Being in business is a crazy ride.
In the short time that I have been working for myself, I have learned so much about who I am as an individual, the type of business that I want to create and the lifestyle that I want to live.
The learning will never stop and neither will the challenging, uncomfortable experiences, but I am in control of how I react to these experiences – and that’s what changes everything.
In today’s blog post, I decided to reflect on several hard truths about being in business. Eight hard truths in particular.
I recently watched the Netflix series of ‘Girlboss’. Loosely based on the experiences of Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso, the show illustrates the epic highs and challenging lows that Sophia experiences throughout her entrepreneurial journey.
To be completely honest, I didn’t LOVE the series as I had anticipated. With all the hype surrounding this series and the central topic of business ownership, I imagined that this show was going to become one of my all-time favourites.
Instead, it was a tale often filled with cliché stereotypes, sometimes weird and erratic behaviours and awkward moments which left me feeling slightly disappointed.
With that being said however, after I had finished the series, it did make me think about some of the truths about being in business. Not only from a financial perspective, but on a more personal, emotional level.
It prompted me to reflect on my current situation and surprisingly encouraged me to find perspective as a result of some recent experiences.
In no particular order:
1. Challenging customers are part of the experience.
The faster you learn to accept this, the sooner you can move on with what you’re meant to be doing.
I have always been my worst critic. If you give me a really amazing compliment with a teeny tiny criticism, I’ll spend the next few hours, focussing on the criticism. This is something that I need to work on. I recently worked with a client who was, let’s just say, a little bit challenging.
Since last speaking with them, I had been totally consumed by the conversation, playing it over and over in my head. This not only meant that I was distracted, but I wasn’t allowing myself to be 100% present when dealing with my other clients.
The truth is, there will always be someone who will criticise, question or disagree with you. That’s just life. The silver lining is that these clients, allow us to appreciate the pleasant clients that much more. They allow us to grow and to become even more confident in who we are and what we are offering to the world.
There is no point in holding onto negativity. Accept that you can’t always please everyone, learn from the experience and move on to doing what you love.
2. Just get back up and keep going.
Life will constantly throw challenges and setbacks. I’m slowly learning to remind myself that these challenges aren’t necessarily a sign that I shouldn’t be doing something, they’re just all part of the experience.
Throughout the series, Sophia faced a number of challenges to do with eviction, friendships, family, romantic relationships, business development and industry competitors. Her unwavering determination, however, saw her push through every single time, no matter what.
Now, I know this is just a TV series, but the point is that setbacks allow our dedication to be confirmed. Setbacks allow us to grow and most importantly, develop a higher level of persistence for the future. Small steps will add up eventually. The key is to just keep going no matter what.
3. No one can tear you down if you are confident in your abilities.
I’ve heard it so many times and I’m sure you have too, ‘how can you expect your customers to feel confident in your abilities, if you struggle to do the same?’. This is where a strong mindset and powerful affirmations come in handy. In fact, as you’ve probably heard, this is one key ingredient to success.
If you are completely confident in what you are providing to your customers, then no one should be able to tell you otherwise. Plain and simple.
4. The people closest to you may be the ones who understand the least.
I am extremely lucky in the fact that I have always had a close group of supportive family and friends around me when it comes to my business aspirations.
They have always wanted the best for me, regardless of whether that means following the traditional 9-5 routine of the corporate world or taking a gigantic risk to create something that I can truly call my own.
For other people, it’s not always like this. Sometimes it’s immediate family members or close friends who tend to demonstrate the most obvious disapproval.
There will always be people who struggle to understand why you’re making certain decisions, but your life is exactly that. You will be the only one to face the consequences of your decisions. If nothing else, then use that fuel to prove them wrong.
Show them that you can do this, that you are capable. And most importantly, show them that your dreams are worth pursuing.
5. You can’t succeed alone.
If you want your business to evolve, there will undoubtedly come a time where you will have to find a mentor, outsource, add to your team etc. After only 12 months down the track, I am fast realising the importance of not only outsourcing but having like-minded supporters around me to succeed.
When we have people around us to lift us up, inspires us, communicate, network and share with, our business has the potential to go from good to great. We have people to bounce ideas of off, to put things into perspective, to vent with (when necessary) and to share our highs and lows with.
Business ownership is hard anyway, but vowing to do it completely alone, will make it that much harder.
6. You are stronger than you think you are.
I never thought that I would be able to travel overseas alone. I never thought that I would be able to leave my family and move interstate – several times.
I never thought that I would be able to start my own business, let alone earn enough money to pay my bills through doing something that I felt truly passionate about. These were all experiences that terrified me, but I did them and more.
You never know how strong you are until you’re put into a situation where you have no other choice. When we hear about certain experiences, the immediate response is usually, “oh you’re so brave, I would never be able to do that”. But yes, you CAN do that. If you set your mind to it, it is achievable. It is as simple as that.
So often, we allow fear to stop us in our tracks – the what if’s and the should’s hold us back. Fear of the unknown paralyses us and we end up missing out on opportunities which ultimately would allow us to grow and develop as human beings.
How are you allowing fear to hold you back in your own life?
7. Be prepared to take a good, hard look at yourself.
Acknowledge your abilities and fully accept your flaws.
A few years ago I read an article which stated that being in business brings up every insecurity you’ve ever had about yourself and forces you to deal with it.
As I read this line, my first thought was, “Yeah, right… How is that even possible? That’s not going to happen to me”. Well, a year in, I can now say that my naivety got the better of me and I was very wrong. That did happen to me, and continues to happen to me almost every day.
It’s almost like an uncomfortable battle between desperately wanting to stay within your comfort zone, yet knowing that you won’t succeed if you don’t step out of it.
Initially, the surface-level aspects about your personality traits are highlighted – how you deal with time management, procrastination, prioritising etc.
Yet, as time goes by, the learning becomes deeper and deeper. You’re forced to confront issues to do with self-worth, money, self-confidence etc. This is when it starts to get challenging.
Going into business means getting really comfortable with feeling extremely uncomfortable. Make sure you’re ready.
8. Without dreamers, we have nothing.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Every human being who has ever made or offered anything to the world simply started with a dream and a desire to pursue it. Dreams allow our society to evolve, for new ways of life to be introduced, for our skills and knowledge to be developed.
It doesn’t just start and stop with a dream though. It takes people who are willing to push doubt and fear aside to turn their dreams into reality; People who are willing to take the risk and to put themselves as a top priority.
Your dreams are worth pursuing. Without dreams and a desire to pursue them, we have nothing but regret. Stop waiting for the perfect time to start because it doesn’t exist.