Any online entrepreneur will tell you that launching a business is easy — it’s sustaining and growing the business that’s the real challenge. 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 a Sunday morning.
Underneath the seemingly effortless success that millennials and other generations are achieving online lies something much darker. It’s the not-so-sexy reality that every single entrepreneur struggles with. That reality is cold, hard defeat. It doesn’t matter whether the entrepreneur is a total newbie, a world-renowned expert, a 15-year-old, or a 50-year-old — each one will face defeat at sometime in their entrepreneurial journey.
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.
Who is your rock, and who or what is your support?
It could be as simple as feeling cemented to a blank Word doc, totally at a loss for how you should structure your newest sales page. Of course, it can also come from other’s criticism, judgment, and lack of support. Sadly, the last three often come from the people closest to us. Ultimately, when we’re stuck in our lonely, dark thoughts that prevent us from moving forward in a productive way, we allow that defeat to deepen. 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. These ideas can instantly provide the clarity you need to rise above defeat.
Related: Finding a Support Network
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 could minimize regret in their lives. Since minimizing regret naturally leads to reduced stress, fear, and overwhelming feelings, this is a perfect (and easy) exercise for anyone who struggles with issues of regret.
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?
What dilemmas are you facing?
This question can help solve dozens of dilemmas in your life. “Should I hire that new team member? Should I buy the more expensive toothpaste? Should I take three months off work and travel the world?”
Make your decision based on your older self, maybe even your older, senile self. At this moment, don’t consider your current self. The answer that you are asking will become more clear to you as you think about it.
It’s not magic, it’s just consistency.
If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who chases every new strategy, system and software that you believe will 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 here and now.
What causes your thoughts to spiral down the dark alley?
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 plan 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 the course of years.
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. 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.
What one action can you be more consist in doing to help yourself?
This consistency could be in the form of 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. By making a committment to this daily action, it will make you feel more confident in your work.
You will begin to deepen and grow your fan base, and it will make you the best at what you do. Trust 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 doing. In order to get out of this attitude 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 at the beginning or in the middle of their journey because they haven’t made one crucial mindset switch. That switch is deciding that their success is a necessity, not an option.
Are you selfish? No!
Occasionally there are people who tend to see entrepreneurship as a selfish endeavor — not one that’s actually necessary in order to survive. Possibly because of this misconception, an entrepreneur may feel subconsciously guilty about their right to pursue and succeed in their dream and in their work.
You don’t have to keep thinking those negative thoughts. If you start seeing your work as a necessity — a requirement as vital as water to you — you will understand yourself as an entrepreneur. Instead of feeling selfish or unrealistic about your plan or idea, believe in it and know that you know what you’re doing. With this thought process, your actions will begin to change.
Decide today that your very existence depends on your business thriving, and you will see better results will follow.
Nothing matters more than the relationships you have, so observe and really “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?!” This gut reaction is harming your progress in more ways than you may realize.
Millennials (or any generation) are often faced with complex, negative, inflexible perceptions from those persons closest to them. These well meaning persons could be drastically impacting your businesses and your lives.
For example, maybe your business partner is a grade A flake who only follows through on half of his responsibilities. As a result, you’re resentful and feel completely overworked. Are you spreading yourself too thin and missing opportunities to work with clients who will actually appreciate you?
Are you giving yourself positive self-talk?
Maybe your own inner self is telling you that you aren’t good enough to sign-up high-paying clients, and as a result, you remain penniless — or at least make far less than you are worth.
Here’s what it comes down to: When we’re subconsciously stuck in these negative perceptions coming from others — and we believe what is being said — we are setting ourselves up to under perform.
Who’s lying here?
If you believe the lie, you will fail to be the best entrepreneur, partner, business owner, friend, or child you can be. And worst of all, you’ll be hindering yourself from building relationships with those who matter most to you.
If you’re struggling in your relationships and perceptions of others, you cannot build relationships with top editors who will open the gates for you to get your work published.
What can you do about it?
Reach out to fellow entrepreneurs for mutually beneficial partnerships, attract the right people into your tribe, your pack, your group. Find those who will fawn over your work and you fawn over their work. Believe that you are worth signing that five-figure client every month. Prepare and get invited to a speaking engagement or 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 you start viewing your relationships as the foundation of your businesses. Hitting consistent $20K months or having 100,000 followers is not about any single marketing strategy, growth hack, or ad platform.
Part of it is about accepting and understanding that everyone can get better, any relationship can be mended, and any new relationship can be formed if you simply give 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. Sincero essentially says that 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.
A simple daily practice.
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.
Only you can decide what you will be.
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.
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 in many ways. Really — what’s stopping you?