By Jennifer Covello
About two years ago, I participated in a tele-class series focused on growing your small business. It included topics such as getting clear on your vision, planning your day, eliminating blockages and more. It was presented by a seasoned entrepreneur who had many years of experience with quite a bit of professional success and personal fulfillment.
The mix of attendees ranged from newbies to those who had been in business for several years. All of them searching…searching for the ONE thing that would catapult their business into the stratosphere. (Here’s a secret – there isn’t ONE thing that will catapult your business anywhere.)
“I wish I were like Jane.” “Why can’t my business be as successful as hers?”
(Um…maybe because she’s been at it thirty years and you’ve been at it thirty minutes? Just saying…)
I felt the same way. It can be difficult to see other people more successful than ourselves, whether it is in our own businesses or other chosen careers. We want what they have. We want to hit the fast forward button to the day when we see the fruits of our labor, not be mired in the planting of the seeds.
My fellow attendees and I as well, were tired of planting seeds and wanted to enjoy a scrumptious fruit salad.
While I felt their anguish about not having the level of success as our tele-class host, I couldn’t help but wonder if they truly understood the journey of this woman and the many trials she may have faced, the rejections she experienced, or the times she may have wanted to give up.
We had no idea how many days she sat in her home office trying to figure out how to sell her wares or why prospects were not calling her back. We didn’t know how many hours she spent perfecting her product line to make it appealing to the market. We also were somewhat clueless about her level of dedication to her business and the discipline she had.
In today’s society, we have become accustomed to quick fixes. Got a headache? Take an aspirin. Want to lose weight fast? Pick up the latest diet pill. Our attention spans have shrunken to the point that even a 140-character Twitter post taxes our brains.
What’s an entrepreneur to do?
The first thing you need to do is to stop wishing. What? You want me to stop wishing for my dream? Not exactly.
I’d like you to think about what you are currently doing to start or grow your business. Then write it down. That’s right. Get out your notebook or calendar and write down what you do each hour of your working day – whatever that looks like. No fudging. If you spend an hour on Facebook in the morning, write it down. If you’re meeting friends for coffee, write it down. If you’re sitting at your computer playing Candy Crush, write it down.
It’s time to be really honest here folks. The only person you’re fooling is yourself if you choose not to dig deep and get clear on how you spend your time.
Next, I want you to look at how much time you actually spend on your business versus the time spent on, well, let’s call a spade a spade, time sucks. Here are a few that might sound familiar:
- If your most creative and productive time of day is the morning, are you wasting that energy reading or posting on social media?
- Are you packing your day with tasks that have no relation to growing your business like responding to unimportant emails or throwing in a load of laundry or paying an errant bill or two?
- On the flip side, are you spending your day on tasks, which are related to your business, but are simply not big enough to make an impact? Do you really need to comment on every blog post you read?
- Are you spending time on tasks you have no business doing, like building a website or writing a press release?
These are the insights you will get when you honestly examine how you spend your time. Then when you ask yourself why your business isn’t where you’d like it to be, the answer will be right in front of you.
Now that you know these answers, you can develop a plan and a schedule for your time that will make a major difference in your success. If growing your business is reaching out to prospects, get on the phone and call them. If your business is about creating products, then select the best time of day and do it. If you are trying to write a book, write it.
This is not rocket science people. Our hallowed mentors and entrepreneur extraordinaires did not become who they are by wishing they could be successful. They did not spend their days on tasks and activities that had no impact on their business. They had a plan and they worked their plan. Every day.
It’s time to throw away the wishbone and get a backbone. Stand up for your success. Fight for it. You deserve every ounce of success that will come your way. But you have to believe you deserve it and you have to have a plan to achieve it.
Can’t figure it out on your own? Hire a coach. Enlist a friend to be your goal buddy. Join or start a mastermind group. There’s so much help out there for entrepreneurs now, it’s mind boggling. Figure out what will work for you and stick to it like glue. Do not waiver. Do not falter. Course correct when necessary, but keep the vision in front of you at all times.
Before you know it, there will be someone wishing they had your success. And you’ll be able to tell them just how you got there.
Jennifer Covello is The Purposeful Parent, an award-winning author, blogger, creator of Frittabello baby gifts and mother of two children. With her unique perspective on parenting coupled with her sense of humor and vast experience, Jennifer is able to relate to a variety of women and the daily challenges they face as a mom and business owner. Jennifer has been featured on both radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate “cubicle dweller” to “mompreneur” providing helpful tips and inspiration to moms and dads alike. Most recently she was on Better Connecticut Weekend Edition where she provided tips on overcoming SuperMom Syndrome. Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.