Are You 100% Committed As An Entrepreneur?

diveSuccess Is Determined By Your Commitment

In the 22 plus years I've been in business I've seen a lot of people come and go with their own businesses. The majority won't survive, let alone thrive.

Yet, some have weathered every storm because they were willing to do what it takes to stay in business. These are the ones others often call “lucky.”

Newsflash! Luck has very little to do with their success.

Running a business is like jumping off the high dive. If you want to succeed, you have to be fully committed.

Most people have no idea what it takes to keep a business going. Countless individuals will start a business only to discovery it takes a more, a lot more, than simply beginning.

Actually, starting a business is the easy part. Keeping it going is yet a completely different conversation. Becoming profitable is still yet another conversation.

With Risk Comes Reward

This post was originally written back in 2014. I was promoting a live event. At that time, I offered a refundable deposit. The idea was to get people to make a commitment by putting down a refundable deposit. When they showed up to the event, they got their deposit back. Simple enough.

Little did those in attendance realize what a risk putting on these type of events could be. What with the space rental, marketing, any support material given to attendees, audio visual, decorations and staff costs, and the investment quickly added up. It could be quite hefty … in the tens of thousands of dollars.

These events were always profitable because I created opportunities for those in attendance to enroll in one of several programs I offer. Yet, there was no guarantee as to what the profit margin would be. The events were always a risk, but when you're in business, risk is the name of the game.

100% Committed with Restrictions

During the time I was promoting my annual event taking place in October, 2014, I received a message from a woman who wanted to attend the event.  “I’m 100% committed to growing my business, but can’t afford to get the $197 refundable deposit ticket.”

She wanted me to forego the deposit to accommodate her.  She lives only a few miles from where the location was.

She became upset when I said no. I explained that the deposit would be refunded and still she insisted she be the exception to everyone else putting down a deposit.

I wondered if she had any idea what my investment to offer the event was. Obviously she had no idea. And yet, even if she did, she likely wouldn't have cared.

Who's Right, Who's Wrong?

I don't share this to say I'm right and she's wrong, but to make a very important point. Running a business takes risk and financial investments. If you're not willing to invest in growing a business, you are more likely a hobbyist than a business owner.

When someone says they are 100% committed to running a business, obviously this means different things to different people. This woman was 100% committed with lots of restrictions.

The irony of the situation is that the woman told me the event is exactly what she needed, but she was not willing to be inconvenienced to obtain the very information that could be an absolute game changer for her.

Yet, I would venture to say that even with the right information, nothing would change for someone like her. Why? Because if she wasn't willing to put a little skin in the game to get a seat into the event, she certainly wouldn't invest in other necessities to run a business.

Are You Willing to Risk?

I’m not going to beat around the bush here to coddle someone into thinking that running a business doesn’t take some risk. I would be doing a great disservice by pretending otherwise.

I’m not sure where people get misled into believing that growing a business does not require time, money and effort. It does. And if you’re not willing to put “skin in the game” you’re NOT 100% committed.

You can argue this point until the cows come home, but it’s likely if you are holding on to this type of belief you are also holding on to your business floundering.

Maybe You're Not Cut Out for Business

Some people absolutely should not go into business for themselves. They are not cut out for all that comes with the process.

What they want is the upside of running a business. The freedom they believe they will experience by having hoards of people want to do business with them, but they are not willing to experience what it's like to methodically build their business.

Ask any successful entrepreneur what it takes to build a business and you will find a common thread. You have to treat a business like a business. And that means you have to invest time, money and energy.

Otherwise, as my one of my business coaches would often say, “You have a hobby not a business.”

The Model Has Changed

Since that time, I've done away with the refundable deposit event model. However, I still offer events. They range in price from $47 on up to several thousand. This allows me to attract serious entrepreneurs. Those individuals who know it takes a commitment to grow their business.


To check out my upcoming event designed for “Women of a Certain Age Committed to Success” taking place on December 15, 2016 go to For only $47 you will spend a full day with other conscious women who are all committed to their businesses and their success.

The event takes place in Beaverton, Oregon. There's just one thing… seating is limited to 35 people and only a few spots remain.

Event Registration Click Here











  1. Hi Kathleen,
    This one is a hard one to answer, at least for me. I can see both sides of this. If it were me, I would have a hard time getting the money together because I do not have support from family and friends for my online business but I do believe that I would at least try to borrow if I were “100% committed.”

  2. Kathleen,

    I have personally jumped in and put something on a credit card if it seemed to offer just what I need to build my business. But I have noticed that many other people just don’t do that, even if they can afford the fees. And some people are living so much on the edge that they don’t have credit cards or means to borrow money. For those people, I would say “Get a job first. Sustain yourself. And then when you are ready – if ever – then start to focus on building a business.” You can start building a business on a shoe string – if your basic bills are covered – rent, car, food, clothing, medical. But if you really can’t yet afford it, then do what it takes to first earn the money or find a way to be part of the support team for a wage.


    Dr. Erica

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Well said Dr. Erica. Some people should get a job and realize that building a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes more than the desire to do so. It takes work, time, money, energy, and most of all the willingness to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Thanks for your insights.

  3. Hi, Kathleen,
    The refundable deposit is a great motivator, and if I lived closer, I’d be at your event. 🙂 Unfortunately, the airfare and accommodation would be horrendous and that I can’t afford, being on a fixed disability income with royalties trickling in quarterly. Writing is my hobby, (it keeps me sane) although I’d love to be able to reach more people with my books. I write romantic suspense, but the stories involve the bonds of family and community in overcoming problems. The reviews I’ve received have been (mostly) favorable – four and five stars. I’d love to be able to streamline social media in such a way that I’d have more time to write. I’ve learned how to set up and maintain a blog, a website, author pages, Facebook pages, twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and others. I would appreciate any tips you can give me. Love your emails. Keep them coming, and if you feel so inclined, visit my website and tell me what you think. Cheers in advance of your event. Lorraine

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Thanks for your comments Lorraine. I do know it is not always feasible. The point of my post was to show that here this woman was within driving distance so no hotel, no flight, a refundable deposit. No financial expense for the experience.

      There are times when it is not appropriate to incur expenses and other times it is. But in the case of this woman, none would have been incurred so I seriously question what 100% means to her.

  4. Often the most caring and compassionate thing you can do for someone is say no and hold strong on your own standards and principals. Others have managed to find a way and it wouldn’t be fair to others to make exceptions. Plus it’s a get it back if you show up. So suit up and show up. Stop fooling yourself. I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing for people to ask for what they want….sometimes you get a yes and you won’t get a yes if you don’t put yourself out there and ask. That usually takes a kind of courage so I can acknowledge this person for having that kind of courage and chutz·pah. I don’t have a judgement on this persona for asking, but like you I also have a sense they may be fooling themself. I know…I’ve been there myself. Have had a “hobby” business for way too long. I’ve recently recommitted to really rolling up my sleeves and making this happen. And no I won’t be able to attend cause I will be rolling up my sleeves in another sort of way that weekend…taking action by speaking at another conference that weekend. I’d definitely love to be there though, maybe next time. Have an awesome event Kathleen. I know you will.

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Thanks for your comments Jan. Yes, we must decide if our business is a business or it is actually a hobby. I don’t judge what another wants to do but those who succeed would often shock those who are wondering how it’s done.

      It takes sacrifice and the more successful you become the bigger the sacrifice. Some would say, “Well, when your successful you can afford the sacrifice, but yet, we had to start with something that took us out of our comfort zone to get to something bigger and bigger and bigger.

      It’s all relative.

  5. Kathleen – you are right on. You want to come? Put it on a credit card. No, I’m not saying you should go into debt. But, seriously, you are going to have a check in hand to deposit in your bank account before that credit card bill will even come in the mail! (In all fairness, if there is travel/lodging involved, that adds up. But in this scenario, there are no additional costs!)

    And even if it wasn’t free/refundable – if you aren’t ready to put down $197 for a live training event, then you aren’t ready for that training – you aren’t ready to have your butt kicked by Kathleen for three days! LOL!

    I’ve learned this the hard way, and have set some ground rules for my own business within the last year. I offer a long-term marketing service – an investment in building your business. It may take 3-6 months to see results from that investment. I no longer accept new clients who want to pay the first payment via PayPal. That’s a red flag (I’m not working with startup entrepreneurs; these are established business owners who should have a credit card – or a debit card with $$ on it – period.) I’ve also changed my terms so that applicants have to pay 3 months in advance, not just one. And I ask for payment upfront, with no refunds (unless I don’t accept you as a client, then the refund is immediate).

    If the client isn’t willing to make that investment in themselves, then they just aren’t ready!

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      LOL You made me smile Terri. Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately, there are those who see the issue of making investments something that gets them really upset.

      “You don’t understand!” they insist.

      Yes! I do and anyone at Power Up for Profits Live is going to find out more about the journey we took in our business to get it off the ground which included getting a part time job making $7 an hour to put food on the table. Yes, I do understand. More than many would realize.

      Most of my colleagues and peers have had to make some pretty incredible sacrifices that would make the hair stand on end on the back of their neck, but they knew it had to be done.

      It’s about priorities.

      I see this with people who say they don’t have time to create products the whole while spending hours a day in Facebook passing around jokes, videos of cute dogs (and I love cute dogs) or whatever, and wonder where their day went.

      Business takes effort, focus and yes, sacrifice.

  6. Hi Kathleen,
    It is amazing to me that so many do not appreciate all the effort you put out there trying to help others. They think you are totally into it for yourself, when nothing could be further from the truth. I am sure that her not being even willing to put money down infuriates (insults) you, because of all the effort you expended and value you are giving for little or no recompense.
    Some people aren’t ready to start a business, they haven’t developed their WHY to the point they are ready to commit. They are in the infancy stages, and obviously need to develop their personal growth. They are defensive and make excuses, objections…not ready to take that seat away from someone else who IS ready.
    Hang in there, and don’t let those kind of people upset you, move on. Your mind is too valuable for that….

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Thanks for your comments and kind words. There are times it is frustrating when people say they want something and yet, they are not willing to do what it takes.. Granted, there are times where it just isn’t the right thing to do in their particular situation, but other times it’s necessary to take a leap of faith.

      It reminds me of the story where a man said to a famous athlete, (I’m paraphrasing) “I would give anything to be as good as you.” To which the athlete said, “No you wouldn’t because if you would you would be practicing for hours every day. You would make the sacrifices I’ve made. You would stretch yourself beyond where you thought you could go. So no, you would not give anything to be as good as me or you would be doing it.”

  7. Margaret Saizan says:

    Kathleen, hmmm…you got me to not only open the email because of a very compelling subject line but here I am commenting – and this is not something I normally do – too busy running my businesses – i am very judicious about what i read and respond to. So hats off to you!

    First off I LOVE the way you set up this event with the money back guarantee providing one actually follows through and shosw up. That gives folks the motivation to step up and follow through and it also values the event host. With that being said, this gal did make a request, which as one person on this thread has already pointed out – and that is a bold thing – to my way of seeing it, that is a way of her being committed to her business – she has expressed the willingness to ask for what she wants. But as a person who has been a self employed entrepreneur for many years, I have had cycles and seasons with my finances – where money was not a problem – six figures in the bank and liquid… but there have also been a few times over the years – like when the economy tanked in 2008 and I lost a big account and went through my cash reserves before I could replace that work, where I was literally scraping money out of cookie jars to get gas in the car and food on the table. and I would not have had $197 to spare, even with the promise that I would get it back. I am now grateful for that experience because it was very humbling and I gained some new perspective. So with that being said, my personal approach with this particular person would have been to try and encourage her to find a way to raise the $197.00. I personally would not have assumed that her inability to come up with the $197.00 means that she isn’t committed to her business. To me it just means she has an obstacle to break through. I used to be big into confronting people (i am a trained life/business coach as well),Tough love does have it’s place – but and/unless I reallly know the person well and am personally familiar with their patterns and stuck places, more often these days I opt to motivate through encouragment instead of confrontation.

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Thank you for your comments Margaret. In that I have had my business 20 years, I’ve seen and experienced a lot. As you, I too have been through lean times and I have also had very flush times.

      I am not assuming anything with the woman in question. Actually, I didn’t share everything but I can assure you what the woman said and what she was doing was in conflict.

      There is something to be said for having “skin in the game.” I can remember times where my guts were in knots when we barely had any money and yet, I knew I needed to invest in my business. And I’m talking small amounts at one point.

      I wouldn’t assume for a minute that everyone should be at my event. But based on what transpired I can assure you, the woman was not committed.

      Appreciate your comments and input.

  8. Margaret Saizan says:

    when I wrote my comments, I was aware that you probably weren’t sharing everything – so thank you for expanding on that. I get it Kathleen. One of my hero’s, Joseph Campbell, the late great teacher of myth, in his model of the heroic journey, taught that when one makes the committment the helpers appear. And I have seen that happen for me in my own life. It also seems to follow that when you are called to step up,and step out… there is often a counter tension, a temptation, if you will to collapse. It’s like a test of sorts – and what it takes to break through and go to the next to get through that seemingly insurmountable obstacle that is right there in front of you – in this case, a refundable deposit. At any rate, thank you for hearing me out, and best of luck on Power up to Profits. I am sure it’s going to be fabulous!

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      We are very excited about. Not only three days of non stop learning, I’m celebrating 60 years on this earth. Whhoooo hoooo!

  9. Okay Kathleen here I go… I have been in business many years in a totally different business and made a really good living doing so. It was time for a change and with everything that happened in my life over the past few years it was well over due. With that said as you know I have done some writing over the years problem it was still in my computer… Along comes some Crazy woman that I meet at a seminar in Eugene. It was the kick in the butt that I needed to finally do something! I trained many people over the years for free just to help them succeed with their business. Well now I make money with it and as you know I have published some Ebooks (after updating them) and the first Children’s book in the series. I place the blame on you for getting me off of my butt and getting it done. Why? You tell it like it is! Thanks for that and I wish you a happy Birthday and I wish I could be there.
    Best of luck Bill

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      You made me smile from ear to ear on your comments Bill. And so glad you are doing what you love AND making money at it.