Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things don’t quite go to plan. The unexpected happens. Life gets in the way.
When you’re working for someone else, there are usually procedures in place to reduce the pressure. Maybe you can delegate to someone else. Maybe you can slack off a bit and no one will notice. Maybe you can even take some time off.
But what do you do when you’re the boss?
What happens when you feel like you have to keep it together all on your own? What if you can’t find the motivation to get through anything on your to do list, even though you know that the success (or failure) of your business rests on your shoulders?
Over the past nine years of being in business, not only have I seen my clients go through these periods of ups and downs but I’ve also been through it myself. To be completely honest, I’m experiencing it right now. As I type these words.
life gets in the way
I want you to know that EVERYONE experiences rough patches in business. EVERYONE puts on a front sometimes, seemingly holding their shit together when in reality they’re questioning things behind the scenes. EVERYONE has days that seem like more effort than they’re worth.
Okay, great. So then what?
How do you hold your business together when life gets in the way? Here are a few survival tactics to try out:
1. figure out what’s critical
Your current, paying customers and contracts need to receive your attention. They are the bloodline of your business. If you neglect them, you will lose money. You MUST maintain your focus for them, deliver what is expected, and put your energy into doing it well.
Your second priority should be active inquiries from potential customers. Try to keep your pipeline full, although you can buy yourself a bit of time here when it comes to scheduling meetings.
But you can drop a lot of other things: meetings for the sake of meetings, demands on your time that aren’t from paying or potential clients (or investors), people who want to pick your brain about something. Just say no, and come back to it when you’re in a better place.
2. delegate or automate
When you’re in the early days of business and money’s not yet flowing, you’re likely to be doing most business activities yourself and saving as much cash as possible. As you learn about your business activities and start to grow, think about what you could have other people do for you.
Can someone else screen and manage the requests that come into your inbox?
Do you need to be the one managing your social media?
Who can help you with your accounts? Your marketing? Your website maintenance?
There are tons of freelancer websites out there with people waiting to take this stuff off your plate. There are also a lot of tools that can make the day-to-day running of your business less time-consuming.
The earlier you think about the support systems you need for your business, the better off you’ll be when the going does get a bit tough. (And it will. So seriously, start to think about this early on.)
3. give yourself space
The good news is, eventually this feeling that you (and I) are feeling is going to pass. So do whatever you need to do to get through them. Go for a run. Cry. Eat cake. Sleep.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to go easy on myself. If I need to sleep an extra hour in the morning, I do it. If I need to get up fit work around life priorities, I do it. If I need to take a day off, I do it.
Because I trust that my business is going to be there waiting for me on the other side of this rough patch.
And yours will, too.
over to you
What gets you through your tough times in business? I’d love to know your techniques for holding shit together when life gets in the way. Leave a comment below, as others will benefit from hearing your experiences.