I think every year I get to a point where either I’ve been working too much or not enough and I start perusing job sites for full time gigs. I imagine a life with alarm clocks, health benefits, and paid vacation time. I imagine not having to worry or hustle every day about where the next check comes from. I wonder what it would be like to have retirement benefits or to get a tax refund every year instead of paying. New business owners always find the allure of “going full time” to be something glamorous. To them it means you’ve hit success. You have it and you can be done.
From a full time business owner side let me tell you how UN-glamourous it can be. Like I said, I always have this wistful day maybe once a year where I imagine how simple working for someone else could be. I have to pinch myself to remind me why I started working for myself anyway. Sure, more taxes and hustle, but the rewards are so much greater when you accomplish your goals. I’m not talking financially…I mean emotionally. There’s no greater feeling as a business owner then knowing you kicked ass enough to get yourself where you are. It’s definitely okay to be proud.
That said we all get to those icky days. Maybe we feel like our business is fizzling out or it’s been dead for awhile. Or you’re doing okay, but want to level up the business and do something new. The questions you’re asking yourself are…What’s next? Where do I start? You probably feel like you can do something, but there may be something holding you back. After coaching business owners for the last four years here are the four things I can identify as the most common reasons we feel stuck with our businesses and how to get over them.
- You’re too scared to try anything new. As someone who is not a risk taker and is totally cautious by nature let me just say…. “AMEN!” I am always scared to try new things. I’m evaluating the risks with the options and I really like it inside my comfy bubble where I can predict everything and know that what’s working is what I should stick to. You might be like me and have some stuff that’s working, but you know you should be doing things that can take your business to new heights and it’s just super scary. Here’s how I got over it. I plan to attack these things that seem scary one at a time. The more prepared I can be the less it stresses me out and feels like a risk. If I’m scared to try something new with the business I’m probably going to read as much as I can about it online and in books. I may ask my other business owner friends, regular friends, and family members to hear their feedback and ideas before going the next step and making it happen. By the time I’ve chatted and read about it, I usually feel pretty confident with knowing where to start and taking the steps to do something new. Another tip that helps me is to break down that “something new” into smaller tasks that are easier to accomplish. Then it seems less scary. Take your time and enjoy doing something new with the business. Even the many times I’ve failed at doing something new, I’ve always learned so much and enjoyed myself in the end.
- Learning new things is overwhelming. Being a business owner means that you have multiple skill sets, or at least you feel like you should. You need to have accounting skills, entrepreneur skills, manager skills, social media skills, and more. Not every human was made to be good at everything. When it comes time to learn something about a part of the business that you know you’re not good at you know it’s going to be overwhelming. So you probably dodge it and hold off as long as humanly possible. If I could count the amount of times I did this as a newer photographer I’d run out of fingers and toes. Learning new things and expanding my knowledge as a business owner is something I have NEVER regretted. I’m still not great at accounting and math. I’m still not awesome at various parts of photography, but I’d rather know and challenge myself then sit back knowing I could do better. Always strive to do your best. Learning these new parts of your business is always going to be much easier if you break them down into manageable tasks too!
- It costs money. This should probably be the number one reason your business might be feeling stuck. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen business owners do is take what they feel is their current profit and say that’s the exact amount of money they have to spend on business. This is especially common with newer business owners. They want to profit right away and don’t realize most businesses statistically spend their first 3-5 years not making a profit, but having lots of expenses instead as they build their business. Instead of taking what you make in your business and only applying that to your expenses try these two options. One, spend more than what you profit. I didn’t get to where I was by not taking risks with my business finances. I carefully chose where I invested my funds and there have been many times I was sure the expense wouldn’t be worth it, but it did. The second option is if you’re absolutely not willing to invest more money then you’re making, then think carefully about re-distributing what you do make into better options that will truly help you profit in the long run. Here’s the truth. It’s really hard to know where to put your money in business. What I know is that I’ve always been thrilled when I’ve made the decision to invest in something that can help my business and I ride it out long enough to see the positive results. If there’s anything that can help me accomplish things faster, save time, and gain more clients in the long run (in other words more income); I’m willing to give it a try. I always try to look at business from the perspective that part of the reason I started this was to have more freedom in my life, so I cannot afford to let my business take over all of my time. I want to work less than I did before and have more time for the freedom to do things totally unrelated to business. Think hard about what investments in business can help you have more time with your kids and family, or time to do a little something for yourself now and then. More time to take vacations? I’m down!
- You’re not as busy as you think you should be. The last reason your business may be feeling stuck is when you aren’t getting as many clients and as much traffic as you think you should. Maybe your business is going through a slow period and you think you’re stuck. This is a time to re-evaluate all of your marketing efforts. Are you putting out your best effort on social media and blogging? These are two of the most affordable ways to market your business online. Is there something else you can do to help marketing and connect better? Are there classes, coaching or other tools that can help you accomplish that? These are the things I ask myself when things slow down. That means the business is leaking and I need to figure out where the leak is so I can repair it.
Hope these things gave you some perspective if your business is feeling stuck! If you have any tips to add, leave them for us in the comments! If you’re interested in more blog posts like this follow Rock Your Weird on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get updates. You can also subscribe below to my weekly ‘behind the business’ newsletter full of insight on how running a business actually goes down behind the scenes. You get to be a fly on my wall and learn from my successes and failures with me! We have a Facebook community where you can join and get some business help from other entrepreneurs like yourself. You can also find me out on Periscope regularly broadcasting awesome stuff for you too! Thanks for reading!
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