If anyone told you entrepreneurship is easy, they were lying.
Either that, or they haven’t been a business owner for very long. I can tell you without a doubt that somewhere along the line in your entrepreneurship journey, there are going to be moments when you feel like giving up. It’s what you do in those moments, though, that ultimately determine your success or failure.
So, before you give into that urge to pack up your toys and leave the sandbox, do these things first.
If you are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out, you won’t be able to make great decisions. Take the time you need to rest and rejuvenate so you can look at things with a clear head. Do not make big decisions when you’re exhausted and emotional.
2. Remember why you started
Reconnect with the real reasons why you wanted to go into business in the first place. If it was just to get rich quick, well, then you have a dilemma on your hands. More likely, though, it was something bigger and deeper than that. Focus on that. And remember it’s not just about what you wanted to do for others, but also what your business means to you personally.
3. Look at how far you’ve come
Recall where you were when you first started and evaluate your progress. How much have you learned? How much progress have you made in your journey? Just because you aren’t a millionaire yet doesn’t mean you haven’t gotten anywhere – and it also doesn’t mean you won’t be a millionaire soon! Take time to celebrate and acknowledge how far you’ve already come. It is time to change your inner dialogue from “you’re failing” to “you’re progressing!”
Figure out why it’s not working for you right now. Now is the time for an honest and fearless evaluation of your business and your own efforts. Have you been fully committed? If not, why? Maybe you’re on the wrong track. Maybe you’re scared. Maybe you’re overwhelmed. Whatever it is, figure out the real reason. Are you investing in yourself? Why or why not? What’s working and what isn’t working? What can you do differently?
Reconnect with the dream. Where is it you truly want to be? How do you want to spend your days? What do you want your life to look like in the future? Answer those questions and then re-evaluate how you can get there. Maybe it’s by getting more committed to your plan. Maybe it’s by tweaking the plan. Maybe it’s by rewriting the entire plan.
Once you’ve decided on your plan, invest in yourself. Invest the time, money, and resources necessary to launch your business. Here’s the bottom line – the “I started a successful business with $0” overnight success stories are few and far between. (Quite honestly, they’re pretty much nonexistent.) You want to have a real business, right? Well, real businesses require real investments of both time and capital.
I know what this journey is like. I’ve started and grown four businesses from scratch, and I have walked the walk. I have been self-employed for years. I have been broke and in debt. I have made a fortune, and I have lost my shirt. I have failed and I have triumphed. I have cried myself to sleep with tears of desperation – and tears of joy. I have been there. I have wanted to give up myself more times than I care to admit.
But you know what? It’s what I did in those moments of wanting to give up that changed the course of my businesses and my life forever.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kara Pagliarulo is a startup expert and business coach who helps early stage entrepreneurs start and grow successful companies. In 2011, Kara walked away from an award-winning career as an attorney to follow her dreams, and she went on to start four businesses of her own. As the founder and owner of the Successful Life Project, LLC, she now dedicates her time to helping aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas and passions into profitable businesses. Connect with @karapagliarulo on Twitter.
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