The surprising thing about leading a Starship full of creative entrepreneurs is that every week I get giant reality check. No matter what I think will work for a business, or how well I assume someone is doing during our weekly check-ins I get firsthand stories of what is working, what is not, and what everyone is struggling with. Sometimes, it seems everyone has had an amazing week full of big orders, interviews, and fat accounts. Other weeks, everyone has expensive doctor appointments, sad sales and zero retweets.
In a given week, it can be crushing (or thrilling). I want everyone to be doing well! All the time! But that's just not realistic. In every business, a little rain must fall. This is the power of regularly checking in with the same businesses – I can see the longer thread of their story. It's not just this crappy week, but the whole trajectory of how their business has transformed in the last year or more.
With that in mind, I've learned there are some things you can do in a bad week to both keep your wits about you, and soften up the hard:
- Take a break from reading how well everyone else is doing. Really, just stop reading it.
- Look for signs from reality. Is this actually, measurably awful or does it feel awful? (It's totally permitted to feel awful, just don't let it catastrophize into an unreal business emergency.) Is this problem important or urgent? Being a day late for rent is super annoying, but if you're just waiting for a client to pay her invoice, and then you'll have plenty, this is not a huge sign that you suck. Take a deep breath. You're fine.
- For a real problem, find a quick solution. I'm not a fan of quick-fixes as a long-term plan, but sometimes you need to just get your feet under you. This might be anything from a part-time gig, to a new income stream, to something you've never considered.
- If you find yourself in this situation regularly, take a day off to look clearly at your entire business model. How do you get paid? What products do you have available? How easy are they to buy? What is the customer path for each product? Is it obvious? Long?* Map it all out, in detail and find the weak spots. Then make a Next Steps list and get to work.
What do you do during a hard time in your business?
*An example: the customer path for the Starship is long – it takes at least a few months of reading my work, having conversations with me on Twitter, and getting my email lessons to feel comfortable enough to sign up for a whole year working together. Knowing this, I switched to only opening it once every 3 months and I devote myself to helping people come closer throughout those 3 months. This greatly changed my money flow, meaning I have to make other changes in my other income streams. If I didn't elucidate this for myself, I could tear everything apart trying to “fix” it.