Life can be so difficult. Starting a business and even more so running a business is a fear-inducing roller coaster. Will you lose your next client, will you be able to outlive the storm, are you even in the right industry doing the right work? I think this meme perfectly sums up the life!
I started my journey of entrepreneurship by joining an MLM. Honestly, it was perfect for what I needed at the time. I was able to work hard, get orders, sign one or two people up (mostly so they could get what was in the sign-up kit for cheaper than full price), and actually earn money. Truly I loved it! But there came a time when it got difficult, the product stopped selling itself and I needed to sell me as the person to get your product fix from. I quit. Caulk it up to a success turned failure. Okay fine. Then I went on to start and eventually abandon 3 more businesses. Each one of the had some success at the beginning but every single one became hard enough to have me questioning if this was truly what I was meant to do. Have you been there? Do you feel like a failure after failure means that you are destined to fail?
Having moved from failure to owning a scalable and successful business, I can tell you that the failure strongly influences my current success. You learn so much about yourself. Those lessons are painstakingly hard taught at times, but so worth it. Like the moment I realized I was severely underpricing my services and had plenty of work but the income didn’t match what I needed but I still didn’t have time to take on any more clients. Or when I found out that doing that my accounting actually helped me to scale up by becoming more aware of my accounts receivable and payable. Just sitting here writing these memories of lessons are flooding back to me! I want to let you into my the things that make it possible for me to survive this crazy life I’ve created.
Okay onto my completely serious, no bullshit method to surviving entrepreneurship.
- Buy Stock In Wine – I don’t mean purchase shares of a public company that specializes in wine. This means exactly what you think it does. Purchase bottles of wine. Emphasis on BOTTLES. You never know exactly when you’ll need to uncork and unwind after “one hell of a day”. Approximately 7 bottles per week should be the perfect prescription. Personally, I recommend a moderate Malbec but honestly, anything that has at least 3% alcohol content will suffice.
- Get a Mentor – Wine is my number one but this is likely more important to the success of your business. It doesn’t have to be someone in the same field or industry as you but it does need to be a person you highly admire and trust. I am something of a mentor hoarder. I can count at least 3 people I personally view as my mentor and a couple more that I admire in my industry who I follow closely. This leads me to step number 3…
- Invest in Ongoing Education – In today’s internet age there is no reason why you can’t be continually investing in education. This can be your personal development or professional. Find those people who you admire, follow them closely, and wait until they offer a course or webinar or academy or workshop and jump to take it. You won’t regret the lessons you’ll learn and you will likely make connections and start networking.
- Don’t Forget Yourself – Such a huge lesson for me to learn. When I first started my current business I thought I needed to constantly be working unless it was impossible for me to do so. I would wake up before anyone else in the family and work for a couple of hours. Then I would stop as much as I could while my kids were awake so I could care for them. (Side note: working with kids around is probably the hardest thing I have ever tried to do… and I failed miserably.) Once my husband got home I would then get right back at it, sometimes skipping dinner with my family to get more work done. You need time for yourself more than anything so that you can be a whole person. For some that means meditation, others need that hour to work out in the morning. Do something every day that is just for yourself, even if it is hiding in a closet with a Kit Kat so you don’t have to share.
- Make Friends – They will be able to share the journey with you. I might add make friends who have quit their 9 to 5 in pursuit of more freedom in their life. You’ll connect with them better and avoid the dreaded, “why don’t you just get a real job” statement.
- Fail – Not surprising this is my part of my method to survive entrepreneurship. Be determined to try so hard that you will inevitably fail. I was listening to a podcast with the famed Elizabeth Gilbert, and her advice to someone writing a second book after a very successful launch of their first book was to write a book that sucks. I thought it was perfect. Do something with all of your being even if you know it is going to suck, even if you are positive it will be a complete failure. Just do it. Do it scared but damn it do it well. What you will see in the process of implementing a failure is so important for the success of your future.
- Wine – Wait…..I may have said this one already. Still counts!
- Cut Yourself Some Slack – after you have failed, drank a bottle (or two) of wine and eaten all the chocolate in your house you need to cut yourself some slack. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Talk to any truly successful person and you will find that out quickly. You don’t need to beat yourself up over any of it. Life works out for the people who try. You are trying, therefore, life will work out for you. Let go of the inner monologue that screams at you. The one that says since you failed you ARE and will forever BE a failure as a person. Without even knowing you I can say for certain that isn’t true. Give yourself room to be complete.
- Let Go of the Unneeded Stress – This can mean so many different things to different people. For some, it means doing less and focusing on that one or two specific goals more. Others it means when something unexpected happens not letting the stress of changing course overtake you. (Hey, that is me!) Find a way to let go of the stress so you don’t become so engrossed by it that you become stagnant.
- Persevere – There will be a varying degree of conflict and problems that arise in your entrepreneurship journey. Failure…clearly…are going to happen. You will let others down and you will let yourself down more than anything. Get up. Fall 7 times, get up 8 (or however the saying goes). If you need to pivot your business model, pivot. If what you are doing becomes so unenjoyable and stressful that you are spiraling into a depression change it. If your business expenses outweigh the revenue by such a degree that you are no longer able to survive, sell the business. Do something different. In entrepreneurship, there is no exact mold.
Lastly, I want to wish you well. This journey is hard but I have seen enough people walk the path that as long as you are passionate you will see success. Please feel free to reach out and chat (read: vent).