Data shows Amazon Marketplace has grown by 41 percent since 2017-- and it's a trend that's going to continue. But don't be put off by the increased competition. Instead, look for the hidden opportunities this trend contains. It may take you down the harder path, but it will force you to grow and build invaluable skills. That's been my experience and I believe it can be yours too.  

My Amazon business grew to seven-figures in less than a year. Thanks to a great product, a powerful message, and a commitment to incredible customer service, we achieved rapid success.

Then fresh challenges came along. Counterfeit sellers emerged, which led to costly lawsuits. Supplier relations changed, leading to massive quality control issues. What's more, a new product line didn't take off as fast as expected-- which stifled cash flow.

But instead of feeling disheartened, I chose to embrace the struggle and grow from it. Here are three big takeaways from this experience.

1. Invest time wisely.

When times get tough (and they inevitably will), you can't afford to lose yourself in the stress. Instead, you must focus your attention on what you can influence-- and that means taking control of your time. I started my business as a side hustle while working full time as an engineer. This experience forced me to be productive so I could successfully juggle my job and company.

I set insane deadlines and stretch goals to force myself to get accountable and rise to the challenge. I also learned to plan my day to ensure the most important tasks and issues got my attention first. When you're always focused on the activities that push your business forward, lack of time won't stop you from making rapid progress.

2. Take control and look for the lesson.

When you're neck deep in a tough time, it can be tempting to throw in the towel.

When my business was targeted by counterfeiters, I felt so mad. As well as losing sales, our complaints crept up as customers reported the sub-par counterfeits to us. After working so hard to build our brand, it felt unfair. It would have been so easy to wallow in the problem, but that wouldn't have solved it.

Instead, I took full ownership of the situation and committed to finding a solution. I sought guidance from other business owners, took legal advice, and implemented a robust process to identify and report counterfeiters quicker by building relationships with Amazon brand registry.

I also used the opportunity to further strengthen our brand message and customer service. It was painful and costly, but what I learned made my company more resilient.

3. Resist the need for instant gratification

Success doesn't happen overnight. Instead, it's the cumulative result of daily actions. This requires commitment, focus, and resourcefulness. It also requires you to be patient.

When you're surrounded by stories of success you can wonder why it hasn't happened to you. But success compounds. Do the work, stick to the course, and clock up the small wins. If you have the right product, the right message, and the right strategy, eventually you'll hit the tipping point where it all falls into place.

This process requires delayed gratification, which is hard in a world where we want it all now. But bigger rewards await those who are prepared to play the long game. So embrace the struggle. Allow the roadblocks and tough times to draw out the best of you. You'll get stronger and build a more successful business as a result.

Published on: May 2, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.