This past week I felt like a failure.
Back in February I set a goal for myself that I would quit my day job on a certain day, do or die! Well, that day came and went this past Friday and here I am at work today, Monday morning with coffee in hand, just like normal.
So what happened? Well, several things, but mainly, it's the fact that my business isn't producing enough income to make a smooth transition. While I'm disappointed, I'm more motivated than ever to tackle this hurdle and reach my goals.
Dealing with disappointment, failure, and persistence are all part of the entrepreneurial ride and they're emotions I've had to live with since I started by business about 15 months ago.
Along with an optimistic outlook and determination, I've complied a list of qualities that are vitally important to succeeding in your business when the going gets tough.
Doing anything of value takes hard work. Running a marathon, writing a book, or climbing Everest. All big goals and dreams start with small steps forward and learning to work hard.
The same goes for starting a business. The beginning stages are just plain tough; getting those first few clients, to client management systems, to finances, to marketing. No matter which part you're working on in your business it boils down to embracing the hard work and being diligent to complete it.
You need to think of your business with a long-term mindset, like as a marathon instead of a sprint.
Anyone who has run a marathon knows that it all starts with tying your shoes. Likewise, moving forward in your business looks like daily, practical tasks.
My dad and I were talking about my business a few weeks ago and he said, "ya know, you can't really be a pessimist with a business, or else you would give up." I couldn't agree more.
I'm an eternal optimist and no matter how badly I've failed, I know I'll do better next time. Or no matter how slow a season is, I know it will pick up.
This type of dogged positivity is necessary when you're in your business day in and day out facing rejection, failure, 'competition,' algorithm changes, new technology, drops in engagement and unsuccessful launches.
When you're passionate, excited and don't get discouraged when you hit a road bump, you will go far.
I think, for me personally, this is my biggest strength. I'm not completely naive, but I know that with persistence, optimism and diligence anyone can make their goals happen.
Risk-taker: basically the definition of being an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are OK with the idea that the road is unknown. That's the beauty and excitement of it all.
Knowing that the sky is the limit and not being constrained to the status quo gives this profession its appeal.
The risk comes with knowing that if you don't show up, the work won't get done. Being a risk-taker means you take on all the responsibility and you're ready for the challenge.
One of the hardest parts about business, at least for me, is being yourself and not being afraid of it. Being original means you're not afraid of what people think of you, you're fine in your own skin, you won't blend in with the crowd and you like it that way.
But the truth is, being original is NECESSARY if you want to stand out. Especially nowadays when our industries are more saturated than ever.
Being original helps you, not only stand out, but it is the key to longevity in your business.
If you put up a facade of how you want to be portrayed or adopt a certain style that isn't your own, you won't be able to maintain it for an extended period of time.
Embrace HOW you are and WHO you are; quirky, outlandish, reserved, introverted- however, you truly are- and celebrate it. You'll be good for the long haul and will attract clients who appreciate you for your unique qualities.
I talk about persistence and share this story in this post, but Barbara Corcoran, real estate master, businesswoman and investor, gave a speech to some young entrepreneurs and she spoke about the people who worked for her - the ones who were the most successful weren't the ones who were the brightest or most experienced, they were the ones who got back up the fastest after failure.
When you're a creator, hearing criticism about your work can be hard. I used to take criticism rather personally - it's hard NOT to when you're passionate and invested in a project.
But for those of us in the service industry, we need to be able to take criticism and make adjustments accordingly.
I'm NOT saying that if a client wants to use Papyrus in their logo you should do it, but I AM saying that it's important to listen to feedback and criticism and adjust accordingly so you can ultimately give your client the best experience possible.
Time management is SO important. Having good time management skills is a must when it comes to running a business– not to mention if you have a full-time job and if your passion is your side-hustle.
It’s vital that you have systems in place that can help you do all the things you need to do to make your business run smoothly and efficiently.
Take a look at this post for a more in-depth look at time management and how to stay focused.
Like it or not, you need to work with people and work well with them in order to go far in your business. How you present yourself is key. Do people leave an interaction with you feeling inspired? Valued? Listened to? These are the things you want each person to feel after they connect with you.
Let your personality shine through when you connect with others. Remember, your personality is one of the only things that will differentiate your business from the next.
Be kind, considerate and friendly with every interaction you have - those positive interactions will be remembered.
It's easy to let fear rule over us. This is the reason a lot of us stay at our day-job, or the reason you haven't raised your prices, or you haven't offered that service.
But the opposite of fear is confidence. Confidence in knowing the value you bring to someone's life.
When you embrace the fact that you bring extreme value to someone you will be sure of yourself. Not just with your pricing, but how you approach everything in business. And people want to work with and follow confident people
Recently, I spoke with a potential client and although she called about a small design job, at the end of the phone call we were discussing a complete branding project. As we were talking I explained the value of a strategic website and branding and, believing wholeheartedly that what I offer is extremely valuable, she responded with trusting in that confidence.
The more you have faith and confidence in what you offer, the more fearless you can be with offering your services, sticking with your prices and putting yourself out there.
Having a never-quit attitude is one of the most important qualities to possess when you’re blazing your own path. Because sometimes that road is long, slow and lonely (remember that marathon analogy? ;)
When you are determined to make your idea happen you’re encouraged by the smallest growth, you are patient knowing that it just needs more time and you have faith in yourself.
I hope this list encourages you to continue on and to not give up on your goals. Keep your vision alive by pursuing it wholeheartedly and you will succeed. And putting these qualities into practice wouldn't hurt either.
Which of these qualities is your main superpower?
Which one of these qualities do you need to work on?