Anything Worth Doing Takes Time

The 10-year overnight success story

Stephen Moore

--

Image: Getty

I’ve been self-employed for over 10 years, and amongst the bucketload of lessons I’ve learned, there’s one that stands out more than the rest — everything worth having takes longer than you think it will.

I’m not just saying this; I’ve lived it.

Every venture I’ve embarked on in my working life has taken years of work just to get off the ground, let alone reach the point I’d consider calling it a success.

After graduating — and a brief spell floundering aimlessly for good measure — I co-founded a small business that designed and manufactured bespoke furniture and fittings, mainly for restaurants, cafes and bars. Honestly? I figured it would be easy. We would turn a few friends who already owned establishments into clients, use that to build a portfolio and boom, we’d be filthy rich. The reality couldn’t be further from that delusion. It took 4 years of constant battling to barely establish a reputation for the business in our local area, only to watch Coronavirus shoot it all to hell.

The same pattern applied to my writing career. When I first started, I knew I had a knack for it. Throughout my education, I was great at writing and was eager to start punching my keyboard again. It would be a simple process. I’d write some pieces, stumble upon a viral hit, and never look back as I signed my 10-book publishing deal. Again, the reality was in stark contrast to my wishful thinking. In the 7 years since I started writing, I’ve written 1000s of words and 100s of articles, but it took at least 4 years to show signs that it could become a sustainable career.

It was the same story in my editorial work. I was Editor-in-Chief for a publication, worked an editorial role here at Medium and did freelance editing, ghost-editing and more. But it was always fleeting, or possibly fleeting, and no matter how good the work, establishing myself as an editor took longer than I could have imagined. Only recently, with a gig as editorial lead for a marketing agency, does it feel like it could be a sustainable career option.

The 10-year overnight success story

--

--