5 Realities I've Discovered About Making Things Happen

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always taken interest in building or creating things that could help people, or make life a little more exciting.  Coming up with better ways to do things has always intrigued me. When I was young, I didn't realize my interest in innovation would one day play a role in who I'd become as an adult. In reality, the only thing I was truly aware of was that I loved experimenting with new concepts that would strike me at random times.  As I grew older, I realized I could start building these concepts that popped in my mind if I chose to do it.  Life became a lot more exciting when I "grew up".  I look back and am grateful I had parents who taught me that I was capable of anything I put my mind to, if I worked hard enough.  They taught me to never be afraid to swing for the fences, even if it meant striking out sometimes, and trust me, I've struck out many times. I'll strike out again.  That's how it works when it comes to business.  In the end, you win if you never give up.

I've always been driven to succeed.  I love building businesses.  My first business was called the "Snack Shack" that my brother Trey and I built on the corner of our street in Huntington Beach, CA.  I was 8 years old, Trey 7.  We had a small table, 2 small chairs, a cooler, and a shaved ice maker that Santa had brought us for Christmas.  We sold candy, cold cans of soda, and shaved ice to the neighbors that drove by.  We had a blast, and more importantly, we learned how to make money.

That innate sense that motivates me to succeed in business can probably be best defined as having an “entrepreneurial spirit”- but don’t be mistaken- just because I possess that drive doesn't mean that every business I've started, or will start will be successful.  Success is something you have to earn, no matter who you are. I have already failed countless times, and will fail again.  It's all a part of the learning process.  Estee Lauder probably best summed up what it’s like to build your own company when she said, “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”

I’ve learned a lot about getting dreams out of my head and turning them into businesses, and here are five realities that I’ve discovered about making that happen.

1. It’s hard work.

When people look at me now, without truly knowing who I am, they might perceive me as a successful individual that has a great life with no worries.  In one way, they’re correct: I love my life and wouldn’t change it for the world. But I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I’m at today, and as a serial entrepreneur, I’m still doing that.  The daily grind never ends when you're an entrepreneur.

It means putting in hours long after everyone else has gone to bed or woken up. It means limiting social activities, going the extra mile, staying positive when you’re swimming in a sea of doubts and fears, and sacrificing the things that you’d like immediately for the things that you want down the road.

2. Don’t ever think that just because you have a great idea, others will support it.

The biggest supporter of your idea has to be yourself. You cannot expect to pay someone else to chase your dreams for you; you have to believe in them and be invested in them. I’ve had great employees over the years-I still do-but I’ve never operated under the pretense that if I paid them enough, they would make me successful.  YOU have to make your dreams happen.

3. You’re going to fail.  A lot.

Failing plays a huge role in the business equation.  It's one of the best things that can happen to a real entrepreneur.  In fact, failure helps sift through the "so called" entrepreneurs and identifies the real entrepreneurs.  Real entrepreneurs keep pushing when failure presents itself.  Real entrepreneurs won’t really see them as failures.  They'll view them as learning and growth opportunities, and be stronger for it.  The old proverb, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” will need to be applied infinitely in your life if you want your dreams to become realities.

4. You have weaknesses. If you're smart, they will become your strengths.

Everyone has flaws, but not everyone will admit to them. To succeed as a business owner, you need to embrace yourself fully, which means learning areas where you aren’t strong and seeking out others that can mentor you or employees who excel in those areas. They are out there.  If you are fortunate enough to find individuals with a skill set that you lack, learn from them, and listen to them. You don’t have to be an expert in everything to be a success; the best leaders surround themselves with people that make them think differently or challenge their way of thinking.

5. You need to make your hours count.

We all know that each day has 24 hours, but a classic trait of successful entrepreneurs is that they seem to make it look like they somehow have been blessed with more hours in the day. They haven’t.

Especially in the era of technology that we live in, it’s very easy to fall off task and drift away from what you had planned. Social media, YouTube, interesting blogs, and gaming can become "entrepreneur killers". The reality is that in order to convert your goals into your reality, you’ll need to adopt habits of staying focused, adapting certain tasks for hours when life is less hectic and summoning willpower to keep at your to-do list until it gets done.  And finally, remember your priorities. Make time for the people that matter most.  I'm talking about your family.  The happiest entrepreneurs are the ones that have the loving support of their family and friends.  Make the hours you spend with your loved ones count.  They need you.

I hope this has given you a little bit of insight and motivation-if you’d like more ideas like this, I’m always trying to share them on Twitter and would love to see you there!