like to think that I have always personified Ken as an entrepreneur, however, until two years ago, I was much like John.
As a young businessman, I always thought being an entrepreneur meant dabbling in everything that would come your way. Rather than scaling one business, I thought I had to plant multiple businesses. And that is what I did. I thought, “If I have 15 different ventures, I don’t need much from each to earn a lot of money.” I could not have been further from the truth.
At first, setting up these multiple companies from different industries was exciting. I was fascinated by how different industries functioned. I was like a kid in a candy store. It is the same for many of us; we’re always taken with the “shiny” and the “new.” We learn new skills, study, gain new insights, draw out a blueprint and turn the key to get things started. It’s a dopamine rush like no other.
Until, of course, the next shiny thing!
We start the process all over again. Envisioning the piles of money that could be made, the excited customers, the reviews and features over the product/service — and we get to work to make the dream real.
However, something we seldom consider is the work it takes to sustain these shiny new projects. One day you’re fascinated, and the next you are stressed over a never-ending cycle of prioritization and micro progress due to a stack of tasks that all need your attention. It sneaks up on you, but you find yourself exhausted and your mental battery quickly depleting. You try your best to don the hats your various ventures demand, but you simply can’t keep up. What do you do? You call it quits and move on to the next thing, leaving behind a trail of half-built houses that you never could occupy. We console ourselves with this one negative thought: “Oh well, even if this one failed, I have so many other ventures where I could see success.”
Do you see the cycle? It’s a never-ending loop of ifs and buts.
Being an entrepreneur is more than adding a shiny new idea to your collection of brands. It is the discipline and devotion to committing to your vision and mission. It is the mindset to see things through to their completion and then some.
Being an entrepreneur is putting down roots and reaping fruits.
I lost a lot of time and money learning this the hard way. I shut down many half-ass ventures that I invested a lot in but couldn’t really do anything with. They could not be sold, monetized, used or even torn down to sell their different components.
I came to realize that success and money can be found in any business if your energy and focus are there to give life to that business. And let me tell you — where your focus is firmly planted, any business will thrive, from carpentry to e-commerce and even teaching!
You see, before you plant a seed, you study the soil to determine that it is the best suited for your outcome. When you plant your seed, you water it daily, give it the required nutrition, pull out the weeds and nurture it until it provides you with fruit. It is the same with business. It’s easy to just move on to the next project; however, you reap a bountiful harvest when you double down on your passion and learn the ecosystem of your business. See, it’s not just about how many trees you plant, it’s how much quality fruit you reap — even from a single tree.
You need to study the market, understand the climate, know the players and competition, analyze the process and system. Know your market in and out. Invest your time. Understand how your business grows. Guide its growth and navigate its turns. When you are focused on one thing, you start crafting and innovating new approaches to growing that one thing. You find your aha moments when your mind is focused on fulfilling one vision. With every new growth you see from the grit and grind, you find your excitement and enthusiasm rising. When you immerse yourself in the flow state and are zoned in on your passion, you find your motivation to move past just return on investment and business. It becomes about actualization. This is your pot of gold.
Have the confidence that when you have the mental energy and capacity to learn, think and deep-dive into the one venture that excites you, you will succeed. Anything else is a distraction from your goals.
Think to yourself: “Where do I need to put more attention, thought and learning? What do I need removed from my plate so I can make progress in leaps and bounds in my most exciting business?”
It’s not an easy choice to make, but remember, it is better to rest in a complete and sturdy house than to risk it in a house with a shaky foundation.
As featured on, Forbes.