From starting a clothing brand to opening a coffee shop to posting your first video on your YouTube channel, opportunities for success in business seem abound. With a little bit more digging, it appears that everyone else has already had the same idea.
There are hundreds, even thousands of people who are hoping to become the next YouTube star or the next self-made billionaire. What can give you any hope when you have so many competitors in the rat race? Which is the right industry to enter?
Is working hard enough to be successful?
Many business “experts” will chalk it up to a simple matter of hard work. If you work hard enough, if you are honest enough, you will succeed. This idea can be traced back to the Protestant work ethic that is the backbone of most capitalist societies. But we all know good, honest people who put everything into their businesses, still see little returns.
It is probably best to find the errors in this kind of thinking. With the help of the internet, any teenager can start a YouTube channel. Sometimes it seems like people just get lucky in business, and the truth is that the first wave of online millionaires, like Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty, were the first of their kind and thus they had advantages that entrepreneurs who enter the market today are not awarded. When people jump on bandwagons, hoping to tap into the latest trend, they are joined by many others. Hard work alone cannot be the answer.
In his book So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, Cal Newport offers his take on this dilemma.
“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).”
When we see a business trend and hope to make money off the newest wave of business, we are stuck in the passion mindset. We think that we can do the same thing that several hundred others will also do and still uniquely capture the hearts of the market.
What Newport outlines so well above is the real business secret: we must focus on our own special set of skills. Instead of coasting along with a cookie cutter trend, we must offer something exceptional.
This is where entrepreneurial creativity comes in clutch. It is essential, now more than ever, to be innovative in the supersaturated industries of today. If you want to break into an industry that is already booming, you need to change the game.
If this is YouTube, find your niche and offer what no other channel does. Leverage your unique skills and experiences and create a product for your market that no one else can offer. Assess your capital, your investment capabilities and your market. Study your competitors. Be strategic and be skillful. Add hard work to the mix and you have a recipe for success.