Let me just get this out of the way before we get any further: You will freak out from time to time as a business owner. That’s ok. Owning a business produces stress, anxiety, and insecurity and can suck every unit of health and energy out of you if you let it. So, the trick is not to let it.
Easier said than done, right? It’s probably more accurately described as easier than thought. Our insatiable need to control everything can take our thoughts in a million directions. 90% of those directions lead into some dark places. It may seem your survival has no better odds than a roll of the dice in those dark moments.
What should you avoid doing to keep your cool, control your thoughts, and not freak out?
1) Don’t base your self-worth on how well your business is doing.
One of the biggest mistakes that new business owners make is using the status of their business as a litmus test for their self-worth. If business is going great, I must be good at what I do;
therefore, I am a good person. The truth is that your business success has very little to do with your worth. There are a ton of Grade-A jerks out there who are very good at making money. While you may know that logically, are you subconsciously putting that pressure on yourself? The key to overcoming this wrong thinking is to come to terms with the fact that your company might fail, and that’s ok. All successful entrepreneurs fail at a business. When that happens, they don’t think, “My business failed. Therefore I am a failure.” They think, “My business failed. What can I learn from this so the next one won’t?” Because they understand that it was the BUSINESS that failed, not them. Once you can separate yourself from the business, you will view the ups and downs as a regular part of growth rather than a continual attack on your self-worth that must be continually defended and worried about. Owning a business is kind of like life. Once you can come to terms with its mortality, you can finally be free to live and enjoy it.
2) Don’t expect linear growth.
Speaking of the ups and downs of a business, just know that there can be some real UPS and DOWNS. That isn’t unexpected, and you need to understand that a down is just a down, one of many downs that you will experience in the life of a business. It’s a natural human tendency to expect that it will continue to work if you did something that worked. It is also a human tendency to feel like if something doesn’t seem to be working, you need to change it up immediately to find out what is wrong. So many factors come into play with business decisions that until much time has passed, it’s hard to know what is working and what isn’t. As you become more experienced as a business owner, you will understand how to market your business properly and what your clientele is looking for in a service. You will get a loyal customer base that will even out through those ups and downs. So, just be patient and don’t get rattled every time your income takes a dip. That’s just the entrepreneurial life, baby. Enjoy the ride.
3) Don’t compare yourself to other companies.
It is not a far leap to look at another local company or one you see online and want to use them as a benchmark of where you should be. Then the questions will naturally start: “Wow, how do they already have three trucks? They couldn’t possibly get that many Google reviews in such a short time! Should I be advertising as much as them?” It may not be a far leap, but it is a leap into an empty pool. No business is the same, and thus no other business can set the benchmarks for your specific situation. Factors such as population, average income, and weather norms for your service area can significantly affect your growth compared to a company in another part of the country. Even within your town, competitors will have different backgrounds, education, networking connections, and working capital that can give them advantages that you may not have. So, rather than focusing on things you can’t control, set your own realistic goals that are reachable with what you DO have. It is perfectly fine to talk with other business owners to get tips and advice to help your business. Just don’t base your ability as a business owner on whether you meet or exceed the results of THEIR efforts. Your business is your creation. Spend your time focusing on its beauty and what it needs to grow.
Listen, 10% doesn’t sound like very good odds, but when it comes to thoughts, your mind can find the direction you are looking for no matter how difficult it may seem to be. You have more control over how you think than you realize. Don’t psyche yourself out before you even get a chance to roll the dice.