I had a good laugh at myself the other day. Lately, I have been wondering what I could do to help someone start a business. Then while mowing our lawn, it hit me. I am helping to start a business and I have been for the last three years. It just doesn’t look like you hope it would when you see a successful business take off.
First – It looks like working multiple jobs. I am a blogger here at Russell’s Adventures, I started the Southern MN Social Media Breakfast, I have had social media clients, and I currently work at the Country Inn and Suites in Albert Lea. Here’s the thing. I don’t have a full plate. I have a full platter. I often burn my candle at both ends, and my body gave out. I had to lay off some social media clients. I also handed the social media breakfast off to an amazing, competent team.
Second – You will fail a lot. You will fail often. You may attempt to open a business, only to have it fail. Failure does not mean you are not meant to own a business. It may be a warning sign you have some things you need to learn and pieces you need to put into place. Similar to me starting the social media breakfast and then handing it off. Be willing to go with the flow and know when it’s time to hand off the pieces you are juggling. You are not always meant to finish everything you start. It’s not that you don’t finish it, it’s that you delegate and bring on team members to help you.
Third – A sacrifice will be necessary whether it’s sleep, relationships, vacations, or in my case, homeschooling your kiddos. You will need to reprioritize your life. When you begin to prioritize, give yourself a lot of grace. You will start to see areas that have been weighing you down for a long time. It’s ok, you’re learning, and you can’t do what you don’t know. Now that you have gained wisdom take the appropriate steps to go forward. You will be amazed at the freedom you experience when you begin letting go of needless areas to focus on your goals.
Fourth – Build meaningful professional and personal relationships. Attend quality, not quantity networking events. Your time is precious. Then weed through the ones you have attended to decide which ones benefit you the most. Which events have the connections you are looking to build? Which ones provide you with tools you can utilize in your business? When you are at the networking events be willing to get outside of your comfort zone. Everyone is feeling as awkward as you are. Everyone, even seasoned professionals are weary at events. Everyone is on guard and wondering if they can trust each other. Take it one relationship at a time.
Continue to invest in your personal relationships. Keep your close friends close. I know you’re busy and feel like you don’t really have time to invest in anyone but your business and family. I know your pajamas are calling your name. I’ve been there, actually, I’m there right now. However, your close peeps want to invest in you. They are the ones who will be able to read you the best. They give you an important, truthful perspective, and speak encouragement to you. They will help to give you clarity and let you know if you are still on the right path. Make time in your busy schedule to connect with your friends. A coffee, a quick lunch, a walk or something you enjoy doing together will refresh you and your friend.
Fifth – Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. It may be time to bring in a financial advisor, social media manager, or another professional depending on your profession. The pain you feel may be a muscle you are strengthening. It may be your mind, body, emotions, or in most cases, multiple muscles are learning to run together. Be kind to yourself. Do not look at someone else’s success. Their story is different than yours.
For example, here’s our story. We are attempting to start a business, homeschool our kids, and both of us are working full time. We take turns helping the kids with their homework. I mow the lawn. Mark keeps our laundry going. It has taken us a long time to become a well-oiled machine. Now that I have written this post, something will explode and we will have to reoil the machine all over again. It’s ok. We will gain a new perspective and skills through the new struggle we face.
The moral of the story is we can’t compare our life and situation to others. Everyone fails. It is common for someone to try to start several businesses only to have all five fail. Then on the sixth try, finally, the business takes off. Just because your business does not take off right away does not mean you should quit trying. Learn from your mistakes, be honest with the areas you need to learn, cry, swear, dust yourself off, and get back out there. Keep taking baby steps. Take it one day, one moment at a time. You’ve got this. The world needs you.