There is a misconception out there when it comes to entrepreneurship that all successful people "got lucky" or created an overnight success out of the blue.

In fact, one of the biggest companies on the planet is commonly referred to as an overnight success. But that couldn't be further from the truth. More on that later.

Most startups, even heavily funded ones, are rarely overnight successes. But if you understand the below principles you can still do very well, very fast.

This is more important than overnight success.

The first thing to understand is that we don't go to bed and wake up and suddenly something that wasn't working magically works. That happens only in the movies.

While I'm a super-optimistic person and believe that anything is truly possible, success in business is not magic or luck. It's intentional hard/smart work, persistence, dedication, teamwork and belief in what we are building that makes things successful. And often, it can take years of failures to get to the big success. That's just reality.

In fact, I would venture a bet that there are very few true "overnight successes" out there. 99.99% of the time, it doesn't happen.

While it can be inspirational to believe in the overnight success, the problem is that this belief distracts people from putting in that relentless determination and playing for the long game. Those two things are generally required to build something massively successful. So if you can find a way to get super inspired and at the same time be willing to put in the long term hustle, that's when the magic truly happens.

You can reverse engineer success.

This is the big secret. If you know what has worked in the past, in your industry and beyond, you will be ahead of the curve. It doesn't mean you are going to copy others, but you can see what they did to have their seemingly overnight success.

Go ahead and look back at just about any successful company. You will find a story of how they rose to fame. While it may seem like an overnight success in hindsight to an outsider, the people on the inside will almost always give you a different, more factually accurate, version of the story.

Facebook was NOT an overnight success but looks like one.

This is perhaps the perfect example. Even Facebook's case, many people will say it was an overnight success.

But I remember when it was just getting started. I was in Boston around the time Facebook started and was a very early user. It was absolutely not an overnight success. I remember thinking that it was kind of gimmicky at first, and didn't think it would take off as it has.

In reality, it didn't take off anywhere near the scale of today in its original form. It wasn't until they opened up beyond the big schools and changed from a "rate your peers" website to an open social network that it really started to grow massively. But it wasn't overnight.

In fact, the co-founder of Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz, has gone on record debunking Facebook as an overnight success, saying that it essentially took six years of long nights coding away while being stressed out and tired.

But even today, people insist Facebook was an overnight success and that they got lucky because of the way the media portrays it and the way people try to come up with justifications for it.

Don't belittle other's success, learn from it.

It seems commonplace to judge and belittle successful startups and entrepreneurs. People like to chalk up their success to "luck" or "right place right time," "massive money behind it," etc. This usually happens when people do things that they couldn't do. It makes others feel inferior. But it shouldn't, and instead of letting your ego be offended, learn from those people. And instead of trying to come up with a false justification for those that have been successful before you, learn from them.

Published on: Oct 24, 2016