Book Excerpt: 'Spark & Hustle: Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now' by Tory Johnson

Figure out what you need—what's "good enough"—to take the next step. Maybe it's a certain amount of cash you want in savings. Maybe it's a minimum number of clients ready to go. Maybe it's receipt of a year-end bonus. Maybe it's just a matter of setting the date and pulling the trigger. Once you identify what it is, work toward making that happen.

Here's a quick checklist to get started: ____ Savings to satisfy your sanity ____ Child care or elder care arrangements ____ Affordable health insurance ____ Personal support network ____ Other based on your personal preferences

Reality Check

There is value in dreaming big, imagining what you want your life and business to be, turning that vision into a plan and then going for it. That's exactly what I want this book to help you do. But first, a few ground rules.

Think Like an Immigrant

I live in New York, a city of immigrants. New York has always welcomed people from other countries and it's hard to imagine it any other way. Another thing I can't imagine is anything more frightening than landing alone in a foreign country, not speaking the language, having no money and not knowing anyone. Yet that's exactly what the first two babysitters we hired for Jake and Emma did when they emigrated from Russia to New York. Veronika and then Cici, who cared for my kids from two months to age twelve, arrived at different times from the Ukraine and Georgia, each with a suitcase, a few hundred dollars, no plan for where they might live and not speaking more than a few words of English.

Today, Veronika has a solid job bidding on contracts for a large construction company in Massachusetts, tapping into the engineering degree she earned back home. Cici just got her master's degree in speech therapy and has a private practice. They both speak fluent English. They're both among the hardest working women I know.

Why? Because they have a "whatever it takes" work ethic. No task was ever beneath them, no hours too long, nothing taken for granted.

Here in Manhattan, I witness that immigrant mentality routinely because I'm surrounded by newcomers. Chinese grocers whose shops never close. The same delivery guy from Ecuador who shows up at my door in the morning when the kids want bagels for breakfast and at night when they order a snack. Ditto for the newsstand guy from Bangladesh and Amanda, the Korean woman at my dry cleaners who works 6am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, fifty-two weeks a year.

You could say they work such long hours because they have to—to make ends meet—and that's probably true. But I also think many of them are driven to succeed, to triumph over whatever adversity has been thrown their way, because the alternative is too dark to imagine.

For me, returning to the corporate world represents that darkness—it's what fuels me every day to push to succeed, along with knowing that other people in my life depend on me. Perhaps my mentality is a bit stark, but most successful entrepreneurs I know have some variation of it. They work as if their lives depend on it. They genuinely do whatever it takes.

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