Get All Access for $5/mo

Find Out If You're Devoting Enough Resources to Your Success If you're not seeing the results you expected, consider whether you've put in sufficient time and are otherwise sacrificing enough to get what you want.

By Nick Gilmour Edited by Matt Scanlon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Why is it that when we encounter people with high-flying dreams and ambitions, most are working slow and low-paying jobs? Many have big hopes for their lives, yet let decades pass by and be no closer to reaching their goals. These people might have excellent social lives and might have re-watched every episode of Grey's Anatomy, yet the sacrifices required to reach their true ambitions are lacking, so they remain where they are, both financially and professionally.

The obvious truth is that in order to succeed, you're going to have to make the right amount of sacrifices, and giving yourself an hour a day to work on a dream isn't going to cut it.

If you value free time, a 12-hour sleep routine and weekend wine and dines with friends more than financial freedom, then you're either going to have to come to terms with not achieving what those who did make those sacrifices managed to do, or you need to make a change now.

Before you dive any further into this article, I need you to say to yourself, "I am willing to sacrifice what it's going to take to succeed." Say it, write it down and mean it.

Here are some pathways to knowing if you're doing that — capitalizing your time properly and maximizing return on effort.

Your input will equal your output

Particularly for a startup, the input you put into a business is equivalent to the output you're going to receive. If you're strategic, that output will eventually (and hopefully) far outweigh the amount of input you put in, but for now, it's a pretty even field. The more positive input and the more effort you put into your business, the more you're going to get out of it. Recognizing that fully means that its necessary to devote all your resources, time and effort into an enterprise in order to optimize its revenue and success.

Related: If You Want to Be a Millionaire, Start Thinking Like One

How much is an hour of your time worth?

Your time — every hour spent — actually has a monetary value. Total earnings per year divided by the hours spent earning it is a simple formula, but it's not that simple. Being an entrepreneur pretty much always means not sticking to a 9-to-5 schedule, and you're going to boost your chances of success exponentially when you decide that every waking hour of the day needs to be part of the calculation. So, next time you sit down to scroll through social media and notice an hour has gone by, consider that a payment you've had to make rather than earning towards success. This might lead you to use those hours more wisely.

Capitalize time the right way

Allocating hours towards focusing on goals, yet achieving nothing, is a frequent outcome for many budding entrepreneurs. In most cases this happens because time spent isn't being optimized effectively. For example, why waste two hours a day struggling with adding up numbers on the accounting side of things when someone else can get it done in 15 minutes? It's going to cost you a little in the present, but the time saved can be put towards the functions of your business.

So, apply your strengths in areas that can benefit from them the most, and task others whose strong points are your weak points. The best entrepreneurs don't keep all the work for themselves, because that's simply not efficient. It's easy to think that hiring a freelancer just means money out of your pocket, but that couldn't be further from the truth. You're wasting money when you're wasting time.

If you can put people in the right seats to a point where everybody is where they shine, that's when a business is going to optimize output to its highest potential.

Related: This Is Why You Should Start Setting 'Unrealistic' Goals

Fine-tuning abilities

It's important to never stop learning and never act as if you've absorbed as much as there is to know in your field, because that inevitably means falling behind those who've grasped that knowledge on this earth is unlimited. So, if you're good at something, keep learning it, and if you're not as good at something, keep practicing until you are. Just as you would with a car, you want to fine-tune — constantly strengthening skills and refreshing what you know.

At the same time, don't let work get in the way of health. If you let yourself run out of gas or keep on driving without looking after yourself, you will get run down. If you feel yourself burning out, make time for what you need to get back on track. If you can benefit from a day of relaxing so that you can put extra time into reaching a goal the next day, do it.

Be ahead of the market

Make sure you're always watching the market and keeping an eye on forecasted changes. Then, when things do change, you'll be able to adapt and transition easier than if you tried to adapt after the fact. Instead of just paying attention to what's happening right now, look forward as well. When the business is ready to transition or the market changes, you'll then be able to easily pivot while the competition is left floundering.

Related: Looking Back and Looking Forward: The Navigation of a Crisis for a Small Business

So, what's it going to be? Will you be a cautionary tale — someone people remember as having so much potential but never enough time? Are you serious enough about goals and the incredible payoff that comes with being successful that you're willing to make sacrifices for the greater good of your life? It might take a few years of hard work, but every hour you put in is going to bring you closer and closer until you're there. You will get there.

Nick Gilmour

CEO of Gilmour Group

Nick Gilmour is a serial entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience with business startups in the retail, real-estate and manufacturing industries. He has an accelerated-growth mentality with a "grassroots" business approach.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.