Picture this: you’ve recently launched your business, blog, or podcast, and the launch was exciting. You got a few downloads, views, and likes. Now, you’re churning out content on a daily basis and the results are not escalating at the rate you thought. In fact, there may be no results whatsoever.
For as wonderful and exciting as entrepreneurship is, there’s a myth that pervades. The myth says that if you just work hard enough, you can unlock massive success quickly. But this myth is killing more dreams than it inspires, because the truth of the matter is, it takes years of consistent action to become an “overnight success.”
This is something that Angie Lee, the host of the Angie Lee Show, knows quite well. Lee started with just 30 podcast downloads (recording in her closet, may we add) and a handful of followers. But she kept going, day after day. It’s taken nearly a decade of a build process, but the results (and followers… and downloads…)began to flood in stages. And now, she’s almost to 100,000 Instagram followers and has amassed 10 million podcast downloads.
Her secret to success? She never stopped showing up. She never stopped persisting. We sat down to talk about how to keep going even if nothing seems to be changing or shifting — because this is an area that she knows well.
Our Propensity to Give Up
“There’s a stat that says something like, most people give up after just four podcast episodes,” Lee shared. “Because those first four episodes don’t really get results. So, the person thinks ‘What’s the use? I’m not cut out for this.”
Lee knows what this is like, as her mom and grandma were the top two supporters of her podcast for a long, long time. “This can be discouraging, but it’s just part of what it takes to become successful. I now see the stages that DON’T yield results as one in the same as success in general, because you can’t have one without the other,” she added.
“Never give up” isn’t just for the cliche Facebook posts or decorative pillows. It’s a real piece of advice that you have to follow if you really want to experience success.
Focus on Just those First Few People
I asked Lee how to keep going. These stories of success after showing up day after day for years are inspiring, but when you’re in the thick of it and you don’t know if it’ll ever pay off, it’s a real test of faith. “I just put all my focus on the few people that WERE downloading the podcast or following me on Instagram,” Lee said. “I asked myself, ‘how can I give them the MOST value? How can I change their lives?”
This paid off, because how she was helping and inspiring them led to Lee’s favorite medium of getting massive results: word of mouth marketing. “There is nothing like word of mouth marketing, because we do virtually anything our friends tell us to do. So sure, you may have two followers right now, but if you wow them every time they read or listen to your content, they’ll tell their friends, and it’ll continue to grow.”
There are More People Listening Than You Think
With social media and the tendency for comparison that it brings, it’s easy to diminish the number of followers that you have. Since it technically is a ‘vanity metric’ when taken at face value, it’s very easy to entirely forget that each ONE of those followers is a real person. “Each like is a heartbeat is what I like to say!” Lee shared.
To understand just how many people are ACTUALLY impacted by what you’re creating, Lee says to imagine them in a room. “Sure, 100 people doesn’t sound like a lot when you compare yourself to influencers. But imagine 100 people on a plane. Or, imagine 100 people in your house. They probably wouldn’t even fit!”
This mental exercise will reorient you in the true value and gift of creating content for others. The truth is, as long as someone is listening, you are still technically getting results.
“Sometimes we have no idea the impact we are having on others,” Lee added. “I got a message recently from someone who had been following me for EIGHT YEARS. She just then decided to thank me for the content.”
This is where trust comes in. Just because you don’t hear the applause doesn’t mean they’re not applauding. Just because people aren’t yet telling their testimonies of how you or your business have changed their lives doesn’t mean the life changing isn’t already occurring. Keep focusing on giving value to those first few, and the results WILL come. It’s just a matter of time – and a matter of your persistence.