When you start your business it will be second nature to tap into your existing network and list of contacts. You will contact them with the hopes that they hire your new entity. Trust me — just because you know people who need your services, it does not mean that they will hire you. You must earn the opportunity.

The four pillars of business are that people want to do business with people they know, like, trust and that can solve their problem. Right now they know you, like you and you may be able to solve their problem — but until you prove yourself, they will not trust you. Sounds cold, but it’s dead on.

Get some clients under your belt first and then tap into your network. This way you’ll have some success stories to brag about. Plus (no one will tell you this but here it is) you’ll work out all your processes and screw-ups before you tap into your personal network. Yes, startups are very flawed, and there are mistakes that always need to be ironed out. Get this stuff on the straight before you leverage your network.

This may sound counterintuitive, but this is the way to go. Your start may be slower, but your growth will be sustainable when you get things ironed out.

There is another facet to this topic that deals with the size of projects. The projects we (Marketing Press) work on today are the type of projects we’ve always wanted. They are higher ticket projects in comparison to where we started. If we had these projects years ago, we would have been screwed. No way we could have handled them when it comes to their sophistication down to the receivables end of things. It would have turned our business upside down and honestly I am not sure we would still be around.

With success and sustainability there need to be an extra level of patience. Always be challenging your brand, but know when to say when and when it’s too large for you (at that moment.) Earn your opportunities, and grow into them and you may find sustainable success.