Just Three Years to An Overnight Success

Seth’s post on Building an Albatross is so true, although I really hate to admit it. This quote hits it perfectly:

“It takes three years to be an overnight success, sometimes more.”

Business success does just take time. I came into it thinking it’d be a lot faster than it has gone, although we’ve done well and grown organically.

But it just takes time for your strategies to mature, for products to get built or created, for the word to get out, then links, traffic and ultimately money come back.

There are no shortcuts. The overnight successes are usually of the lottery ticket-type variety, but even then, I’d still bet that there was a TON of work involved to get to that point.

So now, the question I ask myself in any new venture we consider is: “What do we want to invest our time, energy and money in for the next 6 months, year or more?”

It’s easy to take on low-hanging fruit (things that can be done easily, like adding a feature to an existing product), but when you consider the time involved to make something big take off (especially a new brand with new products involved), a lot of “great” ideas tend to whither away.

… and for good reason.

When I think about the launch of iThemes, I see all kinds of work and investment that happened to get us where we could actually launch it.

There was a full solid year of…

  • freelance web work in WordPress (custom work, free theme releases, consulting time)
  • building of all kinds of relationships I used to create and build the business
  • learning and becoming an expert in the software (WordPress)
  • observing the marketplace
  • refining my ideas for what might work

That’s not counting the 10-plus years I spent in marketing and journalism. Or the lifetime of watching my two entrepreneurial grandfathers in their small but successful businesses.

… now we’re almost a year after launch of our business, we’re still trying to build on all that past.

We’re not where we want or need to be, but we’re building, building, building … to become that overnight success!

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2 thoughts on “Just Three Years to An Overnight Success”

  1. Excellent post! I too came into internet marketing with the misconception that success would come overnight. I think most of my troubles started because I was confused by what it meant to run a business rather than just promote products. At first I didn’t see the fundamental difference between marketing on the net vs. more traditional media i.e. television and print. Having said this it’s clear, people’s inability to grasp these fundamental differences will keep internet marketing to those few people who understand that value must be delivered before any real financial kickback can happen.

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