What have been the milestones on your entrepreneurial journey?
After starting a business, most entrepreneurs tend to look forward. They create visions of their future and goals to aim for, then work out how they can reach them.
They strive to push their business forward all the time, towards new growth, new opportunities and new collaborations.
During these tough times and the constant challenges, you could be forgiven for feeling a little low about your business, particularly if you’re finding it hard to claim any financial support and keeping your head above water gets harder every day.
Whilst we can’t magic up an endless pot of money for everyone in this position, we can offer suggestions to help with your mindset, so that you can better face whatever else is to come your way.
This involves looking back, not forward.
Dig out your old work
It’s sometimes eye-opening to look at the very first projects you worked on and compare them to the work you produce now.
As content creators, we sometimes read articles we wrote or watch videos we produced back in the day and find some of the work cringe-worthy when we hold it against much more sophisticated content we’ve created recently.
The thing is, whatever you worked on when you started out, it was likely deemed perfectly fine at the time by your clients, or you wouldn’t still be in business.
Looking back at your old work is a great visual reminder of the skills and experience you’ve gained over the space of many months or years.
Think of your old clients
When we started out, we were so keen to gain clients that we probably provided work that was priced far too cheaply, and which saw us working at weekends and into the night.
You were probably the same. Once you became more established, like us, however, you likely drew lines in the sand, concerning the hours you worked and the kind of clients you worked with.
Demanding clients prey on new start-ups, because they know they’re desperate for work and they won’t stand up to the clients’ poor behaviour.
It’s a good feeling to know you’re past all that malarkey, isn’t it?
Think of your new clients
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have clients that are more valuable than others. That’s not to say that we have any clients we don’t truly appreciate, it’s just some clients understand us better and give us free rein in the work we produce for them. They also don’t squabble about pounds and pennies as they fully recognise that we offer great value.
You will have clients much the same, whatever your industry—clients that you’ve worked hard to attract. Clients who trust you implicitly and who pay on time. Clients that wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to others in their network because they know you’re the bees’ knees.
If you’re feeling low, think of these perfect customers. They could work with anyone, but they’ve chosen you.
Revisit your goals
When first starting out, your goals were probably aligned to just remaining in business. Maybe you initially aimed to replace the wage you earned in a previous job, or to bring in enough money to pay your bills with a little more left over.
Of course, whilst one goal at the moment may be to simply see out the pandemic without too many war wounds, just before the virus hit you will have been working towards a goal or vision of some kind…how does that compare with the goals or targets you formed at the outset?
Bigger or more realistic goals are good markers on your entrepreneurial journey that show how your business has grown and what has become important to you over time. They don’t necessarily have to equal huge financial targets (not every business has to mirror Bezos’s or Branson’s), they may just have greater meaning…for example, being able to cut your hours down to work fewer days each week, to take a day off each fortnight to play golf.
Personal growth is often overlooked, but you will have learned so much as a person during the time you’ve been in business. Some of the rewards you receive in business aren’t monetary at all—or planned…they just happen along the way.
Ask those closest to you what they think
When you run your own business, your journey doesn’t just have you as a passenger. Your family and friends come along for the ride, too.
If you ever doubt whether you could or should carry on from this point, ask a loved one what they think. See how they view you/your business’s progress.
It’s difficult to be objective about your business as you’re in it every day, fighting fire a lot of the time. You won’t get chance to sit down and look at things from the other side of the fence. You’ll likely be harsh on yourself, too, as you’ll know what you could/should have done differently at certain points; however, when looking at things on the surface, your achievements will seem pretty impressive to those around you.
You have undoubtedly achieved so much, from small wins to huge advances. If this relentless virus gets you down at any time, think about your years in business. Remember: you’re made of tough stuff and you can ride out this tiresome situation.
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