Entrepreneurship ain’t easy. Sales can soar one month and the next the phone seems to stop ringing all together. Some customers love your products, others ask for refunds. Everyone else in your industry seems to always, always have it all together. So the question then becomes how do you navigate the entrepreneurial journey without going completely insane?
Here’s a 3 step plan to help you define and realize success on your own terms.
#1 – Define Success for Yourself
Have you ever really taken the time to identify what it is you want from your business? How many hours do you want to work per week? Do you really want to hire staff or do you like having a virtual team? How much money would you like to take home per month – specifically? Which products, programs and services do you love and which are you holding onto only for the money?
Your definition of success is just that – yours. When I think about success for myself I know it’s important for me to be finished with client appointments and meetings by 3pm each day so that I can pick my son up from school. I have no desire to manage a full-time staff but I love supporting other entrepreneurs by having a virtual team. I love speaking and teaching so I’ve incorporated more of this into my business for 2014.
What do you want? Write it down.
#2 – Stop the Comparisons
I know you do it because I’ve done it. You head over to the websites of people who are in the same business as you and virtually stalk them. You check out their products and programs, read every testimonial, compare their prices to yours and conclude that you’ll never be as __________ (successful, wealthy, happy, smart) as them.
The problem is many times you are comparing your beginning to their ending. I can remember checking out the website of a professional speaker and seeing how she had been booked for paid speaking engagements all across the country. I instantly felt like my speaking career was light years behind. When I finally decided to look at what I was feeling for what it really was, I realized my definition of success and hers were likely very different.
First of all I have no desire to travel all across the country all year, I have 3 children at home and built my business to be available to them! Secondly this woman was a seasoned speaker with 10+ years of speaking experience on me – of course she can charge $10,000 a speech!
The point here is not to compare at all but if you have to, make sure you are comparing yourself to someone on the same playing field as you. My guess is what you will find is that you are actually farther along the track for success than you give yourself credit for.
#3 – Open Your Eyes
This step is necessary but not always easy. You have to take an honest look and assessment of what is working in your business and what is not working. If you haven’t had a sale in the past 3 months, something is not working, the question is what. Typically slow or no sales are attributed to one of three things:
1. You are marketing your product or service to the WRONG people.
2. You are marketing a product or service that people do not want.
3. You are not marketing your product or service effectively.
Chances are if any of these are true it will be important for you to seek some outside help. Hire a coach or a consultant with proven results in the area where you are struggling to help you turn things around. The fastest road to failure is thinking you can fix a problem with the same mindset and skills that created it.
Quitting is easy, changing is hard.
If your business doesn’t look the way you envisioned it, you must first make sure that vision is really yours. If you are
copying modeling somebody else’s business and trying to get to somebody else’s level of success, chances are even if you get there you’ll still be miserable. Success in business requires authenticity and a willingness to do your business your way. So start by identifying what a successful business looks like and pays like for you.
I once heard someone say that “Comparison is the source of all unhappiness.” I have yet to see this proven untrue. Instead why don’t you reflect on how far you’ve come since you started. Think about the customers you will help with your products and services. Focus on all of the lives that will change as you bring your work to the world – you, your family, your customers and their families, your friends and colleagues…
Finally, you have to take a look in the mirror and honestly determine if you are the bottleneck in your business. If it didn’t work in 2013 and you keep doing it in 2014, I can almost guarantee you are going to get the same results. Seek help and make the necessary changes to improve your business in the new year regardless of how uncomfortable it may be.
Let’s hear from you, what changes will you make in the new year to improve your business? Leave a comment below.