From Big Dreams to Hard Reality

The thought of becoming your own boss is so exciting that it’s easy to get carried away… the younger version of myself thought I would be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted and that cash would start flowing in no time. Think Scrooge McDuck swimming in bills.

Reality check!

Being in business can be one of the most stressful and lonely places on the planet. Who else has copped that sick feeling in your stomach when you’re unsure if you’ve got enough money to pay the staff in a week? Or if you’ve missed too many of your kids school assemblies because of a seemingly endless list of issues that have you stuck in the office putting out spot fires? The light at the end of the tunnel can become very hard to see.

Adding further salt to the wounds, home life can begin to suffer in your absence and relationships start to break down.

Sadly, this is the every day reality for some business owners who choose not to seek help, advice or a simple conversation with the people who surround them: partners, advisors, friends, staff members… the list goes on.

I’m the first to acknowledge that when you’re in such a state, it’s difficult to know what to do and how to pull yourself out of the slump. Confidence and self-belief are fickle things that can fade quickly, and so the vicious circle goes.

To avoid having a circa 2007 Britney Spears meltdown (although I’m all for a well shaved head), I’ve put together a list of four ways to get the control back and start living freely again.
Speak to someone

It’s so important to open up to people that you trust. Take some of the weight off your chest and relief a bit of stress. It’s not an easy thing to do for some, but no one needs to feel isolated and alone in business or in life. I turn to my mentors during tough times and have also sought out a psychologist to help keep my head in the right space.

Are you in or are you out?

Putting your head in the sand when it comes to your business is the quickest way to fail. If you’re having issues, confront them. Consider what is really causing your business to struggle and be honest with yourself. Can the issues be fixed or is it time to consider closing up shop? There are numerous ways to exit a business, but speak to your advisors before making the decision so that an action plan can be formulated with steps to make the process is as easy and clean as possible.

Giving yourself the time to actually think and work on your business is vital. Start your day with a list of tasks and delegate as much as you can to other people. Maintaining control over your schedule means giving your business the time it deserves and working on ways to improve and grow it.

Construct a game plan
No game plan means no progress. A good plan should map out where you want to take your business in the next five years, with step-by-step goals and actions to get you there. You can find lots of business plan templates with a quick Google search, however I think external advisors will always do you more favours. Working with a third party means your thoughts will be challenged and a fresh perspective will be offered.

I’m sure we all agree that being in business can be very demanding and difficult. Everyone starts out with enthusiastic optimism, like Britney’s pigtails, but it doesn’t always stay that way. Although business can be challenging, it should never mean sacrificing your happiness. If you can pick yourself up and get your business humming, it’s one of the most satisfying things in the world that can provide a fantastic income and plenty of freedom. Nothing is more important than enjoying your life and living the way you want to!

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