I remember back in my massage therapy days, one of the most common questions new grads would have is, "how long does it take to build a practice?"
Of course, that's not a crazy question to ask. People want to know how long it will take before they're earning some sort of reasonable income. After all, there are bills to pay, a life to live, and those pesky student loans to pay off.
I get similar questions now that I'm a solo entrepreneur. If they take the plunge and work full time for themselves, how long until things will be stable? How long can they expect it to take to have steady work?
Invariably people will share their own stories of building their businesses and how long it took them. Some of them, it's a timeline of months, others it's years.
But here's the real answer not many people are sharing: Your business only works if you do.
All the super successful people in your field you see out there, with full schedules, speaking engagements, and a popular blog/newsletter/product/Facebook account/younameit? They got there because they worked their butt off. They got out there and made connections with people. They learned marketing and sales skills from others who knew what they were talking about. They collaborated with others in the industry. They made lots of mistakes and learned from them.
It didn't happen overnight. In most cases, it didn't happen over a year, either. It happened over years of hard work, and it takes hard work to maintain it.
Having passion for something isn't enough. Having cool ideas for new projects or businesses isn't enough. Loving what you do isn't enough. Those things are all important, but those things alone will not bring you success.
Success is not just handed to us. We have to go out and find it and make it happen.