Jill and I had been dating for barely six months when the idea of Teach Starter materialised.
Like most ideas upon inception, our initial enthusiasm was contagious. We tossed ideas back and forth and quickly came up with a plan.
To validate our idea, we would create free digital teaching resources and distribute them via a mailing list. Jill would write content, I would design. We would reply to every email, comment, and question our members had, as soon as we could. If our mailing list proved to be popular, we would push on.
So we began to work.
With no guarantee our idea would evolve into a business, we simply put one foot in front of the other and inched closer to our first newsletter.
Inspiration is Fleeting
After the initial excitement of our idea wore off, the hard work kicked in. It was around this time that we came up with the mantra:
“Two years of pain for a lifetime of gain”
We knew that we had to make sacrifices. I’m not talking about anything extreme, just small sacrifices combined with a heavy dose of discipline and determination.
We decided that our motivation would be a lifetime of gain. A lifetime of living the future we dreamed of.
With this vision in mind, two years of pain would be easy. We traded nights out for nights in. TV for Adobe Illustrator. Weekends for customer support. Free time for work time. The simple sacrifices we made are ones that anyone can make. It’s having the discipline to repeat day after day that really counts.
And if Teach Starter didn’t work out? Well, we’d have only spent two years working hard at something, while learning a lot along the way. We didn’t have much to lose.
It’s All About The Journey
I was always fascinated by stories of entrepreneurs. Seemingly ordinary people, who ended up doing extraordinary things. “How did they do it?”, I would wonder. How were they able to see the evidently obvious before anyone else? What made them different from me?
If they could do it, why couldn’t I?
Maybe I was delusional. Maybe over-confident. I don’t really know. But I had always had this burning desire to create my own business.
So we worked.
We relied on discipline. We motivated each other. We craved feedback from our members to spur us on. We did this for six months without any financial return. We put in the hard yards to validate our idea.
Then we made our first sale and the game changed.
All of a sudden, those long weekends became easier. Our idea had been validated and this encouraged us to work even harder. We used every dollar to fuel the growth of Teach Starter. We invested in Facebook ads and hired staff.
We prioritised the health of Teach Starter above our own financial gain. Remember, this was two years of pain, not twelve months. We had more work to do!
We continued to grind away. There were no shortcuts.
We continued to execute. We added more content. We re-invested. We grew.
Two years ticked over.
It wasn’t a finish line moment. There were no celebrations. It was just the beginning of our journey.
I realised that I had been living my dream for two years.
The focus. The work. The discipline. The journey. That’s what it’s all about.
The satisfaction of success doesn’t come from crossing the finish line. It is born from the hurdles along the way.
Victories are only sweet because of the journey.
In fact, I realised there is no finish line. The finish line of ‘success’ is merely a mirage that shifts ever further into the distance.
It was in this realisation that I truly began to understand the meaning of living a happy and purposeful life.
Two years of pain for a lifetime of gain. Let’s see where two years of blogging leads me…
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