I was reflecting back over the last 5 years I have been in business and wanted to share with you lessons I learned from being in a slump a while back.
There are often two reasons moms start their online business.
The first thing is that they are building a business to have greater impact and change the world, it gives them their purpose outside of motherhood. The second reason is because they want to make money.
When starting a business, we are often told to find and connect with a “why” so deep that it will keep you motivated when times get hard.
My why, was always money.
And, having that as a why and going back to that when I went through a drought brought me more clarity around what I was doing wrong and how I got so far off track.
This story starts one late evening while I was researching for work. I came across a freelance writing course and I signed up.
It was low cost and I learned a TON of information. I hired my first mentor and started kicking butt.
In fact, I had a really solid foundation and then I came across a shiny object.
A shiny object is something that pulls your attention away from what you are really focused on. I let go of all of my writing and focused solely on this shiny object.
To be fair, I had also made the choice to cut back on some clients so I could focus.
Now, I don’t regret the time spent here, it taught me a lot and I grew my email database by over 2500 people. However, I didn’t increase my income. I was at a plateau.
When I started to look at what was working and what was not working I had to reconnect to my why.
I had to go back to the reason I started a business, which was to make my own money.
What I realized was, I gave up profit for this new game. I was operating my business on a serious loss.
How could this have happened?!
I have outlined the steps I took to get back on track in this article and I hope if you are finding yourself lost that it will shine a light for you.
Connect with your why
I lost sight of my why.
I started operating on someone else promise and how they made money. I hired a new mentor who was amazing, however, I got caught up in the wrong activities.
Staying connected to your why allows you to focus on what is important. You can learn to act on the activities that get you closer and more connected to your why.
I had clients and again, I knew I had to figure out a better way to keep intimate connection without bringing on to many more clients.
Shiny object syndrome
I had money coming in the door and was profitable. I lost most of it in a manner of 5 months as I pushed my new agenda.
What I learned from this experience is to ignore shiny objects. Pick one strategy and work that strategy.
When you try and build out to many legs of your business at once, you will not gain full momentum in any area. You become focused on too many areas at once and your attention is split.
For me, I had to decrease the amount of time I was working with clients to build out this activity. This activity was not aligned with what I wanted.
When you work non stop you are forcing yourself into burnout. I know because I have been there.
This was one of the reasons I decided to cut back on clients.
I had down time during this time however I wasn’t spending it the way I should have. I was not connecting with my family and I was not connecting with my friends.
I was using my downtime to strategize and push myself harder.
I ended up burned out and not wanting to go further. As I reviewed this time period I had to take a look at what worked and what was not working. This piece was not working.
I had to learn a better way.
Focus on the gaps
When creating a business, especially as a mom, we need to use our time wisely. It is already so limited.
When you focus on your gaps in business you can better master those skills.
Something I learned while reading Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling is to focus on one key area at a time, for a week. He pulled this idea from Benjamin Franklin who had 13 subjects he would focus on.
Each subject would be the focus for a week, which means each focus had one month each year of strict focus.
What I realized in that moment was if I wanted to master something I needed to give it my strict attention.
I needed to have tunnel vision on one task at a time to master it. I needed to let go of the shiny object and refocus on what mattered.
If it worked for a scientist like Franklin and a sales expert like Bettger, it HAD to work for me.
And it has. It requires you to slow down and really pay attention to the work at hand.
The best way out of a slump is to take action.
And that is exactly what I have done. Once I knew what I needed to change and focus on, I started taking inspired action.
I started creating more content that was aligned with where I wanted to go and I let go of the perfect image of how in my head.
So often we see exactly how we want to run our business to reach success. We only see the strategy. However, what I have learned is that you do want to focus on one strategy and work it. You do want to build only one leg at a time.
However, be open to opportunities as they show up.
I was so focused that I lost sight of the opportunities.
Part of being an entrepreneur is being aware of those opportunities. They may be hard to spot but this is a learnable skill.
And with any skill, the more you practice the easier it will become.
Following the opportunity starts with decluttering out the old stuff to let the new stuff in. Identify what is holding you back from hitting your goal and connect with your why everyday.
Let go of what is not working.
As you let go of what is not working you will see habits and rituals that you have in place that are not aligned with where you want to go. Focus on changing your bad habits into positive habits.
Look at your daily rituals and see if they are aligned with what you want to create.
Focus on matching your actions with your desired results.
Finally take a look at where you really want to go.
Create goals and process goals (milestones) to get there and start taking inspired action.
Get focused and get results.