Remember, Overnight Success Is a Myth Says Guy Raz

lady stressed

I started in April 1999 and sold it 20 years later. I started in 2015 and sold it 7 years later. It takes TIME to have success. Think about any of the “big brands” we value, all of them took TIME to grow and mature. Guy Raz agrees.

Guy Raz

In a recent email newsletter, Guy Raz, of How I Built This (the book and popular podcast) and other notabilities, wrote the following:

No matter what, there’s always an element of grind. On this week’s HIBT and The Great Creators, you’ll hear two “overnight” success stories that were decades in the making. What we don’t often see are the countless hours, the sleepless nights, and the resilience it takes to build something that has real impact and value.

Success is rarely instantaneous. It is almost always incremental.

Guy Raz, How I Built This

It’s about showing up, day after day, and committing to the long road ahead. It’s about falling in love with the process (or faking it on days when you DON’T love it!) even when you don’t know what the outcome will be on the other side. I’m sending this message to you and to me this week (it’s been a tough week): Have trust in the journey and remember that every step forward, no matter how small, brings you closer to a breakthrough.

The Allure

In the world of business, the allure of “overnight success” is ever-present. Stories of instant triumphs dominate headlines and social media feeds. They paint a picture of rapid ascension, where entrepreneurs seemingly wake up one day to find themselves at the pinnacle of success. But for most small business owners, this narrative is a dangerous myth. True success takes time, effort, and a great deal of patience.

The Illusion of Instant Success

The idea of overnight success is tantalizing. It offers hope and the promise of immediate reward. However, this illusion is rarely based on reality. Behind every “overnight success” story, there are usually years of hard work, countless failures, and relentless perseverance. The entrepreneurs who seem to have burst onto the scene have often been toiling away in obscurity, refining their craft and building their businesses brick by brick.

The Value of Consistency

Consistency is the cornerstone of long-term success. It involves showing up every day, putting in the work, and continuously improving. Consistency builds trust with customers, fosters brand loyalty, and establishes a solid reputation. For small business owners, maintaining a consistent presence in the market is crucial. Whether it’s through regular social media updates, timely customer service, or consistent product quality, showing up day after day is what ultimately leads to sustainable success.

Embracing Failure

Failure is an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial journey. It’s not a sign of defeat but a stepping stone to success. Every failure offers valuable lessons and insights. It reveals what doesn’t work, allowing you to refine your strategies and approaches. Successful entrepreneurs understand that failure is a part of the process. They don’t fear it; they embrace it, learn from it, and use it to propel themselves forward.

Building Relationships

Success in business is not just about what you know but also who you know. Building strong relationships with customers, suppliers, mentors, and peers is vital. Networking can open doors to new opportunities, provide support during tough times, and offer valuable advice. Small business owners should invest time in cultivating relationships. Attend industry events, join professional groups, and engage with your community. These connections can be instrumental in your business’s growth and success.

The Power of Incremental Steps

Big successes are often the result of many small, incremental steps. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the big picture, but breaking down your goals into manageable tasks can make the journey more achievable. Celebrate small victories along the way. Each step, no matter how small, brings you closer to your ultimate goal. This approach not only makes the process more manageable but also keeps you motivated and focused.

The Flywheel Effect

Jim Collins, in his book “Good to Great,” introduces the concept of the flywheel effect. The flywheel symbolizes the gradual build-up of momentum through persistent effort. At first, pushing the flywheel takes considerable effort. But as you keep pushing, it gains momentum and eventually spins on its own with minimal effort.

For small business owners, this concept is crucial. Initial efforts may seem to yield little result, but with consistent and focused efforts, momentum builds. This cumulative effect can lead to significant breakthroughs over time. The key is to keep pushing, even when progress seems slow.

Perfecting the Flywheel

Once you’ve built your flywheel, the next step is to perfect it. This involves continuously refining your processes, improving your products or services, and adapting to changes in the market. Regularly review your strategies and make necessary adjustments. Stay committed to excellence and never become complacent. Perfection is an ongoing process, and there is always room for improvement.


The road to success for small business owners is long and winding. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. Success demands time, patience, and a relentless drive. It’s about being consistent, learning from failures, building meaningful relationships, and taking small, steady steps forward. Embrace the journey, stay focused on your goals, and keep pushing your flywheel. Over time, your efforts will compound, leading to the sustainable success you aspire to achieve.

Remember, there is no such thing as an overnight success. Real success is built over time, through dedication and perseverance. Keep the faith, stay the course, and let your hard work pave the way to your ultimate triumph.

Related articles:

How To Start Your Busy Mornings with 5 Healthy Food Choices(Opens in a new browser tab)

Best Books for Small Business Owners(Opens in a new browser tab)

Using Failure as a Strategy To Succeed(Opens in a new browser tab)

Get Genius Insights for Your Business

Don’t Miss Out. Get Genius Insights for Your Business.