If you are a self-employed business owner you’re familiar with this scene: One day you know with 100% certainty that you are doing what you have been called to do and the next you are ready to throw in the towel. Early on in business this wild ride can happen within mere minutes. Once you’re a little more established the frequency of these episodes tends to become fewer and farther between but they can still happen.
This message is for two people: 1) the new business owner so you know that if you are experiencing these doubts you are normal and 2) the still new but more established business owner who has a good track record but still experiences doubt from time to time.
If you have been around long enough, compare how you are currently doing to how you did at the same period last year. It’s easy to worry when business doesn’t seem to be growing as fast as you’d like it to. One way to get perspective is to see how you did previously. Have you grown? If so, great! Recognize your growth and make sure you know how you did it. Then do more of it. The only way to know for sure is to track your numbers and where your clients come from. We call these your ‘sales and sources’. This information is priceless. If you haven’t been tracking get started with a simple spreadsheet.
If growth has decreased or has been stagnant, investigate to find out why. Don’t be too quick to blame the economy or some other outside influence. Sometimes we get in our own way. Were you doing some marketing before that you stopped doing? It might feel like you’re doing everything and more but when you’re wearing all the hats it’s easier than you might think to lose track of what’s working. If you have been tracking your ‘sales and sources’ it’s easy to pinpoint the problem and make a correction.
Worrying won’t make anything better. It keeps you in the problem and away from the solution. How do you get rid of worry? First, know your numbers to confirm that you’re not totally off track. Then, relax and let go. In other words, have faith that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and that everything will be okay. This is a tall order. I was fortunate to be part of this experience with one of my clients while developing her business plan. The business was in good shape but she couldn’t stop worrying. Finally she let go and surrendered and she is experiencing growth in her business like never before. She made a conscious decision to stop worrying and give it over to faith. That can happen for you too.
My encouragement for you is that if you are worrying and getting stressed out about your business you will first check your numbers and if they confirm that you are doing the right thing, you will let go and surrender to the faith that you are exactly where you are supposed to be (even if it doesn’t feel good!). Remember, you can achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!
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Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for business development and marketing strategy for the self-employed business owner who is going places.