There’s No ‘Luck’ or ‘Fortune’ in Business: It’s All About Busting Your Ass

Running your own business is no joke. Whether you’re based online or in a fancy Palo Alto office, chances are, you’re putting in more work and more hours than anyone else you know.

But are all these hours you put into your business the thing that drives it? What about luck, or fortune? Do these things have roles in how successful a business is?

I read this quote on Twitter about a year ago (wish I had saved it so I could credit who said it), and it went something like:

Entrepreneurs work 12 hours a day so they don’t have to work 8 for somebody else.

That quote has stayed with me ever since, and I share these words with many people I encounter looking to start their own business.

This doesn’t only apply to the entrepreneurs who don’t want to have a boss, but to anyone starting and running a business, period.

Why Luck & Fortune Have No Value to You

Yes, luck has helped people win millions of dollars in the lottery. Yes, fortune has placed people in the right place at the right time. All that relies on chance, and the truth is — that makes for a horrible business model.

You simply can’t run a business based on being the luckiest entrepreneur around, or the most fortunate. Your business needs you to be hands on, and always in control. But most importantly, you need to be accountable and always available to make decisions.

Anything and everything that happens (whether it’s good or bad) has a reason to why it happened, and can almost be traced back to something you did.

To give a few examples:

  • You get a post retweeted by Mashable, or another high-profile tweeter
  • The product you released sold hundreds of copies on the first day
  • Your company posts a 50% decline in total revenue for the year
  • Your guest post was accepted to Copyblogger
  • People give your product or company negative reviews

None of this is determined based on how lucky (or unlucky) you are. You have no advantage over someone because you’re taller, live in a bigger house or have a cuter pet.

You truly are the reason your business thrives or dies, and all the hard work and time you put into it will show that. And that is your advantage.

Successful Businesses Are Built Through Passion, Sacrifices and a Sore Back

I’ve learned time and time again that you can’t be successful building your business on the premise of making a lot of money. You need something extra to keep you going.

Look, you can’t realistically expect to be successful in a business you don’t have much interest in. For example, if you were to go into real estate and… hate real estate.

Just because you’ve seen others be successful there, or think that’s where the money is, doesn’t mean you should go there for the sole fact that you may be getting into something you don’t love.

The more you see as something as a “routine” or a “burden,” the less of it you’ll actually do.

That’s why I tell people all the time: think about what you really want to do. There aren’t any quick fixes or fast money in the business world. It’s all a process, and you are going to break your back doing all the work.

That, and you will be saving yourself a lot of time in the future. I’ve learned time and time again that you can’t be successful building your business on the premise of making a lot of money. You need something extra to keep you going.

Happiness is the New Money

…and you heard it here first:

Making money gets old. It’s exciting at first, but once you’ve figured out how to create an income stream for yourself, it just loses its touch after a while.

Don’t get me wrong, you always want to make money, but I’ve found that the greater reward and the larger sense of accomplishment comes from creating something great and making people happy.

So Don’t Undermine Your Accomplishments…

After reading this post, I don’t want you to ever tell people how lucky or fortunate you are to be where you are with your business.

It’s just not fair to you to say that everything you have or everything you achieved was through luck or fortune, when it really all came from your tireless work, sacrifies and dedication.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. How does this all apply to your business and personal mindset? Don’t be shy, leave a comment below. Can’t wait to read your response!

25 comments add yours

  1. I know how hard you work Alex, and it definitely pays off. I have a job that my friends always refer to as a dream job. They have told me a lot of the same things about how lucky I am to have it. I am grateful for the job but worked hard to be the person my company wanted to hire. I put in lots of extra hours outside of work to get to where I am and the work never stops.

    Even now I am finishing my masters degree, working on some new personal projects, and rocking client work. Hard work and intelligent actions pay off.

  2. That’s a great saying about entrepreneurs, except that you need to update. Since employers are making their employees work so many more hours and employees are scared to say anything for fear of being laid off during a recession, you need to update the expression to “Entrepreneurs work 16 hours so they don’t have to work 12 for somone else.”

  3. You said it Alex. There is a reason I keep doing this, and one reason is, it’s a challenge, and when I get to a part which makes me money, I have to pat myself on the back, but the thing that keeps me going is, The Internet is hard to truly MASTER, but when you get good, The recognition to yourself at least is guaranteed. You will know if you’ve worked hard or not. Success will not open it’s doors without your persistent continuous effort.

  4. Excellent post. Few will appreciate the work, efforts and ethics of entrepreneurs who run their own business!

  5. I’m breaking my back. I’ve always been motivated by the words and actions of GV, but many don’t get what he is saying. Hustle isn’t a short term instance with immediate rewards. Hustle is the complete opposite and if you don’t want to hustle you aren’t happy.

    When I say that I’m hustling… I’m fucking hustling! …But keep your health good.

  6. Agree totally!

    Plants spend a lot of time forging strong roots before anybody sees any results above the surface.

  7. In a word, yes. Yes to all this. Success is 95% hustle and hard-work. That leaves about 5% that maybe, just MAYBE you can credit to good fortune. You are wise beyond your young years, my friend. You hustle is admirable and will get you very, very far (not to mention it has already). Cheers!

  8. Thanks for stopping by man!

    And I know from working with you that you are as hard of a worker as anybody. And you don’t just ‘work’ and put the hours in, but you actually produce great results.

    It’s never easy in this kind of ‘work’ and I don’t think the people saying how lucky we are could handle the amount of hours, thinking and everything else that comes with it.

    The money can be great, the people you work with can be better. But the work isn’t something anyone could handle, period!

  9. I think I’ll keep the quote the same, because it gets the point across the same. But still, that’s a high amount of hours to work.

  10. Hey Llyod,

    Thanks for the comment! Nothing about this is easy, and it is fun since it presents huge challenges. Coding, designing, marketing, writing… it’s all an art. And it’s fun as hell.

    Appreciate you stopping by!

  11. I know you’re gonna kill it this year dude.

    GV (Gary Vaynerchuk) is spot on as always with that, and if you have dove into the ‘entrepreneurship field,’ you probably understand the real value of hustle.

    Love this bro:

    When I say that I’m hustling… I’m fucking hustling! …But keep your health good.

  12. Sure, I definitely believe in lucky breaks and good fortune here and there. I’d just never give that stuff credit if I really put the work behind it, and don’t think anyone should undermine their own accomplishments by crediting luck and fortune. 😀 But I am with you, for sure.

    And I haven’t done anything yet man, but I appreciate the support! >: D See you around & thanks for dropping by.

  13. Do you know what LUCK stands for? “Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.”

    I think the big difference is that many tend to rely or bank on good fortune to just fall on them.

    Success and results are distributed to us by what we deserve, not what we want… and there’s a difference.

  14. Love it! Will definitely have to remember that.

    Life would just be too easy if we got everything we wanted…and there’s just no fun in that. Great points as always man, thanks for stopping by!

  15. you have a wonderful outlook on business and life, Alex. I admire what you’re doing. And yes, working 12 hours for yourself versus eight hours for the day job people is definitely worth doing 🙂

  16. You’re right.
    I lost 120 lbs. Now is when most people make that face that you are probably making right now…You know that famous moment from “Home Alone” :O right…I usually say “I was lucky, Blessed” Well, I was, I am . But although it was fun for me the entire time (yea I know who says that) But it was a blast and it still is. I worked darn hard. (da*mn hard !) lol I lived there. I would now.. IF, they let me..But… No… lol
    Anyway, yea luck comes with it.. Luck, being blessed was getting the intense drive to do it…A little luck comes with most things but it isn’t all luck that gets you to lose 120 lbs. –OR the most popular blog on the Internet or a job that makes 500,000 a year …You worked hard most of the time or the entire time to get there. Luck? fortune? all luck? maybe winning the lottery? but even then, you worked for that buck that bought that ticket…

  17. I think you hit it right on the head. There is an old proverb I found that says “Look for an occupation that you like, and you will not need to labor for a single day in your life.” – Confucius

    Money is the bane of our existence today. But if you can find something you love AND make some money doing it? All the better. That whole term “labor of love” isn’t B.S. it really is true!

    I just started to get serious about blogging – and I can say I’ve fallen in love with it. I enjoy all of the different aspects of it. I don’t know if I will ever make any money off of it – but I enjoy it enough that I will keep on writing! And if anyone says “blogging is easy” – they aren’t doing it right!

  18. Love the saying Jason, I can definitely say that’s true to me.

    If you really want to make money off it dude, you can. Here’s a little quote to you from me:

    When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful — Eric Thomas

    So…why couldn’t you make money? 😀

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