I have a hard time being patient. There I said it.
In fairness I wouldn’t call myself impatient but I do generally get really annoyed when things are moving so slowly or seem to be having challenges in making progress. It’s not that I want to hurry to the finish line, well alright sometimes it is, but it’s also a matter of making sure it goes smoothly along the way too. The crux is I struggle with things that change in my strategy or that alter the course of where I thought I was going. Once I’ve made up my mind of how I want to do something and start doing that I’m full steam ahead. If something changes in that then I get a little frustrated and impatient. This is just a part of who I am and something I’ve had to work on for a very long time. As I’ve built my own business I’ve had to take a hard look at this though and actually develop some skills in managing what it means to grow in patience.
The biggest shift I’ve had to make in my business is in my mindset. Unlike most businesses where we work 9 to 5 there is not a group of leaders to turn when things start going wrong or sales drop. There is not a committee to go figure out problems or offer recommendations on how to do things better. On the flip side there is also not lots of layers to go get something approved. In almost all the cases, it is just me. There isn’t anyone else to delegate a task or go fix something. That can be a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. As much as we want to think this is easy or anyone can do it, we don’t always have the right skills to deal with these types of problems. When you’ve spent only a couple hundred bucks to start your business through a direct sales product company this is where you really start to question the return on your investment of time and additional money to figure out problems that are preventing your business from growing. It is exactly where we start to separate the hobbyist from the entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, that split intersection is where we have encountered the most negativity when it comes to direct sales based businesses too. This opportunity was presented as an easy and inexpensive venture that would return large sums of money and give us the life we dream. In reality, it is every bit as hard work as starting a boutique on Main Street where you’ve invested thousands of dollars to turn on that open sign. Most of us are not prepared for that realization.
We believe in the dream someone convinced us is possible and handed over our credit card. While the dream is possible there is a long road between here and now and that dream result. There are also many normal business frustrations, challenges and complications along the way too. It is usually not easy or quick and most days doesn’t resemble a dream at all. We can become extremely frustrated and impatient with this misguided aspects we started with in our business and that will quickly lead us to drop it all. Seeing past all of that to get down to thinking about this opportunity as a real business takes some adjustment.
When I think about all that I have learned since starting Dragonspit Apothecary and all that is still in front of me to get this business where I want it , I sigh heavily. It is so much work, time, sweat equity and more. It is a true test of my skills in business, head for problem solving and stretch of creativity. It is also a challenge to my patience. In this journey I can honestly say when you love something and believe in it so deeply you will find that motivation to continue pressing on even when things seem hopeless. Oh the times I have questioned myself if this was all really worth it.
If you own a small business or have ever been in one I know you can relate to that feeling.
Instead of muddling in the hopelessness though I have found some things to help keep my drive, focus and optimism coming back to push me on.
Build a support system. Find those people who cheer you on for what you’re doing and turn to them when you need that hug or kick of encouragement and courage. In so many direct sales organizations this may not be your up-line but hopefully it is. Find those people who believe in you and are there for you when you need it because you will need it.
Let go of competition. This is hard for most of us because we want to succeed. We’re building businesses with very real needs and desires tied to our very livelihood! Sometimes this livelihood need combined with our desire to succeed turns into competition with another person or even just ourselves. We can be extremely hard on ourselves and push away people who we see as competition. You are not competing with anyone. There is no race, no timer and no trophy. Focus on what it is right for you and your business and let go of being so hard on yourself if it’s not perfect.
Protect yourself. If you find a business partner, mentor or another person in the same business or something complimentary as you to collaborate or work with on something, make sure it’s mutually beneficial for both of you. Be clear and specific on each others expectations and goals. Be very clear when there is money or tangible results to be gained. Too often we go into these arrangements thinking everyone will win and it will be 50-50 on everything and you end up being used and on the losing end. Document agreements and protect yourself because not everyone is going to play fair.
Get strategic. Just like any business have a plan, set goals, get a budget and most importantly know you are in control. You can change your plan, goals and budget but do it with a clear heart and head for why those changes are necessary. You’ll need to develop the ability to know when things need to let play out and when they need to change immediately. You will need to learn to experiment and learn from mistakes before you can make a good decision for how to do something. That’s part of being strategic. That’s part of using your good business sense to figure things out and overcome challenges you face. Move in intentional ways always.
Give it time. The majority of small businesses fail within the first 3 to 5 years. Most in direct sales fail within the first year. When you make the decision to start a business, even if it is selling something in direct sales, give yourself time to learn, grow, experience and apply all you have towards this opportunity. Let your frustrations and impatience feed your creativity, strategic and logical mindset and common sense. There is no one way to be successful and the good stuff always takes time.
Don’t follow the crowds. Define what is right for you and listen to your gut instincts. The best example I have for this is social media. If you do what everyone else is doing on social media guess what happens? You likely get the same results they do. The hard reality of that is most of the time that means little engagement and even less converted sales and clients. Take the time to learn how to use tools like social media to your advantage and develop a strategy that is right for you. There’s so much bad advice out there around social media and business use – don’t fall for it.
If you have tried direct sales before and are one that walked away from it after you sold to all your friends and family I made this list for you.
It is possible. There are so many ways to build a business without ever selling to friends and family. The Internet and social media has changed the game. If you have the right tools, support, strategy and focus it can and does happen. You can have a successful business that will change your life or be that perfect supplement to income where you need it.
Do your homework. Loving the product is not enough. You have to ask a lot of questions before you say yes. I always worry when I have a client say yes in a class I’m teaching or without asking me any questions. You need to know a lot of information like compensation structure, bonus payouts, training availability, stability and reputation of the company, up-line support and engagement, rank percentages, turnover rates, team dynamics, and so much more!
Know you. This is super important too. Know what you want very intimately and clearly. Are you looking for a mega lifestyle change in growing this business or are you looking for a small healthy side business? What are your goals and desires for this business? Where do you want to take it? What will it mean to your life?
Don’t give up. I totally understand being let down by others you thought were going to help you succeed in your business and finding it was something different entirely. I also understand completely being sold the rags to riches story and finding out it was a desert plain with no water for miles. It’s so easy to get frustrated and walk away. I invite you however to reconsider and look at things that are really important to you when it comes to a business and find the right sources to help you achieve that.
All of these are things I’ve told myself several times as I’ve worked through frustrations and impatience in my own business. When I sat with the frustrations and work through them though I realized having my own business, even in it’s imperfect state, is also one of the most rewarding and pleasurable things I’ve ever done. Even when things are slow in the month and I’m contemplating a blitz on social media to pump some life in sales I still am choosing to see that as an opportunity rather than an annoying impatient frustration. Much of this is related to how we choose to see things and once we reset that in our own minds and hearts we can figure out how to move forward.
If you’re open to considering what this could mean in your life I invite you to take my New Business Leader Quiz. This will help you know what is right for you and where to start to make that happen. https://forms.gle/YvP6kp2BwNmqVzF67