How to move on from failure as an entrepreneur

While the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, working for yourself was a pretty damn good move wouldn’t you agree? Yeah, the boss is kind of a bitch but you get along with her just fine. Working for yourself is so rewarding, you couldn’t imagine going back to a day job right? That doesn’t mean that it’s not without it’s extreme highs and lows. Over the past few years that I’ve been self employed, I’ve found myself wondering if there’s something wrong with me. Like, do I just crave the drama of not knowing where my next dollar is coming from? Do I revel in the fact that I could go broke at any moment? Do I need a psychologist? Do I need a job?

Owning your own business can sometimes leave you wondering: What the hell was I thinking? But you’re not a fair weather business owner- you’ve chosen this life and you’re proud to work in yoga pants for three days in a row. Come rain, come snow, come overdue rent, you’re in this, and you’re not alone. So how to you weather the hard times? When business is at a standstill, you don’t know where your next paycheck is coming from, and you feel like a bottle of wine would be a good investment in your sanity?

Well first, I will argue that sometimes a bottle of wine isn’t a bad investment. Sometimes you just need a day to wallow. But I’ve always found that I’m better off when I get back in the saddle and start believing in my vision again. The ups and downs are normal. Today I’m sharing the process that happens in my brain – one that you might relate to. I’m also sharing my advice on how to move on from failure, so that you can reach the highs of being your own boss!

  • When you feel like quitting: Before you throw in the towel, I want you to write down all of the things that you’ve done right since being self employed. What have you learned? How have you improved from where you started? What is something you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of? Studies show that we learn more from what we do right than what we do wrong. So focusing on the positive is not just a way losers console themselves- it’s how successful people move on from their failures.
  • When you feel like you don’t know what to do next: create a new goal. When things don’t work out the way we thought they would, it’s easy to lose all motivation to work towards another project (because we’re just going to fail at that too right?) Nah, business is just hard you guys. Not all of our ideas are going to be winners and not all of our dreams will come true like Disney said they would. I find that the quickest way to move on from an idea that flops is to move onto a the next one. It’s kind of simplistic, but it never fails to get me moving again. When you have something new to work towards, you can push those negative thoughts aside and just do your work. An idle mind is dangerous. Don’t let your mind wander into too much despair before moving onto the next thing. Yes, you can learn from your failures, but don’t let that negativity occupy your mind for too long. What’s important now- is that you get to work. So write down a new goal to work towards, get back on the horse, and get over it. Business is hard and no one is going to hold your hand.
  • When you’re ready to start a fresh new day and create again : You’ve had your bottle of wine. Didn’t really solve anything, but it was fun at the time. It’s time to get back to work. Now that you’ve got the next project on your mind, and the fog of failure (and the hangover) has cleared a little bit, you’re ready to try again. I knew you could do it! That’s what makes entrepreneurs so great. We’re always moving and building momentum- even after we hit a brick wall. So where do you start? Set aside a day just for planning and outlining your new goal. Prioritizing time to let our ideas develop is something that is so important- and so often forgotten. We get excited, and just jump right in. And sometimes that’s our downfall. Set aside a day, or even a week to let your idea develop is a key part of the creative process. A week to just “think” can seem like a luxury you can’t afford, but I would argue that good ideas are only worth how well they’re executed and delivered. You might have a good idea, but you don’t have it all figured out after fifteen minutes of brainstorming. So before you  get to work, start outlining, planning, and expanding on your idea.
  • When you’re comfortably settled into working towards your new goal : You’re feeling refreshed and alive again. Like you might just be able to make this business work, and like there’s no stopping you now. You know that if you fail again, you will be alright because you made it through. You work as hard as you can to make your dreams pan out and keep yourself out of that cubicle. This is a good time to reflect on what went wrong the last time, because the wounds to your ego have healed and you can look at your work objectively. You might even find a way to re-vamp that failed product or offer, and make it better!
  • When you have a major success : For me, it’s when I get a new design client, or a blog post gets shared a lot on social media. “They like me! They reeeealy like me!” When that email from a new client hits my inbox, my self doubt instantly melts away. Suddenly my self esteem spikes and I know I can do anything I work hard at and put my mind to. These successes are what it’s all about. They are what we got into this business for. Making money doing what I love is probably the most rewarding, confidence boosting privilege I’ve ever had in my life. So while owning your own business is filled with it’s ups and downs, never forget what makes it all worth it, and never stop working towards it.


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