Any online entrepreneur will tell you that launching a business is easy – it’s sustaining and growing it that’s the real challenge. And in the age of nonstop success stories, inspirational Instagram posts and rags-to-riches YouTube tutorials, it seems natural to think that online entrepreneurship is as easy as Sunday morning.
But believe me: underneath the seemingly effortless success that millennials are achieving online lies something much darker. It’s the not-so-sexy reality that every single entrepreneur (whether they’re a total newbie, a world-renowned expert, a 15-year-old, or a 50-year-old) struggles with. And that reality is cold hard defeat.
Defeat can come in many forms. It could be that awesome email that you sent out to your list, only to receive a flopping ten percent open rate the next day. It could come from that potential client who was about to sign with you but then pulled out last minute. It could be a simple feeling of being cemented to a blank Word doc, totally at a loss for how you should structure your newest sales page. And of course, it can come from other’s criticism, judgment, and lack of support, which sadly often comes from the people closest to us.
And ultimately, when we’re stuck in our lonely, dark thoughts that prevent us from moving forward in a productive way, we deepen that defeat. We allow ourselves to give up. We accept failure.
Whenever you’re feeling defeated by your business, take a moment to pause and think about these five ideas. I can guarantee that they’ll instantly provide the clarity you need to rise about it.
Will you regret it when you’re 80?
In 2008, Jeff Bezos began talking about the idea of Regret Minimization. This practice was built to help both business and nonbusiness people make faster, clearer, more confident decisions so that they can minimize regret in their lives. And since minimizing regret naturally leads to reduced stress, fear, and overwhelm, this is a perfect (and easy) exercise for anyone who struggles with these issues.
Here’s the essential question you have to ask yourself: If you were looking back on your life as an 80-year-old person, would you regret making this decision? Or, in the grand scheme of things, was it beneficial to make that choice (even if it was a difficult choice then)?
This question has helped me solve dozens of dilemmas in my own life, from “Should I hire that new team member?” to “Should I buy the more expensive toothpaste?” to “Should I take three months off work and travel the world?”
Make your decision based on your senile self, not on your current one, and I can guarantee that the answer will become more clear.
It’s not magic, it’s just consistency.
If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who chases every new strategy, system and software that will that finally help you have your big “break-through”, stop wasting your time. Instead of constantly creating new solutions that will supposedly help you achieve new results, focus on consistency.
When you’re feeling bad about your business, it’s natural to look at other successful entrepreneurs and make sudden shifts in your own business out of insecurity. But the business owners who see long-time success – not just short-term wins based on fleeting trends – are the ones who focus on doing the same tasks consistently over years.
So, stop scrolling through Facebook looking for new ideas, and instead focus on showing up for your audience consistently. Your business is nothing without a tribe of loyal advocates, so in order to gain the trust of buyers, dedicate a chunk of your day every day to creating content that will make them love you. That could be writing blog content, live streaming, email marketing, or YouTubing. Once you get into the flow of showing up for your audience without distractions, your tribe will come to depend on you as a trustworthy, valuable source of knowledge.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: Instead of trying to do everything, focus on what you do best and do it every single day. This is the very best thing that you can do for your business – it will make you feel more confident in your work, it will deepen and grow your fan base, and it will make you the best at what you do. Trust me that when I say that the best entrepreneurs in the world don’t have a “secret” they’re hiding from you. It’s simply consistency that has gotten them to where they are today.
There are excuses and results. You can’t have both.
Without even realizing it, many entrepreneurs get stuck in a “poor me” mentality that keeps them from achieving what they’re truly capable of. In order to get out of this and become a top performer in your space, tell yourself that you have to choose between excuses and results. You cannot have both.
I believe that many entrepreneurs get stuck in the middle because they haven’t made one crucial mindset switch. That switch is deciding that their success is a necessity, not an option.
People tend to see entrepreneurship as a selfish endeavor – not one that’s actually necessary in order to survive. And because of it, they feel subconsciously guilty about their right to pursue and succeed in their work. But this idea can be changed. If you start seeing your work as a necessity – a requirement as vital as water – instead of a selfish or unrealistic idea, your actions will change with it.
Decide today that your very existence depends on your business thriving, and I can guarantee the results will follow.
Nothing matters more than the relationships you have, so see people better.
Do you ever find yourself throwing your arms up in the air and asking everyone in your proximity, “What is WRONG with people?!” I know I do. But this gut reaction is harming your progress in more ways than you realize.
Millennials are often faced with complex, negative, inflexible perceptions of those close to us that are drastically impacting our businesses and lives.
For example, maybe your business partner is a grade A flake who only follows through on half of his responsibilities. In result, you’re resentful and feel completely overworked. Maybe your client is a total nagger who demands far more from you than you ever agreed to. So in result, you spread yourself too thin and miss opportunities to work with clients who will actually appreciate you. Maybe your own ego is telling you that you aren’t good enough to sign high-paying clients, and in result, you remain penniless.
Here’s what it comes down to: When we’re subconsciously stuck in these negative perceptions of others, we are setting ourselves up to underperform. We fail to be the best partners, business owners, friends, and children we can be. And worst of all, we’re hindering ourselves from building relationships with those who matter most.
If you’re struggling in your relationships and perceptions of others, you cannot build relationships with top editors who will open the gates to getting published, reach out to fellow entrepreneurs for mutually beneficial partnerships, attract the right people into your tribe who will fawn over your work, sign 5-figure clients every month without effort, or get invited to speaking engagements and live events
Why? Because when you’re glued to the idea that people are rude, selfish, close-minded, cheap, etc, you’re positioning them (and yourself) to fail.
It’s time that we start viewing our relationships as the foundation of our businesses. Hitting consistent $20K months or having 100,000 followers is not about any single marketing strategy, growth hack, or ad platform. It’s about accepting and understanding that everyone can get better, any relationship can be mended, and any new relationship can be formed if you simply gave it the chance to do so. If you can make this switch, your business and network will naturally grow.
Get re-focused on the bigger picture
One of the biggest reasons that entrepreneurs tend to feel defeated is because they get stuck in the day-to-day grind of it all. Jen Sincero describes this idea as The Big Snooze in her book, You Are A Badass – essentially, it’s the daily experiences, frustrations, and information that we allow into our lives that are a huge waste of time and energy.
Instead of getting upset over daily dilemmas that ultimately don’t matter, like the client who wrote you a rude email or the overpriced salad you ate for lunch, focus on the bigger picture. What is your ultimate goal? What do you want to be known for in your life and career? What is the meaning of the work that you do? Oprah, Tony Robbins, and many other successful influencers have a simple practice that helps them get re-focused on the bigger picture when feeling caught up in the day-to-day.
The practice is simple: find three words that you feel describe your legacy (what you want to achieve or what you want to be known for) and set those three words as a recurring timer on your phone. That way, every single day, an alarm goes off with those three words as a reminder of your greater life mission.
These words could be anything: famous, wealthy, leader, and philanthropist are some examples. But every single day, return to these three words and get re-focused on your greater mission. Subconsciously, this will help you raise your level of thinking and put your energy into what will make the most difference instead of daily dilemmas.
Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to continue feeling defeated in your business or if you want to transform into a top performer. There has never been a better time in history to thrive as an entrepreneur, which is why the main roadblock standing in your way is your own mindset. Use the above five strategies to overcome your self-doubt and set yourself on a path toward being prolific. Because, really, what’s stopping you?