3 Ways to Become an 'Overnight Success'
In the realm of entrepreneurship, an "overnight success" usually translates to a few years. Here's how to make it happen for your business.
The concept of “overnight success” has been deemed inaccurate because truly, no one has a Day One, then reaps the rewards a mere 12 hours later. And yet, some stories of business come-ups make us wonder. There are the unlikely entrepreneurs who work on a billion-dollar idea and bring it to fruition against all odds. There are serial entrepreneurs who "strike gold" and finally create that multimillion-dollar company. There are the entrepreneurs who pivot just in time, and the entrepreneurs who devote themselves fully, every day, to their visions — and see the fruits of their labor within the span of just a few years.
In the realm of entrepreneurship, “overnight” usually translates to just a few years. Building a company requires building its roots, and the most successful founders know how much time-staking effort this can truly require. So, when there’s a massive leap in revenue and impact within the span of a couple of years, it is in some ways an "overnight success" — and what all entrepreneurs are after.
This, of course, makes other entrepreneurs wonder how it’s done. The gift of an expedited timeline seems near-fictional, but given that other entrepreneurs have pulled off tremendous feats within short time spans, it isn’t impossible. Here are three ways to expedite that success timeline.
1. Prioritize tunnel vision
A month of all-in focus work with tunnel vision on just one endeavor is far more productive than six months of distracted work. So, eliminate every distraction possible — and go all-in on what you’re creating.
This power of focus and going all-in on one thing has been advised by many of the greats, such as Gary Keller, author of a book of exactly that title. In his book, Keller notes that “The more things you do, the less successful you are at any one of them.” This is why driving home your focus on your business, skillset or industry specifically — and being unwavering in this focus — is what can propel you to success on a faster timeline.
This advice also helps in context. The truth is, many entrepreneurs are distracted: They have multiple ventures, thriving social lives, travel plans and more. All of this is fine, and work-life balance is always necessary. But consider going all-in on just your business (while tending to your health and balance too). This level of incredible tunnel vision can give a week of work the efficacy of a month of work.
2. Move your gaze away from the past and onto the future
We often have a clear view of our futures from where we’re standing now. In other words, even if we’re working towards a dream, it can be easy to estimate how the sequence of events will unfold to get us there. The important thing to remember about this is that this estimation is based on the past. This is where many entrepreneurs get stuck: They only see what’s happened thus far in their lives, and it can be hard to imagine that things can turn around drastically so quickly. That is, of course, unless you change something dramatically and steer in a new direction.
In other words, we often believe that we are at the mercy of what happens to us in our lives. But it’s our responses to these circumstances that propel us forward. The more you can inch away from your past and think in terms of the future, the faster you’ll pull your future into the present.
3. Use today’s viral resources
On the strategic front, consider that today’s social-media landscape creates an entirely new ball game for business success. Even just a couple of years ago, attempting to market a new product on the likes of 2018 Instagram or Facebook ads proved to be a slow build. However, with the rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, organic virality has never been easier. That’s not to say it’s easy, but it’s user-generated. Technically, there’s nothing stopping you from posting a piece of content today about your business and having that video yield millions of organic views within the week.
If you define success in terms of exposure, number of customers or your sales, incorporate a social strategy in your tunnel vision. Try out viral trends, make short and quippy content, and remember to value quantity over quality. The videos that go viral nowadays don’t always have that extra element of HD video quality or hours of production time. Organic virality happens for truly organic content.
It’s also helpful to remember that overnight success is a true myth. But everything is what you believe. If you’re hoping to achieve rapid success, focus on just one thing, keep your eyes on the future rather than the past and harness social-media resources that can expedite your exposure and sales. Day by day, these consistencies will yield great success. It doesn’t have to take years.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor