You knew the timing was right.
Your friends said it was a great idea.
So you took the leap, hung up your shingle and started a business.
Somewhere along the way the hours got longer, nights got shorter and then there was the gnawing feeling of overwhelm and endlessly falling behind.
You, my friend, are experiencing the curse of entrepreneurship: your success will be at then end of a long, often discouraging, road of pain, frustration and set-backs.
I’ve been there – maybe still am – many times.
When I started BlogWorks, my current company, I was stepping into a world of providing social media, but not as an experienced expert.
The first year was exciting as I designed programs, found clients and build a skeleton team. The second year was struggling to find clients by wasting money on failed marketing, following gurus who made their money by telling everyone how to do it better than they ever did and occasionally hitting a home run.
The third year I wanted to quit.
Sales were stagnant, costs were up and it had become painfully uncomfortable to tell people what I did.
It’s the curse of entrepreneurship.
That’s why I don’t think you should start a business.
Instead, I think you should start to work on you.
Let me explain…
If you are going to enjoy the sweet success you dream of it will change you irreparably. You will undoubtedly be braver, less susceptible to criticism, staff quitting or losing your “perfect client” to a competitor.
You will also be a better leader – more decisive, less distracted and will have mastered the art of reaching decisions, but doing it in a way that your team owns the decision and all the work that comes next.
You will be a different person – better, smarter, stronger and much, much more disciplined
So, why not start today?
1. Develop more Discipline
If you want to design a more successful day, nothing is more important than your routines – your habit muscles. Start with your sleep, waking, morning routines and then experiment. Maybe you need to go to sleep at the same time, or wake up earlier or build writing or exercise into your morning routine.
The goal is to enjoy the benefits of better habits (like less sugar, more water) AND to build the natural growth of discipline that comes from repeating routines and avoiding temptation. In this article I lay out the three habits I would most recommend for any entrepreneur.
You need stronger habit muscles to fight for your business success. Now’s the time to start building them.
2. Reach for Risk
At some point in your start-up growth you will come face to face with risk. Why not start today?
The experience of risk is all about loss and choosing alternatives. After my first year with BlogWorks I risked hiring local talent to help grow my capacity. Maybe for you it’s registering for a conference, getting a coach or investing in a better website.
By definition, taking a risk doesn’t always end well. On the other hand, taking no risks gets you nothing new.
3. Think like a CEO
Being a good consultant, coach or speaker does not (this includes anyone who speaks on these topics) make you a good leader. It took me years to learn I was a micromanager, control freak and workaholic.
Worst still, I was teaching leadership!
When you think like a CEO you think about growth and capacity and empowering others. You also get comfortable trading a different approach (and occasional mistakes) for getting stuff done.
Your success as an entrepreneur will be completely unique (and wonderful) and undoubtedly not at all what you planned.
And that’s okay.
What you can plan for is you will be a different person – wiser, stronger and more resilient to what life throws at you. A better version of you.
Why not start changing today?