Why Building a Successful Business is like Fishing

Did I just go a little Ron Swanson on ya? Why yes, I did!

Never held a fishing pole in your life? Passionate about fishing? No problem.  I want to take this humble opportunity to share why during my time fishing last weekend, I suddenly had a moment of realization that fishing is just like building a business. 

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Quick background: I’ve fished since childhood. Fishing is fun! However, my husband LOVES to fish. He practically is a fish. He loves spending time on and in the water as much as possible. We are fortunate and spoiled to be able to use my parents’ Pewaukee Lake shared access frequently. And by frequently, I mean we show up and use it — a lot. 

Bryan, my husband, is lucky (duh) in two ways. 

1) I enjoy fishing. It’s fun, peaceful, yet so exciting when you reel in that big fish. 

2) I love reading, which is very handy because sometimes if I don’t feel like fishing, I bring my book and happily read while Bry fishes. Lucky! 

Fishing and Entrepreneurship 

Here we go. My thoughts on why building a business is a lot like fishing.  No worries if you’ve never fished in your life, you’ll be able to find value. I share some takeaways on how to learn from the two even if you never fished in your life. 

1) Patience is Key 

Building your business and fishing is a game of patience and perseverance. You must learn to wait and be willing to stick it out to see how things turn out. There have been many times I’ve hung in there fishing and when I throw the last cast is when I get the fish. And while building my business, I’ve had to be patient and learn that a business takes time to grow. 


2) The Right Hook 

When building your marketing plan, you need to develop the right hook to attract the right audience and lead them to your website. During fishing, you need to use the right hook for the type of fish you are hoping to catch. You won't use a small hook used for a panfish if you’re hoping to land a monster musky. You need to use the right hook, and use it confidently!


3) Research & Strategy 

You can’t build a successful business without some research. You might spend time researching online, interviewing possible customers, or testing out products. Typically with fishing, you want to look into the best spots to fish for the type of fish you want to catch. If you stumble across a body of water and use whatever fishing equipment you have, there’s a chance you’ll catch something. Your chances will be much higher if you come prepared with the right equipment!


4) Feeling Lucky?

It’s strange, isn’t it? There are times when you know you’re going to get lucky on the water. You can just feel it. Today is the day you reel in that monster catch. I’ve felt that way talking to a potential client during a Discovery call or meeting someone at a networking event. I’ve thought This is a great connection for me! If it feels like your lucky day, it just might be your lucky day.


5) Reeling in the Trophy 

The best feeling in the world! When you land the dream client OR reel in that beautiful largemouth bass. You put in the time and effort. You were patient, and now you finally reel in the winner. You book the client or, in my fishing analogy, you put the fish back. It’s time to celebrate!

Not Every Day is Your Lucky Day, But You Always Have Fun

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Sometimes, you have the best equipment, bait, and spot, but the fish just won’t bite. You followed all the rules and did the right things, but it’s just not happening. I’ve sat there with my pole in the water with fish jumping all around, and nothing bites. 

However, sometimes you walk away with nothing, and that’s okay. It wasn’t meant to be. You feel thankful for the time spent on the water and enjoy your time outdoors. Sometimes when building your business, you had the best intentions and plan, but it doesn’t work out. You learn from the experience and move forward. Not every day is your lucky day. 

Part of what’s fun about fishing is that you don’t know what will happen. You pack up to head out, excited for the possibilities. I feel the same way heading into a networking event or jumping on a Discovery call. In both scenarios, you might land your dream catch or walk away, having learned something new.  



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