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The Work Comes First But the Rewards Come Later

Updated on August 2, 2017
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Bob Craypoe (also known as R. L. Crepeau) is a musician, writer, webmaster, 3D artist, and creator of the Punksters comic strip series.

Image by Bob Craypoe, also known as R.L. Crepeau
Image by Bob Craypoe, also known as R.L. Crepeau

The mindset of the average person is that they basically expect to be rewarded immediately for any work they do. It is your basic nine to five worker's frame of mind. However, many entrepreneurs have a different mindset and that is that they are often willing to put in the work for an extended period time without those immediate rewards.

Read the Biographies of Self-made Millionaires

If you read the biographies of a number of self-made multi-millionaires and billionaires, you will come to notice that many of them had put in a lot of hours, working on their business ventures without receiving any sort of monetary compensation. In fact, if you read up on the early start of Microsoft, you will notice that they had a number of programmers working for them who were not working for a salary. Instead they were working for shares in the company. What ended up happening was that Microsoft created a good number of millionaires as a result.

The fact is that the value of their shares in the company ended up being worth much more than any hourly salary they would have received. The only problem was that they really had to believe in what they were doing in order to put in the kind of time and effort that they had put in. It's not always easy to get people to come on board when they don't receive those immediate rewards in the form of a salary.

Many successful entrepreneurs go it alone though. They don't always have that team of people who are willing to wait for the rewards of their efforts. So it is just the single entrepreneur himself who is doing all of the work for no monetary compensation. Their hope is that their venture will eventually make money and, with any luck, lots of it.

Reading the biographies of people who have experienced success can be a very valuable learning tool. It could also serve as a great source of inspiration as well. Often, you will read of their various failures and the eventual success that they achieved in spite of their previous failures. This may help you to find the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things.

My Own Experience

To some extent, I have tried the above mentioned approach myself, with my websites. I had been working on them for a number of years, building up a lot of content. I was not making any money at all from them. It wasn't until much later that I had started to make money from them. I eventually did make a very good amount of money from them but, like I said, it took a while to get to that point.

I have also performed live as a musician. In order to play out, I had to learn a lot of songs in order to have a large enough repertoire to play anywhere from two to four hours a night. It obviously takes a good number of songs to fill that kind of time. So I set out to learn a lot of songs.

Was I getting paid to learn those songs? No, I wasn't. This meant that I had to put in the time and effort to learn those songs without being paid a single penny for my efforts. But after I learned all of the songs I needed to in order to fill a few hours, I was able to book shows. Then I started making money and I made a good amount of money over the years. Again, this was a situation where I had to put in a lot of work before I started to receive the monetary rewards.

I have also experienced the process of learning from my various failures and then applying what I have learned in a way that eventually enabled success with something else. This is why it is important to not be so afraid of failure that you will not step outside of your comfort zone to try something new. Also remember that the lessons we learn from our failures can often make us less likely to fail in the future.

Motivational Issues

I will admit that it can be hard at times to motivate oneself when there are no immediate monetary rewards. Sometimes you may begin to doubt as to whether or not you will ever make money. But, you have to have a certain amount of faith in what you are doing and in yourself as well.

There are still a good number of things that I do today that involve me not getting a salary but still putting in the hours first. It's much easier for me to motivate myself now though. This is because I have eventually received the rewards from my previous efforts over time. So I know now that I am not wasting my time and effort.

Sometimes it doesn't matter how I try to make this point to some people, they still will just not get it. Of course, sometimes people don't have the determination to do certain things or may be the type of people who are easily discouraged. Sometimes they lack motivation or are just plain (dare I say it?) lazy.

However, the main reason I have seen for people not making the effort is the fear of failure or fear of stepping outside of their comfort zone. It rarely has anything to do with laziness. Let's face it, it can be pretty hard to motivate yourself if you are either terrified at the prospect of doing it or terrified of the prospect of failing. And if everything we try had a one hundred percent guaranty of success, there would probably be no motivational issues at all for most people.

Some Risks are Often Involved

Most successful entrepreneurs possess a good number of positive qualities that your average person lacks. Many are hard-working, dedicated, resourceful, determined, patient and creative, among other things. It also may require a bit of courage, especially if the venture they are embarking on involves a certain level of financial backing. Some will put a great deal of money into their venture. This could be money they have saved up for years or it could involve loans. Either way, they are taking a monetary risk.

Even if you are not doing something that will involve a considerable amount of monetary investment, you are still taking a risk of sorts if you do a lot of work upfront without receiving any money in return for your efforts. So given the fact that there are no guarantees of success for anything we may try, we are taking a risk in the form of time and effort. Will the time and effort spent yield some level of success? That is the question that will eventually have to be answered.

Nobody Fails 100% of the Time

All I can say is that, in the past, I have put in the time and effort and it has yielded results over time. Did I have occasional moments of doubt? Oh, you betcha! But, in spite of it all, I would keep pressing on. I often think of that broken clock theory that says even a broken clock is right twice a day. So if even a broken clock could be right, then surely there has to be an occasion every now and then when I am right.

So if I am right at least from time to time, then eventually, there has to be some payoff for my efforts somewhere. It's just a matter of the odds. What are the odds that everything I try will fail? There has to at least be a two or three percent chance something I try will bring in the big payoff. So If I keep trying after a hundred times, the odds should start to be in my favor.

I believe it to be statistically impossible that everything I will try will end up in complete failure. Sure, they might not yield results in the form of astronomical sums of money. But if I do something well and I am able to reach a good number of people who may bear witness to what I am doing, then eventually something good has to happen as a result. At some point, there has to be some form of success, right? There just has to be some payoff. In the past, I have received a few payoffs over time. That's why I am willing to do the work first. It's because the rewards often really do come later.

© 2017 Bob Craypoe


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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is so true. I have found out personally myself, that you have to be patient and have true belief in what you are doing to be successful. Many people expect an immediate payout and when it doesn't come they just complain and then give up. I see a lot of posts from new members of hub pages with just one or no articles ask "when and how much money can I make from an article here?" It is crazy. Put in the hard work and be patient. This was a good lesson and very motivational.

    • threekeys profile image

      Threekeys 10 months ago from Australia

      It isn't fair, how or what others dictate, as to what is viable and what is too be paid a pay a high amount of money, or, what is to be paid a low amount of money. People who use their imagination to create something wonderful and inspiring from the ethers, is a huge skill! This skill needs to be valued much more by our present currency. Yet, I also agree with you, to have success based on reaching a number of people who bear witness to what you are doing and expecting something good to happen from that, is one wonderful way to go.

      I think too, when you aren't valued or recognized for what you do, it not only can discourage and deflate you, but it can also serve to make you stand true to your art and reduce being influenced by others and their works. The thing is, your work still has to be liked by the majority to do well or be viable.

    • profile image

      lori811 10 months ago

      I hear ya on this one. One gets rewarded for their work. No deposit, no return:)) Thanks. Great Article!:))

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 10 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      I have to be honest and am a person who is use to being rewarded during or right after the work is done. I admire people who go through the tough challenge of getting the payoff later. Hopefully you will get yours soon.