Normal people encounter setbacks and defeat often enough, but entrepreneurs encounter them far more. It’s difficult and scary to stick your neck out there like that and often you’ll get 1000 “No”s before you encounter your first tiny “Yes” when launching a new product or service. It is EXTREMELY difficult to get your start as an entrepreneur, but if you refuse to accept defeat as a permanent end the rewards will be worth any minor discomfort or inconveniences you encounter along the way.
Frustration Spells Opportunity
I’m writing this while on hold with Amazon. I started selling FBA this year after a friend of mine showed me the ropes. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, you have to get ‘ungated’ to sell in categories such as grocery. This means I have to request permission to sell products in this and the application requires a lot of information and paperwork. It’s currently become very difficult and lots of times your first 10 or so applications will be rejected for a undisclosed reasons.
I’ve spent the majority of the day having my applications declined and struggling to find the necessary paperwork they need for my business. A lot of people would give up and move on at this point, but I’m determined to continue to call them on the phone and submit ticket after ticket to get ungated because I realize that this difficulty is a clear indication of the opportunity that awaits me. I’m doing this because there is a lot of money that can be made selling grocery items on Amazon.
Enduring Long Periods of Rejection
I’m banking on the fact that others will get discouraged and decide that it’s not worth it to sell groceries on Amazon and will move on, thereby reducing the number of competitors and allowing me to command greater prices on the inventory that I do find.
When I first got started working for myself I was doing Freelance work on a website called “eLance” which has since merged with another company to become “Upwork”. This was an online job board where businesses that needed help would post jobs and developers would be able to bid on them. This was an incredibly difficult place to get started at because I had no reputation on my account and I was competing with labor in India and Pakistan that was charging $3-4/hour. I submitted countless proposals only to get them rejected and I received little to no positive feedback for my efforts.
Eventually I got my first couple of gigs and I was able to use the reputation generated from those jobs to earn other jobs and I started to develop momentum. If I would have given up after those first several “No”s, my freelance business would never have gotten off the ground at all and I wouldn’t have been able to leave my job to work for myself.
Don’t Quit Before You Strike Gold
I do retail arbitrage on the weekends and I take a contractor with me and we go sourcing (this is the term for looking for inventory to sell). On one sourcing trip, the first several stores we hit were duds and we only found a handful of items. I was losing money by having my contractor with me. It would have been easy to ‘play it safe’ and cut the sourcing trip short, but after a series of duds we finally encountered a store that had a shelf full of weather radios on clearance. I was able to negotiate a deal with the manager and in exchange for clearing the shelf and buying all 66 weather radios he would mark down the price to $10/unit. I’m now going to be able to turn around and sell those same weather radios on Amazon to double my money. That additional revenue more than covers the contractors rate and makes it profitable enough to have been worth my time. If I had decided to ‘cut my losses’, I would never have gotten this huge haul.
Don’t give up before you’ve made it. Victory is often just around the corner and if you’ve already gone through all the pain and discomfort of repeated effort, surely one or two more tries are worth it if they bring you closer to your reward.