It’s been a grueling six years since I embarked upon a business idea that I had of owning my Counseling practice. I had been an employee in a non-profit organization for about twenty-one years. I had not actually owned my own business before but having read many business books, listened to tons of audios – podcasts and online courses and participated in countless webinars and seminars.
Having devoured as much information as I possibly could, I felt the time was right for me to resign from my career and start my own business. I did so in 2008. After a series of health issues and other challenges, I hobbled financially through the next couple of years. The business leveled off and I felt positive about the future.
Over the next couple of years, the business began to feel like another job. This wasn’t what I had envisioned. Having time freedom was high on the list of why I left my job of twenty-one years. But now, here I was feeling exhausted and not seeming to break the financial “glass ceiling” that I had set for myself.
The excitement of going to the office began to wear off. My client load began to decrease. This I chalked up to be seasonal, which at times was so. But, I began to question whether I had just exchanged one job for another or indeed, had a business.
I wanted a business and not a job. I hired another coach who provoked me with some deep questions. This energized me and has created a new approach that has already led to some very promising results.
The following four lessons were critical to this turnaround:
1. Be honest with ourselves
Coming to a place where we admit that what we’re doing isn’t working is difficult. It is quite humbling. This is the last thing that we want to do. We may feel like a failure doing so. But we can easily keep doing the same thing over and over again, but as we know, the results will remain the same.
Albert Einstein is broadly credited with this definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Being honest with ourselves and admitting that what we’re doing isn’t working, is the place to start. This is what I had to do, which began the turnaround process.
“Accept everything about yourself-I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end. No apologies, no regrets.” – Clark Moustakas
2. Reach out for help
Reaching out for help is humbling. It says we don’t know what we thought we did. It conveys the fact that someone else knows something we don’t, which is the last thing that we want to admit at this point in our business and life.
Choosing the right place and person for this, is important. You want to choose someone who will not sit in the seat of judgment on your case. You want someone who will be objective, experienced and willing to tell you the truth in love.
The safest place for me to have done this was to hire a coach. I had friends and family members who could possibly have given me some very helpful advice and save me a few thousand dollars. However, a part of me didn’t want them to know what was really going on. I felt safer speaking to someone “outside.”
Finding someone who we can trust with this very important pivoting decision is critical. Utilizing our current network of associates is a great place to start. Whether we start here or not, the point is to get some help.
3. Remind ourselves of why we began
This is such an important aspect to one’s success especially as an entrepreneur. It’s so easy to get so far removed from why we started our business as growth and other demands take over our every waking moments.
My desire to impact the masses through speaking and writing, was swallowed up by me just trying to keep my clients happy. The administrative aspects to the business also became a consuming part of the job. Not having the help that the business needed, only made my work more demanding and frustrating.
By me reminding myself of my “WHY”, it helped me decide what I had to give up doing even though I enjoyed them.
This will be true of you as well. You have to get back to the reason you started this business in the first place. You might even want to explore if that reason is big enough. This might be a good time to do some modifications to your why.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
4. Do what we do best
By reminding ourselves of our “WHY” will lead us back to what we do best. We will be able to recall what it was like when we first started. Most times what got us to where we are, is what is forgotten as we get more and more involved in the mundane but necessary aspects of our business.
However, when we can find a way to return to our “first love,” it infuses energy, drive and passion back into our business.
These four lessons will be pivotal in saving your business as it has done mine. Which of these do you most relate to and why? Comment below!
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