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Hard Work is All it Takes…WRONG!

It really dawned on me pretty early in my career, if I’m being honest with myself.

My ‘Hard Work’ philosophy had been one that I came by honestly. My dad preached it incessantly. In college at UT, I worked three jobs. Some of which did not even pay, but rather were used to build those ever-important connections and boost the ole resume.

I got good grades. Met a lot of key people. So, I was a little disappointed when my efforts found nothing in the way of a post grad job without having to return to my home state of Indiana. But…’hard work is all it takes’, right!

My first gig was as a sales rep…sorry…I mean, ‘Account Executive’, at a group of radio stations in my home state of Indiana. There, I rose through the ranks fairly quickly, moving from sales rep to Local Sales Manager for one of the stations.

Meanwhile, opportunities began to crop up, giving me a chance to return to Knoxville…where I really wanted to be. One such opportunity was through one of those unpaid gigs from college, where I had helped to produce a scoreboard show. They loved me. I was more than qualified…more so than anyone else they had spoken to and really wanted to bring me aboard.

“When do I start?” I asked.

“Uhh…no-go…corporate is making us hire a female” was the response.

No problem, I thought. Keep working. After all, hard work is all it takes, right!

Then I finally got the call…it was a gig that would punch my ticket back to Knoxville.

I was hired as a sales rep…sorry again, I mean ‘Account Executive’…to sell for a new News Talk station.

Hard work was, indeed, paying off. Right?

Well, yes, and no. On my first day, I learned that one individual had grabbed the top 100 accounts for this new station and the remaining five reps were battling for scraps.

I was one of those scrap-mongers. But…that’s okay, because ‘hard work is all it…’ oh okay, I’ll cut the crap. Because, YES! That’s a bunch of bullshit.

It’s not about working hard.

It’s not about working smart.

It’s not about being better.

In a perfect, world, sure…that’s what it would take, and maybe that’s what it should take, but it just isn’t true.

And no… it’s not about blaming that rep who had the top 100 accounts. Heck no. She was smart to play her hand that way. Nor was it about being better…smarter…more experienced or paying your dues.

It’s about working within a system…developing a strategy. One that was effective for me. After all, as Dan Kennedy points out: One percent of the population is tremendously wealthy…four percent does well…15 percent does okay and the remaining 80 percent struggle. I had struggled through college. I lived in an apartment that didn’t even have heat or air…for three years! Those days were supposed to be over.

So, through each of life’s touchpoints, I had learned a valuable lesson: It was NOT just about hard work.


Actually, it was about finding a system that I could put to use to develop relationships with individuals that I could genuinely help, and who could genuinely help me get from point A to point B as well.

I did it and eventually started BrandVision Marketing–the first agency in Knoxville that actually focused on branding and developed a strategic system to build profitable brands.

Business owners know that working hard is a prerequisite for success. It’s part of the entrepreneur’s mindset. What they don’t all know is that ‘hard work’ may mean absolutely nothing if a proper marketing system is not in place to deliver quality customers month after month.

It seems, in fact, that most business owners do NOT know that. I talk to people regularly that know their business. Certainly. They are very bright people. They put together sound fiscal plans to bring an idea to life, but too often fail to incorporate marketing dollars into that mix. I also talk to people routinely that spend tons of dollars in marketing and fail…only to approach me with the not-so-simple request of ‘save my business…and, by the way, I have no money left to spend’.

With all of that in mind, throughout 2023, our focus will be on sharing aspects of that system that goes beyond hard work. That goes beyond smart work. Rather, a system that moves you toward profitable and productive use of your time.

Wanna talk? Book an appointment here…email me at; or leave a message at 865.531.5874 .

By Scott Trueblood, of BrandVision Marketing. BrandVision Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Knoxville, TN.


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