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3 Ways to Know if You’re Working Hard to Fail or Succeed



are you working to fail or succeed
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We know how important hard work is to achieve success, but we also know the road to success is filled with obstacles and failures. Many people have great ideas and don’t put the work in to make them succeed and go to the next level. We also see many people work hard on a terrible idea and succeed due to sheer hard work and determination. Then there is that third group, no matter how hard you work, you just may have a bad idea, bad product or missed your window and all the hard work in the world won’t get you to where you need to be. So how do you know when you’re working hard to fail or succeed?

Here are 3 ways you know you’re working hard to succeed:

1. A steady flow of new customers and employees

The first major sign you’re working hard toward success no matter how much you fail or stumble is you are growing as a business. How do you know you’re growing? You have more customers consistently coming in, both new and repeated ones. 

The old saying is true, sales cures all. A great idea that is not selling is not succeeding so don’t kid yourself. That being said, you’re probably also hiring new contractors and employees as well to help carry the load.

2. You feel overwhelmed and have too much work to do 

Customers and/or clients come to you regularly and you finally have a team helping carry the load, so you must be relaxing, right? Definitely not! The next sign you’re working hard to succeed is you feel overwhelmed and believe you have too much work to do. 

Now you are seeing if you have the right systems and processes in place that people can follow to help your business run like a well-oiled machine. More customers means more demand, and more than likely, you are still figuring it out. As long as the clients keep paying and customers keep coming in, you are on the right track.

3. The Market is paying attention to you, and you are aware of your competition

For a while, you may have been the new kid on the block. Now that you are making waves, your competition is not only paying attention to you, they are contacting you, copying you and if you are really doing well, they may even threaten or sue you. 

You are also aware of who your competition is in the marketplace, and how to compete and take market share from them if necessary. These things sound crazy but these are all good things.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

Now that you know how you are working to succeed, let’s take a look at how you know you’re working hard to fail:

1. You are not growing, and it’s ‘hard’ to find customers

Many products and services hit the market with the best of intentions. You may have even tested, done focused groups and had your friends and family give you the green light. That being said, once your product or service hits the market, it’s important for people to buy your product or service.

You can blame this on whatever you want, such as geography, not having enough money to market or whatever great story you want to tell. At the end of the day, if you are not making money, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. If you’re still a one man show, and only making a few sales, you many need to look at expanding the team, or shut it down.

2. You feel overwhelmed and like you have too much work to do

Yes, failure can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re working really hard and not experiencing results. Many entrepreneurs have worked hard on several projects that fail before finding the ones that succeed. This is very often due to the fact that you are constantly putting out fires. 

The few customers you have are not happy, your software is not working and you don’t have enough money. This is usually the most difficult thing because you have been told that you will hit hurdles and make mistakes, but you have to know when to call it quits and move on to the next thing.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

3. The market is NOT paying attention to you, and you are NOT aware of your competition 

Haters are going to hate, and if they are not, you should be worried. Yes, even the most successful businesses today at one point were underestimated. If no one knows who you are, or they know you and are not worried, you have to ask why? With no sales and no one knowing you, that is not a good sign.

Many businesses that are working hard to fail are consistently saying, “There is no one that does what we do!”. Even if one does exactly what you do, there is competition for peoples’ time and attention, and you need to know how to grab it. As original as you are, it’s important to know your competition and make sure they know you!

The most important thing is to remember it’s ok to fail. Most people don’t hit a home run their first at bat, and that is ok. Sometimes it is best to walk away from a failing business and look for the next thing with the lessons learned. Remember to be honest with yourself and look at the signs around you, they won’t lie.

What’s one goal you’re trying to accomplish before the end of the year? Share your thoughts and ideas on how you’ll achieve it below!

Mike Ficara is a business development consultant and the host of The Start Down Podcast. He has had the opportunity to work in a variety of industries over his career including Classroom Teacher, Technology Specialist, Director of Curriculum, and in Business Development. This vast experience provided the insight into how people learn, leadership and most importantly what motivates people to succeed. Given this knowledge and experience, today Mike spends his time coaching and consulting where he has the privilege of working with many successful business leaders as well as entrepreneurs. To learn more about Mike and his mission visit

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