So you want to build a business? Launch a YouTube channel? Build a happy, loving family? Build a blog? Become a millionaire? Have a beautiful home? Build financial security?  Write a book? Change the world? Or any other miriad of goals! 

Alan Donegan Entrepreneur

Are you willing to pay the price?

There is probably something you want to achieve or do. Most of us haven’t quite yet completed everything and aren’t ready to sit on the porch staring out at the sunset for the rest of our lives. 

The question is, are you willing to pay the price for the thing that you want to achieve?  Are you willing to commit, work, and pay for the outcome you want?

Do you know how much it will cost you?

You can have anything you want in life if you are willing to pay the price up front and in full – Alan Donegan

Most people never work out the cost of the thing/dream/goal they want before they set out!  They merrily set out down a road without knowing how long that road is and how much energy, effort and sometimes pain it will take to complete the journey! 

Before you even set out  on your journey you need to:


  1. Determine what you want in life – which road do you want to head down?
  2. Work out the price for getting it – how much will it cost you in time, energy, effort?
  3. Decide if you are willing to pay the price!

Most people get stuck on number 1 and never actually decide what they want in life.  I will be writing more about this soon.  If you know what you want in life you are already ahead of most people! The second step is a tough one that most people never consider!

Alan Donegan money

Are you willing to pay the price? It isn’t normally money that success will cost you!

What is the price?

When I was launching my training business I went out to find mentors who had built a successful business already and I asked them how they did it.  I wanted to learn what was involved with building a business and learn from them.  I found two different mentors to help me. 

They both gave me differing advice as to what the price to build the business I wanted was.

The first mentor sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that I had to get on the phone and sell.  I had to hit the phones hard and that the best way to get corporate business is to make cold calls.

At the time I hated cold calling; I found it painful and soul sucking.  I remember one bright summer’s day at this mentor’s office where I had spent all morning making calls.  After making nearly 100 calls I had found one lead, which I reviewed with him.  He told me I should have closed it differently and I immediately felt like I had wasted the whole morning and was never going to be successful calling.  I ran outside crying and collapsed against a brick wall.

The second mentor said cold calling was a waste of time.  He said that the big companies have teams of people calling every day and it would be impossible to stand out that way.  He said the only way to stand out is to go networking, to get out into the world and to actually meet the people I need to sell to!

At the time I found networking very uncomfortable.  I didn’t understand it, and when I went to these stiff business networking events I found myself finding one person I liked and only talking to them all night or feeling uncomfortable at the edges before I fled the scene without talking to anyone.

Neither of these prices that they wanted me to pay seemed that exciting to me but I knew that to build a successful business there was a cost.

Most people, at this point, try and throw money at it (one form of currency) rather than time and energy (other forms of currency).  Money can solve a lot of problems but at early stages in businesses money just seems to accelerate you towards the outcome that was going to happen anyway.  It will either speed things towards success or failure quicker.

Which price did I end up paying?  Actually a bit of both.  I ended up getting Microsoft through networking and meeting people but I still had to make those calls along the way.  The thing I didn’t do was dive in and pay the price in energy and time as quickly as possible.  I paid a little each week and got slower progress.

Sometimes there are different routes to success and you can choose which price you want to pay.  The thing that can’t be avoided is paying the price.

I have seen people who readily shell out money for websites, coaches, and support people instead of paying the price they really need to pay, which is making cold calls themselves or getting out and selling themselves.  I have seen many people who work hard and pay but they aren’t paying the price the universe actually requires them to pay.  They are avoiding the thing they don’t want to do by indulging in busy work that doesn’t actually help them move towards their goal.


  • Work on their website instead of making phone calls
  • Send text messages instead of going to meetings
  • Write every day without getting feedback and improving
  • Work on making their marketing plan/journal/idea notepad pretty instead of doing what really needs to be done

How do I know this?

Because these are all things I have done myself. I would spend hours researching online rather than making calls.  I would spend hours writing in my goals book and using pretty colours instead of actually doing the work that needed to be done.  I would avoid paying the price that needed paying because it was uncomfortable and I would avoid it by do something that I felt comfortable doing.

Working out the real price

There might actually be many ways to build the business you want, and you can choose which price you need to pay but I want you to do it consciously.  I don’t want you to do what I did and for many years avoid doing what really needs to be done by justifying that you are busy on other things. 

Let’s take a real example.  Building a YouTube Channel.  What is the price for building a successful YouTube Channel?

  • Studying YouTube and how it works
  • Creating valuable and entertaining content.  Get on camera and create!
  • Publishing it online regularly
  • Promotion.  Getting on every other social media platform and promoting your content as much as possible. Spending as much time as possible engaging and building an audience. 
  • Spend at least a year doing it to see if there’s traction or not

There is a huge cost to building a YouTube channel that you need to decide if you are willing to pay.  And even if you pay the price there is no guarantee that your first channel will be successful! 

Let’s say you want to write a book.  A lot of people do.  Are you willing to pay the price?  This is one I am actually considering right now!

  • Spend months researching and learning
  • Spend a year writing and re-writing
  • Get painful feedback from professional writers that you will have to develop your manuscript
  • Get rejected 100s of times by publishers
  • Or decide to self-publish
  • Spend the next 6 months promoting the book in every way imaginable
  • The average book sells fewer than 1000 copies.  Are you willing to do all of this to sell 1000 copies?

That is a HUGE price to pay.  Are you willing to pay?

Please take a moment now and in your notebook write out what you think the cost of success is for you in as much detail as you can.  If you don’t know then go and find someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and ask them what they did to get there.  Ask them what the biggest thing they had to give up for success was! This will give you an idea of the cost.

Deciding not to pay

Once you know the cost of the goal, the question then becomes: are you willing to pay that price?

About 10 years ago I was having fun with stand-up comedy.  I had won a few humorous speaking contests and done a few sets in different clubs.  I enjoyed it. I was studying the books, the courses, and learning as much as I could.

Then I started to dream of becoming a professional stand-up comedian.  As I thought through my dream I realised the cost.   If I wanted to do it (and I truly believe if I had worked at it I could have done) then there was a huge cost.

  • Surround myself with comedians (they all hang out in London so this would have been a lot of travel)
  • Travel to London daily to do slots at the clubs.  I would be travelling 90 minutes each way in the evenings to do a 5-10 minute slot for free at the start
  • I am best in the mornings so I would have to completely re-wire my body clock as most comedy happens after I normally go to bed
  • My wife had a full-time job at that point and I would have been going out in the evenings when she was available to see me.  I would be paying the price of not seeing the one I love regularly!

The price seemed astronomically high to me, and I decided not to pay.  There was NO WAY I was giving up all my time with the person I love to get this dream.

I decided not to pay the price.  I gave up that dream of being a stand-up comedian and focused on my corporate training business.

It is OK to decide not to follow your dreams if the cost is too high!  You just need to consciously make that decision and be comfortable with it.

If you don’t want to pay the price, that is fine.  Just stop whinging about not having the dream if you are not willing to do what it takes!  Decide on a different dream.

Deciding to pay and over how long

The price of success is rarely financial.  Most of the time it is a cost in time, energy, effort, and stepping outside of your comfort zone.  

Once you have decided what your goal is and that you are willing to pay the price to have it then the only thing left to do is to pay that price as quickly as possible.

If I decide that I want to write the Rebel book and decide that I am willing to pay that price, then I just need to get on and do it.  If I want to pay the price of working on it for an hour a day, it is going to take twice as long.  If I decide I am going to pay the price and work on it full-time daily then I am going to get it done quicker!

At the moment I am working on the Rebel TV show and the Rebel Podcast.  I don’t have enough left in my energy and time bank to pay the price for the Rebel Book as well.  It is going on the someday/maybe list until I free up more of my own resource to pay the price!

Are you willing to pay the price for success in your goal?  How long do you want to pay the price over?

Entering the competition without paying the price first

Two weeks ago, I injured myself playing football.  I pulled my hamstring whilst playing and headed home straight to ice it!  I iced my leg for about the first 4 or 5 days until it didn’t hurt anymore and then I went back to normal life. 

I did nothing more.  Tonight, I headed out to football again excited to get involved and play!  I warmed up, stretched, and started the game.  Within 60 seconds I felt a twinge in my hamstring again and my game was over.  I felt so upset inside, down and gutted I had missed doing something I loved.   I drove away from the ground lonely and in pain.

On the ride home, I started reflecting on this post and realised that I had not paid the price before playing.  I had not spent the two weeks in between games icing my leg, building up to exercising and the eventually stretching.  I hadn’t put the time and energy into healing that I should have done.

I hadn’t paid the price of admission to the game, and I ended up paying a FAR higher price afterwards.

The risks if you don’t pay the price up front and in full are even higher.   It is the person that doesn’t prepare for the presentation and tries to wing it.  It is the person that hasn’t prepared for the pitch meeting and goes in blind.  It is the businessperson that buys stock without knowing exactly what the market is interested in.  It is the entrepreneur that borrows £100,000 and starts a business without knowing anything about the industry!

If you don’t pay the price upfront and in full and still decide to play the game then the consequences can be devastating.

Not only should you work out the price and work out if you are willing to pay it or not, you shouldn’t enter the game without paying.

If you don’t pay the price upfront then you can get hurt playing.

Enjoying the process

There is some good news.  One of the things I repeat ad nauseam at Rebel Business School is you can pick any business you like to start.  Why would you ever pick one you don’t enjoy?

If you pick a goal that you are excited about, passionate about, and want to do then it makes paying the price far easier.  If you want to build a business training people and you enjoy public speaking then you are going to feel a lot more comfortable putting in the hours and effort to learn the skill than if it really scared you!

If you want to build a food business and you love cooking it is going to be a lot easier to pay the price to become a great chef than if you don’t enjoy working in the kitchen.

If you can get yourself to fall in love with the process of becoming whatever you want to become, then it makes paying the price a lot less painful and sometimes even enjoyable.

I wanted to launch my own training business and to do that I needed to become a great speaker.  I joined Toastmasters and found I loved attending the club.  I went to Guildford Speakers Club for 7 years and entered every contest, delivered as many speeches as possible, and loved every minute.  It didn’t feel like I was actually paying the price to become a great speaker because I loved it.

The biggest price I had to pay to launch my business was becoming a salesperson.  This one had a HUGE emotional and energetic cost. The speaking was easy!

​If you enjoy the journey it is going to make it easy to pay the price.

Why am I writing this post?

Because I want you to take a really close look at your goals and dreams, work out the cost, and then make a conscious decision if you want to pay or not.

It is starting to come closer to January when people reflect on the year and start to plan new things for the next year.

Most people don’t talk about the cost of success.  There always is one! Are you willing to pay the price?

Here is what I want you to do as an exercise after reading this:

  1. Write out your goals.  What do you want to achieve?
  2. Write out the cost of these goals.  In as much detail as possible, what do you really need to do to achieve those goals?
  3. If you don’t know what the cost is, then go find someone who has done what you want to achieve and ask them how they did it!
  4. Decide if you are willing to pay the price.  Talk it through with your friends, your partner or people who understand entrepreneurship.  Are you really willing to pay the price?
  5. If you are, decide how quickly you are going to pay that price and how much of your own resources (energy, time, effort, money) you can put into it!

Are you willing to pay the price for success?  If so, then get on with it! 

Thanks for reading and I would LOVE it if you left me comments about goals you are going after that you are willing to pay the price for or things that you have decided not to chase!

I really believe that either decision is a good one if done consciously! It is just as important to say no to things that cost too much as it is to say yes to things you really want!


Join the Donegan mailing list

Leave A Comment

Related Articles

  • what do you want

    By Published On: May 2, 2019

    One sunny morning in 2009, I was walking from Waterloo Station, London over the bridge towards Trafalgar square. It was a stunning morning and I was listening to a CD set by Brian Tracy about goal setting. As I listened, soaking up the words, walking through the busy streets, I started to feel a [...]

  • what do you want

    By Published On: November 4, 2019

    What happens when you put yourself out into the world? How will the world react? Why don't more people do it? Two weeks ago whilst in Portugal in the Douro Valley at an Airbnb with a piano, Katie (my wife) sat down and started playing a new tune. She composed a brand new song, which [...]

  • what do you want

    By Published On: December 24, 2018

    There is different for different's sake and then there is doing things differently to get different results. ​One of the sayings that we repeat over and over again at the Rebel Business School is: if you want different results, do something different.  But what does that actually mean? Alan burning a business plan If you [...]