“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” ~Earl Nightingale
An artist friend sent me this two-part question, which is a GREAT topic to cover:
1.) Was there ever a point in Drew’s career where he felt like throwing in the towel? and:
2.) The impressive companies that he’s worked with on listed on his website; did they come to you or did you seek them out?
You would think that these are two separate topics, but they actually mold into one – stay with me on this article and you’ll see what I mean.
Question #1: THROWING IN THE TOWEL (QUITTING):
Should you continue on when it gets hard, or do you throw in the towel and quit?
At least once a week I threaten to quit and go get a “real job!” But then I remember how much I love doing what I do…
Being an entrepreneur can be grueling and exhausting. Instead of a steady paycheck , you have to hustle to earn your pay. There are times when business is dry and you have to push through it without freaking out about how you’ll pay your studio rent!
Take for example January and February, the two slowest months for our art business each year. I used to stress out over the lack of cash flowing in those months, but now that we’ve been at it for over a decade, I’m accustomed to the roller coaster. I know that everything is going to work out just fine.
There are times that everything goes wrong: ten out of the ten phone calls you made to prospects were duds, a big deal you were counting on fell through, or a client stiffed you on payment.
These are the things that make us want to “throw in the towel”, call it quits, go get a real job.
But if you can push through the difficult times, and stay on a steady, consistent path, you will come out the other side and find success.
To become known as the expert of your trade takes years of commitment. And even the most successful people have to deal with challenges. Business isn’t a cake-walk for anyone.
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” ~Newt Gingrich
I asked Drew if he ever thought of throwing in the towel (though I knew the answer already!) and he said:
“Have I ever wanted to throw in the towel? All the time! Sometimes I think I should have been a landscaper instead.
It’s hard, being an artist. Most days I have to hustle, like I’m on a treadmill.
But, I love painting for a living. It pays off in different currencies. I can surf anytime the waves are good. I travel anytime I want to. Every morning I get to walk my son to his classroom. He will always remember that.”
Don’t quit if you LOVE what you’re doing.
As an entrepreneur, you are paid in different currencies;
Time, ability to be creative, and the freedom to design your own life. (That’s what keeps me going on this path.)
WHEN YOU SHOULD THROW IN THE TOWEL:
It’s time to quit when you really don’t love what you’re doing anymore. Not meaning that you’re having a bad week; but that your heart isn’t in it anymore. Or maybe it never was.
This isn’t only good advice for entrepreneurs, but for employees, too.
If you don’t love it, get out.
Question #2: HOW TO GET BIG NAME CLIENTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS:
Being able to work with great, big clients comes down to these things:
- Great Reputation
- Known for Reliability
- Ability to Solve problems
- Being good at what you do
You reach the status of all of the above by staying on a consistent path.
The better clients, the best paying ones, COME TO YOU when you have a reputation for being reliable and for getting things done, for being great to work with and being damn good at what you do.
You gained this reputation because you’ve been doing it for a long time. You got good from doing it for a long time. The reputation came from pleasing many clients for a long time.
You got there because you never threw in the towel.
You kept doing what you do best, and you got better and better at it.
You became known for being the guy (or gal) who does that thing you do, extremely well.
And you got that reputation because you’ve been doing it for so long.
Doing it for so long meant never quitting, even when it got tough.
And that allowed you to get really good, and build up a reputation.
And the big clients come to you like a magnet.
Does that make sense?
In other words, once you become that guy (or gal) who’s got the reputation because you’ve been doing it very well for a long time, the big companies and clients come to you.
Your time spent making phone calls to potential clients is less and less. Because they’re coming to you.
They come to you because you’ve been at it for a long time.
You never threw in the towel.
You are consistent.
I’m beating a dead horse, but that’s the key to getting big name clients to come to you.
Stay on a consistent path, keep doing that thing you do, and you’ll become great at it and you’ll become known for it.
(And don’t forget how important integrity is…)
ARTWORK CREDIT: The fun, energetic artwork at the top is by my dear friend, artist Al McWhite, who never quit, and is an excellent example of perseverance and “staying on a consistent path”.
“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.” ~Author Unknown