Have you read the story of the guy who started a business in his basement and in less than 3 years, became a millionaire? And the one about the social media influencer who started an Instagram account and now has a gazillion followers and deals with amazing brands? Or the brand that came out of nowhere and blew up on social media in just a few months? The internet is filled with tales of entrepreneurs who skyrocketed their way to the top.

Then you compare that scenario with your own reality: toiling and working hard every day. I’ve been doing this for months, why am I not laughing all the way to the bank yet? There’s progression but it’s not lightning fast. What are we all doing wrong??

The reality is that those cases of overnight success are as rare as the white-headed langur, an extremely rare monkey species. They do exist but I’ve never seen one. Yet, that’s the dream we’re being sold and it becomes our expectation. We start believing that success for us will 1) happen for sure and 2) faster than usual because we work harder than our competition, we’re smarter, our idea is better. Basing our assumptions on an exception to the rule, rather than the norm, is the fastest way to fail.

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I started working in the equestrian industry twenty years ago. In that time, I’ve seen countless businesses and people come and go. Many underestimated how long it takes to succeed. They got frustrated and quit. Others keep switching focus and started going in a million directions instead of staying the course. They were not ready for the journey.

The easier it is to get in a market or the ‘hotter’ the trend, the more you see people jumping in thinking it’s going to be easy. It rarely is. You wouldn’t expect a rider going from their first riding lesson to the Olympics the same year. As having an amazing horse and a fantastic trainer can make a huge difference and speed up progress, great marketing can accelerate results up to a certain point. It’s the accumulation of doing things well over time that leads to success.

That’s why it’s important to have realistic expectations, financially, as well as in time and effort required. Measure progress along the way to make sure you’re on the right track. Readjust your strategy if needed but don’t quit too soon. Be ready for the long haul. Overnight success seems to take years.