When I ask people in 9-5 jobs why they are not running their own business a common answer is that it’s too hard to work for yourself. A very gifted 23 year old guy I met had already gone out on his own at 21, failed miserably, and was back in a mediocre corporate role with a long haul career progression plan. This guy was really smart and hard-working and even he didn’t think he could make it.

I have lost count of the number of times I have failed miserably as an entrepreneur. I just get up, dust myself off, and go for it again. Why? I don’t know exactly. I think the main reason is that I think I would be more miserable in a 9-5 than failing miserably in my own projects over and over again.

Fortunately, not every endeavour has been a complete failure. At my lowest point (with the most debt and highest risk) I co-founded 3 businesses. I had to. I would never have found a 9-5 that would pay enough to keep everyone happy. One of those went through a couple of transformations over the years but now does very well. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way – and there will be more before we take it through 7 figures into 8.

It seems hard to go out there and work at your own projects because it is hard. There are a lot of obstacles to running a business and many variables as to whether or not you succeed. Entire industries work to guide you around these obstacles and help estimate the variables (accountants, lawyers, et al). It’s tricky work and even giving advice comes with its own risks which means it comes with a hefty chunk out of your bottom line. When you do finally look at the initial “bottom line” you find out there are a whole host of other charges that have to be paid before you get any of it and then there is tax and so on. To be successful in business you have to make a lot of money so that all of these expenses don’t zero or minus you out.

There are hundreds of articles that give you that cold hard truth that there is no get rich quick without providing a lot of value. I am not going to repeat all of that sentiment except to say 100% that you need to understand that you have to create at least an order of magnitude more value than you expect to get paid. I have a unique set of circumstances, but a few years back I looked at the value our company generated. £13.9m in a 12 month period for our clients. We had a little more than 10% of this value provided as turnover we still had to effectively manage that gross income to be profitable and to see some of that money ourselves. Now, our value tracking is much more accurate and exclusive so our current value generation is much higher and more lucrative for us. You don’t have such a luxury when you are starting out in a business.

I have always tried to figure out how much we needed and then multiplied that figure by 5. If we can earn that I knew that we should come out with at least the money we thought we needed – you always need more and it always costs more than you thought to get it.

This is where it gets tough. New entrepreneurs underestimate what it will take and overestimate what they will make. Seasoned entrepreneurs overestimate what is required to get the job done and underestimate what they will make. This is a tough change of perspective but a necessary one.

When you have a great idea and you want to get that value out there (and get something back for it) you have to work hard and smart to get the value consumed.

The formula is simple – intrinsic value factor x average value to your audience (average consumer value) x audience number.

Intrinsic value factor is a constant and denotes how valuable your offering is. The quality of your content, credibility of your service or product and so on. This could be a negative number if the content offering is poor quality, incorrect or poorly timed but generally it will be a positive number or zero.

Average value to your audience is a factor that helps focus the purpose of your content. The content may not be worth much to most people (it could be very specific to a niche) but to the targeted audience the content could be extremely valuable.

With the content value high the only other thing that matters is how many of your audience get their eyeballs on your content. Yes, there are other tweaks to get more conversions but audience number is the key to crack. If 1 person in 100 is going to enquire, better to get 2000 visitors so you get 20 enquiries and make money.

All of these tasks are harder than they initially seem. It takes smart action and hard work to come up with something with intrinsic value that has commercial viability to a focused audience, even coming up with the target audience can take a lot of effort.

Then the work to get as many people to see that content as possible is even harder.

And all this before you get a sale or deliver your product or service!

So it is hard sometimes – try not to underestimate how hard it will be in terms of difficulty and the amount of effort required to succeed. Always over-estimate the effort and cost so you under-estimate the profit and success – that’s a much nicer surprise than the other option!