What do you do when you realize your solopreneur business has lost momentum? Sure, you still get clients from time to time, but the pace is really slow. You know you offer services that people need, so it isn’t that. But it’s something.
Recognizing that you need to do something different is the first step to making your business better. If you think the only way to be successful is getting everything right the first time, you’re in for a BIG surprise. It’s the nature of small businesses to constantly make changes.
The good thing is that when you find something isn’t working, you can simply stop that and try something else! There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind; small business owners do it all the time.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
- You’re still looking for the right message to attract the kind of clients you want
- You discover a competitor is doing something you wish you had thought of
- You have a lot of big ideas, but aren’t sure you could actually make them happen
Maybe the real problem is one of these:
1. Unclear goals
Not being clear about where you want to go can lead you to wander aimlessly with no sense of direction. Just as with physical travel, if you’re going someplace, you need to know how you’re going to get there. As Yogi Berra put it in one of his most well-known malapropisms, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else!”
Solution: Create a map. Decide where your business’ future lies, what you need to do to get there, and how you want to feel along the way. Then get going!
It’s easy to assume that everyone else’s business has been an overnight success. If yours is taking a while, you wonder what you’re doing wrong. You think maybe you’re not cut out to be a solopreneur. Perhaps you’re overwhelmed with critical thoughts that leave you feeling discouraged. You start chasing every new tactic and strategy you hear about, hoping for some earthshaking impact.
Solution: Follow your own path. Develop some mutually supportive relationships with other solopreneurs. Everyone can use a peer group to share their worries and successes with. You’ll undoubtedly discover that everyone’s path took much longer than “overnight!” Building a business takes time. Building a profitable, sustainable business takes a lot of time.
3. Avoiding discomfort
Many people have an inner “cruise control” that restricts how much success they allow themselves. Often the settings are based on childhood and family beliefs, as well as past personal experiences. As we approach our “success ceiling,” we often unconsciously—or even consciously—find ways to sabotage ourselves, making make sure we don’t exceed our success limit.
Let’s say you’re enjoying some recognition in your field and you’re offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It could catapult you straight into the big leagues. But you’re so fearful of such a big splash that you decline! Rather than risk a less-than-perfect performance, you opt out altogether. You sabotage yourself by imposing an artificially low success ceiling.
Solution: Understand that success often requires stepping into the unknown. Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” In other words, if you want something different, you have to DO something different. Whatever your business is about, make a commitment and become confident in your expertise. Be ready when success drives by and invites you to jump on board!
Being a successful business owner means being clear about what you want, being true to your own vision and talents, and being willing to do things you don’t feel quite ready to do. If you want to be successful, you can’t stay stuck when your business isn’t headed in the right direction! Things don’t get better by chance, they get better by change!