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Senior Correspondent

“I just can’t get my business to make money regularly. A little comes in, and then there’s a lull. It just never gets any momentum,” said Elena.

“I’ve bought expensive programs and paid expensive coaches. But I still can’t make enough money to even cover those costs,” complained Glynda.

“Last year, I had a thriving business. But something happened,” said Marina.

All three of these entrepreneurs found themselves turning to the internet three years ago to build online business, either when they lost their own jobs or suddenly had to contribute to the family’s income because of losses elsewhere.

Money making seemed easy enough online. The start-up costs weren't too high and lots of people seemed to be bringing in cash. At least that’s what they said.

Each woman had a real need, sometimes bordering on panic. They each came up with an idea that was more – or less – aligned with something they could call their purpose. It was going to work. (It had to work.)

But did they each have “fire in the belly,” that illusive drive that pushes someone to keep persevering, to take risks, to redirect their efforts when something doesn’t work as they thought it would? The drive that lets them ignore the naysayers around them because they know they’ve got a tiger by the tail?

Money Making Stories?

• Elena started her business by taking something she did in her old job and bringing it online. She already had a small client base, but then had to learn to find more and more prospects online. Now these were no longer referrals or people she already knew. And getting faceless prospects to take out their wallets and commit to a purchase took so many contacts before a relationship was created. It wasn’t as fun or as easy as it had been in the beginning.

• Glynda started out “buying” knowledge as fast as she could. She wasn’t going to take any chances. She preferred to take the money she had set aside and “invest” it in a guru who knew exactly how things worked online. She had an idea for a business, but the guru couldn’t see how it would work and nudged Glynda closer to the business concept where the guru herself had succeeded. But, as hard as she tried, Glynda’s heart wasn’t really in it. She didn’t believe in it enough and asking people for the sale make her stomach turn.

• Marina had wanted to work in a certain field since her teens, but had taken a job in another field because her parents said it was more secure. (They were wrong.). So when her job was phased out, she had her excuse to “follow her dream.” Within 18 months, she had a viable business online, bringing in more than she had as a salary. What she hadn’t counted on were all the other tasks she had to handle as a solo-preneur. And then, as the internet matured, the online competition multiplied and the market started to evolve away from her passion. Her business was slipping away and she didn’t know how to hold on to it.

Fire in the Belly

That hard-to-define fire in the belly does not come from need. Nor from fear. Need and fear can exist, but the fire itself has to come from the belief that what you are doing is going to succeed. You like what you’re doing, in fact, you love it. You may not have perfected your concept, but you’re willing to put it out there and make mistakes. You’re willing to fail … so you can succeed.

Somewhere in your mind, you’ve understood the difference between “I failed” and “I’m a failure.” You realize that failure is one part of building something meaningful, not a personal judgment.

That fire in the belly is what makes you jump out of bed in the morning, ready to move your concept (and business) forward, even if just a few inches. It’s what keeps you working when the day is getting long, until you can reach a comfortable milestone just ahead. It’s what lets you take no for an answer, again and again. Until you get to the yes.

Elena, Glynda and Marina lacked fire in the belly. And that made money making difficult, if not impossible.
As you look at your business, where are you? Is it growing at the pace you want it to? Does it have momentum? Are you still excited? Do you miss your business when you have to take a few days’ break? Are you taking imperfect action when you feel it will teach you something?

Let us know in the comments section below if this concept of “fire in the belly” has made you look at your business any differently.

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