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Beware of The Trap of Entrepreneurial Success

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entrepreneurial success
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Building a successful company is what every entrepreneur dreams of and works towards relentlessly. Running a 6 or even 7 figure business is the ultimate goal of countless founders and entrepreneurs; it seems to be the answer to all problems. Yet, during my time working with business owners who’ve “made it,” I observed that entrepreneurial success is extremely glorified. Having clients/customers rolling in and high sales are (surprisingly) not the magic bullet to a fulfilling life, and as effortless as most people picture it.

In fact, it’s probably one of the most stressful and exhausting responsibilities one can ever take on and most entrepreneurs are not prepared for it. Getting a business up and running is one thing, but keeping it up in a sustainable way is a completely different thing. “Starting a business could make you rich. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be satisfied.” Charlie Wells wrote in an article for The Wall Street Journal.

When striving to achieve entrepreneurial success one should keep in mind that every opportunity comes at an opportunity cost. Problems don’t magically disappear, and as your business grows, it’ll come with a whole new set of challenges. Having no one telling you how to manage your time and where to focus means every decision is on you; Decisions that may have major impact on your company, life, and even your employees’ lives.

All of a sudden you have to learn how to lead a high-performing team and implement new systems while trying to keep a cool head to stay productive and balanced. The success of your company is still directly related to your performance as an owner and leader. No wonder burnout, chronic stress, and anxiety are some of the biggest problems accomplished entrepreneurs struggle with.

By building a company, you have to change the way you operate in it to increase the bottom line as well as your personal well being. In business, there is just as much stress with success as there is with failure. Unfortunately, many type-A entrepreneurs don’t want to get or have help.

Here are 6 Steps to getting your life back and finding joy in your work again:

1. Why did you start?

The first and most important question to ask yourself is “Why did I even start?” Oftentimes, when we set out to achieve a goal we lose ourselves in the process. What once felt like fun is now a drag.

Burnout is really the misalignment between your purpose, values, and the daily actions you take. Most entrepreneurs start their companies to create freedom and happiness for themselves, earn a good amount of money, and make an impact in the world.

If you find your life being controlled by your business, working 18 hour days and feeling trapped in a golden cage, examine if it wouldn’t have been easier to take a well-paying job with paid vacation and benefits instead of sacrificing your health, family, and sanity. Reevaluate your priorities and get back to your original intention, why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for.

2. Success addiction

Many entrepreneurs are in some form addicted to the high of accomplishment, to sprinting from goal to goal and achieving milestones they set for themselves. Being a type-A myself, I know how it feels to suffer for the sake of success, not being able to relax and enjoy the journey.

When your self-worth is tied to your achievements, you experience constant pressure and are very hard on yourself. Ironically, your goals don’t usually create emotional fulfillment in the way you expected. Finding purpose in achievement is what got you here, yet it’s emotionally draining and will eventually burn you out.

When you care more about how your life looks like than how it feels, you’re missing the point of true success. The second step of detaching yourself from your business and getting your life back is to explore what drives you. Realize that the accomplishment of goals is not success but how much you expand and who you become in the process.

“As entrepreneurs, we’re achievers! Every time we achieve something, we systematically move the goal post even further. What we don’t do is stop and celebrate our wins and acknowledge our accomplishments.” – Tony Robbins

3. Balance and Self Care

When your company grows fast, your life changes just as quickly and you may not have the time to figure out how to take care of yourself. Maximizing your mental and physical potential and making yourself a priority is crucial to your level of success as an owner and leader.

Practicing meditation, spending time by yourself to reflect and moving your body are essential components to a well-balanced life and sustainable business. Level up emotional intelligence and change your perspective towards stress in order to increase your resilience and ability to handle setbacks.

Connor Beaton, founder and CEO of Man Talks emphasises on the importance of living a balanced life “The key to feeling fulfilled is to approach your life from a broader, wholesome perspective. If professional success is your sole focus, other departments of your life – like relationships and personal development – will suffer.”

4. The Sweet Spot

Having meaningful impact, finding personal happiness and freedom and making great money are the three main components of a fulfilling business. Most entrepreneurs are thriving in one or two of these areas, while lacking in the third one, wondering why they feel frustrated, burnt out and unhappy.

The sole purpose of running a business isn’t to just make a profit but to also contribute positively to society. As Mark Williamson, author of Action for Happiness suggests, “People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression.”

Yet, on the other hand, owning and running a company that doesn’t support one’s personal values and only focusing on money and impact can get incredibly exhausting. Too many people are living other people’s definition of success, chasing the paper, but not the dream of freedom and independence.

5. Busyness vs productivity

Busy people multitask. Productive people focus. By the end of every day, ask yourself if you feel a sense of pride or exhaustion. When I started my own business, I fell into the trap of working way too many hours without making much progress. I learned that being busy does not equal productive.

Essentially time works similar to money, the more time is available, the more we spend. Surprisingly, when there is less time to get something done, we accomplish more because we’re forced to prioritize and focus on essentials. Therefore, make it a point to have work hours as well as off time and stick to it.

Taking off weekends and not working before 9 am or after 7 pm might be a schedule that you want to incorporate in your life. Your family and friends will be grateful to you for not using your phone during dinner or scheduling meetings during a weekend trip.

“Focus on being productive instead of being busy.” – Tim Ferriss

6. Leadership and Systems

Now, that you have a team working for you, learn to let go of detail, use your energy more wisely, and build systems that give you freedom. Think about the what, not the how. Structure your company so your systems and team take care of you, instead of you having to babysit every single little task.

“If you want to run a successful business you have to know how to play to your strengths. It’s pretty easy to micromanage everything.” The reason why so many entrepreneurs miss out on atomizing their processes is that they feel like there’s not enough time available to set things up properly. Yet, in the long run, they’d do themselves a favor by taking things off their plate and scaling faster while being less overwhelmed.

Even though entrepreneurial success is what so many dream of, the opportunity comes with a set of new challenges that need to be addressed. Running a successful company has to be learned and is not as easy as many would think. If you’re looking to create sustainability for yourself, your team, and your company, reevaluate the way you operate in the business and maybe even find support in restructuring your schedule, responsibilities, and thinking patterns.

Reaching another level in business requires you to shift your perspective in many aspects to stop working in the business and start working on it instead. You must learn how to work through people as well as setting boundaries for yourself that help you separate your life from your business.

Following these 6 steps is only the beginning of taking back your life. Remember to create freedom for yourself instead of being controlled by your business or you may be missing the point of true success while on the journey.

Have you thought of being an entrepreneur? If so, what do you want to do? Let us know below!

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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

Grow your business

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.

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