Twenty nineteen is swiftly coming to an end and usually at this time of the year my clients and I begin to reflect on the lessons learnt, the insights gained, and the old ways of thinking and doing they will be leaving behind as the beautiful new decade begins.
This time, I thought I would include my readers in this reflective process, so over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you my tips for preparing yourself for the year ahead.
Starting with rethinking how we approach and deal with failure so we can clear one of the biggest blocks that holds women back from building a business they love.
Failure is unpleasant, there is no doubt about that.
It is frustrating when, after all your effort, projects don’t take off, offerings fall flat, and your business doesn’t leap forward they way you thought that it would.
You see, when I was a newby at business (almost 3 years ago now… what?!), I used to think that so long as I did everything “properly”, the way that I “should” – things couldn’t really fail.
But the simple reality of business is… you don’t know what you don’t know.
And the only way you can find it out is by doing, and seeing, and… failing, and then learning what you didn’t know you needed to know.
Scary when you first begin, for sure!
But, the more you get into the habit of doing, even in the face of potential failure, the more momentum you begin to gain in your business.
Because our biggest growth doesn’t come from business successes.
It comes from things that didn’t go to plan.
So here are my tips for how to stop fearing failure and start to move things forward in your business.
#1. Do your due diligence to minimise the likelihood of failure.
I’m really not a fan of faux motivation so I’m including this point first, because building a business is not just about your mindset and confidence.
It is also about your strategy and learning how to behave like an effective business owner.
There are many factors that influence project success.
And when I say project I mean launching your new offering, creating an online course, perhaps implementing a content marketing strategy or starting to grow your social media audience. Perhaps even starting a new business.
These factors generally fall into two categories:
Things within your control, and
Things outside of your control.
The trouble is, I see many beginner business owners worry too much about the things outside of their control (e.g., What if someone else is already doing what I want to do or selling something similar? What if so and so sees what I’m doing and judges me? What if I put myself out there and my idea flops?) and disregard things that are well within their control.
Clarifying and refining your niche.
Identifying a target customer for every new offering.
Researching the market to estimate demand.
Surveying your own audience and creating warm leads.
Learning how to use messaging to position your offer the right way in front of the right audience at the right time.
Releasing offers and understanding the conversion rates.
Continuously gathering data and tweaking accordingly.
All before the actual work of creating or delivering your products and services, and delighting your customers!
Now listen, I. Get. It.
All of the above takes work.
But the essential ground work for you to do if you want to build a long-lasting business.
You see, when you approach your business strategically and do your due diligence, if a project fails, you now have a wealth of likely explanations that you can learn from and do something with.
Perhaps the offer wasn’t positioned quite right.
Perhaps it wasn’t the right time to introduce it.
Perhaps you didn’t have enough of a warm audience ready to take you up on it.
Perhaps your messaging didn’t quite connect with their pain points.
And once you have these practical targets to tweak you can keep going.
Failure stops being the be-all and end-all.
Failure stops meaning that your business is doomed (see point #2 below).
Failure stops being about you.
#2. Stop catastrophising.
I’mma be a bit blunt here.
Often we mentally exaggerate what failure would look and feel like and what it would mean, which makes it harder to take steps forward.
Yes, business projects can and do often fail, especially on the first go, but that doesn’t mean your business (or you for that matter) is a failure.
You tried something and it din’t work? So what?
Didn’t work? Ok, let’s try to understand why.
Now let’s tweak and try again.
And again. And again.
Learn and understand why it’s not working (or not working how you thought it would… because in reality it might actually be working, you might just have unrealistic expectations).
Get some coaching or professional advice, and… try again!
But alas! It all sounds like just more work, am I right?
Which brings me to my next point.
#3. Treat your business as a long-term game and prepare yourself accordingly.
For the most part, I believe that many of us are heading into business already slightly (or perhaps even significantly) burnt out.
I certainly entered the world of business off the back of post-PhD burnout, so I know what running on low reserves feels like.
So when we think of failure, it’s not so much the thought of “what if it doesn’t work” but “what if I put all this time, effort, and energy into it and it doesn’t turn out the way I need it to?”
In this context, failure would simply mean that you have to keep going to achieve the results you want to achieve, but…
You’re already exhausted and busy and have a million other things going on! Am I right?
So it quickly begins to feel overwhelming and everything in our innate safety mechanism begins to tell us it’s too risky to even try.
Especially when our efforts may not be translating into the shiny false promises we are bombarded with on social media.
Just create an online course already, your students are waiting!
Just launch your signature program and watch the passive income roll in!
Just build it and they will come!
Just charge what you’re worth and the universe will deliver!
Unfortunately, it simply doesn’t work like that.
Certainly not in all niches and with all businesses.
Certainly not when you first begin.
So to be able to have the energy and stamina that your business will need from you,
To be able to work consistently towards you dream without constantly pushing trough burnout and overwhelm,
You must understand and take care of your needs, so you can persevere in a healthy way and ultimately get you to where you truly want to be.
Like any great athlete training for that career-defining win,
To become resilient to the ups and downs of business and to build up the courage to weather failures without giving up on your dream,
You need to prepare yourself for this entrepreneurial marathon.
And over this whole year, I have been working towards something to help you do just that.
Hi, I’m Natalie and my mission is to help you build a healthy business you love!
As a Mindset & Resilience Coach, I help women overcome limiting beliefs and build resilience to the psychological demands of building a fulfilling, purpose-driven business.