It's easy to feel discouraged when you read about business owners overcoming adversity and how women business owners are crushing it on Black Enterprise, Forbes and Essence, only to find out your breakthrough isn't here yet. As an aspiring womanpreneur yourself, you feel so close yet so far away at the same time.
You constantly compare your business to others to figure out what you are doing wrong, often doubting yourself and your God-given gifts, wondering why you don't have that "it factor" like your competitors, or haven't hit 20K followers on social media yet. You constantly check your email… Nothing. Right after you check your email, you log in to your Paypal account only to still find nothing or not enough for you to survive on. Oh, and let's not forget to mention frequently checking social media only to see very little engagement on your posts. You really thought this would be easier because a lot of people are making it look easy and now you are considering calling it quits.
But before you do that, I need you to take a deep breath and read this. Here are 8 questions to ask yourself when your business breakthrough seems like an eternity away:
Are You Being Honest with Yourself?
It is time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and time to be honest with yourself. Are you being consistent? For the last 30-90 days, what have you done consistently in your business that will help you generate revenue?
If you study successful business people, they are usually strategically consistent. Sometimes when I feel stumped in business, I need to take a break and have a heart to heart with myself to find out why I am not being consistent or why I'm not following a plan. As creatives, we can get lost easily. Sometimes, sadly, the only consistent thing I am doing is scrolling on social media instead of putting in the essential work needed to level up. Don't beat yourself up about this, just make the change immediately and analyze if you made progress after the changes have been made.
Are You Trying to Do It All Yourself?
Do you have Superwoman Syndrome and think you can run a business all by yourself? If you do, I have news for you, you are going to burn out. It may not happen today or three months from now, but it will catch up to you. Being a mom, wife, and teacher, I learned this the hard way and like many, when I burnout, I have no choice but to completely shut down.
To add fuel to the fire, you are comparing your business to corporations but you aren't operating like one. Yes, you are great at what you do but you, my love, you are only one person. It may be time to get help. You can't always create greatness alone. Greatness requires a team.
Teamwork makes the dream work isn't just a cute saying. It is the truth.
You may have to partner up with another business owner on a project, look into affiliate marketing, or hire help. Ask yourself who you can work with that will help you scale up.
Are You Operating In Real Time?
Do you have systems in place, or is that newsletter going out when you feel like it and not on automatic? What about the process when people purchase from you? Are you manually sending out confirmation emails and tracking info?
Having systems in place will make your life easier, alleviate burnout, and make your on-boarding process smoother when hiring help. It can get hectic trying to post on social media, edit videos, connect and follow up potential clients, and/or seek partners all at once. Think about the tasks in your life that you can afford to put on automatic. Lastly, batching helps. Set aside a designated task to complete in a specific time frame.
For example, if you are a blogger, you can batch your blog posts by writing out your content in one setting or batching your photos for the month in a day, and so on. When I batch, I am more efficient and it alleviates overwhelmed feelings while keeping me consistent.
Are You Surrounded By Like-Minded People?
Running a business is hard enough but being overwhelmed and not having other business owners to talk to makes things harder.
When I started my business, I quickly learned that entrepreneurship can be very lonely. However, it doesn't have to be. There are many like-minded women that you can connect with locally or online. Some of my closest business besties are women I have met online.
Are You Only Settling for That Free .99?
Do you keep signing up for freebie after freebie and attending this person's free webinar only to be more confused than when you started?
There's a lot of noise on the internet and it can seriously cause you to lose your focus or make you believe that you need everyone and their best friend's program. Let's be real, you need to take action. If you are going to spend the time to attend a webinar, make sure you implement and execute what you learned or don't bother to waste the time to even attend or sign up. This applies to empowerment brunches and workshops too.
You have to do the work.
Sis, all those notes that you're jotting down need to be executed. Keep reading to learn how to get out of the free .99 mindset.
Are You Investing In Your Business?
Usually, when I invest in my business, whether it is taking a class, hiring a coach, or attending a seminar that I paid for, I make more than the investment back and learn a new skill to implement in my business. For example, with a business coach, I am able to execute my vision with their help faster than if I had to do it alone. Sorry to break it to you, but not having money to invest is not an excuse. I say this because we often get caught up in what we don't have before we focus on what we do have.
Both Google and the library are free resources. If you cannot pay for someone to tell you the information, then you have to take the time to research and learn things through trial and error.
Plus, books are inexpensive. There are tons of great business books written by experts that will teach you a lot in a short time. For example, if you need to learn more about copywriting, email marketing, or Facebook ads, there are books that will give you start. Also, there are free agencies that help new and old businesses. The sba.gov is a great resource. Check out entrepreneurial centers at your local universities and colleges. Some of them offer free one-on-one consults and they offer frequent business classes as well.
Who's Holding You Accountable?
Accountability is huge. When working a traditional job, you usually have a supervisor to report to. Typically, you have an annual review. You are held accountable to the company's standards, but when working for yourself, who is holding you accountable for staying on task and operating your business legally and efficiently?
This tip is often avoided, but it is not hard to find an accountability partner. Sometimes you can find another business owner and you two can make an arrangement to check in on each other for free. Accountability makes a significant difference. It keeps you on track and focused.
If The Time Comes, Can You Walk Away Like A Boss?
I truly hope it doesn't have to get to this step, but if it does, then exit like a boss. Remember failing isn't always bad. It brings you closer to your success. Many successful business owners failed numerous times before finally getting it.
Before throwing your hard work away, research if anyone is willing to acquire your business. Don't leave anything out, including your domain name. For example, someone may not want to buy your business, but they may be willing to buy your domain name. Sell it if you are honestly done as opposed to letting the domain host make money off of your hard work when it expires.
When stores go out of business, they usually have a going out of business sale and sell everything down to the fixtures. What makes your business any different? One thing I notice is a lot of online businesses go out of business without a strategy. They don't even let their tribe know. You just go to their website and bluntly find out that it's no longer active or the social media handle no longer exists. Operate as a business until the very end.
I hope you found these tips helpful. I know how hard being an entrepreneur can be, but just know that I am rooting for you. We all can win. Let's stop idolizing what we see and start putting in the work on the things that we don't see. Keep being consistent and keep pushing. The world needs you and your business.
You got this girl, now get back to work.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Veteran singer Usher Raymond candidly reflects on the challenges he endured following his failed relationships and reveals the steps he took to become a better person and partner.
Over the years, Raymond, who has been in the music industry for nearly three decades, has reportedly had high-profile relationships with TLC's Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, fashion stylist Tameka Foster, and talent manager Grace Miguel. Since then, the 44-year-old has been dating music executive Jenn Goicoechea, and the couple welcomed two children together in their blended family. At the same time, the "Glu" crooner shares two sons with ex-wife Tameka Foster.
In the August digital cover of Vibe Magazine, Raymond opened up about why remaining single was challenging and how therapy helped him heal childhood traumas.
Usher On Why Remaining Single Was Difficult
In the discussion, the "U Got It Bad" songster revealed that he found remaining single after a breakup difficult because he had envisioned himself "creating a life with someone" despite having his fair share of heartbreaks.
"I think the hardest thing that I've ever had to do was be single," he told the publication. "Because I don't like to be alone. The idea of creating a life with someone is what I would like to do, maybe because I didn't have or didn't see that. And I get to remedy that idea by having an incredible partnership. I can then have the thing that I ultimately wanted to see. You know what I'm saying?"
Photo by Arturo Holmes/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Usher on Therapy
When the topic shifted to Raymond's current relationship and why it's been more fulfilling compared to his other unions, the "There Goes My Baby" singer credited attending therapy as a fundamental part of his healing journey.
Raymond added that going to therapy helped him uncover why singleness and the need to be in a relationship stemmed from the hardships he experienced as a child having an estranged relationship with his late father, Usher Raymond III.
"Man, healing took a lot," he said when describing why his relationship with Goicoechea has been successful.
"Maybe I was suffering a lot from—just maybe not necessarily having the kind of love that I would've wanted as a kid. And wanting to figure out what that was all about. I didn't have that relationship that I would've wanted to have with my father. And that the relationship that I had with my mother was slowly beginning to be under pressure. Because one, we were working together. Two, we had our differences. Three, I was getting older, but I think it was just life lessons. The therapy really did help me be able to be by myself."
Raymond’s recent admission about healing from past traumas can help inspire others to face their challenges head-on.
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