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Have the dreams you had, and the reasons you started your business, gotten lost in the day-to-day stress and time-suck of running the business? Have you actually ended up with exactly the opposite of what you intended when you “opened your doors”?
Instead of making more money and working less—or at least having a more flexible schedule—you’re actually working ridiculous hours and making far less than ever before. (So much for being able to take time off for vacations or to spend time with your kids!). And that 6-figure paycheck dream probably faded away into the realm of impossibility long ago.
Boy does that suck! Because chances are, if this sounds familiar, you’re just steps away from closing the doors on a failing business.
I don’t say this to come down on you. I say this because I know what it’s like firsthand. It’s taken me 13 years and 5 businesses to finally come up with a business model that works for me AND for my clients!
The thing is; getting here didn’t happen by accident. It’s taken a lot of planning, soul searching, “practicing” (what I like to call it when I try something that doesn’t quite work as planned), learning, time and frustration. Of course there have also been plenty of moments of pure joy and excitement. But for many years those were tempered by almost overwhelming exhaustion.
Now that I’ve finally found ways out of the old cycle of “Entrepreneurial Overwhelm” and have a thriving business that actually supports my lifestyle (i.e., lets me earn a great living AND take time off to spend with family or playing in the great outdoors with friends), I really want to help you do the same. If that sounds good, then the first thing you need to do is a little of that soul searching and planning I talked about above.
To get you started, here are a few key questions every entrepreneur needs to ask themselves if they truly want to have a viable business AND a life.
So find a quiet place to sit and think with no distractions. No music…no TV…no kids or family. Then contemplate the following and write down your answers:
- Why did I start my business? What were my original goals and intentions?
- Am I achieving those goals, or on the road to doing so?
- What am I doing now that’s working?
- What am I doing now that’s not working?
- If I wasn’t restricted by time, money or know-how, what would/could/should I be doing differently?
- How can I make those things happen?
This last one is especially important because it’s easy to say you want to do something, but you can’t because you don’t have the time, money or expertise. So my rule is: every time you think “That would be great for my business but I can’t do it because…” immediately stop and think “Wait, how could I do it?” By focusing on the solution instead of the problems you’re much more likely to find a way.
Not good at sitting and thinking? Try taking a 15-30 minute walk alone and contemplating these questions—especially if you’re really struggling or feeling overwhelmed. And leave the iPod at home. These days it’s hard enough to hear yourself think, and you really need to listen to yourself if you want to move your business forward.
A few final words of advice…
It’s critical that you set an appointment to do this kind of thinking and planning at least once a week, if not every day. So schedule it like a client meeting and make it happen.
And make sure you actually write down your goals and the steps your going to take to achieve them. Don’t just think about it and keep it all in your head.
Once that’s done, simply start taking action. Before you know it, you’ll be well on the way to creating the business you’ve always dreamed of!