The more I engage with entrepreneurial communities, the more I realize we all have something in common: Every successful business owner has spent a significant amount of time and energy paying their dues. They’ve taken low-paying work in the beginning, they’ve done plenty for free and they hung on when things were tough and no one knew who they were. Additionally, they’ve all overcome challenges and fears as it pertains to their personal growth.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that, unfortunately, a lot of beginning business owners simply aren’t willing to pay their dues. At this stage in my career, I’ve seen a lot of people quit when things get hard. Had they stuck around a bit longer, they’d also be running businesses from their laptops instead of working at a job they hate.

I’m not a monster, so I can readily admit that paying your dues as a business owner is incredibly difficult. I’m not here to talk about how easy it is and how people who quit are wimps because it’s simply not true. This stuff is hard. However, I am here to talk about how you can get past that difficult stage of paying your dues.

Stay focused on the bigger picture.

Marie Forleo recently released an amazing video that addresses the issue of staying motivated when you don’t see your work paying off. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Overnight success is a myth and the ability to stick around is part of paying your dues.  

In the video, Marie Forleo points out how one of the best ways to stay motivated when you’re not seeing results it’s to focus on the bigger picture. Focus on the clients you are trying to help. Focus on your mission. Focus on why you even started this to begin with.

Try to enjoy the ride.

Another tip for getting through paying your dues as a business owner is to try your best to enjoy the ride. I say try because it’s easier said than done, but the reality is it’s necessary that you stay positive through this difficult period when most people quit.

One practice that is extremely helpful in enjoying the ride is gratitude. I got in the habit of being grateful for everything, even it if was just a few dollars that I made (because in the beginning it really was just a few dollars).

Find support.

One of the greatest things you can do while you’re in the process of paying your dues is to find support. This could look like a mastermind group, making friends online or starting to attend events and conferences to make new friends.

The reality is that when you’re starting a business from scratch, and when you’re going through the “paying your dues” stage, it’s important that you surround yourself with people who get it. They can help you push through and give you advice which is unbelievable helpful.

Final Thoughts

While paying your dues as a business owner is tough, it is well worth it in the long run. Believe me, if I had to pay my dues all over again to create the career I have now, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She's also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

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