The “Dry Stretch” that Makes Almost All Entrepreneurs Fail

Have you ever wondered why starting a business is so damn difficult? And all the while, some entrepreneurs make it look easy.

What's up with that?

In today's post, you'll discover a universal and unshakable principle that makes being an entrepreneur difficult. There's (almost) nothing you can do about it, but if you know about this, you're much more likely to see it through...​


Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail

"You Are Here"

If you've found yourself struggling along with building a business, putting in a lot of work seemingly without payoff, it's likely that you're stuck here:​

That's when your motivation to learn new things and develop your entrepreneurial skills is already fading. You're noticing that you have to put in many hours to overcome new learning plateaus. At the same time, payoff from all your work is still scarce or even non-existent.

​Does Payoff Really Grow Like That?

The payoff curve doesn't necessarily grow the way it's depicted in the video. Just like you can waste your time instead of focusing on core skills and improving them effectively, you can make bad business decisions and hamper that payoff curve.

This is one of the reasons I advocate building a mailing list and creating & selling products so much.

Think about it:

  • Your mailing list grows over time (even if it grows slowly) and the more it grows, the more reach you have. The more reach you have, the easier it is to get customers for a new product, launch a new business etc. In the beginning, making money from a mailing list is near impossible. After a long time of consistent growth, making the average Joe's yearly salary is a matter of sending a couple of emails.
  • Every product you create is an asset. Even if an individual product doesn't sell well, if you set each one up as an evergreen product, your income grows with each product you add to your portfolio.
  • As you create products and grow your company, you set up systems that allow you to grow your business faster with less of your own involvement. The more you do that, the faster you can grow.

By focusing on building these assets, you're ensuring that the payoff curve grows in the best way possible. You're stacking the deck in your favor.

What About Rapid Skill Building?

If you're a subscriber, you saw my recent email series on rapid skill acquisition (I've yet to turn that into a downloadable, so if you missed out, you'll have to sit tight). In the series, I talk about building skills in a matter of weeks and months, so is that a way around the dry stretch?

Yes and no.

Yes, as you get better at rapidly growing your skills, you can also get results sooner and you can shorten the dry stretch.


You have to remember that A) even skill acquisition is a skill, so you won't be good at it right away and B) no matter how great your skills are, you can't expect instant success. There's always a "wind up time" when you start a business, even if you already have a large audience, lots of experience and so on.​

Links & Resources​

  • The Grind - discover more about the skill curve and see a real (embarrassing) example of it in action.
  • Time to Quit - how do you know whether you are stuck in the dry stretch or actually just making the wrong moves? When should you quit and when should you persevere? Click here to find out.

Any questions or thoughts about this topic? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better marketer and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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