It wasn’t until I had written about 50 press releases that I became confident I knew how to write those things. Same with writing and publishing magazine articles (not until at least my 30th), PowerPoint presentations (it took dozens), web pages (hundreds) and on and on.

Whenever you gear up for something new, especially something that’s going to be difficult, like learning a new skill, you need to be honest with yourself about how much time, energy, stress, failure and frustration will be a necessary part of becoming good — let alone an expert — at it. And then you need to honestly assess whether or not you think it’ll be worth it.

It’s easy to get temporarily enthusiastic about a new venture. “I’ll spend the weekend learning HTML and how to build a blog and how to put a shopping cart on a website and how to record a video presentation with my computer…. Then I’ll create some video training programs and sell them online!” That’s why so many of us abandon projects just after we start them. After we’ve gotten a few hours (or days, or weeks) into them, it finally hits us: Oh, that’s what commitment to this project is going to mean. Thanks anyway!

I’ve heard that it takes about 1,000 hours of committed, hard work to become competent at a difficult skill (like public speaking, for example). About 5,000 hours to become great at it. (Figure you have about 2,000 hours in a year, if you’re putting in 40 hours a week.) A similar timeframe commitment is probably true of building a successful business.

So, are you really committed to that new thing?