In 2016, any person that is remotely good at “Googling” and knows how to navigate YouTube can figure out how to do just about anything. This is also why in today’s world, especially the social media industry, everyone thinks they’re a thought leader but few have any original thoughts let alone have done anything of value.

For many entrepreneurs, the idea of working for yourself and following your passion and having the world at your disposal is beyond exciting. Sadly the notion that this success takes time and requires you to know something and actually do something, seems to have been lost in the buzzwords of hustle, grinding, storytelling, and personal branding.

Why is this a thing? I can’t speak for others but I can say that I fell into this trap my first 12 months of entrepreneurship. I convinced myself that putting in 80 hours a week, working on something I was passionate about, would guarantee success. I didn’t need anyone else. When success wasn’t coming right away I told myself I just needed to tell my story more and make sure everyone knew I was hustling. I convinced myself that the hours I was spending creating content and working on my website was me investing in my personal brand. This was me telling my story. In my head, I was doing it right. Surely now that I had made it clear to the world that I was “Hustling” success was just around the corner. Wrong!

Any fool can work hard, Google and YouTube the answer to anything he wants to know and scream to the world that he’s following his passion. But that doesn’t make him an entrepreneur. It makes him a tired, broke, lost boy struggling to figure out where he went wrong!

It doesn’t matter how good you’re at selling your story, if you don’t have something for others to buy!

This was a massive issue for me and I believe many other entrepreneurs are missing this today. You must have something that is of value to others. Being the loudest hustler and best googler isn’t it.

Nobody is writing a check to a person! Gary Vaynerchuk

I’ve been studying Gary Vaynerchuk as a fan for many years. Not following what he does but rather dissecting and learning how and why he does what he does that’s made him so successful. In the video above Gary gives straightforward advice to a young entrepreneur who is full of passion and promise. But just like I was my first 12 months, he seems to be focusing more on the story and where he wants to be, rather than putting in the work to create something others can actually buy.

Knowing What I Didn’t Know, Allowed Me Time To Actually Be An Entrepreneur!

As I documented in my most recent blog post, “Entrepreneurship Taught Me I Suck At These 10 Things”, discovering what I sucked at and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who know what you don’t is a key entrepreneur lesson.

Knowing what I didn’t know and allowing others to take on those tasks gave me time to focus on what I was good at – not just what I could Google or spend 80 hours a week hustling towards. This new found understanding of what I didn’t know made the long hours and hustle have meaning and a purpose. I wasn’t hustling or spending time on my personal brand because that was the cool thing to do. Rather, I was spending time on personal branding because I knew that what I had to offer and the value I could provide was something nobody else on my team could do and it was my business differentiator. No one can be more me than me!

I don’t believe I have any competition. Not because I believe I’m better than anyone. I believe those who are doers and are able to focus on what makes them unique have endless opportunities.

Find Your Story

Anyone can tell a story. Being a successful entrepreneur requires having a body of work that complements your story. It means having others share your story and want to be a part of your story. Discovering what you don’t know is like writing the opening chapter of your story.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. Who are you?
  2. Why should people continue reading your story?
  3. Who are the integral characters in your story? (People who know what you don’t)
  4. What villains and heroes of your past enabled your current success?
  5. What are you good at?
  6. What do you love doing that others can do faster, cheaper and better?
  7. What does success look like for you?
    And the ultimate question
  8. Why should someone invest in you?

Understanding who you are, what you have to offer, and how that fits into your vision of success is essential for all business professionals but vital for entrepreneurs. Every entrepreneur’s vision of success is different but I don’t believe anyone became an entrepreneur to just hustle for 80 hours a week.