I find that as entrepreneurs we fear admitting that we’ve considered giving up on our dreams of self employment most of all. And yet we all do from time to time.
In the interest of being totally transparent I’ll admit I’ve considered it myself, more times than I care to admit actually.
Here I am publishing a blog encouraging the virtues of self employment but I’d be less than honest if I said that I haven’t considered quitting at one time or another.
The thing is, is that it’s not so much the thought of giving up that scares me, it’s the feeling that follows the thought.
If you’re reading this article you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Typically something happens like a client that previously wanted to work with you pulls out last minute.
Maybe you’ve struggled to develop a package, program or product and no one buys it, or your results are less than you anticipated.
Perhaps you’ve tweeted faithfully, posted new content to your blog regularly, done scores of interviews, sent press releases, spoke to new prospects, emailed your list and a litany of activities to market your business and it seems that no matter what you do nothing seems to be working.
It’s frustrating as hell, believe me I know.
But I want to share something with you that hopefully give you your first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Don’t assume because you aren’t achieving the results you initially anticipated that what you’re doing is not working.
I liken the process to losing weight (another painstaking process that I’m more familiar than I care to admit) when you first decide to take action you may experience a surge of tangible results.
But then the surge temporarily ends and you’re working your butt off and nothing seems to be happening. The reality is that even if you can’t see physical results things are happening beneath the surface. If you stay committed to doing the work (the process) you are accomplishing many things in your business.
Like losing weight, it takes time, there are no short cuts, even if you “find” a shortcut, it will be short lived and then you’re right back to where you started, sometimes worse off.
Sustained growth is what you should be aiming for. Sustained growth happens when you take consistent action, even on the days when you don’t feel like it. Especially on the days when you don’t feel like it. This is not to say that you should solider on with reckless abandon day in and day out.
Shift Your Strategy, Shift Your Results:
Sometimes you’ll need to take time off to reflect on what you’ve done, what you’re doing and most importantly what you want. These times of self reflection (often mistaken as giving up) will give you insight into your actions that you can’t see when you’re charging on, head down, nose to the grindstone.
I am a staunch advocate for taking action, but action doesn’t always have to be about directly making money. Sometimes action can be about doing nothing. Yes, even watching television can provide you with a much needed respite from the day-to-day riggers of self-employment.
I know for me changing my environment is the quickest way to shift my energy and prospective about my activities. If I really want to shift things fast I know I can always hop on a train and take a day trip to San Diego or Santa Barbara (I live in Los Angeles) I know, don’t hate me:-) just sitting on a moving train with my journal with my iPod filled with great music can shift me instantly (before the train even leaves the station!)
It doesn’t have to be a trip to exotic location. It can be a walk in the park, a day at the beach, a day at a museum or gallery. Even pulling weeds in the yard or washing dishes can give you a shift in perspective.
A shift in perspective is the first step towards gaining insight into your actions and how they are affecting your results.
It doesn’t need to be a huge colossal shift, I find the most profound things in life are often very subtle, almost like a whisper. These moments of quiet self reflection can whisper the name of someone you should contact or give you a visual glimpse of an activity you should be doing. Get the idea?
Your previous actions aren’t wasted
Don’t assume because what you’re doing is not “working” that your current or previous actions were wasted. Actions build upon themselves.
You’ll never reach your target weight after only one visit to the gym is the same way you don’t achieve measurable results in your business because of one press release, one blog post, one newsletter, one phone call or one direct mailing.
With that said if you’ve tried a myriad of actions with consistency and you’re still not achieving the results you hoped it could mean that it’s time to make a slight adjustment in your actions.
I highly suggest reading the book Three Feet From Gold by Sharon L. Letcher, Greg Reid and Mark Victor Hansen. Based on the principals of Napolean Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”.
You’re closer than you realize
The gist of the book and what I’m hopefully conveying to you in this article is that those times when you most feel like giving up is when you’re actually closer to achieving your goal or experiencing some major breakthrough than you realize .
If you know that you’ve done everything possible to market your business and nothing you’ve done seems to be working, understand that it could be that the actions you’re taking aren’t resonating with the audience you want to attract.
Often times a slight shift in your actions will dramatically increase your results.
“First there is a dream, and then there is struggle, followed by victory”
Stop Going It Alone
The lesson here is to get support. Confide in a trusted friend or colleague, better a business mentor or mastermind group. Who doesn’t matter as long it’s someone whose achieved the results you seek and more importantly someone you trust.
The key to result is the willingness to be transparent. Be honest, tell them what’s going on. Often times others can see things that we can’t because we’re too close.
I find just by sounding something out, either an idea or something I’m struggling with with another person I often hear myself give myself the answer I’ve been struggling to find.
Build a team
It’s critical that you have support. Personally I hate the term solo entrepreneur because you can’t do this by yourself, it’s impossible. So with that said you need to start developing your team.
One word of caution here: Be careful to choose people that truly have your best interests at heart and people that can truly help you operate your business (ie. accountants, virtual assistants, day to day activities, etc)
Equally as critical to your business success (as well as your sanity) is to have the support of a team to help you manage your thoughts and keep you focused. For example, you could read books, but don’t dismiss taking courses (either at a community college or online.
In addition you could consider hiring a mentor, joining a mastermind group or starting one if you can’t find one that you like.
Transform Your Business
One of my early self employment mentors said that the business you end up is typically not the one you start. What she means is that we often start a business with an idea of what the business will eventually look like. But once we get started on the bumpy road towards sustainable self employment we find that we must constantly shift our actions, our expectations and our goals to match what the market place really wants from us.
Not that we are solely at the mercy of the marketplace, but as our business changes so do we personally. True success in business should reflect our internal changes as well as outer market conditions.
Finally, Make a Conscious Decision
Never throw in the towel without making a conscious decision to quit. In other words, take the time to stop and reflect on what you want before you make a decision. Course correct and change your actions when necessary, ask for help and stop going it alone.
Finally, recognize that you’re closer to achieving the results you seek than you realize.
In the end if you decide that it’s time to stop doing what you’re doing then make the decision from a conscious choice with no reservations. But never quit because you’re afraid, financially, physically or mentally tired.
These feelings breed the desire to give up. Quit and move on if that’s your choice, but never give up.
Can I support you further?