Is it Hard? Or Do You Just Don’ Wanna


Is building a product hard? Maybe. Which part of it?

Committing to a schedule, doing the research, and serving a need that actually exists? Is that hard? Is reading books and forums hard? Is tabulating common themes in a spreadsheet hard? Is revisiting it twice a week hard?

No, that’s not hard. That’s don’t wanna.

Having the tough conversations with partners you need to part ways with…

… creating and sticking to a blogging schedule…

… taking advantage of the millions of opportunities that cross your path…

… sitting down for a couple hours, offline, and brainstorming how to increase your product’s reach by 10, 50, 100 customers…

No. Those are don’t wanna. Not hard. Hard would be, oh, I don’t know. How about growing up as a transgendered teen in rural India? That’s hard.

Hard means a real problem. Hard means that you can apply your full effort to it, in every way you can think of, for an extended length of time, and still lose. Hard means the requirement of delicate skills or expensive tools that are very tricky to acquire. Hard means a complete and utter lack of resources.

Not a lack of resourcefulness — that’s don’t wanna.

The real secret that’s stopping you from being an entrepreneur is this: You don’t wanna.

You’re not “showing up.” You’re not putting in the effort. You’re not laying down tracks you can chug along, faster and faster. You’re not devouring every resource that will teach you how. You’re not even going to the public library.

You’re not applying your full effort to it, in every way you can think of, for an extended length of time.

But let me give it to you straight: Nothing will fix you, but you.

No Magical Business Prince is going to waltz into your cube farm one day and deliver upon you an entrepreneurial liplock you’ll never forget. There’s only you, and what you do with your don’t wannas.

There is no single moment where you suddenly tip from being a hard-working schmuck to a successful entrepreneur. It’s just you, moving your damn feet, one step at a time.

It may never be “easy.”

But, luckily for us, it will almost never be hard.

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  1. Cory

    Well I’ll be damned. You have a gift for straight talk. And you’re right. I don’ wanna. Also, I may be just a little scared of rejection. It may be easier to watch that extra episode of Mad Men, or play that extra level of Angry Birds, than sit down and work on my product.

    But, now that you mention it, I want to lay some tracks to my future as a person of means and purpose. I want to extend my reach. And since I don’t have the challenge of growing up transgendered teen in India, I might as well make the most of it.

    After all, there’s nothing in my way except for me. So far, you’re doing a pretty fair job of talking me out of that… So thanks!

    • Amy

      Woohooo! Thanks – my straight talk is hard come by. ;) What are you working on, Cory?

      PS – the secret with fear of rejection is to compare it to the fear of never achieving what you want in life. One of these things hurts a lot more than the other, if you know what I’m sayin’.

      • bizl

        my brain’s spinng in all directions. Do you use a keyboard at all? almost feels like feels like you spoke this at the computer, it was so good it made a note of it and posted out (ignore my cheese). Thanks v much !

      • Amy

        Dude, you printed it out? That’s awesome! Cheese is awesome! And yes, I write with my fingers, not with my mouth. ;)

      • Paul

        Not working on anything…yet. However, I’ve got it sketched out now, I see the need, I see how it will make money. I just need to do the doing.

  2. Ezekiel Smithburg

    I’ve wondered about this for a while myself. Eventually I just had to start setting deadlines for myself, and kicking myself in the ass when I let them pass (for one “good” reason or another).

    But it does seem like, as you get closer to a finished product you keep discovering that the last teensy bit of polish takes more work than everything else combined. and that it’s really easy to get stuck shaving yaks. And sometimes there are yaks you just can’t avoid shaving. And then, well, you just have to delay, even if you do wanna.

    • Amy

      Then stop with the last bits of polish and put it out there already, Ezekiel. There is no such thing as done.

  3. John Gallagher

    Really great point. The stock phrases I always hear when business owners are talking about building a business is “It’s hard” and “It takes a lot of time”. I don’t think either are always true. And it’s really easy to fall into just buying into this idea that building a business is only for the supermen amongst us – those who have supernatural levels of energy and motivation and are only happy when working a hundred hours a week. Thanks for challenging this!

  4. Alex Le

    I used to work for a professor in College, and I remember one phrase he often said: “People find reason to fail, I find reason to succeed”. Every time I found myself trying to find an excuse to explain something I screwed up, I remembered the quote, shut up, and moved on.

    Being in en entrepreneur is not something glorious. It’s hard work, dedication, and the relentless drive to keep on moving ahead. I’m still building everyday and it’s been 6 months since the day I decided to commit to it full-time. It has been a battle with myself to work and deliver no matter what, and the experience is life changing. The unthinkable did happen, people opened up to help me wherever I go. The “I’m doing it” energy is contagious. One thing leads to another and it turns out that I’m invited to present Marrily at SxSw Accelerator program in March next year.

    When there’s a will, there’s a way. Your story of success is powerful enough to prove this, and I hope that one day I will be able to look back and say “yes, I’m proud to build my own product with my own blood, sweat, and tears.”

    Thanks for the awesome read, and I look forward to more :)


  5. Reinis

    What a kick-in-the-butt-post! :)

    And your comment about comparing fear of rejection to fear of never achieving what I desire in life… wow! Puts things in the right perspective, eh? :)

    And each day I’m learning that it’s all about the journey, taking the next step and then the next and then the next. No quantum leaping forward. Just a steady pace. And remembering to enjoy the journey – whatever that may be – a project, a business empire, a vacation or just a weekend.

    Thanks, Amy! :)


  6. Victor

    Wait a minutes Entrekkies …

    • “Committing to a schedule – check
    • doing the research – check
      • and serving a need that actually exists? – check reading books and forums – check
    • tabulating common themes in a spreadsheet hard – Could you please tell me more about this?
    • revisiting it twice a week hard- the product? or the business plan

    Thank you,



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