I recently spoke to a fellow entrepreneur who has a successful software platform (to the tune of $40,000 in monthly revenues) and despite their success over the past 4 years of building, this founder was simply exhausted and even said “I hate my business.”
Ouch – that’s harsh. But, I found myself not only appreciating her honesty but also feeling validated as I too have fallen in and OUT of love with my 3 businesses at various points along the journey. Entrepreneurship IS hard and it IS EXHAUSTING. Sometimes you wonder if it’s even worth it all. Not only do you have to do #allthethings, you also need to be your own cheerleader, especially when things get tough.
Coaches call this having the right mindset. And the idea is not too dissimilar to what we try to teach our kids to develop what many experts call a “Growth Mindset”. I love this infographic that marketing expert Neil Patel shares on actions taken by one who has a fixed mindset vs a growth mindset.
On our way to practicing our growth mindset, what can we do to bounce our way out of the inevitable valleys of entrepreneurship?
Here are 3 things you can do to get unstuck and move forward:
1. Read your customer testimonials
This will re-energize you. You will not only remind yourself of why you do what you do, but you will also realize the impact you’re making on people’s lives and that will motivate you. You’ll be reminded that you must carry forward to impact more lives. This is powerful stuff. I recommend gathering all of your testimonials into one spot and print them out so you can read them regularly.
Pro tip – In your marketing and sales content, these testimonials should drive most of your copywriting so it’s great to have them handy for reference. #getorganizedtoscale
2. Connect with other business owners
This will validate and inspire you! Being an entrepreneur (even if you have a team) is the loneliest. Sometimes, all we need is to feel understood and just a few minutes of knowing you’re not the only one going through this journey, is enough to snap you out of your current pain and move on. Conversations with other businesses owners will also inspire you.
Personal story: In the middle of the pandemic I felt overwhelmed and tired, wondering if I should persevere or just get a job (making way more money with less headache). But, then I talked to my customers, re-read their testimonials and came out of hiding. I got a business coach, joined a group of fellow software founders and started reaching out to other founders like the one above to just talk and learn. Even in my conversation with the founder I mentioned above, I felt “normal” for also having had some of these feelings – she and I laughed and that was therapeutic. Recently, my coach walked me through a U shaped entrepreneurial journey map and as he described what we tend to feel/do at each stage, I felt like he had been a spy in my mind! Seriously – it was like everything he said was something I either felt or said to myself and as I felt validated in this moment, I felt inspired to climb out of the valley.
Pro tip: We are humans who need connection. You need support from people who are fellow entrepreneurs and will validate, support, encourage and hold you accountable to reach your potential. Build your roster!
3. Find ways to scale your business
This will liberate you! Many times we are exhausted by the tasks that we have. Spend a little time figuring out how to digitize, delegate or ditch the business tasks that are not in your zone of genius!
Digitize: Are there any tasks or parts of your service offering that could be digitized? For example, if you are a personal stylist schlepping to people’s homes and the mall, could you digitize part of that service and leverage the convenience of e-commerce to ship your recommendations. Likewise, are you using software to help you do things faster? Take a look at how you “deliver” your service and especially the onboarding of your clients. If you find yourself saying or doing the same things over and over again, find a way to create an on-boarding guide once and duplicate that for new clients. Digitize your systems. Automate tasks using software. Do the math; you’ll easily find ways to save 10 hours a month with smart processes and good software that might cost $300 a month. If your time is worth $150/hour, that’s $1,500. Spend $300 to save $1,500 in wasted time. This is called leverage.
Delegate: Speaking of leverage, you can also be smarter with your time by leveraging assistants who would love to work for you. Write out all of the tasks you need to do and decide which ones are important and need to be done and of those, which ones are in your zone of genius and which ones can be delegated. Then, hire a part time assistant and take the time to teach them exactly how/when you want these tasks to be done. Many of my most successful clients leverage assistants to do tasks that are required but can be taught. And if you pay them $10-$20 an hour while you do work that is worth $150 an hour, play that strategy all day long!
Ditch: After you write out these tasks, you may realize that you’re doing tasks that have a low ROI (Return On Investment). Time is money. Which tasks are reaping benefits? Step outside of yourself and think about whether you’d pay someone to do that tasks – if not, stop doing it. Sometimes we do things because they feel good and are easy (i.e. posting cute outfits or how to’s on social) when we could have spent an hour prospecting to get just one sales call that could lead to a record breaking revenue month. Speaking of prospecting, you could get a virtual assistant to prospect on LinkedIn for you, finding your ideal client and start targeting her.
Now, for a personal hack to bring it full circle:
Get yourself a ninja. Like literally, a Ninja who will be your new sous chef! I discovered the Ninja blender 2 years ago and it is a game changer for cooking delicious and nutritious soups in the fall. You throw in some fresh ingredients and while you’re doing other things, it cooks your soup to perfection. No standing over a stove, hoping not to bubble up over the edge. It comes with a little recipe book for everything from soup to ice cream. Click here to get your own sous chef.