Archive for August 27th, 2016

On the one hand it feels a little premature to write this post now. I don’t know yet if I will be a success or not. Somehow, despite the uncertainty, I’m somehow still here after a year. I’ve had my share of ups and downs. These tricks have helped me get though the challenging periods, now and at other times in my life (like grad school.)

1.) Have your fight song cued up and at the ready

I think the most frustrating thing about entrepreneurship is the number of elements that are out of your control. For me, I’m greatly impacted by changes to the Google search engine, and advertising payment rates. It can make you feel helpless when these things seem to be conspiring against you. And there will be times when it feels like their conspiring against you.

I have a collection of girl power ballads I like to play when getting discouraged. My current favorite is Fight Song, which dethrowned the long time champion – Watch Me Shine by Joanna Pacitti.

Music can be a great influence. Find what makes you feel invigorated, and be prepared to play it on loop in the background. Or maybe full volume. Whatever you need to get past the humps.

2.) Retreat to your strengths (even if their not your core business)

Sometimes the music pick-me-up isn’t enough. Sometimes the best way to boost your ego is to work on something you excel at.

I’m a good coder, but even the best coders get stuck sometimes. Rather than keep hitting my head into the wall when I’m getting frustrated with a particular bug or trying to implement a new feature, I sometimes refocus on another activity. Sometimes it’s a different app. Sometimes it’s photography. The trick is to find something that can help rebuild your confidence in yourself. It usually doesn’t take long before I feel my self efficacy start to return to it’s former state. A well planned half hour break can make me feel re-energize and ready to re-tackle that problem. If you suffer from impostor syndrome, like I do, self-efficacy breaks are a necessity.

3.) Spread out your weaknesses

Most people who start a business focus on the skills they have, and forget about all the other aspects that go into making a business work. A photographer is more than someone who excels at photography, a tutor is more than just a masterful teacher. There’s marketing, budgeting, financial record keeping, etc.

One of my bigger weaknesses is technical writing. If I ever decide I no longer want to be a non-employer, and I get successful enough, I’m hiring a technical writer. Or maybe a technical writer/social media manager. Since that’s not an option now, I like to spread out the technical writing and do a little each day. It may be tempting to put it off, but that makes for really unpleasant days when I do nothing but technical writing, get tongue tied over word choices and start to feel frustrated. I’m much more likely to get discouraged those days.

4.) Track Metrics

You don’t know how well you’re doing unless you track your progress. This month is shaping up to be a bit worse than last month, but at least it’s still twice as good as last year. If I wasn’t tracking how my business was operating year-over-year, it’d be easy to lose track of my overall growth.

I like to keep lists of accomplishments for the day. The more things I’ve gotten done (business related or otherwise) the more energized I feel to keep going. I’m more likely to be productive in the evening, and hit the ground running the following morning.