As an entrepreneur there are always new challenges coming your way, and for a lot of us that is one of the things we love about what we do. Each day is different and we can create an amazing business from a concept or idea in our minds. But regardless of your type of business, there are certain obstacles every entrepreneur faces. These are 5 of the most common ones and what you can do about them.
The Comparison Trap
Every single person who has ever owned a business of any description has at least spent some time in the Comparison Trap – I assure you. It’s where you start to question if what you’re doing is the right thing and wondering if you had done things like [insert entrepreneurial idol here] you’d be more successful.
The biggest issue with the Comparison Trap is that rarely are comparisons fair. You can only compare with what you see on the surface, not what has happened behind the scenes. Did you see a new startup practically explode overnight? What you may not have seen is the 8 failed business prior to the ‘overnight success’ or the years of behind the scenes work building and growing an engaged community.[Tweet “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle – Obstacles for Entrepreneurs”]
To lessen the impact and frequency of the Comparison Trap, set yourself a vision of what successful looks like to you for your business. Does it mean being able to quit your current job or does it mean growing to hiring 5 employees. Whatever it means for you, make it clear. Then set goals to achieving that milestone, and map out how you’re going to make it happen. Whenever you start to feel like you’re comparing your business to someone else’s, come back to this map and refocus on where you are, and where you want to be.
Deciding What To Invest In To Grow The Business (income vs growth)
Spending money on your business before you’re turning an income can be challenging. It’s obvious you need to invest in your business in order for it to grow, but the difficulty comes in knowing where to invest for maximum ROI. And… just to add to the confusion, everyone has a different opinion about where you should be investing your money. Some people say advertising, others say to invest in design and others say to invest in a team to support you. It can be incredibly confusing.
But of course I’m going to add my opinion and at the end of the day you have to do what feels right for you. Here’s how I worked out what to invest in.
What is my goal?
After some serious business soul searching, I realised my goal was to get people on my email list. This was the pivot point between people checking out my site and reading my work to understanding my brand and purchasing products from me. Which means I knew this was an area I had to invest in.
I sat down and worked out what I needed in order to optimise my email list. Firstly, a good email provider, secondly a website design that let me capture leads and finally a plan on how I was going to offer more to my readers.
I didn’t have to invest a lot of money, but the dollars I did spend certainly made a big step towards achieving my goal.
So, work out what your goal is what you need to get there. Is your goal to increase your brand awareness (advertising), improve your understanding of business (self education and courses), get the biggest advantage you can and have someone coach you through your business (coaching), focus on what you’re good at and outsource the rest (outsourcing).
Working Without A Blueprint
Regardless of what the books on Amazon tell you, there is no set blueprint to a successful business. I’ve seen businesses go all in and fail and I’ve seen ones half-arsed and are ridiculously successful. Things that work for one business might not work for another. It’s frustrating and exciting all at the same time.
The frustrating part is that so often we feel like we are just flailing about with no clue, no idea what to do or how to do it and like we are just stumbling the whole time. No? Just me? Surely not. Haha. I know it’s not. Because believe it or not, even the most successful people will tell you there’s times when they have no clue what they’re doing and just making it up as they go.
But, the exciting part is we are making it up as we go! Which means we can determine how our business is going to look, we can set the rules and break them, we can do what makes us happy and be excited about trial and error and trial again. There is no ‘wrong’ way and that is super exciting.
When To Let An Idea Go
We invest so much of our time and energy into our businesses that sometimes they can actually end up like a toxic relationship. You know it isn’t going well, it drains so much of your energy and gives only negative back, but the little glimmers of hope get you through. It’s not making you happy, it’s not something you’re excited about, but you’ve already invested so much time/money/energy/love into it you’re not ready to let it go.
Breaking up is hard to do, and letting an idea go is incredibly difficult. But, you need to be super aware of when your idea isn’t going anywhere and when it is actually costing you more than what you’re getting from it. Both financially and emotionally.
Plus, you never know when holding on to a toxic business is preventing you from moving on to a business and idea that are going to be amazing. Sometimes we need to let something not so spectacular go so we can make way for what is truly awesome.
Limiting Self Belief
You are freaking amazing. Seriously. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, I know some days you probably don’t even want to get out of bed or switch your computer on but you need to know – you are amazing.
I’m the queen of self sabotage. In fact I’d list it under one of my ‘strengths’.
‘Krystal makes awesome coffee, can type at 120 words per minute, is polite and courteous and is amazing a self sabotage.’
But it’s something I’m always working on. Like every single day. It’s one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face and for me, I struggle because I don’t have any set metrics to measure my success by. Am I successful? In comparison to whom? (Okay, don’t even get me started on the comparison trap).
At some point every entrepreneur (totally a legit statement, I asked every entrepreneur) has thought to themselves ‘can I actually do this?’ It might be a fleeting moment for some and perhaps an underlying daily statement for others, but the question still stands.
Read More: 11 Habits of a Confident Woman
Building your self confidence and acknowledging the amazing things you achieve can help shift this self belief to a more positive focus.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur and how are you overcoming them?