I’ve spent years in out-of-the-home jobs, and years as a work at home mom. I can say that I definitely like being a WAHM more (so much so that I sometimes have the occasional dream that I’m forced – for financial reasons – to find outside employment, and wake up in a cold sweat). Along with my blog, I have a patchwork of freelance and other at-home jobs that come together to make one income. Sometimes it’s pretty great, and sometimes it pretty much sucks. In either case, I do get questions on how, why and what I do. To answer those questions I recently wrote a book – Work at Home: A Guide to the Best Change You’ll Ever Make.
Not only does my new book answer all kinds of questions about working from home (where to start, how to plan, what finances do you need, how can you stay committed to working from home), but it also comes with printable worksheets to help the process along.
One of my favorite chapters covers persisting in the face of adversity. I know, some of you may have a job that lets you telecommute. Yay! Now, for those of you who are interesting in doing something such as blogging, freelance writing, design or authoring a book – it isn’t quite as easy. There will be rejections. It happens to everyone. There will be times when you feel like giving up. Again, it happens to everyone. In the ‘commitment’ chapter I list out some notable people who have overcome adversity and totally succeeded – in major ways.
Here’s a little sample from the chapter:
Think about all the people who have come before you – and not succeeded right away. Notice the phrasing, ‘not succeeded right away’. You’re not a failure. You’re a work in progress. And, you’re in very good company:
· Dr. Seuss: He’s now one of the most recognizable (if not THE most) children’s authors of all times. But, he was rejected 27 times when he tried to get his first book published.
· Elizabeth Blackwell: While you might know her name, she was the first female to receive an M.D. from an American medical school. That said, after applying to every medical school in New York and Philadelphia (along with 12 others in the northeast), she found herself almost entirely rejected. The only school that finally agreed to teach her only accepted her as a joke.
· Jennifer Hudson: She’s won an Oscar, and an Academy Award. She’s won a Grammy, and many other accolades. But, she didn’t win American Idol. Good thing she didn’t stop after her first on-air loss.
· Walt Disney: The Mickey Mouse maker opened his Laugh-O-Gram Films studio in Kansas City. Even though the films had some modest success, the studio went bankrupt.
· The Beatles: In 1962 the not-yet-famous musicians auditioned for a contract with Decca Records – and were rejected!
· Judy Blume: The famous writer spent two years only receiving rejections. She once said, “I still can’t look at a copy of Highlights without wincing” in response to their letter rejecting her with the possible reason of, “Does not win in competition with others.” Yikes!
· J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter may be super-famous now. But, there was a time when the author got rejection after rejection. She even posted a rejection letter (for a book written under her pen name Robert Galbraith) on Twitter, saying, “U had nothing to lose and sometimes that makes you brave enough to try.”
· Babe Ruth: The baseball icon struck out more than 1,300 times in his career. But, that never stopped him.
· Oprah Winfrey: The talk show mega-star was fired from her first TV anchor job. Years later she is one of the most successful people in television.
· Thomas Edison: Was his lightbulb successful on the first try? No way! It took the inventor more than 1,000 tries to get it right. Talk about commitment!
· Steven Spielberg: The movie maker was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts not once, but three times.
· Vera Wang: The now-famous designer failed to make the 1968 Olympic figure-skating team. Lucky for clothes lovers everywhere. She turned her talents to the fashion world and became an editor at Vogue magazine – where she was passed over for editor-in-chief. That never stopped her!
· Fred Astaire: Even though the entertainer was already a Broadway success, Astaire’s first screen test was a failure.
· Beatrix Potter: Who didn’t read The Tale of Peter Rabbit as a young child? Well, many of us might not have if it hadn’t been for some very early-on self-publishing. After receiving a slew of rejections Potter decided to publish a handful of copies of her now-famous book on her own.
· Mary Shelley: Her Frankenstein was initially rejected by every major publisher.
· Margaret Mitchell: Before this bestseller (turned major movie) was published, this tale of the South was rejected 38 times.
· Mary Kay Ash: This pioneering entrepreneur started her own company after being passed over (yet again) for a promotion.
· James Dyson: The cyclonic vacuum leader didn’t have success on invention number one. It took thousands of versions before he got the ‘just right’ one.
· Stephen King: How many rejections did He get prior to publishing Carrie? Thirty!
· Madeleine L’Engle: Was A Wrinkle in Time a childhood favorite of yours? The classic book was rejected 26 times before being published.
· Abraham Lincoln: He failed in business, failed plenty of times in politics and had a nervous breakdown. And, that’s all before becoming president.
· Akio Morita: The name may not seem familiar. But, how about Sony? Morita co-founded Sony. While the notable company is big business now, its beginnings were built on a rice cooker. And, not just a rice cooker – but, one that burned the rice. Luckily Morita stayed committed and created much better products.
· Harland Sanders: Aka Colonel Sanders. You may have grown up with KFC, but Sanders didn’t strike it rich right away. After opening up a cooked chicken-selling service station (at age 40!), he started working on his original recipe. At age 65 he sold his restaurant and was forced to live out of his car while trying to sell his chicken recipe. He received more than a thousand “no’s”, but kept on going – eventually building a fried chicken empire.
· Henry Ford: The auto giant didn’t find his fortune on the first try. It took Ford two failed companies before one even worked.
· Rowland H. Macy: You shop in his department store and watch the famous parade bearing his name. But, the retail mogul open (and failed at) four stores before getting it right.
Whew! Quite the list, isn’t it? What does it tell you? It should tell you that some of the most famous, on-top-of-their-games, noteworthy people in history and popular culture haven’t had it easy.
I’m kind of obsessed with this list. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not all about seeing other people fail. I want everyone (including YOU) to share in success. But, when that self-doubt creeps in, I take a look at this list and remind myself that it isn’t always easy.
There’s a whole lot of buzz out there about instant success. Whether it’s three steps to instant millions or how to become Internet famous overnight, it would seem like everyone is a winner. In reality, success (at least for the people on this list) takes hard work, commitment and the push that failure provides.
When you feel like a failure, start to think twice about your choice or are low when it comes to commitment, remember -- this is completely normal. It’s part if the process that eventually will make you a success. If being your own boss, starting a business or working from home (and making a full-time living) was easy, wouldn’t every one do it?
If you enjoyed this, then check out the rest of my book Work at Home: A Guide to the Best Change You’ll Ever Make! And who knows, pretty soon you might be writing your own book from home too!