By Mindee Hardin
Full Speed Ahead! Never Look Back! Onward and Upward!
All nice warm fuzzy motivational mantras intended to power us forward and into greatness in our entrepreneur journey. Yep! It IS very wise to set goals, create a vision board and plan ahead. It IS positive and impactful to practice the art of imagination and manifesting your dreams into a reality. As with wine and whining, spending and saving, this also absolutely must be done in moderation. Your daydreaming must be balanced with reality and with measurables you can call on for a clear picture of where you are in the present, where you were in the past and where your personal success point is at. No matter what stage you are at in your business development = just starting with an idea, a garage full of thingies, a mountain full of debt or a pay pal transfer away from cashing out, it’s really important at some point you have taken the time to define what will make you feel satisfied for your sacrifices. What is your definition of success? When will you have enough of what you set out to achieve? There is a reason gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Consuming more than what you require will eventually kill your passion. You absolutely must define your bliss in being an entrepreneur.
Fulfillment happens with an occasional dance in the clouds, an intermittent stake in the ground and a lot of checking in with yourself on where you are in between.
I see many Moms in business pouring gallons of money, time and hard work into a business bucket with holes in the bottom. They have NO idea how to feel fulfilled in their business. They just get on the hamster wheel and go. Put out fires all day, answer emails, process orders, manage customers having no real idea if they are on a path headed towards why they even started their business in the first place. It might be money, might be connection or making a difference, meeting people or staying busy. Everyone’s reason for starting is different and likely a combination of many of these things together. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that you have taken the time to recognize it and find ways to put it at the heart of your decision making.
If you are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, uncertain if you are on the right path, perhaps now is the time to start drawing a map to FEEL BETTER Rd. To help do this, I suggest my Juicebox clients take two simple steps:
STEP 1: Ask yourself the following questions, reflect on them and be specific in your answers:
1. How many hours can I easily commit a week to be FOCUSED my business? This is not while a kid is watching cartoons, this is focused without interruption.
2. What do I expect to get from those hours? Number of customers, number of likes, hits, shares etc..
If one of your answers is money (which seems pretty relevant since this is a business, not a hobby)…..
1. How much money do you want to make in your business? A REAL number, not “enough to buy some new shoes” or “enough to retire at 50”
2. How many units of your product or service do you need to sell a month to make that much money?
LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS AND EXPECTATIONS! HOW DO THEY MAKE YOU FEEL?
Can you really sell 40 units in a month working 10 hours/week? Can you sell 4,000 working 40 hours/week? Can you really get national PR for your cause only spending 2 hours a week dedicated to it or is local PR a better aspiration? Only you know what’s realistic given your unique set of resources and opportunity. Look at what other companies are selling, consider the marketing you are doing, the budget you have to work with, advice from experts, amount of help you have, past sales and what your consumer behavior is. Set up a plan to scale the numbers as you grow and adjust spending and time as needed when it’s evident a strategy is or isn’t working.
STEP 2: Remind Yourself.
It’s a pretty simple thing to re-vist these goals, but HUGELY impactful on your daily attitude as a business owner.
The glory and PR and attention is fun, the connecting is beautiful, the money is nice, the networking is rewarding. None of it will make you sustainably happy if you don’t know where happy is for you. Once you can determine that place by asking questions like those above, you can work backwards from it to be intentional and efficient in your work TODAY. You will have a realistic picture of what is required from you to get there. It’s just about knowing what you are up against to fill your bucket. Knowing what making the holes and aligning them with the resources and mindset you have to plug them up. It makes you feel incredibly empowered and in control instead of flailing from one thing to the next.
Put these magical numbers and goals up in your office, tattoo them on your feet, ink them on your steering wheel, scribble them on your coffeemaker.
Know every day what you set out to achieve in your business.
One of two things will happen from this exercise. The first is you may not hit these goals, repeatedly, month after month you can’t get there. In my experience if you have not met your original sales goals in 12 months, it’s time to pivot! Hopefully you had some experts chime in when you developed them and you know truly what was realistic given your business model. If you are repeatedly off from them, that is a SIGN you need to pay attention to before it’s too late. Something is broken in your business model and you must adjust it. Redefine your fulfillment point. Seek new ways of thinking or doing things differently.
The second thing that could happen is you reach these goals, with the hours committed and the resources you assembled – you hit the nail on the head. Awesome. Now CHILL OUT! Just keep doing what you are doing for a while. Enjoy it. Swing the pendulum back to family time or you time or visits with friends you miss. Clean up your office, take a trip, play more cards with the hubby. Your business is not your life. It is one part of what makes you, you. It’s ok to dedicate a lot of time to help it grow as long as once it does, you stop and make sure the rest of what lights your heart is growing right along with it. No doubt you and your family have been making changes and sacrifices for this risk so accept the reward with open arms. Face it! You did what 90% of those who start out can’t do. Don’t screw it up by thinking so quickly, right away, you need to go do more. That’s how and why so many fail and burnout and lose it all. Eventually, once the balance resets, you will feel the itch again and then you can start the climb over, set another goal, add more resources and time or money to help propel you to the next benchmark.
Growing a business is a series of sprints, NOT a marathon.
If you do not rest in between you are guaranteed to collapse at the finish line.
No amount of money will ever be able to buy you a peaceful night’s sleep, the ability to be fully present in moments with your kids and family and a confident heart you are living your best life. Only fulfillment can do that.
Peace & Be Well
Mindee Hardin:: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries. She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others. She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting.