One of my hobbies beyond photography, is running, (and swimming and biking, I like triathlons). Some months I'm super dedicated and log miles upon miles, and some months, like November, I log 3.3. Thankfully, this month I'm feeling in the groove again, and logging more.
As I was out today, it occurred to me that the first mile, NO MATTER WHAT, is always the hardest. Whether I'm headed out for 30 minutes with my dogs, or a half marathon, it's the same. I've run every distance up to a full marathon and a Half Ironman, and I can say without any doubt, that every first mile is the hardest. It doesn't matter if it's a race or a training run or a group run with my girlfriends. You can't breathe, your legs feel like cement, and you wonder where this so-called 'runners high' is. The first mile sucks, and sometimes the second one does too.
But then it gets a little easier. Your breathing regulates, your limbs feel looser, and you start to find a rhythm. Eventually your fitness increases, you get stronger, and your brain knows what to expect. It becomes enjoyable (for me, at least). What does this have to do with photography, or branding, or business?
Business is the same way. Branding is the same way. The first mile sucks. I can tell you that the first few years of business were HARD. I worked all the time, I lived in a state of uncertainty and fear, and I kept wondering when the so-called 'dream life' that everyone talked about would happen. Then slowly, as you develop new muscles, new skills, and a new mindset, it shifts. You start to find joy in the little things, and you start to see the payoff of your hard work. The business that you've worked so hard to build starts to take off, and you can finally transition into maintenance mode, until it's time to train for the next big event (insert whatever launch, project, client, etc. makes sense for you)
Now, if you quit altogether? Just like fitness, you'll have to start back from scratch. And that's TOTALLY FINE. I'm not beating myself up for losing fitness in November, my priorities were else where that month. If you lose traction with your audience and your sales because you focused on a different project for a few months, then don't beat yourself up for it, just take action. One mile each day. Or however you want to approach it.
My point is this. No matter what you're starting, it takes a whole lot of physical and mental energy to get past that first mile, literal or figurative. If you give up, you'll never get to the pay off, with the faster times, better endurance, and yes, the runners high. If you do quit, you can ALWAYS pick back up again, you'll just have to run that first mile or two again. When you do stick with it, though, you get such a wonderful reward, that you'll be itching to go out, and tackle a few more first miles.
Do you run? Do you see the correlation between fitness and business? Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks the first mile is always a chore...