Bite-sized lessons in building an online business that feels good.
The Digital Product Kickstart Kit: Your guide to creating and launching a digital product that sells.
I help online entrepreneurs (like YOU!) launch and relaunch digital products and podcasts to reach more people, grow their audience and become the go-to geniuses in their industry
Today, I'm talking about how to stay positive when your business is growing slower than what you had expected it to grow at, how fast you'd want it to grow. Now, I started this business back in 2018 and this is not the first business I actually had.
A business prior to that didn't quite go to plan. Let's put it that way, this actual business that I'm in right now, I started back in 2018 and it took probably about a year to figure it out, to find my feet, and to really understand what I was doing. And then, it took me a while to figure out what my niche was going to be, what I wanted to sell, and who I was going to help with all the basics that are kind of prerequisites for real growth.
And then after I'd figured it out, it probably took about another year before I saw any real growth. We've very easily forgotten that it can take time and the growth of the business to what we expect it to be and what we want it to be isn't going to happen overnight.
If you don't have that budget, then it is going to be quite slow. Now there are a lot of things that I wish I had done in that time while I was waiting for it to grow. But there are also a lot of times back then that I wanted to give up because I thought that slow growth meant it wasn't going to work. I thought that the fact it was growing slowly was a sign that my business wasn't right or that I was doing something wrong. But in fact, slow growth is a blessing in disguise.
Why did you start your business in the first place? Are you doing it for freedom? Are you doing it to help people to be boss? What is the why or the multiple “why's”, the multiple reasons that you are doing this?
Because without that strong why, it's really hard to stay positive. And then connect back to that big vision. Ask yourself what is that big vision that you have, that end goal? It's okay for that vision to change but what is that thing that you are working towards right now?
So if you can keep that vision in mind and you can keep connecting back to what you're aiming for and why you're doing it. Then that can help you to stay motivated even on those days when you just want to give up. And we've all had those days. It's so normal. Now, sometimes the path to how you actually achieve that vision might not end up looking like what you planned.
Rather than being so stuck to that rigid process that we want to follow, focus more on that end vision. So, you know what you're aiming for and then you can be open to the changes that might get you there faster. It might just get you there in a different way than how you had planned.
You might be doing it so that you can enjoy freedom but who else is going to experience positive things as a result of your success, who else has a vested interest in your success? Maybe it's the people you're helping. Maybe it's your family, your community.
What you are doing always has an impact on other people and it's going to have a ripple effect on an even wider group of people as a result. So get really clear. What does that impact you are having on other people's lives? Maybe you are empowering others in your community to make a change. Maybe you are helping certain groups of people to solve a very strong problem that they have. Who else are you doing it for other than just yourself? Who else is counting on you?
Running a business can be incredibly lonely if you don't have anyone else doing it with you. It can feel like everybody else on social media is killing it. Everyone you see on Instagram is traveling around and they're having a great time and their business is just floating along in the background. No effort.
That's the surface level that you are seeing. You're not seeing the challenges that they are going through, and it can be really easy to think that you are the only one who doesn't have it figured out. Everyone else has it figured out and you just don't have it. You don't get it.
But the biggest game changer for me was making friends with other business owners and now most of my friends run their own businesses. And when you have that community, you realise that you are not alone. We're all figuring it out and what you see on social media is just the surface level.
There is something also really magical about having people you can vent to who get it rather than venting to your partner or your friends who don't have businesses. If you have friends who do have a business they can understand. They can help you troubleshoot and vice versa. You can help them too.
Like me, a few years ago I had a launch that just didn't go well in 2019. I was so close to quitting my business, the emotional roller coaster. It's not worth it and I actually called up my friend, Anita, from Wordfetti.
I called her up and I said to her I'm looking at jobs. I just want to quit and she called me and she talked me back into it. She's said, you know what? This is normal. This is what you're going to do to rescue the situation and actually ended up being a lot better than it ever could have been.
4. Find a mentor or some sort of container that you can be in
A coach, a group program, whatever it is being in that community and going through their framework can help to point out the blind spots in what you're doing because right now where you are, you don't know what you don't know. And I really wish I had realised the value in investing in people's containers and courses and group programs earlier because I was just blindly going along, piecing together all these pieces of free advice and it's overwhelming and it's really slow.
You can only figure out so much on your own and working with somebody else or with somebody else's framework speeds up that process. It's quite powerful having that space and that framework and somebody else just telling you, Hey, do this, then do that.
5. Use this time to design your business intentionally. What is the ultimate vision?
For example, if you don't want to be working with clients, long-term. But you're doing it right now because it pays the bills. What can you do while things are quiet to set yourself up for that future growth?
Can you maybe start to create a course? Can you maybe start a podcast and batch those episodes so that you can stay consistent when you get busy? What can you do now with the downtime that you have that is going to set you up for growth in the future? And what you do right now is going to shape your business well into the future if you want to take a month off every three months.
You need to start putting those systems into place right now. That goal of taking a month off every three months might seem like months or years in the future. The systems you put into place now will help that to happen faster. You need to stop thinking about how are you going to one day outsource that customer support, even if you're doing it yourself, can you put systems in place to reply for replying to customer support messages?
Can you create a customer support document where you detail the responses to pretty common questions you get asked, what kind of software are you using to streamline things in your business? What processes can you implement for every task that you do when you hire? So. You know, all of these different things that you can start putting into place now, even if you're not ready.
You still can start putting together those systems and it's something I wish I had done so much earlier on because when you are busy, you will wish that you had got your ducks in a row sooner and getting those solid foundations in place means that when you have that faster growth, it's smoother.
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I help online entrepreneurs (like you!) to build a profitable online business that keeps growing even when they're offline.