Money Making: Do You Have Fire in the Belly?

Money Making: Do You Have Fire in the Belly?

© Laurent Hamels - - Making MoneyRather listen than read? Click the link below:

Audio Money Making Fire in Belly

“I just can’t get my business to make money regularly.  A little comes in, and then there’s a lull.  It just never gets any momentum,” said Elena.

“I’ve bought expensive programs and paid expensive coaches.  But I still can’t make enough money to even cover those costs,” complained Glynda.

“Last year, I had a thriving business.  But something happened,” said Marina.


All three of these entrepreneurs found themselves turning to the internet three years ago to build online business, either when they lost their own jobs or suddenly had to contribute to the family’s income because of losses elsewhere.

Money making seemed easy enough online.  The start-up costs weren’t too high and lots of people seemed to be bringing in cash.  At least that’s what they said.

Each woman had a real need, sometimes bordering on panic.  They each came up with an idea that was more – or less – aligned with something they could call their purpose.  It was going to work.  (It had to work.)

But did they each have “fire in the belly,” that illusive drive that pushes someone to keep persevering, to take risks, to redirect their efforts when something doesn’t work as they thought it would?  The drive that lets them ignore the naysayers around them because they know they’ve got a tiger by the tail?

Money Making Stories?

  • Elena started her business by taking something she did in her old job and bringing it online.  She already had a small client base, but then had to learn to find more and more prospects online.  Now these were no longer referrals or people she already knew.  And getting faceless prospects to take out their wallets and commit to a purchase took so many contacts before a relationship was created.  It wasn’t as fun or as easy as it had been in the beginning.
  • Glynda started out “buying” knowledge as fast as she could.  She wasn’t going to take any chances.  She preferred to take the money she had set aside and “invest” it in a guru who knew exactly how things worked online.  She had an idea for a business, but the guru couldn’t see how it would work and nudged Glynda closer to the business concept where the guru herself had succeeded.  But, as hard as she tried, Glynda’s heart wasn’t really in it.  She didn’t believe in it enough and asking people for the sale make her stomach turn.
  • Marina had wanted to work in a certain field since her teens, but had taken a job in another field because her parents said it was more secure.  (They were wrong.).  So when her job was phased out, she had her excuse to “follow her dream.”  Within 18 months, she had a viable business online, bringing in more than she had as a salary.  What she hadn’t counted on were all the other tasks she had to handle as a solo-preneur.  And then, as the internet matured, the online competition multiplied and the market started to evolve away from her passion.  Her business was slipping away and she didn’t know how to hold on to it.

Fire in the Belly

That hard-to-define fire in the belly does not come from need.  Nor from fear.  Need and fear can exist, but the fire itself has to come from the belief that what you are doing is going to succeed.  You like what you’re doing, in fact, you love it.  You may not have perfected your concept, but you’re willing to put it out there and make mistakes.  You’re willing to fail … so you can succeed.

Somewhere in your mind, you’ve understood the difference between “I failed” and “I’m a failure.”  You realize that failure is one part of building something meaningful, not a personal judgment.

That fire in the belly is what makes you jump out of bed in the morning, ready to move your concept (and business) forward, even if just a few inches.  It’s what keeps you working when the day is getting long, until you can reach a comfortable milestone just ahead.  It’s what lets you take no for an answer, again and again.  Until you get to the yes.

Elena, Glynda and Marina lacked fire in the belly.  And that made money making difficult, if not impossible.

As you look at your business, where are you?  Is it growing at the pace you want it to?  Does it have momentum?  Are you still excited?  Do you miss your business when you have to take a few days’ break?  Are you taking imperfect action when you feel it will teach you something?

Let us know in the Comments section below if this concept of “fire in the belly” has made you look at your business any differently.


Bio: Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.

  • Martha Giffen

    Love this! I think I definitely have the fire in the belly! I love what I do and can’t wait to do it again every morning. It’s been plenty of hard work but the payoff has been incredible. Happy, happy, happy!

    • Yay, Martha! And we can feel that good energy in everything you do, congratulations!

  • Vatsala Shukla

    I must have a fire in my belly because I do what I do everyday, happily. Yes, there are times when things do not work out but instead of feeling like a failure, I start to analyze and accept that I need to do some more learning and thinking for next time round. It is good to fail every now and then, keeps you thinking, acting and growing.

    • That ability you have to differentiate between failing and “being” a failure is so important, Vatsala. Any time we build a business, there will be unknowns and stumbling blocks. The key is to know how to deal with them productively!

  • Self belief is so important in every area of our lives and having that fire or passion is what keeps us going when the going gets tough!

    • You’re right, Carolyn. We don’t call upon that last bit of “oomph” when things are flowing smoothly. It’s when we’ve been pushing the rock up the hill and we still haven’t reached the top … 😉

  • This is an awesome article Sharon – having that fire in the belly and believing that you WILL succeed is what keeps us going when things get a wee bit tough! I also think it’s important to be prepared to fail at times and see it as a step toward success!

    • If we don’t fail at all, Moira, it probably means we’re not stretching enough. We can still possibly make it by playing safe, but it’ll take forever! Better to take some imperfect action and allow for “course corrections” …

  • Leslie Ferris

    I love the point about not being afraid to ‘fail’ – whatever that means. 🙂 Seems to me the minutes we become afraid to fail, we start doing just that….

    • I hadn’t thought about that, Leslie: if we start to fail the minute we become afraid to fail. Let’s see: If we’re afraid to fail, we may well start second guessing ourselves, and may not go with our first (and best) reaction, the one that comes from our intuition or gut or whatever. Interesting!

  • I always enjoy your posts! Thank you for sharing your experinece!

    • Thanks, MarVeena! You’re always so welcome here … 😉

  • LizB4

    Sharon, this is so true! I have fire in the belly still – even though I took my hobby and made it my livelihood…I don’t mind all the paperwork, the grumbly customers, the long hours etc…my money is doing ok right now, but I think it might be beginner’s luck! So, I am prepared for the lean times (I think), but also think I will be ok when that happens because I do have “Fire in the Belly” : D

    • Liz, have you thought of putting together a monthly projection for the next year or two (either gross sales or profits, or both) that seems reasonable? Then, if you surpass your goals now in what you call your “beginner’s luck” phase and DO have some lean times later, you’ll probably still be on or ahead of target for your accumulated projection the longer period.

  • Barbara Becker

    Always learning, always have a fire in the navel center! Never give up!

  • Enjoyed reading this Sharon. It’s right on time for me given the crazy economic and job search times. You must have the belly-fire because jobs don’t last like they used too. I read something today by Liz Ryan CEO of Human Workplace that made my heart smile and assured me that I don’t need to change the core of who I am just to “force fit” a job. Here are those beautiful words.” I love that. It empowers me to listen to the whispers of the fire in my belly and to pursue the gift of the Divine coursing through my veins. Thanks for this post Sharon!

    • I agree with Liz Ryan, Marvia, in that life will be pretty miserable if you compromise your entire core to fit a job. On the other hand, in difficult times, it does make sense to take something that isn’t a PERFECT fit because, from a position of having income and not having your back against the wall, you can better continue to search for that perfect job. The trick is to know yourself intimately …

  • Susan Schiller

    I connected immediately to each of the stories you shared, Sharon… I am excited about my business-in-the-making, and after having the stomach flu this week, which caused me to pull back due to dizziness, I realized just how much I really love creating my passion online. I still have a long way to go in this development phase, but the fire is growing stronger…. it definitely takes a lot more fire than I ever imagined! Another great article, Sharon… your site, to me, is like a lighthouse in the storm 🙂

    • Sue, languaging is so important so I’m going to suggest a little shift. Instead of thinking “I really love creating my passion online,” does it make more sense to say “I really love creating my business online, based on my passion”? I know it’s subtle, but if your intention is that the effort generate money, you need to think, say, breathe and live the fact … 😉

      • Susan Schiller

        You’re right, Sharon… that sounds much more empowering… thanks!

  • I am currently at this phase on my blog. It isn’t making me the money that I wish it did. I am not really sure what to do at this point, other than to keep at it. I know that over time my site will get big enough and pull in the amount of traffic that I need to make a passive income.

    • Christy, I may be totally off base, but wanted to share a few thoughts, just in case they are useful. If a site isn’t making “the money that I wish it did,” either (1) it has some sales, even with limited traffic, or (2) it has no (or virtually no) sales. If it’s the former, then getting traffic should be your greatest priority. But if it’s not converting beyond friends and family, you WILL need to re-examine what you’re offering and who you’re targeting in order to pinpoint the resistance. More traffic alone will not solve the problem. If you don’t have your challenge clearly identified, it can eat away at that “fire in the belly” too easily. So clarity is key!

  • Roz

    This is the PERFECT POST for me, right now. Just invested in moving my online business to forefront, working hard & I have a partner who is less optimistic than I. I know I have ‘fire in my belly’ & that is what drives me to keep learning, putting in the time & effort & reaching out.

    • I’ve visited (and read) your site, Roz, and love the enthusiasm you bring to the online focus of your business. Your more reticent partner will come around when she sees sales coming in through this door … 😉

  • Robert Manea

    Awesome Post!! really hits home! My belly is on fire, and i believe in what i am doing, and i am trying to change the way things are done… will their be failures along the way, definitely.. but i will pick up and choose the other path!

    • Think of those “failures” simply as course corrections, Rob. In his book “Aim, Fire Aim,” Michael Masterson talks of “failing forward.” In one description: “Ready, Fire, Aim means moving quickly to implement new ideas, testing
      your products in the market, and accelerating failure so you can move as
      quickly as possible to success. Action, says Michael, is the only way a
      business will ever get off the ground.”

  • Whoa! Sharon I know these ladies. I’m one of them. I have a fire in my belly that is a raging forest fire. I’ve made ALL the mistakes, made some money but not enough. Faced with some tough decisions soon to come the time to pay the piper has arrived. No more time for coaches, no more money for coaches…now, it’s time to put the peddle to the metal, apply all that I’ve learned and then do it again until the money comes my way. Without doubt I can and will do it. When I do my greatest reward will be to address the naysayers with “I told you I could do it”.

    • Carla, you certainly have all the tools and all the motivation to get into momentum. I know this is over-simplified but, I agree, it sounds like it’s time to find the one combination of actions that brings money and just keep doing it again and again!

  • Tom Holmberg

    I love your thought about needing the fire in your belly to succeed and the the passion to learn from failures.

  • Great post Sharon! I have the fire, but have noticed that when things get too hot, I tend to pull back telling myself I need to rethink things. I recognize myself in all three of your examples, but I’m still here in a bit of a different incarnation. Feeling today like I need to rethink one more time, when I know deep down all I really need to do is throw a little more wood on the fire.

    • I know how that fire shifts, depending on what’s going on in our lives. The important thing is that it remain strong enough to keep us moving forward (and not second guessing ourselves, which we’re so good at doing!).

  • Pat Moon

    Your 3 examples are so real life. I have the passion.. don’t know quite how it could be any more? I sometimes get overwhelm and believe that gets in my way.. never quite enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I need to do to make it work but I am determined to keep pushing for the success I dream of. Thanks for your insight.

    • Sometimes the overwhelm comes from still hanging on to actions that are not the most effective. I know I occasionally need to weed through actions that have become habit (and oh-so-comfortable) and that I do without measuring honestly if they’re the best use of my time. Of course, because of the nature of the marketing medium, there’s always something new to add … Just a thought, Pat 😉

  • Some days, I feel like I am just putting one foot in front of the other, but I’ve been doing this for 16 years now. I still love what I do, but I don’t really miss it when I have to take a break. I want that fire back, though. I miss it.

    • That’s a tough one, Amber. Lots of us who are diehard entrepreneurs find that the early growth stage is the one that gets our juices flowing. It’s the challenging one that calls for the most creativity and perseverance. But “managing” something that already has momentum doesn’t have quite the same effect. Is there something you can add or change that brings back some of that early energy, combined with either delegating more of what’s working or culling something that’s working marginally so you’re not increasing your workload?

  • Delia @ Blog Formatting

    There are days that the fire in the belly is the strongest and days when it gets a bit small, and that’s perfectly OK. The important thing is to never ever give up. That’s my philosophy 🙂
    Thanks for the great read!

    • You’ve got it, Delia! As long as it’s always stronger than the temptation to give up, you’ll keep it going. I would imagine you also have little rituals you call on to help fan the fire when it gets small, don’t you? They might not be real obvious …

  • kathyrobinson

    Sharon I’m also all three of these ladies. My fire is burning a little dim lately, too many medical problems (it’s called age). However I refuse to quit, I’ll just keep putting some kindling on that fire until it’s raging again. What a wonderful example of getting a message over through story telling!

    • I find the story telling is an effective way for readers to engage, Kathy … and fortunately I have a wealth of stories to pull from … whether from women I mentor, work along side, read about, play with or whatever. And by building composites, I never have to jeopardize anyone’s privacy. Thanks for mentioning it!

  • robindavidman

    Great article! You really do need to stay positive and motivated to keep that fire going!

    • Or maybe that fire is what keeps us positive and motivated, Robin?

  • Love your articles Sharon… and Having fire in the Belly is sooo important in life and I think I can You and I got it…

  • Robin

    This is so, so fabulous! I loved the entire thing, and my favorite part is that you need to realize that failure is one part of building something meaningful, not a personal judgment. THANKS FOR THIS!

    • You’re very welcome, Robin. I heard an interview recently of four young men with successful online businesses … the interview in fact, that inspired me to write this article. When asked the worst failure possible, one said, “To never fail. Because that would mean you never risked, never stretched, never believed.” Interesting, huh?

  • Wow! I can so relate. I made many mistakes and I am still tweaking and building my business. Being perfect is a constant work in progress. I know every moment of every day I am doing what I need to do to move my business forward. Yes it can be inches today and miles tomorrow. My belief is my guide and I am grateful everyday for every success. Such a powerful post and much needed today!

    • Sometimes it’s just good to read that we’re on the right track, Katrina, and doing what we need to do! Congrats on your focus and on your willingness to make mistakes in order to grow!

  • Norma Doiron ´*•჻.

    “the fire itself has to come from the belief that what you are doing is going to succeed.” So well said, Sharon! You really described what I feel for my biz… and great tips & insights here. Thanks so much!

    • Norma, that energy and enthusiasm permeates everything you do. Keep it up!

  • Meire Weishaupt

    Thanks for the post and inspiration, it is good to know that the same things that happen to us, also happen to everyone in business. The important to me is to keep going with positive thought and attitude that we get there.

    • While things may look very different from the outside of businesses, we all deal with the same issues, Meire. We may just be at different stages of dealing with them. To me the key is to find the support and motivation to get past any obstacle so we can increase our chances of success!

  • Lorii Abela

    Very inspiring post! As long as you keep persevering even when the going seems to get tough sooner or later you will get through the hard times. What inspires you the most to keep going?