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Why Preparation is the Key to All Success

Preparation takes three basic forms: sacrifice, starting, and training through experience

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If “luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” then every business is simply “lucky.” That doesn’t seem right. I believe that when opportunity and preparation meet, timing trumps luck. In that moment when it all comes together, and you become an “overnight success,” the world seems to forget about one thing: the cost.

All those sleepless nights, personal sacrifices, long road trips, skipped vacations, and missed chances, don’t they? But the sacrifices are the real story. They are the preparation. So when opportunity comes knocking, the question is not, are you lucky? The real question is: are you ready? 

Sure, some moments seem lucky. Look at the entrepreneurial history of the last 30 years, of course, there is some luck involved. There will always be those “kick me” moments – those opportunities you saw, but didn’t take. 

Maybe you missed moving to Silicon Valley in ‘95. Investing in the dot.com industry back when dial-up meant AOL chat room chats with your girlfriend. Or collecting domains like candy when they were cheaper than M & Ms. 

But regardless of which opportunities you might look back and hate that you missed, any business owner worth his or her salt has a list just as long of chances he or she did take. Choices are made from those quick, gut decisions, chiseled from years of preparation. 

They pay off. Just maybe not as much as buying Amazon at $18 in 1997.

Ultimately, preparation takes three basic forms: sacrifice, starting, and training through experience. 

Sacrifice

One part of early entrepreneurial life that those on the sidelines, or those not yet in the game don’t understand, is the sacrifices. With a start up, everyone around you suffers. It’s balls to the wall, 24-7. If you’re young, you’re not having the same kinds of weekends as your friends. 

You’re not waking up Monday with a hangover. You’re traveling through Tulsa, and Milwalkee, and Reno. Family, friends, your network … they are all sacrificed to your tunnel vision. In many ways, it has to be. Now, some will disagree. They will suggest you delegate early, but when you’re a one-man-band, you don’t even know what you need to know to delegate until it’s in front of you. 

When you’ve got a singular goal, you’ve got to keep your head down. No looking up for air. 

Preparation always comes before you need it. You don’t prepare for a triathlon at the white start line. You can’t begin benching 300 without a spotter on your first go. Those hours are always what are going to create the preparation needed for when opportunity presents itself. 

Because you have to be confident in this: that if you are singularly focused on your goal, you will meet opportunity. It will meet you. Your paths will cross. And when they do, shoot your shot. Don’t let it pass you by. Like Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Small beginnings

There’s a proverb that says “don’t despise the day of small beginnings.” You may have a quirky little idea you’d like to begin on the side. Maybe it’s a passion project or a side hustle. You’re not sure it will go very far, and honestly, you just want to see what you can create. 

Well, this small thing you begin on the side might only begin by generating 1-2 thousand bucks on the side. If you’re consistent and pour into it every month, before you know it, you might find a way to scale it and turn it into a multi-six or seven-figure business. 

If it’s content, maybe you have a friend who loves writing. They’ve been writing for free. You come along and offer them a few hundred a month, or even $25 a post. Now you’re both happy. Now you’re building. 

You took action on one little thing, picked up the phone with a friend, and said, “Hey, maybe we should start this idea.” Next thing you know, it’s eight years down the line, and you’re selling that company and making real money. 

It doesn’t have to start as a massive goal, it can start from humble beginnings and evolve into a something great. 

Young age does not disqualify you

Some assume that you have to put in your dues for years or decades to see success and earn the big bucks. As if you have to be 35 or 40 to really start winning. But you can make some really great business moves even at a young age. 

The early dot-comers did this. The domain generals did this. So if you’re reading this as a 21, 22, 23 year old, know this: you’re not a child anymore. Age is not a disqualifier.

Opportunity meeting preparation has nothing to do with your age. It just has to do with the amount of action that you’re taking. Silence the internal bias about how young you are and how much success you can have. 

If you’re always prepared for the opportunity, the timing will happen. The question is: are you performing your best today and really trying to push the limits toward your goals? Or are you assuming you’ll have time later?  

Because when the opportunity comes, if you’re not prepared, you’re behind the eight ball. 

The risk, the thrill of the deal, is exactly what keeps some top players coming back for more. It’s what keeps people like Shane Brinkerhoff, CEO of RevCatch, returning day after day to the game, even after he’s made his millions. He’s a self-identified “deal junkie.” It’s not really the money made that’s the goal (although, don’t get me wrong; it’s a big deal to make a big deal). 

It’s the thrill of the hunt, the chase, that really gets the heart racing. That’s the fun. That’s the why. The process is the fulfillment, not necessarily the end result. Part of winning in business is enjoying it so much you do it even when you could quit. 

“I believe that people make their own luck by great preparation and good strategy.” – Jack Canfield

Chasing the goal gives a business owner self-worth. That’s what gives purpose. Some entrepreneurs may think that the goal of the game is riches. And that means that opportunity plus preparation equals freedom. And that’d be right. But freedom alone doesn’t get the job done anymore. It’s actually pretty boring. 

It’s the opposite of how I want to spend my days. My goal is to serve others with integrity, stay in the game, and make life better for myself, my family, and those around me. 

If I “retire” for a year – or five – who is going to provide for them? Who is going to improve their lives? Heck, who is going to improve mine? Because my golf game is only going to improve so much over a year, and I’m not Tiger Woods. 

I don’t aim to be. Kale Goodman and I, of The Real Business Owners, hope to equip as many entrepreneurs as possible to be 6 and 7 figure business owners and to keep expanding our own vision. You can’t do that hanging out at the beach all day. 

Opportunity, when it comes, needs to be met with preparation, and a sharp eye to recognize the signs of the times. For Brinkerhoff, that meant scratching a napkin at McDonalds with plans that ended up becoming the start of something big – back in 1997. 

It may not seem like a massive idea, but buying all the states dot.com domains eventually turned into a very profitable idea. 

Every moment in your life prepares you – one way or another – for your next steps. It decides the odds of your chances, when opportunity comes. How have you spent your time? Have you prepared? Have you worked to be your best each day? 

Can opportunity find you? If you keep your head down, sacrifice and keep focused, your opportunity and preparation might just meet – at the perfect time.

Trevor Cowley is a 37-year-old serial entrepreneur, investor, and co-owner of Easier Accounting, 60 Day Credit Repair, and an Everbowl franchise. He’s also the co-host of a business podcast that's ranked in the top 1% in the world called, Real Business Owners with his business partner Kale. The Real Business Owners Instagram page has grown to over 130k followers in just two short years and continues to grow day after day. Trevor's mission is to make a positive impact in the entrepreneur space by giving advice to those who are going through the struggles of owning a business. Trevor is passionate about entrepreneurship and plans to continue seeking opportunities that will make a positive impact on his life and others.

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