We all know that entrepreneur life isn’t Instagram-worthy photos and coffee shop work sessions every single day… late nights, client stress, and freelance financials don’t always make for glamorous Insta-stories! (Don’t forget, the 24+ hours straight of traveling that can happen when your flights are moved and canceled for no reason, too.)
Most of the time, it’s not a problem. We all know what we signed up for, and the benefit of planning your own schedule and doing your own thing outweighs the benefits of working for someone else.
But sometimes, all that hustle takes a toll.
When you’ve been pitching your services hard, cold emailing potential prospects, networking like crazy, and showing up in your Facebook groups over and over again… only to get a consistent stream of “nos,” well, that’s pretty disheartening.
After awhile, it just feels like no one really wants what you have to offer, and finding the motivation to keep asking and keep working on your business feels like waaaaaay too much effort.
This is a normal and totally natural cycle in business. Every entrepreneur I know has been there… myself included – and it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, even if it feels that way!
Here’s five of my favorite ways to keep my spirits up when these dark times hit.
1. Don’t take “no” personally
It’s not about you. No, really, it isn’t. Maybe the person you’re pitching to had a bad day. Maybe they don’t have your service in their budget… whatever it is, if you make it about you and who you are, it won’t be long until you’re wondering if you’re just not cut out for being a creative entrepreneur.
It’s easier said than done, but try not to obsess over it and move on. Spending that energy on pitching and business improvement will have a much better ROI!
2. Find your (creative entrepreneur) tribe
It’s hard to go it alone… especially when you’re working from home and your (adult) social contact is practically zilch. There’s plenty of Facebook groups, local networking groups, or small class masterminds where you can find like-minded entrepreneurs and people to talk to.
It’s totally okay to ask for support or to vent (discreetly) about the challenges you’re having. Most people have experienced similar growing pains, and are happy to be supportive. Then, when the people who helped you need support, remember it’s your turn to lend an ear and offer sympathy or advice!
3. Listen to podcasts that inspire you
Stretching your brain with new ideas can feel very motivating and inspiring. I love to do this by listening to business podcasts. There’s a ton of them out there, or you can start by checking out the Creative Empire podcast that I did with my business-bud Reina Pomeroy! We may have retired the podcast, but there are still so many great nuggets inside those episodes.
4. Decompress regularly
We live in a work obsessed culture, but contrary to popular belief, it does NOT make us better and more productive to be working all the time! All business and no play leaves no room for rest, relaxation, and creative rejuvenation… and is an excellent recipe for burnout. And if that happens, you’re going to have a whole other set of problems.
Make sure you regularly schedule downtime to do something NON-business related… and your creative brain will thank you!
5. Take one daily action to build your business
It’s easy to get bogged down in the daily slog, but we should be looking at the horizon, not down at our feet. Where do you want to be in three months, six months… a year or even five years from now? Keeping your bigger vision in mind (and consistently working toward it) will help keep you going when the little stuff piles up.
Set some SMART* goals for yourself and break them down into manageable, actionable daily steps. One of my team members uses the 90X Goal Planner to keep track of her goals. Another member uses the Passion Planner method. There’s a bunch of systems out there, so pick one that works for you and stick with it!
*Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound
Bonus: It's okay to get help.
Recently, I was diagnosed with ADHD.
After our May sale last year, I went into a hiding of sorts. Yeah, sure you still see me online, but I felt like I wasn't connecting well with others. I wasn't excited about this run-your-own-biz thing anymore. And I started being really mean for lacking the motivation to get up out of bed in the morning.
It sounds kinda weird-- I have a hyperactivity disorder and I can't get out of bed...
I thought I was depressed. A bunch of my friends had recently jumped onto meds for their depression and got better, so natch I thought I could do the same.
When I failed to have any signs of clinical depression and got diagnosed with ADHD after FOUR MONTHS of observation and therapy, you can imagine how hard my jaw hit the floor. You probably heard it from where you were sitting.
The point is, I thought I had my shhhtuff figured out... until I didn't. Then I thought I'd diagnose myself and move on with my life, but I was wrong.
Now that I'm getting treated for a disease that I (1) didn't believe was real at this time last year and (2) am seeing huge improvements from the treatment, I'm trying to remind myself to ask for help earlier and more often.
Take it from me-- there's no need to suffer for nearly a YEAR just because you're too proud to ask for people to rally around you. You got this ;)
What do you like to do when it seems like your business isn’t working and you need to get out of a funk? Let me know in the comments!
Feeling like you can’t move forward, and aren’t sure what to do next in your business? Check out the “Called to Create Workbook,” my guide to unsticking your creative genius and moving forward with confidence!
Wanna join up with other fab business owners get more tips and tools for growing your business? Join me over in the Law Law Land Facebook group!
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