It is ok to be unsure of what you want. It is ok to be a little lost and need a little direction. It is ok to be a bit of a mess. It is ok to be tired…and sometimes sad. It is ok to not always be motivated. It is ok to need coffee/tea/ crack (just kidding) to be able to function in the morning. It is ok to be human and have feelings. And it is ok to sometimes be stuck or stalled.
I’m not saying this just for your benefit, I am saying it for mine as well. I am saying it for all of the professional women and entrepreneurs who lay awake at 4am wondering if they can (and should) keep going. I am saying it for the woman who juggles her dreams while at the same time holding down her household. I am saying it for the boss Queens that have had a customer yell at them, an employee quit, the fire alarm go off (and therefore sprinkler system), and somehow lost 15 transactions in their accounting program all BEFORE coming home to two little people fighting over the remote and who hit whom first.
Here is the brutal truth: entrepreneurship is hard. It’s really, really hard. Although it is worth it, some days you might question if it truly is going to all be worth it in the end. Some days you may question your sanity, your abilities, or even your whole life. Trust me though when I say that we have all been there. Every professional woman who you look at, every entrepreneur you follow on Instagram, and every boss queen that makes it look effortless – HAS BEEN THERE!
But, here is the important part: It is what you do about it. I have spoken to hundreds of female entrepreneurs over they years, and there always seems to be a common list of holdups or issues. So, give me 30 days. Commit to the 30 days of dealing with your specific issue or holdup. I have listed several below, along with a plan of action. Pick and choose which one (or ones) are your struggles, and try the accompanying “Plan of Action”.
Focus is our Least favorite F word
Problem: You struggle with staying focused and often feel super overwhelmed with your business and business goals.
Solution: Take a breath. It is very easy to become overwhelmed by owning and running a business; everyday there are hundreds of things to do and accomplish. But lets start with the basic facts. One of the very first things I have my clients do is sit down and write out their goals using a pen on paper, as there is something to that as well. Write out every goal you have for your business. Then write out the steps you need to get to each one--monthly, weekly and then daily. This process will take some time, but take the time!! It will be worth it, I promise. Once you have your goals mapped out, you will then get a day planner (if you don’t already have one), and split each day in half. One half is for the things you need to do, the other half is for what you accomplished. Get in the habit of looking at this everyday, several times a day. Start your day by looking at your list, and end your day with writing what you have accomplished. Try it for 30 days. I guarantee you will see a major change in your level of focus and therefore productivity.
Fake it ‘til You Make It
Problem: You had the courage to open your business, but it seems that your confidence has stalled a little. Maybe you have had a setback or two. Maybe it’s just life. But whatever it is, your sass is dragging a little.
Solution: Repeat after me: “I am a boss. I am a Queen. I have faced each struggle and conquered them. At the end of each day, I am proud of who I am and I am proud of my business. I am proud of my ability to problem solve, to multi-task. I am proud of my ______________.” It may seem silly – but these kind of affirmations help A LOT. Here is the thing: We all have this internal voice that is really good at talking to us negatively. You have probably heard of a thing called “negative self-talk”. This little voice manages to make us doubt ourselves, second guess our decisions, and feel less than the Queen that we are. So we need to reprogram that voice, remind it what a badass we really are. Grab your pen and paper again – write out your affirmations. Every day, start with them. During the day, repeat them as often as needed. And at night, repeat them again. As my usual suggestion: try it for 30 days and see the difference.
Being a grown up sucks!
Problem: Bills. Kids. Husbands. Wives. Parents. Friends. Events. Sometimes a real life 9 to 5. It all tends to add up to a lot of distraction from your business. That does not mean you do not love your family or your life. But it does mean that sometimes all of the things you have to do will have you feeling like you are pushing through mud to get where you need to go.
Solution: Throw the whole thing away. Kiddingggggg! Haha! In all seriousness though, think of this one word: discipline. I know, I know it’s not what you wanted me to say. But here’s the thing, success is not built when you feel like it or when things are sunny. Sometimes it comes down to the nitty, gritty, dirty work of just doing it. So take an hour a day and work on your business. Just take an hour. Don’t try and accomplish everything at once. If you start with just an hour a day, you will see quite a difference in 30 days. That will be 30 hours dedicated to your business, to your progress. Imagine what you can get done in THIRTY hours. Pick a time when it is quiet and you can focus, and pick a place…Which actually brings me to my next point.
Home Office: Do not disturb unless your arm is falling off or the house is on fire!
Problem: You spent 10 hours turning that spare room into the perfect home office. It has lots of light, and comfortable chairs. The art on the wall was all handpicked and it is a kids/husband/roommate/ parents/sibling –free zone. BUT! You spend almost as little time in it as they do. You’re unmotivated in the space, you remember you have laundry, the dog needs to go out, and the kids are arguing. Your husband can’t find his pants and you’re pretty sure you forgot to turn off the stove with tonight’s dinner currently cooking.
Solution: I saw this sign that said something similar to: “Home Office: Do NOT disturb unless it’s a real emergency, like your arm is falling off or the house is on fire”. As funny as that sign is, it is kind of necessary if you are going to get anything done in your home office. This issue also mixes in with the discipline speech. You’re not going to like this but, do not work in your pajamas! Get dressed. Go to your home office like you are leaving the house, sans the shoes. Forget that you can do laundry or cook dinner or anything. Pretend you are really at your office. Set aside an hour or so later in the day (or early in the morning) to take care of those tasks. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT multi task while you are working at your home office. Print that sign up and put it on the door. Explain the seriousness to your family, and ask them to respect working hours. Your business is serious BUSINESS. So, it needs the respect as a regular job receives.
And finally: It really is going to be ok.
Problem: You have thought of everything that can potentially go wrong. You could have zero sales, or your inventory could burst into flames. Your kids could all need knee replacements and your new entrepreneur-style health insurance isn’t going to cover that. Or, maybe you won’t land a single client. What if you get a terrible review, or everyone decides you suck?
Solution: BIG breath. None of that is going to happen. It is going to be ok – really. When those moments of anxiety hit (if you’re like me, it’s at about 4:37am) take a breath. Remind yourself this is just your anxiety. It is illogical. It is irrational. First of all, even from a practical perspective: no business fails in a day. So if things were to start going south, you would address it. Second: spontaneous combustion is really rare. Haha! And third: not ALL of your kids will need a knee replacement at the same time--I promise. So for the next 30 days, your project is to learn to breathe through those moments. Jot down the feelings, and then write down the reality. Help to reprogram those scary thoughts and emotions.
All in all, each of us struggle. But like I said, give me 30 days. Try out the “Plan of Action” that works best for you. Oh, and one more side note: It is ok to have a bad day. It will happen. We all go through it, and we all come out on the other side.
If I didn’t address a problem you have, feel free to reach out to me directly and we can work on a Plan of Action, together.