The entrepreneurial journey is bumpy, winding, filled with ups and downs, occasional roadblocks and mysteries at every turn. In the beginning, it is exciting and scary, but that dogged determination to make it on your own helps push you forward when you feel like giving up. But what about when you have been going at it for a while and find you’re just not doing as well as you thought you would? Or, worse yet, are ready to throw in the towel? If you are not able to take care of your family or pay your bills, certainly get a job – just think of it as a working business loan.
First of all, know that there is no shame in reaching our for help! Being an entrepreneur is not easy and is full of uncertainties. Instead of working for that trusty paycheque that regularly found its way into your bank account, you have to put a price on the value of your services, find clients that want your services badly enough to pay for them to generate in-come, survive the tough times and work harder than ever! While it does get easier, and you will be able to work a lot less when you reach a certain level, it is not an easy breezy walk in the park. If it were, everyone would have successful businesses. Ask any successful business owner and they will tell you that they did not do it on their own…and neither should you.
So, who do you turn to for help? Well, there are several places and they all serve you a little differently. Knowing the education or additional skills that you may need will help you choose courses, seminars, conferences or reading materials. Having a strong business mentor, a business coach and/or participating in a mastermind group are very powerful to support you in different ways as you stretch and grow into the person you need to become to build a successful business. A team that supports and believes in you is also essential so you can focus on doing what you do best for your clients.
A strong business mentor who has been there and can meet with you at least once a month can be a source of guidance and support. Mentors are sometimes paid, sometimes not, depending on the relationship you have with them. They can share their struggles and how they got past them, act as a sounding board, give advice on areas you are struggling, help you avoid pitfalls, etc. I liken it to having a big brother or sister who is looking out for your best interests and stepping on your toes when you need it. Leaving the ego at the door and being ready to take advice are necessary to get the most out of this relationship. You also need to be respectful and grateful for their time and willingness to share their experience.
There are many, many business coaches out there! Do your research to find one that you resonate with and specializes in the area(s) that you need help. A business coach can help you bypass many pitfalls and help you get to your endpoint much more quickly. You will be challenged to try new things, held accountable for the actions (or lack thereof) that you take and encourage you through the difficult growth stages. They offer a wealth of resources, provide advice on what to tweak or change altogether, offer insight on what may be holding you back with the tools to move past those issues and so much more. You will need to make a significant investment in time, effort and mon.ey to have a coach, but the rewards and accomplishments far outweigh that. To get the most out of coaching, you need to be the type of client that you would want to have…show up on time and prepared, ready to dig into difficult issues, take actions that may scare you/are definitely uncomfortable, be honest and be willing to try doing things differently. You should expect your coach to challenge you, encourage/support you, help you past stuck points, treat you with respect, behave professionally with you and be on your side as you grow. There will be moments that you feel up against the wall, but ultimately, when you do the work, you will make far greater accomplishments in much less time. Coaching can be done privately or in groups.
A mastermind involves a group of like-minded people getting together at least once a month where each person brings an issue to the table and everyone in the group weighs in to provide new ideas and perspectives. Depending on the group, there may be a specific topic for each call, or it may be that each person brings to the table what their current struggle is. There are paid masterminds where the group will be lead by someone who is experienced in facilitating these sessions to keep everyone on track and within time limits. There are also masterminds created on the fly – perhaps with a few people from a group coaching program, or from a seminar to continue learning. Masterminds are extremely powerful in that you are getting the benefit of hearing from several people with different levels of experience and perspectives. These require that you put a lot of trust in the group, be supportive and, of course, be respectful of the privacy of each member.
It is imperative, even in the early stages, that you be particular about who you allow into your business. Price shopping is a definite no as a team can make or break your business! You can start out small with a few hours from a Virtual Assistant (VA) and expand from there. Again, make sure you resonate with the person and that they are familiar and experienced with the type of work that you do. The point of delegating is to get the tasks off your plate that you do not excel at or that are not contributing to you focusing on serving your clients. Start with something like answering the phone or filtering out the email you need to see. A great VA will be able to help you pinpoint where they can best serve you and you can build from there.
Like your clients, you need support. Keep on keeping on and get the help you need! Your sanity and your business will thank you for it.