Play The Long Game

It’s the only game if you want to win.

My last posts have been towards budgeting and getting out of debt. This one I’m going with a different approach. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve wanted to do a post, but have been struggling with a way to put it together. I had a bit of an a-ha moment after reading some posts from friends on Facebook.

The posts and articles were about Amazon.

They were telling people not to shop with the online giant. Explaining that Amazon has simply become too big, and accusing them of monopoly behaviors.

I think Amazon’s story is great because it shows that if you are making sacrifices and doing things no one wants to, you too can have massive rewards.

Now, I work at an online retailer. Amazon is our competition. I get it. However, even though some dislike the company, many retailers feel compelled to sell products on Amazon in order to maintain cash flow. Chasing short-term monetary goals, helping the behemoth they dislike, rather than focusing on their own long-term domination.

Eat shit for 24 months and eat caviar for the rest of your life — Gary Vaynerchuk

The time frame is irrelevant. For some it may only be a few months, for others, it may be several years. The main thing to take is that you are going to be crawling through the trenches in order to make your way to the towers. It’s the only way it can be done.

Focusing on the bad will never get you ahead. Instead, tackle and solve problems to grow and progress. I look at Amazon as inspiration. I feel it could & should be for everyone.

I have always firmly believed in focusing on the long game in order to reap rewards. Amazon has done this so well over the last couple decades, it has put itself in its own league where simply no one can compete. All because they did what no one else was willing to do.

Amazon was founded in 1994, first traded publicly in 1997, and didn’t turn a profit until 2001. Four years of losses are an eon for any company, especially an upstart, and especially one with such grand ambitions. Amazon lost a staggering amount of money while building its brand and grasping market share, putting itself in a position where it would eventually dominate. The company lost several billion dollars its first few years, money that very few people thought would ever be recouped. — Investopedia

8 years from inception to profits? Billions in losses? Most people and companies refuse to make something like this happen. We tend to focus on the fact we are losing. We tell ourselves “it’s not possible” or “we can’t afford that.” When really, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Many people laughed at Amazon. Had skepticism that it would never make money and that it functioned more as a charitable organization.

Now, while I have emphasized the fact Amazon didn’t make profits, I must come clean. This isn’t entirely true. Amazon was making money through the web store. The main reason they were not profitable was because they were busy taking risks. They invested their cash back into themselves and spent time developing technologies to stay way ahead of the competition. Here’s a graph to illustrate what I’m talking about. Even though revenue has grown, net profit…well, see for yourself.

This is where Amazon got creative.

They invested in making money through third party sellers, fulfillment & warehousing centers, Amazon cloud/web services, Kindles, media & content, Amazon Prime along with credit cards. They do so many other things, they can offset offering extremely low prices to put other companies out of business to further gain market share. The value is in people they touch and capture, not the products they sell.

Why do I think the story is inspiring?

It fits so well with what I believe, and what I feel so many people overlook. It fits what many great people have been trying to push us to understand. The quote by Gary Vaynerchuck in the beginning, Dave Ramsey’s famous saying “Live like no one else, so later you can live and give like no one else.” You simply must put in the work along with giving up some things in order to gain others. All while investing into your future. There is no quick way to do it. If others are judging, and telling you that you’re crazy…you’re on the right track.

An overnight success doesn’t happen overnight.

This is what I’m hoping to document with myself, and share with all of you. To prove it can be done with some time, discipline and a little bit of grit.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. If you want to ride along with me on on my journey, please like and follow for more.

If you’re interested in more reading, check out The Dip, by Seth Godin. It’s a great book about identifying a dip, knowing when to keep pushing and when to give up.

I’d also love to hear all feedback and thoughts — so leave them below.

We’ve all got one life. Make yours count.