When An Entrepreneur’s Wheels Fall Off

March 21, 2018

Every single client we’ve worked with (myself included) at some stage in business has gone through bad times.  The wheels do fall off, whether a:

  • Relationship breakup
  • Illness
  • Family tragedy
  • Financial crisis

It seems like the universe knows you’re down, and gives you another kick!

Just know, there are others going through exactly the same.  The thing is, when you run your business there is no sick leave and it isn’t always possible to hide for a bit while you lick your wounds.

If you or someone you know has had the wheels fall off, either short term or long term, I thought I’d share some strategies to help keep your business running until you’re back to your normal, amazing self.

How to keep your business running in times of need:

  • Above all, look after yourself:  Having a business won’t mean a thing if you can’t come out the other side.
  • Draw on your support:  We all need help at some point, I’d definitely want someone I work with to reach out and say “I’m really struggling, can you give me a hand/lend me a shoulder to cry on/make time for a coffee/just listen”.
  • Prioritise your work: You know the very minimum you need to do to keep your business running; honouring appointments clients have made with you or fronting up to that presentation, this has to happen.  Posting to your Instagram account doesn’t.  Business development could be paused for now, customer service cannot be.  Know the bare minimum you have to do and shelf everything else.
  • Systems will save you: If you have business systems in place you’re positioned to get someone into help you with the day to day.  Systems take a business out of your head and into a process – anyone can follow certain processes!
  • Plan ahead:  Most entrepreneurs are an integral part of their business but with some risk management planning you’ll know if x happens, y is triggered (x = wheels falling off, y = you’ve got a contingency plan) and your business is safe.
  • Don’t be a one man band: Even if you have a team, when disaster strikes you can’t necessarily say “hey, I need a month”.  But if you outsource (ever so subtle pitch!!!), have staff, or are part of a team – there is support to help the business continue to function with minimal input from you.  Without this support it is so much harder to look after yourself and get to a better place.

A couple of years I wrote a post “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going”.  It wasn’t about a personal disaster but a time in business where I needed to make changes to 1) be happier, and 2) move away from my business being a “job”.  If you can do that, the pressure comes off a bit when the wheels do fall off.

If this resonates with you, I’m really sorry to hear it.  If it doesn’t, I hope if you ever get to this place that this advice helps.  Above all (and I’ve had clients go off the radar only to phone up a few months later saying, “I’m so embarrassed, the wheels fell off”) know that nearly everyone goes through this.  There is nothing harder than drying up the tears or pulling yourself together to have a video skype with a client, sounding like you’re on top of the world.  You’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got this!

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