Can you succeed in business without really trying?

We’ve all seen them, haven’t we? Those promoted ads that promise you will make a fortune for very little effort.

  • Follow this blueprint and you too can book in 20 high-paying clients this month.
  • With this secret you only need to work 1-hour a day to achieve six-figures every month.
  • I started earning five-figures within 2 days of setting up this automatic method

And it’s so easy to get sucked in, isn’t it? We’ve all done it. And why? Because we want the reward without putting too much effort into it. We want to acquire that passive income of our dreams, so we can ditch that dead-end job and spend more time with our family, travelling and enjoying life to its fullest.

But. Is it really as simple as they make out? Can you really succeed in business without really trying?

Brace yourselves, I’m going to be brutally honest. The answer is: “No. Don’t be daft! Of course you can’t!”

“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!”

Let’s face it, there are no quick wins when it comes to success

We are all uniquely individual, which is why your definition of success will be very different to someone else. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. So stop comparing your version of success to other people. Chances are they’ll have a completely different vision of what success means.

The one thing we can all agree on, is that everyone wants to achieve something. Something that is better from the place they are in now.

But success is not something that happens when you click your fingers. Success is the result of work, effort, daily motivation, creative ways of thinking, problem solving, sacrifice, learning from mistakes and, most importantly, perseverance. The trouble is we live in an instant gratification world, and when we don’t achieve overnight success it’s easier to just give up rather and blame circumstances than be patience and put the effort in.

Whether you’re successful or not is your choice. You can be your own best friend or worst enemy on the road to success.

Top tips to help you succeed

If you want to lead a successful life, a life you would never give up, you will have to adopt a different way of thinking than before and prepare for hard work.

Set a goal

The importance of setting goals cannot be underestimated.

You have to live, not just survive. You need to have an idea of which direction you are going and what your destination is, so you just wander aimlessly. Without a goal, or a plan, you will waste precious time. And time is precious, no one knows what’s around the corner, so don’t waste it!

If you’re still not sure about the benefits of goal setting, imagine a situation where you decide to go on a trip but you don’t know where you want to go and have no plan. You go to the airport and look for a ticket, whichever plane goes first that has a free seat for you. Where you end up is anyone’s guess. You could end up in another city in your own country or on the opposite part of the world.

What do you take with you when you go to the airport if you don’t know where you’ll end up? Do you pack for warm or cold climates? What about money? Where will you sleep? How will you get around when you’re there?

With all these questions unanswered, the hard truth of matter is that you will probably spend more time and money on that spontaneity than if you had sat down at home with your laptop and planned the trip.

So what’s the point of this little anecdote? That you have to have a goal because otherwise you will get lost, and waste precious time, effort and money!

The importance of planning

Here’s the thing, the perfect plan does not exist. But, a bad plan is always better than no plan at all, see the above point.

And when it comes to following your plan, be more Agile than Prince 2.

Plans can and will need changing constantly, because something will always get in the way. You have little or no influence over the majority of events that happen to you, especially events that are not dependent on you, but on others.

However, being flexible and open to adjusting your sails will keep you moving in the right direction … even f you have to go the long route.

Find a mentor

You may have heard stories about people who succeeded in everything they set out to do, about “self-made” business people who defied everyone and rose from the crowd, about people who never needed anyone’s help. But these are mostly just stories, made up by people trying to sell you their course on how to quit your 9-5 job and earn a six-figure sum for doing very little.

Be under no illusion here, if you want to succeed in business, or any other area of your life, you need support. Think I’m wrong? Think again. Where would alcoholics be without AA? Or dieters without Weight Watchers, Slimming World, or any other variation of the same. (Just don’t get me started on diet clubs, that’s a whole other gripe)

But I digress, to achieve one’s potential, one need support. It doesn’t matter at all what the support is like, it’s important that it’s there because you can’t be alone all your life.

Support can be someone who:

  • Is there for you
  • Listens to you when find the going tough
  • Believes in you and encourages you
  • Pushes you to break through your own limiting beliefs

Only when you find yourself in a crisis and realize that you have no one you can rely on and who can help you, will understand the benefits of support. In 1623, English poet, John Donne, wrote: “No man is an island!” And never was a truer word spoken.

You can’t do everything alone. You need support. Hopefully, it will come from those who care about you. However, sometimes, you’ll find support in the most unlikely of places.

Be bold and take a risk

If you want success, you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone to do something. And it’s this leap of faith that makes most people uncomfortable, so the majority never try.

That said, this does not mean that you have to start recklessly taking risks and jumping on every opportunity you come across without thinking about the pros and cons, or doing something beyond all bounds of common sense

No, it simply means that if you want to achieve your goal, you will, at some point, have to take a calculated risk.

Want to have your own business? Yes? That’s great, but be mindful that you will have to invest something, be it time or money (normally both), because before you can receive you first have to give. You will have to prepare for hard work, lack of weekends and free time because there is no annual leave for entrepreneurs, especially in the start-up phase of a business where you are your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You will have to invest and you will have to give, but guess what? You can get it! What is absolutely certain is that you will get nothing if you don’t take that first step and leave everything to words, desires and dreams.

Persistence: Be more tortoise than hare

In the race for success, it’s always the most persistent ones who win.

Nothing in life is easy, and what is worthy has a price. No matter what anyone says, whatever your goal, not only will you have to work hard to reach it, you will have to be incredibly persistent.

Edwin Louis Cole said: “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”

Which brings to mind that famous quote by Bruce Lee: “I don’t fear the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.”

You will have to sweat and work hard for everything you want in life. If you’re not ready for it, don’t complain that you’re not successful and look with envy at the ones you think they are. Most of those you consider successful have worked and fought for their success.

Let’s say you want to get fitter, and decide your goal is to run a 10 km race. If you have never run before, you will not be particularly successful in the beginning. You may be frustrated by the lack of energy and strength you have, and conclude that you will never be able to cover the 10 km you set for yourself. You have two options, give up and forget that you have ever tried or continue to exercise diligently every day, meter by meter until you finally reach those 10 km. After which, of course, you can set yourself a higher goal.

Resilience: Be a rhino not a snowflake

Harsh fact of life incoming.

If you are affected by everyone’s opinion, and start looking at every rejection as the end of the world, you are not going to get very far. Life is not fair, and this is something we all have to face up to.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will encounter criticism, rejections, and people who don’t believe in what you are doing or hinder you on the way to your goal.

And this is where resilience comes in to play. Rather than melt, turn that negativity into positivity, and use it to light that fire underneath you and keep going.

Over time your skin will be as thick as a rhino, and obstacles will be easy to overcome.

Confidence: The power to face any challenge

There is a huge difference between confidence and conceit. One is a firm assurance of one’s own abilities, while the other is an exaggerated opinion of one’s importance and abilities.

We all have a tendency to play down our abilities and achievements for fear of coming across as arrogant, and sometimes we can let unwarranted criticism affect our confidence.

But a lack of self-confidence has never helped anyone.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? A kitten or a lion? Who doesn’t love little kittens? They’re just cute balls of fluff, but even they need to get claws and sharp teeth, otherwise they won’t survive.

You need to know how much you are worth and be confident in your knowledge and abilities. You can only work miracles if you have the will and dare to try, and you will only succeed when you gain confidence.

However, self-confidence is not something you’re born with, it’s something you acquire during life, and most of all it depends only on you and the way you live.

Flexibility: Be open to change

Life doesn’t stand still.

The only thing that is constant in life is change. Every day the world around you is changing and you are changing along with it.

You will have plans, they will change. Your priorities will also change as you grow and develop as a person. Every day you will learn something new, get new interests and desires. You will meet new people and they will meet you.

You need to try being open to change and adapting to life’s ‘challenges’ to be successful and stay up to date with the happenings around you.

And no matter how prepared and successful you are in running your business and life, there can always be a crisis situation that you cannot control. If you don’t have a Plan B and aren’t able to adapt to the new circumstances, you’ll find yourself in trouble.

Stop turning to the past because, other than learning from mistakes, you have no use for it. Instead, live wholeheartedly in the present working on what you need to make your future goals achievable.

Optimism: Realism and positivity combined

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Well, that all depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Personally, I believe the glass is always full, but that’s just my mathematical side at work. If the glass is half full with water, the other half is air, and a half plu a half equals a whole.

That said, no extreme is ever good. Excessive optimists can quickly turn into pessimists when they discover that not everything is as rosy as they imagined, and a pessimistic attitude won’t get you far because you’ll lose the will to move at all.

A positive outlook on life is essential, but never deceive yourself that everything will always go exactly as you planned. Dreaming is also essential for positivity. Dreaming helps you visualise what you really want, and a good goal, always starts with a dream. Just be careful not to lose your balance and the ground under your feet so that your life is reduced to just dreaming. To reach your goals and achieve success you need to act, not sleep.

So it’s best to be a realist with an optimistic outlook on life.

Passion: Take your passion and make it happen

Passion is an amazing motivator and mover. Only when you love something (or someone) to such an extent that you can’t imagine a day without it will you have the desire and will to do whatever it takes to get to what you want.

It’s also important for a successful life. When you’re passionate about life itself, you enjoy every day and wake up excited because you don’t know what awaits you today but you are eager to discover it.

As always, there is one “but” that says you shouldn’t think solely with emotions. If you stop relying on reason, you will start making reckless decisions. A good balance between reason and feeling will lead you to the goal and your version of success.

Knowledge: Every day is a school day

Albert Einstein said: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

It’s true. You are never too old to start learning something new. Likewise, you will never know everything and if you believe you have reached your maximum, you are very much mistaken.

No matter how old you are, you still have plenty of room to grow, develop and learn. It is by learning new skills and gaining new knowledge that your brain stays active and fresh.

New knowledge can help you on the path to achieving your goals. It’s good to be curious and it’s desirable to know as much as possible. But if you start wasting time learning something that is just interesting to you and won’t do you any good, it would be better to focus your time and energy on something more useful. So, if you have a specific career goal you want to achieve, it would be good to focus on learning what you will really benefit from

Don’t complain, do something

There’s something very interesting about most people who like to complain, at least the ones I’ve met, they seem to enjoy their victim status.

They blame everyone and everything for their problems, but never themselves.

The circumstances in which they grew up, the lack of opportunities, the lack of important acquaintances, they did not finish prestigious schools, they have no money, they are in the wrong state, surrounded by the wrong people and they are terribly dissatisfied.

But what do they do to fix it? Nothing and that’s the problem. The only thing they know and are capable of is constantly whining. If you blame everyone else for your situation, you do not accept responsibility for yourself, your life and your own actions.

With a few exceptions, you are responsible for everything yourself, and the results you make are the result of the right or wrong decisions you have made in life. If you decide to just complain and do nothing, you are playing the victim.

Rest is important

You heard that right. While resting on your laurels is not good when you’re working towards your goals, ensuring you take adequate amounts of rest is.

If you’re constantly chasing success and trying to break records to achieve goals, you will quickly get tired, lose focus and there will be satiety. It is in those moments you will be prone to reckless action.

So take time to rest and relax. Find time for yourself and do something that fulfills you. Enjoy life and don’t neglect family on the road to success.


There are no shortcuts to success. If you want to achieve something more, you need to get ready to work hard.

Hopefully, these tips will help you work out what it is you need to focus on to get to where you want to be.

Let us know in the comments below what success means to you, and what you are doing this year to get closer to your goal.

Further Reading from Kook Content

How to break free of your holding pattern sometimes means discovering your true purpose, you can read our article on purpose here.

What’s the story morning glory, is not just a cracking Oasis album, but an article on storytelling in business, read our article here.

Kook Content

Kook is a copywriting and content creation agency. They work with SME businesses and large start-ups managing projects, creating copy and social content, and occasionally providing voice overs!

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