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You want to reach success, whatever that may look like for you, but it seems like everyone you look up to got there instantly.

Why aren’t you one of the chosen few that doesn’t have to work to be known?

Spoiler alert: you’ll have to work hard. In fact, just about every “overnight success” has worked for years to build something great.

Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins:
  • “Overnight success” is a myth.
  • To find overnight success, you need hard work.
  • So many people that seem to be overnight successes have been working hard for years leading up to that point.
  • Stop making excuses.
  • Be 150% dedicated to showing up.
  • Be willing to change what you’re doing.
  • Procrastination is the ultimate enemy of success.
  • If you aren’t dedicated to your brand with laser focus, nobody else will be.
  • Dig deep and work hard, because overnight success doesn’t just happen.
Show Notes
  • 01:03 Kyle: Success overnight is a myth that many of us believe at some point. We may need to learn what it really takes to succeed, but we also still kind of feel like it can happen. Maybe it’s a thing. Overnight successes are all around us. We see those because they’re in the spotlight. You see someone on TV that was just discovered, or someone in a newspaper that was discovered by someone trying to find them, or whatever it is.
  • 01:37 There are all these things that you see. You see people coming out of nowhere. Suddenly, they’re popular. They’re famous. Whatever it is that you’re striving for, they’ve found that success at a seemingly much faster pace than you. What we don’t see are the hundreds of people on the verge of becoming an overnight success. They’ve got their heads down working. We don’t see them or hear about them until, suddenly, there’s this point at which they do something that triggers that seemingly overnight success.

An Example of “Overnight Success”

  • 02:13 Kyle: A great example of this is, recently, a friend of mine, Jeff Sheldon, who owns a brand called Ugmonk, started promoting a new product called Gather on Kickstarter. It’s this amazing, awesome desk organizer. His brand is all about lifestyle and shirts. He’s had some physical products and things, but this is one of the bigger physical products he has released.
  • 02:41 His goal was $18,000. That was to get some of the production going and get things moving. He reached that goal within the first 47 minutes or so. That’s super crazy, right? In the first 24 hours, he hit $100,000 in funding. More recently, about ten days into the Kickstarter campaign, he reached $200,000 worth of funding.
  • 03:10 Many people are reaching out to him. I’ve seen this on Twitter. I’ve seen him reply to people. They’re saying, “How did you do this? How did you find this overnight success? How did you accomplish this? You’re in all these publications, like GQ and Wired, all these places that are publishing articles about you. We see you everywhere. You’ve made $200,000, and it seems like this amazing thing that came out of nowhere.”
  • 03:38 I love this tweet from Jeff. He said, “I’ve done zero paid ads for PR. It’s all spreading organically. The power of building a loyal community over the past eight years.” That’s the thing most people don’t see. He spent over eight years working on this brand, talking with people, getting customers, and getting people on board with his vision and what he’s all about. That takes a lot of time, eight years or more. He went on to joke about being an “eight year overnight success.”
  • For so many people that seem to be overnight successes, they have been working hard for years leading up to that point.

  • 04:20 Yes, there is occasionally a small minority of people that is somehow chosen. There’s some happy accident they landed in that suddenly made them an overnight success. Yes, that happens, but you can’t control that. You can’t work towards that. Today, I want to talk about what you can actually work towards, what you can do right now to find yourself in that overnight success position in the future with your brand and your mission coming to light and you finding the success you want.

Work Hard

  • 04:56 Kyle: Just to be really clear, overnight success doesn’t necessarily mean that you become a celebrity. It could mean that you now become the number one funded charity for a certain effort, and that’s what you really want. That’s success for you. You want to impact that as much as you can. This is about finding that ultimate success you were looking for. It’s one of many examples. Jeff is a single example, but it’s very recent and relevant.
  • To find overnight success, you need hard work.

  • 05:36 So many people don’t want to hear this. They want the easy answer. They want the quick answer. They want, “It’s overnight, so what else can I do? That sounds like too much.” It’s not enough to sit back and do what everyone else is doing. Are they known like you want to be known? Do they seem to have superpowers? Of course they don’t, because they’re doing the minimum.
  • 06:00 They’re not doing all they can. That’s why they’re in the same position you’re in right now. If you want to become an overnight success, you need to be 150% dedicated to showing up, crushing it, and not settling for the same routine over and over again. If things aren’t working, pivot, find a new direction to go. Don’t sit around and complain that things aren’t going the direction you want them to go, because they may not always go in the direction you want them to.
  • 06:30 This is not a game of, “Everything needs to go my way.” It’s a game of, can you put in the time and the effort? Can you pay attention enough to actually find the direction you need to be going? You don’t have to do something completely different when things aren’t working, but be aware of what’s working and what’s not.
  • Be willing to change what you’re doing, because losing your dreams for your brand is worse than being uncomfortable with your routine.

  • 06:57 Recently, I started sharing well-edited Instagram stories, and I’m trying to grow my YouTube channel. It’s hard. I won’t say it’s not hard. Working with video is not something I do all the time. As much as I love video, it’s not convenient to make a 15 second, highly edited video that goes away after 24 hours. I do it for the engagement. I do it for the real people sending private messages and having really rich conversations with me.
  • 07:25 They’re full of questions and comments, and they’re surprised that I reached out to them. We’re making those connections and understanding each other. They feel like they can trust the brand that I’m building, and that means a lot in the long run. This is the long game. This is not instant gratification. This is building something that’s much more meaningful. Eight years from now, like Jeff Sheldon mentioned, you’ll become an eight year overnight success.
  • 07:55 It’s an investment. It’s my time, my energy, my attention, and all my focus on understanding my audience. I want to connect with them on a level that’s so deep, it seems ridiculous. I want to understand their pain points and build products that solve all of those pain points.

What Can You Do Now?

  • 08:14 Kyle: How can you start building this for yourself? What can you do right now? Reach out to people. That sounds simple, but reach out to people. Has anyone ever complimented you about what you’re doing, about the brand you’re building, the product you make, or the service you have? Reach out to that person. Talk with them. Establish a relationship. Find out why they care enough to say nice things to you or compliment what you’re doing.
  • Go to meetups, even if you have to travel.

  • 08:45 I’ve seen this so many times. I’ll mention going to meetups or conferences, and the first response is, “Well, yeah, but there aren’t really any in my local area. I would have to travel for that.” Travel. Go travel. Do it. You can travel. Everyone can travel. Figure out how to get there, and do it to the best of your ability. Go to conferences and make valuable connections that will be people that get behind you, that help you move forward.
  • 09:16 If you want to meet really quality people, go to seanwes conference this September. You can find that at It’s an amazing conference. I met so many people who are dedicated to helping you. They want to be there. It feels like a family, like this group of people who want to help you no matter what, and they’re not concerned with you being at a certain level or not in that.
  • 09:45 Those are the kinds of connections you want to have. You want people that will pull you up, not hold you from falling all the way down. The point here is, stop making excuses. “I don’t have time. I don’t have money.” Whatever it is, they’re all excuses to not invest in yourself and the future of your business. You’re not putting in that extra effort and that extra time and those extra resources.

You Have to Care & Do Something

    If you aren’t dedicated to your brand with laser focus, nobody else will be.

  • 10:15 Kyle: This is the harsh reality of building your brand and establishing yourself. Nobody else is going to do that for you. Yes, you’ll have an audience that comes alongside you, and they’re with you and connected, but you have to help connect those dots. You have to bring them in and get them focused on what you want them to focus on, so that you can build a successful brand. People care when you care. When you care about people, you’ll start to become that overnight success.
  • 10:48 I don’t know of any overnight successes that aren’t loved by people, that don’t feel like they’re connected with that person in some way. Maybe that’s through their music. Maybe that’s through the charities they give to. Whatever it is, there is some way that those people feel really, really connected to those overnight successes. That’s why they’re a success. Society has decided to say, “People need to see this person and care about this brand. They need to know about this.”
  • 11:20 You’re never going to get there if people don’t care. Make a meaningful product, deliver the best in class service, and make people shocked that you don’t have a team, that you care enough to take time out of your day to respond to them, chat with them, or send video messages to them. Cory Miller and I talk a lot about personification of a brand in this podcast (Related: e004 Understanding Brand as Personality and Why It Matters).
  • 11:43 You have to own that. If you don’t want to put in the effort, your brand will die. Do you really want this brand to die? Along with it will be your confidence, motivation, passion, and all of your dreams. Again, it’s okay to pivot. In fact, you should constantly evaluate what’s working and what isn’t working.
  • If you really want “overnight success,” you have to dig deep and work hard, because this isn’t something that just happen.

  • 12:19 If you’re someone who’s thinking about, “What direction should I go in? How can I reach that overnight success? What is the thing that will set me apart from everybody else?” Stop searching and go for something. Go in a direction. Maybe that seems counter-intuitive to you. Sean McCabe, at one point, made a great illustration to me about this exact topic.
  • 12:43 He was saying, “Some people think they’re standing in a circle, and there are arrows everywhere around the circle. You have to choose to go in a direction, and you’re going to leave all the other things behind. In reality, it’s more of a starting line. There are arrows all down the starting line. Pick one of those arrows, and you can change lanes at any point, but you have to start moving forward and doing something. Otherwise, you’ll never do anything.”
  • 13:14 I thought that was a great illustration from Sean. I probably sound like a crazed motivational speaker in today’s episode, but this stuff is real. You keep sitting there, strategizing, watching time go by, and doing nothing. Procrastination is the ultimate enemy of success.

Looking for the “Big Break”

  • 13:42 Kyle: Sarah in the chat had the question, “People who find overnight success have been working hard for a while, but oftentimes, I’ve seen them get a ‘big break’ after one specific project that shed light on them. While working hard on a specific basis, is the hunt for the project that will help us gain traction something worth considering?” Yes, I would say yes to this.
  • 14:08 You want to be looking for that, but you don’t want to search for that so hard that you’re discouraged. It’s kind of a catch-22. Yes, maybe there is a project. For example, Jeff Sheldon’s Gather project that I mentioned earlier. That’s a project he has done that has put him in the spotlight with many people. That will happen. It’s likely that that will happen. At the point where you’re considered an overnight success, typically it’s because you’ve done a single project or you’ve released a specific thing.
  • 14:42 Now, people are aware of that and they see and understand, and they associate you with just now receiving some kind of certificate of overnight success. Yes. We should always be open to new opportunities. We should always be looking for good projects or new ways to partner with people. Don’t do it by compromising your morals, values, or railroading everything you have built so far.

The Next Generation & Overnight Success

  • 15:11 Kyle: Sarah also mentioned, “As a big sister, I want to teach my little sister not to be fooled by so-called ‘overnight successes’ that she sees on TV. I want her to value hard work. What is the best way to be heard by a young person who is bombarded with fake advertising about success?” That’s a tough one. A lot of us go through this when we’re younger, and even when we start to get older. We think there are these instant, overnight successes.
  • 15:44 They’re thrust into the spotlight. They’re put in front of us, and we see them for the first time. It’s the only time we’ve seen them, so it’s the only time we know they exist. Educate people about that. Talk with someone, someone who thinks there really are overnight successes that have never worked hard. You don’t have to work hard. You just have to do something magical, and you’re discovered. It’s important to sit down and have those discussions.
  • 16:11 Say, “Look, this person you look up to, that you think is an overnight success, here’s when they actually started creating work. Here’s when they began. It has been years. Just because you didn’t see them until now, and you feel like they got this opportunity you don’t have, isn’t necessarily true. It’s just what the media has shown you or what you’ve seen or found.”
  • 16:37 This happens all the time. I see this so much with kids. My wife is an elementary school teacher, so I see a lot of kids with idols they look up to, these people that are prominent in their life. They feel like, “That person instantly became successful,” and they want to be a YouTuber or something related to what that person does. They have this picture in their mind that success is easily obtained as long as you say, “I’m going to do it.”
  • In some respects, success is obtained by deciding to do something, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

  • 17:13 It happens by working hard to get there. I hope this shared some motivation with you. If you’re struggling with your brand and you’re concerned about where it’s going or you don’t feel like you’re getting any traction, all of us go through this at some point. We get worried. We think that things aren’t working. We think that nobody wants to experience what we have provided for them. Maybe there’s one little thing you could change that would help you.
  • 17:49 I would encourage you to go to seanwes conference in September 2017. You can find that at Go sign up! Be around people who are in this exact same position. Even Sean McCabe, owner of seanwes, says, “I feel like I’m starting over, a decade into this.” There are people that have run successful businesses, and they feel like things aren’t going the right way, they’re concerned about what’s next, or they’re worried about what’s going to happen.
  • 18:22 This happens with everybody, and we often don’t see it. We don’t think it’s as big of an issue because the person has obviously found success, but it’s a problem for everyone. Being around people who can relate with you will change your perspective of that so much.