I’ve been reflecting quite a bit over the past couple of weeks on this year and this journey we call business. If you’ve ever read any of Gretchen Rubin’s books, she talks about her “Secrets Of Adulthood,” which in her words are “the principles I’ve managed to grasp as I’ve become an adult.”
So I decided to compile a few of my own Secrets of the Entrepreneurial Journey. These are less secrets and more like very common things we all experience, get stuck in, come to realize, and feel on the road to entrepreneurship. Which leads right to the very first one….
It’s not just you
Every single person who starts a business struggles in some aspect that is related to mindset/fear/the ick (whatever you want to call). You are going to find yourself at some point being afraid, beating yourself up, not getting shit done and thinking OMG I can’t do this. And you are going to think, it’s me, I’m a failure or don’t have the right stuff to make this entrepreneurial thing work. Guess what? Get in line lady. Every single one of us has felt some self-doubt/ick factor when building a business. If someone says no it was all rainbows and unicorns, then they are either a fucking liar or life is so good right now they forgot the shit they had to crawl through to get there.
The role of FEAR
At the core of what is holding you back in business is mostly FEAR. Think about it, LIKE really think about it!! Not getting clients= afraid to reach out or follow-up. Can’t do video=afraid of looking like a fool or fear of public speaking. Not applying for a guest post=fear of rejection.
Mid-year I wrote down all the reasons I was not reaching my goals, and most of it came down to FEAR. Some in the form of lack of confidence, anxiety, procrastination, self-sabotage, but at the root of all of those was fear.
That’s why working on your mindset can be so important because you are less likely to let fear be the dictator. 😊 Read this post all about mindset + business.
It has all been said/done/thought of before
Yes, that’s basically true. There are no new ideas. Every (ok maybe 99.8% of ideas) are piggybacked off an already existing idea. The airplane stolen from birds, electricity stolen from lightning (also lighting bugs existed). And yes these were huge engineering feats, but the idea was sparked from somewhere else.
Also, multiple people worked on getting that idea to life. They went about it in different approaches, but they still tried it even if someone else had the idea. Imagine if all the people who worked on inventing the airplane was all like, well that Gallo guy tried, so whelp need to find something more original.
We are more connected now than ever, so things just seem, well, more common. It’s easier to find examples of people already doing it.
Before the internet, I doubt very many writers were all like, “before I write this article for the newspaper about strawberry jam, better check to see if someone in Australia already wrote on that topic.”
If this is something that plagues you then Steal Like An Artist is a must read.
It matters more what you do most of the time, not what you do some of the time
While consistency is key to running a successful business, if you miss a blog post or you take a week off social media, or content, or newsletter, or … it’s not going to cause your business to crash and burn. It doesn’t matter! If you are showing up the other 90% then you are good, or maybe even 80%.
Stop beating yourself up and give yourself the breaks you need. Also, newsflash most people will not even notice. So focus on showing up the best the majority of the time and don’t waste one more drop of energy on missing a few days.
Habits & routines are life savers
You absolutely can’t run a business just based on what you feel like doing any given day, with no structure, no plan. You must establish habits and routines that fuel you and your business. Consistency really is key to making any marketing strategy work, to growing a successful business and the best way to maintain consistency is to develop processes and routines.
The more you have to think through every decision in your day the more mental energy is sapped from you. Because you are wasting it on potentially trivial decisions like, “when should I post to Instagram or what should I eat for lunch,” you are exhausted mid-day and ready to Netflix and not work on that big project.
I’ve been working on figuring out what I need day to day to be more motivated, have more energy and not be sucked into the internet black hole. Read this post on developing your ideal week for some inspiration.
Track, Evaluate, Adjust, Repeat OR “You Manage What You Measure”
I stole “You Manage What You Measure” straight from Gretchen Rubin’s list as it has a much better ring to it then track, evaluate, adjust, repeat. Don’t you think?
Anyway, you can’t improve, you can’t experiment, and you can’t grow if you aren’t tracking what is going on in your business.
Not sure how to get started? Read this post on the 6 metrics all businesses should be tracking.
It’s not a solo journey, PERIOD
I don’t care if you call yourself an Introvert, I don’t care if you love being alone in the woods for days on end. To have a successful business, you need to be reaching out to others for inspiration, for advice, for clients, to learn about your audience, to vent, (and the list goes on).
The sooner you make other people part of your journey the better off you will be. This one was hard for me, and I’m still working on it, but it’s a lesson learned. So get out of your box and start collecting your tribe. Don’t be shy, write out what you want in clients, in biz friends, in potential hires, and start seeking out people who hold these qualities.
Grab these 25 tips to get you started networking!
People are paying less attention than you think (but also more attention than you think)
Every time you freak out over a misspelled word or missing a post, most people have not even noticed or even thought anything about it.
The “you only get one first impression” is total bullshit online, unless you do something heinous, you have plenty of opportunities to redo it or catch their attention. I promise no one came to your homepage saw a misspelled word and said, “I will never return here or buy from this person.”
Also, you have to promote, promote, promote most people are not sharing what they are selling, creating, etc. enough. It feels like a lot to you, but it’s not enough. You must be repetitive.
BUT in true Gretchen Rubin style “The opposite of a great truth is also true.” So all those times when you are all like, “no one is reading or paying attention to what I’m sharing.” More are then you think.
Think about it, how often do you respond to a newsletter or comment on a post you admire? Maybe sometimes but you also read plenty of things that you like but don’t tell the author about.
Be Consistent & Experiment
YES, I’ve said be consistent like a thousand times on this page, so have you gotten the point yet? I do think being consistent with your time, with your strategy, with planning, and measuring, and evaluating, and marketing, and networking, and your message and.. and…and… Is where you will see the magic happen.
It takes a while to figure it all out and get the pieces in place but the more consistency you can build into those moving parts the better. Read more about the role of consistency in your business.
BUT there is always a yin and yang. If what you are doing consistency is not working, then you need to experiment.
Einstein states the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. You need to experiment with your approaches and with your routines, and with your strategy to find the right formula for you and your business.
Don’t get hung-up on the should’s, it if doesn’t feel right for you- for your audience, then try something else out. Listen to your gut, take pieces of this strategy or that advice and find a way that makes it feel good to you.
Make experimenting fun, view your business as a big puzzle, you just need to find the right pieces.
The journey is long & yes, you have to keep going
Seriously the difference between those who are successful at building a business and those that fail is who kept going and who gave up. Most of the time you see someone who is successful, and you think they just were lucky or they had the right idea, but if you dig into their story or really listen, you will know this is maybe their 3rd, 4th, or 5th business. Each time they had a business, they learned and grew, and got more skills, so now yes, business #3 took off quicker, but that doesn’t mean they did not have a long journey before that.
This journey is a rollercoaster so expect ups and downs, twists and turns. It rarely goes the way you think, and most things are not nearly as bad as you imagine 🙂
So what is one “secret” you would add to the list?