Britt Bolnick believes that if you’re going to start or run a successful business, you have to do your “inner work” first. She offers five tools to help.
Entrepreneurship or owning your own business is NOT for the faint hearted. I’ve done more inner work, faced more fears, and stretched myself WAY more in building up my business to success than I have doing any other SINGLE thing- EVER.
People often come to me to ask if I can help them start their own business, and I’m starting to think I need to create a checklist for them to answer before I’ll agree to work with them.
Here are a few of the questions I’d like to ask before working with someone- how would you answer?
1. Are you willing to commit fiercely to your vision, the way you would to a baby if you had one? (Think about the commitment it takes to raise a kid: being up all night, not screaming when you feel like you’re about to CRACK the hell up, cleaning up endless messes, pushing yourself physically like you’re in one of those hellacious Tough Mudder 5k courses, having endless patience, doing things repetitively, over and over and over again…and then sleeping 3 hours and getting up to do another day all over again. THAT’S pretty similar to the patience, endurance and focus you’ll have to have to start your own business)
2. Are you willing to not take failure personally? To think critically and honestly about everything you do, analyzing what worked and not crawling under the bed and giving up when something failed fabulously?
3. Are you willing to commit to the long haul? And do you have a way to support yourself while your project gets off the ground? Because one thing your new baby project WON’T give you is instant cash, so be prepared, again, to commit to the long haul.
So, how did you score? If you’re still reading this, here are 5 tools that WILL allow you to rock the hell out of being an entrepreneur.
Tool #1: Clarity of Vision
When moving forward with your plan or business, it’s CRUCIAL to be crystal clear about your goal and focus. Think about the difference between two archers: one blindfolds herself, spins around, and then shoots the arrow. The other stares at the target for a minute, seeing NOTHING but the bull’s eye, gets into position, lines the bow up, and- never taking an eye off the center, SHOOTS! Guess who has a better shot of hitting their goal?
Tool #2: Spend Your Time Wisely- With a Laser-Like Focus
Structure, structure, structure. Whether you’re one of those people who get sucked into Facebook or not, it is crucial to have your day mapped out. I have a calendar with all my program dates, major marketing moments, and time spent ON my business as well as all my vacation time (almost a week a month for 2015!) hanging on my wall in my office. From there, I make monthly blueprints of what needs to happen, and those get parceled into weekly blueprints, with every hour of every day 8-4, Monday throughThursday scheduled. That’s how I fit in everything I need to do and still only work 4 days a week until 4-5 pm.
Tool #3: Manage Your Energy Like a BOSS
Ah, the difficult work of facing our deepest fears, oldest stories, and scariest sabotaging behaviors. Managing my energy has been one of the TOP most important (and effective) tool in building my business- and they won’t teach it to you in 99% of the business courses out there. Managing your energy is about DECIDING what you want to believe is true, rather than letting your nasty little bugger of a inner critic voice scream relentlessly. So, instead of hearing “You’re never going to make money at this!” you repeat to yourself “Every day I’m running this business better and making more money.” Instead of “Who the hell wants what YOU’RE offering??” you tell yourself, “I am meeting more and more people who deeply need my work and are eager to invest in it.”
Get the idea? Our simple little brains believe what we tell them, and our reality adjusts around that. So the more you tell yourself something is true, the truer it becomes.
What are you telling yourself is true about you and your business? Is it what you actually WANT for yourself?
Tool #4: Get Support- Because You and Your Work Deserve It
Imagine if Oprah had been determined to build her empire…without any help. Imagine if Richard Branson was committed to creating a billion-dollar a year enterprise…alone. Kind of laughable, right? But so many of you talk yourselves out of the support you need to become more visible, more effective, more powerful, and yes, more financially successful!
Support might mean a virtual assistant for a few hours a week. A mentor or a coach. Someone to clean your house a few times a month, take your kids somewhere fun while you work, a client care assistant to take over tedious scheduling tasks. Someone to format and send your newsletter. Whatever you’re either doing and hating or NOT doing and know you need to in order to reach your goal.
And equally important is to stay aware of the stories and beliefs you’re carrying around about why you SHOULDN’T be getting support- those are serious show-stoppers, folks.
Tool #5: Stay Connected- To You
Your work should be as alive as you are. This means that as you grow and change, so should your business. Staying connected to yourself and what matters to you and brings you joy is KEY to keeping your business exciting and thriving. Think: the difference between a dead plant in a dark corner and the plant you keep in the sun, water regularly and sing to from time to time (word on the street is that they LOVE that!)- which plant is your business?
Every year around my birthday I do a big list of celebrations from the year past, what I loved and what I want for the next year. Often in that space I’ll also revisit my mission to see what’s changed from the last year- am I REALLY loving work with my groups, more than my private clients? Do I want to be speaking more and writing less? Do I love traveling to meet new women? Am I SO psyched to be talking to women about marketing? What do I LOVE? Then I focus more on that in the coming year. Keeps my business joy-centered, exciting, and motivated.
So, there you have 5 tools to rock the hell out of being an entrepreneur. Are you in or out?
This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.
Photo: Flickr/ John Morgan