The Complainers, The Doers and The Ones That Succeed

I’m by no means perfect when it comes to business – who is? But I like to think I spend a lot of time trying to improve myself. Although I may or may not make the new big “thing” in the online world, I like to learn from those that have and apply them to my daily business ventures.

I’ve begun to notice that there are three different types of people who run businesses (and by business, I’m including us solo freelancers): the complainers, the doers, and the ones that succeed. These three types of people approach their work in completely different ways, and almost always have completely different results.

If you find yourself identifying with one or the other, that’s ok, you can always change. Before I went into business, I was a complainer. Then I became a doer. Now, I’m hoping to become one of the ones that succeed.

The Complainers

The complainers are easy to spot – probably because they’re constantly complaining about something. In business, they’re always making some kind of excuse why they aren’t succeeding, why their projects are late, or why the “man” is constantly holding them back. Complainers are almost never successful – because they don’t want to be. Yep, you heard that right.

If complainers were successful, they’d never have something to complain about, so they subconsciously hold themselves back by not even trying. Why try when you know you’re going to fail, right? Here are some of the excuses and complaints I’ve heard from this group:

  • I can’t succeed because of the economy.
  • I can’t start a business because I have bills to pay.
  • I can’t make it because the clients don’t want to pay my rates.

If you notice, most of the complainer’s status stems from one simple phrase: “I can’t do X because of X”. These people are happy to dump the responsibility of their lives on to someone else, because then they feel they can’t be blamed for it. How can you blame someone who worked 30 years in a job they hated so they could pay their mortgage – right?

Experience has taught me that if you don’t task risks, then you’ll never get ahead. Taking risks are always scary and there are always consequences, but the cool thing about life is that you can always start over. Did you quit your job to start a business, only to find it wasn’t working for you? Guess what – there are always more jobs.

You’ll never go hungry as long as you have the drive to succeed. Of course, there may be lean times or slow periods in business, but the successful ones can always make it by thinking of other ways to make some money. And yes, that can include taking menial jobs to make it through.

The Doers

The doers are not a bad group to be in. They get things done, and they do them well. They have to the drive to push forward and continue working where others would have given up. It’s this drive though, that can also be their downfall. Getting things done and making can be an illusion of success and it’s often where we stop.

I found myself in this category about a year after I started my freelance business. Things were going well, I was working hard and making great money. I kept doing. But then I realized that I hit a plateau and simply doing wasn’t, well, doing it for me anymore.

Being a doer at the beginning of a business’s life is exactly where you want to be – but if you don’t move from this category after the ball gets rolling, you’ll wake up 5 years down the road to find you’re still exactly where you were when you first starting succeeding – and no one wants to be static.

You may wonder when you’ll know it’s time to stop being a doer and start being one of the ones that really succeed. There isn’t a time period or a number of clients or even a set amount of profit you’ve made that tells you it’s time. All I can say is to stay alert and there’ll come a time where you’ll feel that plateau. Sometimes it comes when the projects you’ve been working on bore you. When you no longer have to market your services and you’re booked up for months. When you notice nothing is changing. You and your business should always be changing.

And The Ones That Succeed

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that they want to belong in this category – but not everyone has the drive or willpower to actually do anything about it. You can’t just wake up and be one of the ones that succeed, which is where the complainers often fall short. No, you have to be a doer for a while before you can be a success story.

So how do you become one of the ones that success, and just what is success? While it can certainly mean different things to different people, I like to think of it as sort of a confidence and a drive to becoming a household name. It certainly isn’t making lots of money – you can hit that in the doer stage. It’s a confidence that allows you to make what you want to make, do what you want to do, and have those in your industry know who you are.

The ones that succeed are always coming up with new ways to “get out there”. They don’t like the status quo, nor do they sit at home and work all day. I’m struggling with trying to enter into this category myself – it’s not an easy stage and takes a while to evolve the kind of mindset it requires.

The ones that succeed get out there – they do work, but they do other things as well. They speak at events, they write books, they contribute to the community and offer up high quality freebies. The often teach as well, in the form of workshops, guest professors, or after-school events for children. Notice a trend here?

It’s interesting to watch one of the ones that succeed do their thing. When they’re at conferences, they don’t just hang in the corner like I do – they’re in the middle mingling. They know everyone and everyone knows them. This isn’t a popularity contest or anything – they don’t buy their Twitter followers – they’re just that good. Everyone wants to know them, and they do their best to know everyone.

Getting into this category takes a lot of hard work and time. I personally am aiming for 2012 to be my year to be one of the ones that succeed. I’d like to finally get out in multiple conferences and even do some speaking and book writing. Who knows, perhaps I’ll succeed?