What I Learned While Struggling

(Or “Some Things You Can Do to Make Sure You Never Suck As Bad at Entrepreneurship As I Did”)


That was the balance in my checking account when I finally got up the courage to check on my account balances one morning a long time ago. I may have had the absolute worst experience as a start-up entrepreneur in the real estate field as is possible. I mean, I was ridiculously horrible as a first-time-out business owner. Really, it was so bad that all I can do is laugh about that my crying is in the past.

Anyway, at the height of it (the depths of it?), I turned to a close friend who was much more successful than I and just asked where I had gone wrong. It wasn’t a moment of self-pity. I had many moments of self-pity, but this was a time where I was honestly searching for an answer. What could I do to help make sure – to the best of my ability this time around – that I would never go that way again? I needed to know what to do differently if the Lord ever gave me the chance for a do-over in business and in life.

Here are some of the lessons that I learned. I’ve placed them all down on paper as best I can remember. They aren’t in any particular order.

1. Use as much leverage as you can. Other people’s money. Other people’s energies. Other people’s time. I had to get better at using money, systems, people and tools to multiply my effectiveness and profitability.

2. Never, ever, ever take your foot off the gas marketing-wise. The only marketing and sales strategy that is fool-proof is relentlessness. Whether you go small or large with your marketing almost doesn’t matter as much as consistency...never take time off from telling people your story.

3. Protect your confidence. Guard it closely. Even if you don’t have it, fake it. When people see you lose your confidence, you’re close to being done. There’s nothing an entrepreneur can do once his or her confidence is gone. You have to have take it back and get back to work!

4. Your friends aren’t necessarily your friends. You have to be very careful about whom you keep around you. Not everyone is truly supportive. Some are quite destructive to your dreams and visions and will mask their detrimental statements and actions in the guise of being “realistic” and such fallacious euphemisms. Realistic people have never accomplished anything.

5. Get help. Let me rephrase. Get as much help as you can. Saying the words “I need help” can transform your life!

This is a short list because I’m still learning how to be more successful and how to achieve my goals. I have a lot to learn. However, I’m fairly confident that I will be better off if I can master just those five habits. We shall see. It can’t hurt, right?

To your success.

Mark Anthony McCray is Founder of "Live Big, Die Empty" a ministry and movement designed to help people live life more abundantly and walk in the purposes for which they were created. Write or call 832-566-2001 for more information and follow Mark on Twitter at or