The last December was my worst financial month ever in business: I only made 20% of my usual monthly income. January, on the other hand, was my best month in business. I earned 2.5x my average income, making it 10x more than December. How could this be possible?
Within 30 days, I made a profound change, and it had little to do with strategy. Rather, it was about alignment (allow me to explain).
I often joke that I built and scaled a six-figure business in less than a year by flying by the seat of my pants: I broke the traditional marketing rules, did things my way, and didn’t follow industry standards. Considering my business is grounded in the vision of creating my own stories and helping others to do the same, this approach worked out exceptionally well for me.
But, towards the end of this fiscal year, I started to lose alignment. I found myself listening too much to experts telling me what I “should” do to continue scaling: in this case, to step away from my high-touch private coaching (what I enjoy doing the most) and instead shift my attention to more passive income streams by launching courses and products. Even though I didn’t love the idea of distancing myself from my audience, I caved into what I was “supposed” to do.
The result? My worst month in business.
By focusing on strategies that weren’t aligned with my values, I ended up working twice as hard for half the income — not to mention, I felt stressed out and unhappy with my work. Although it is important to learn how to launch and automate in order to scale your business to seven figures (and beyond), that does not mean it was the right move for mine at the time.
1. Lower your expectations, increase your curiosity.
When you’re pouring a lot of time and energy into your work, it’s only natural to want to see results. In the past, I’ve caught myself calculating how much money I should make, how many courses I should sell, etc., based on how hard I worked. The problem with this behavior is that it sets you up for disappointment if the results don’t match up to your expectations.
Rather than attaching yourself to an arbitrary outcome, align yourself with the process. Do the work, give it your best, and see what happens. Instead of thinking “what’s wrong?” if things don’t go your way, ask yourself “how can I make this right”?
Most importantly, get curious about your business. Just because something has always worked in the past, does not mean it will continue to in the future. Stay open to changing with your business. If you are doing something but you hate it, why are you doing it? Sticking to projects that drain your energy and keep you in a state of anxiety will drag your morale down in the long run. There is another way, and curiosity will help you find it.
2. Focus on the big picture.
Seeing my business flail was a huge hit to my ego. I started questioning whether I was good enough, if I should keep going, and if anyone wanted what I offered (despite my audience’s high engagement, students taking my courses, and a roster of private clients).
I became so hyper-focused on my business’ temporary underperformance that I completely overlooked that in the past year, I’ve consistently hit and exceeded my monthly income goals and received powerful testimonials from my clients. Fixating on smaller, short-term problems clouded my energy, enthusiasm, and the vision of success for my business.
During times of trouble, take a moment to step back and focus on the big picture — what do you actually want to achieve, and why? Stay true to your vision, so that when challenges come, you can look beyond the immediate problems and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In the end, my business quickly snapped back to normal and I understood that my bad month was just that — a bad month.
3. Do not quit at the sign of struggle.
A lot of business owners struggle because when things get hard, they go down a negative spiral of not seeing the value they can provide, resisting innovation and meeting changing market needs, or being too afraid to invest in their future potential.
There will always be bad months, poor investments, and subpar launches. That does not mean that your business is failing. Part of the process is figuring out not only how to prevent these problems, but also how to deal with and persevere through them when they inevitably present themselves.
Your challenge as an entrepreneur is to develop the resilience to work through the bad times and to build when you’re strong. As you grow, allow your business to grow with you — your mindset and income will thank you for it .
Originally published on: Forbes