Taking the leap to entrepreneurship is like moving out of a house that you had been living in for years. In that house you had comfortable furniture and familiar décor and you had a certain way of doing things everyday within that house. Now you have moved out of that house and bought an empty lot. No house. No walls, no furniture. There are so many facets to consider in building a house from scratch that it can feel very overwhelming. Where should you even begin?
Whether you are just in the beginning phases, or you are a seasoned entrepreneur, there are certain challenges that are common in all phases of building a business.
Understanding these will help you to move through them with an empowered mindset and feel confident about your future.
Experiencing Doubt and Insecurity
“I struggle with seeing the potential in myself like others do”
– Stephanie Steiger, Mary Kay
When you are an employee at an established business, you have a structure around you every day to make your priorities and role clear and company metrics to inform you on how you are doing. However, as an business owner, you have to create your own structure and you don’t have that certainty of how you are doing or where you are headed in the future. An important way to counter this uncertainty is to get clear on your foundational priorities and surround yourself with supportive people.
“I surround myself with positive people and motivational materials.” Cindy Bodnar Winslow, www.realestatesupportspecialist.com
Challenge # 2
Managing Time and Priorities
“As a mom of little ones, a wife, and someone who likes to be busy… managing time and priorities is my top struggle.” Megan Shane, Young Living Essential Oils, www.facebook.com/groups/ELessentialseeds/
You aren’t alone if you struggle with time management or knowing what things to prioritize first. Be realistic about the time you have available while juggling other responsibilities. When you are having a hard time deciding which project to work on, it is helpful to make a list of all projects and divide into categories and then break each project down into small steps that are manageable.
Challenge # 3
Feeling Not Good Enough
“Sometimes I feel not good enough at what I do even though my clients, who are authors, are reaching best-sellers lists.”
-Susan Helene Gottfried, editor, www.westofmars.com
The feeling of “not good enough” usually has nothing to do with our competency in business, and everything about a deeper belief that we have held about ourselves in general. Being a business owner often brings up our inner fears, even when they defy logic. Choose to not listen to that inner voice, and instead focus on your personal strengths and the skills that you bring to your business.
Wearing Many Hats
“I don’t mind wearing many hats, I just don’t like wearing them at the same time”. Jennifer Johnsen-Nazareth, State Farm Insurance, www.seejennifer.com
While juggling multiple tasks and various roles throughout our day is inevitable, multi-tasking actually leads to stress and decreased productivity. It is better for you to focus on one thing at a time and give it your full attention.
Being More Visible
“I fear that being visible online will make me a target for criticism”. April Ebeling, singer, www.aprilsingsalot.com
Being the face of your business can definitely bring up some feelings of vulnerability and fear. When you are the one who is designing your products and services as well as selling them, it’s not unusual to fear being criticized or judged especially from those who don’t fully support or understand our mission and passion. Take small steps towards showing up in your business in a bigger way. Notice the discomfort, but know that as you continue to move forward it does get easier.
Shifting Out of Negative Self-talk
Because we are often working independently and not getting other’s perspectives, it can be easy to get stuck in our own head in a cycle of negative self-talk. Remember that the thoughts in your head are not truth. They are just pieces of information and are often skewed by your own self-judgment. When you need to shift away from the negative voice in your head, choose a positive phrase to use as a mantra. Also, change things up from what you are currently doing. Get up and walk around, open the window and get some fresh air, turn on some fun music, or talk to an encouraging friend.
“Surrounding myself with positive people is a must, and I do the things necessary to maintain an emotionally healthy perspective.”
Joanne Jamis Cain, Wedding planner, www.katherinesdaughterevents.com
Receiving Money for your Products or Services
“I hate to ask my clients for money when they owe it to me”.
Maryann Liddle, Liddle Architectural Design
When we share our prices with a potential customer and request payment after a product or service is delivered, we are valuing ourselves and respecting our time and talents. This can be challenging to do though if we do not yet have complete confidence in ourselves or have some underlying negative beliefs about money. This is an important area to master if you want to have a successful, sustainable business and I recommend working with a coach or therapist to help you if you are struggling with this.
Taking Time for Yourself
“One of the biggest reasons women have difficulty taking time for themselves is feelings of guilt.” Lisa Purk, Life Coach, www.fuelyourinnerfire.com
We feel guilty taking any downtime because we are afraid that we may fall behind, which we assume means a potential loss of income or opportunity. The truth is, however, that if we don’t take breaks away from our business our productivity goes down and we can start to experience burnout.
Challenge # 9
“Because I provide software services, everything is remote for me with very little interaction with my clients.” Christine Turner Coppola, Arch Business Resources.
When you work mainly from home, you can sometimes feel isolated and alone. If you are an introvert, you may enjoy this to a certain extent, but over time it can be hard to stay motivated if you are not interacting with others. Make sure you schedule time out of the house several times a week networking and doing things just for fun with friends or family.
Dealing with Technology
“Technology is one of my greatest challenges because there are many systems to set up such as auto-responders, payment systems, and webinars.” Kim Cooper, www.beingkimcooper.com
When you are just starting out, use basic technology systems that you can manage alone, but as your business grows you don’t want to spend much time managing technology. Hire an expert as soon as you can so that you can focus on the message and purpose of your business and not be overwhelmed with learning new technology.
Even though we undoubtedly face a lot of challenges as business owners, we also have a wealth of opportunities available to us. The key to moving forward successfully is to seek support, take small steps, and stay focused on your passion and purpose.