How to Thrive in your Small Business
I have never ridden a donkey but I imagine that the feeling is similar to starting a business.
Your ideas fly a thousand miles per hour in a Lamborghini, while your body and your reality remain stuck on the side of the road in a stubborn mule.
When I started my first blog, I worked every day – from Monday to Sunday. I skipped family parties. I stopped going out with friends and for a year I lived practically stuck to the computer.
I read all the marketing and business books I found on Amazon. I applied them diligently. I reviewed tutorial after tutorial. I took notes and classified them into documents to consult later.
I dreamed of being a professional blogger, of those who travel the world with lap and backpack on their shoulders. I wanted to use my work to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Although I struggled, I felt that I was not moving forward.
Something was wrong, but what?
I’ll share a simple scheme to stop feeling overwhelmed and think that you do not move fast enough with your business. The most important thing is that you will have the tools to transform that stubborn mule into a fast animal.
Tip : You can also use it to advance your projects and objectives.
The 4 Stations of Entrepreneurship
The rotation of the earth generates four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. You behave differently depending on the characteristics each one has.
In Spring you wear a suspender blouse, in summer loads with an umbrella and in winter you dust off the thick jackets of the wardrobe to protect you from the cold.
The process of starting and building your business is also cyclical and can be divided into four stages or seasons. When you are in sync with them, the thing flows and you move fast.
When not, you lose time in activities that instead of helping you grow, generate chaos and stagnation . It would be the equivalent of putting on a jacket in Summer or a tank top in Winter.
Next, I tell you what each one is about and what are the actions that will make your business prosper.
Spring is a time of blossoming when nature awakens after a long sleep. It is charged with energy to rebuild the devastation that winter left.
When you have the idea of undertaking a new project and leave the doubts aside to take action, officially you start the spring season.
I will give you an example.
A month ago I started a small hotel business with my parents.
My mom inherited a house. It occurred to him to furnish it and rent it through Airbnb. He told me the idea and invited me to be part of the project. I visualized myself with a Paris Hilton style hotel empire.
After thinking for exactly 5 minutes, I said yes.
Later, when the excitement came down and responsibilities began to arrive, I panicked.
What if I did not have time to continue with Estilo Pura Vida and at the same time manage the hotel. What if everything went wrong and my parents lost their investment. How about if the guests stole the towels. What if in a few months I realized that the idea I did not like as much as I thought, etc, etc, etc.
On the one hand I was excited. He had a lot of energy to contribute to the hotel and he wanted to see it prosper. However, there were gaps and I was not sure how I was going to cover them.
Take a deep breath and apply the wisdom of an alcoholic in recovery: take it one day at a time.
When you are in Primavera, the most important thing is to ignore your fears and move forward little by little.
Next, I give you some activities that will help you deal with the mix of emotion + uncertainty that you will experience at this stage.
Actions to carry out in Spring
Think constantly about your vision
Write your vision or create a picture board and review it every day. This will keep you focused on what you want.
To overcome the fear, I organized a meeting with my parents. We talked about our goals and the ideas we had for the hotel. We even visited the house and stayed a week there.
The boiler was broken. The electrical installation needed to be renovated. We had to build a bathroom and get an administrator.
Each activity represented a challenge, but instead of paralyzing us, we thought about how we would adorn the rooms or what we would do to make the guests comfortable.
When viewing the house completely renovated and ready to receive people, we felt excited and eager to continue.
At this time, your project or business idea may be abstract, but start to build the vision. Take a piece of paper and write or draw what you are going to get.
- What does it look like?
- How do you feel?
- How does it smell?
- What excites you?
- What gives you energy to continue?
Check it every day and add new details as you think about them.
Establish a clear objective
A vision is useful, but it does not help much if you do not know how to make it come true. A clear and well-planned goal will help you achieve it. Here I have a giant guide where I explain everything about the objectives.
Take it one day at a time
When I realized the work the hotel represented, I did what any respectable millennial would do. I bought some Oreo, I turned on Netflix and saw the 8 chapters of #Girlboss – to inspire me. When I finished I had two options:
- Search a new series
- Turn on the computer. Put me to work.
I opted for the second and decided to take it one day at a time so as not to fall back on # NetflixOreo.
Maybe at this moment, you do not know the steps to transform your business ideas into reality, but do not let that stop you. Take it easy and focus on getting a small daily advance . Little by little you will become stronger, you will gain experience and you will begin to feel more secure .
A good question to ask at this stage is:
What is the smallest step I can take at this moment to approach the vision I have?
If you stay focused on the vision and constant with your small actions you enter the Summer.
The fruits of your work begin to sprout. They are few, but enough to keep you motivated. Fear is replaced by experience and knowledge. Still, there are unexpected challenges.
After the work that my parents and I did with the house, we got the first reservation through Airbnb. At that moment, the tiredness that we had dissolved and we are excited to continue.
We started in Easter and it was crazy. Every day we received new guest inquiries. I could not get away from the phone or go to the bathroom. Sometimes, they arrived at 1 in the morning and I had to get out of bed to answer.
The cleaning lady turned out to be an irresponsible one and we had to get a new one.
One day, my mother ordered the house’s water tank to be washed because it was full of dirt. The workers were careless and they covered the pipe. We had 4 reservations for that afternoon and the shower spit #EpicFail mud.
We were tired with so many unexpected situations, but we could not give up.
If you are going through something similar, continue!
Avoid taking victim attitudes where all day you repeat “Damn the time I decided to start with this” and become a warrior, ready to overcome any mishap.
Actions to be carried out in Summer
Sometimes it’s not easy, especially for us creative ones, but the effort is worth it. A simple practice that you can do is to start the day the night before. Take an hour before going to sleep to perform the following activities:
- Review your list of tasks and select the most important one. Find a schedule to complete it.
- If you have more activities, write them down in a list and list them in order of importance. Assign a schedule. Here I explain how it is done.
- Take note about appointments and meetings you have.
- Prepare the clothes you are going to use. I choose my outfit for the gym, I find the tennis shoes (which are usually lying under the bed, in the living room or in the garden), I locate the car keys (I never know where they are) and I fill my water bottle
- BONUS: Plan your breakfast and meals for the next day.
When your phone runs out of battery it is slow and clumsy. The same happens with you when you work without stopping.
I learned this to the bad. Trying to manage the new hotel and Estilo Pura Vida, I spent three weeks without taking a day off.
I realized that I was in the hole, when one day I saw myself sitting at Starbucks dial working. My computer was on and I was looking at the screen. I tried to focus but I could only think of going back home, lying on the bed, covering my head and NEVER moving from there.
Do not follow my example.
The intense activity of Summer combined with the constant challenges you face wear you out physically, mentally and emotionally.
Try hard, but also give yourself time to rest. The contact with nature is especially refreshing. Take one or two afternoons a week to go to the park or plan a weekend out of town. Sleep your eight hours and give yourself a massage once in a while.
Celebrate your achievements
Summer is a fun stage. Make a count of how much you have advanced and Celebrate it! It can be as simple as lighting an incense or taking the whole afternoon to read novels. The important thing is that you recognize your effort.
The intense energy that you felt in Primavera was exhausted. The challenges of the Summer were overcome. Autumn is a stage of maturity and fulfillment.
Everything works wonderfully. The fruits of your work are constant. The amount of time and effort you invest to obtain them is minimal.
Still, you must be careful.
Life is so easy and pleasant that you could stay parked in the Comfort Zone.
In the case of the hotel, we are just beginning the autumn season. We continue to have challenges and work hard, but there are some elements that already work!
The house is fully equipped. The water, electricity and gas facilities were renovated. We have an administrator who loves her work and strives to serve the guests as if they were kings. I have created a message file that I can copy and paste to answer queries in a single click.
The business starts to flow and feel more bearable. The overwhelm and the doubts that I felt in Primavera, have dissolved.
The activities that allow you to take advantage of this stage to the maximum are related to reflection