Posted By Sheryl Thai On 15 February 2017
Here goes, the first question for this advicey column I dub Entrepreneurs Anonymous.
I’ve been working on my business idea for over a year now and I just feel so…stuck. I’ve done all the goal setting, vision boarding, uncovering my purpose and everything in between, I should be a lot further along than where I am now. I’m losing motivation and feel like giving up every other week. I believe in what I’m doing and love it so much but I’m struggling financially right now and I’m almost down to my last pennies. Did you ever feel like this and what did you do to keep going?
Still a Believer
Hello Still a Believer,
Oh I remember these days clearly, living off the credit cards and hoping the transaction won’t get declined as you swipe away. Expected to respond with “Yeah, business is going great.” when someone asks, “How’s your business going?”, when really you’re on your last $10 and it’s likely that you’ll have sardines for dinner. Luckily, you have great friends and family, they won’t let you starve.
It’s so hard to stay positive when you get into this headspace and so easy to succumb to that feeling of just giving up and going back to the 9 to 5 grind.
Well, here are 3 things I did to keep going:
- Ask yourself, what am I grateful for?
When I feel challenged and down in the dumps about everything that isn’t going right, I force myself to start journalling about all the the things I’m grateful for. It can be as simple as, I have clean water to wash my face with. I have a comfortable bed to sleep in. I have an able body and strong mind. I have beautiful vanilla caramel candles that I love burning. I can do 5 push ups. I have clean dry socks and waterproof shoes (it’s been really rainy in San Francisco and my biggest pet peeve is wet feet).
This simple activity starts to shift our minds to see the glass half full. Only then are we able to harness the energy to create opportunities and grow.
- Reach out to people that inspire you
Late last year I felt extremely stuck on the next steps on how to get this organisation to the next level. The targets I had set, we didn’t quite reach. So I started to find and research role models that have done what I want to achieve. I read articles, listened to podcasts, watched TED talks and attended events. I wrote down a bunch of names and reached out to a few, I asked for introductions and I met these people for a coffee. I know what you’re thinking, as if I could write to someone and they would meet me for a coffee. If you never give it a try, you will never know. I believe if you’re genuine and respectful of someone’s time by being clear about what questions you have that they might be able to help – they will respond. These “successful” entrepreneurs have all been there and felt like you have, so if they know that a 30 min chat will make a huge difference to you, they will pay it forward.
- Do some volunteering
When I was running my cupcake business from home, with no other entrepreneurial friends in my circle, I felt extremely isolated, lonely and a bit crazy. I would head out to cafes to do work so I could feel as though I was surrounded by people. My only human interaction during work hours was chatting to the barista.
Then one day, feeling uninspired and lacking motivation, I decided to find some volunteer work to do. So I visited my local council and asked about volunteer opportunities. I ended up volunteering once a week for two hours helping adult migrants practise their English speaking skills. Looking back, I realised that this really helped me put things into perspective and gave me meaning in life. I would bring in cupcakes I baked and see so many faces light up. It was enough to remind me why I needed to keep going. Oddly enough, my sales started to increase as word of mouth spread amongst the community and even the local council started ordering cupcakes from me!
Thanks for writing in and I hope this helps. Keep me posted!
For those of you that have a burning question, please email or comment below. Oooh, I also just joined Whale – it’s probably going to be Silicon Valley’s next Snapchat so jumping on the bandwagon early. Basically it’s an app where you can ask influencers or random people, questions and get real, no BS answers because they can only be 60 secs long. I love it because it’s another way to learn how other inspiring people think!
Till next Q&A, stay peachy!
Sheryl Thai, CEO
League of Extraordinary Women