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I noticed that 2016 has been a very hard year for a lot of (online) entrepreneurs. You lived like this for months, but slowly but surely reality sets back in: you haven’t made any profit in months. You have problems acquiring new clients, you have no success with your press strategy or you have problems with negative clients. It might be too late to change your game, it might be time to quit your business and move on. But how to get over the feeling of feeling so d*mn disappointed and like a failure? I’ve collected a few tips to help you through this tough process.
Haven’t you enjoyed life in a while? Do you have to skip all ‘fun and social’ things to work? Are you slowly dying because of stress? Are you getting sick? Do you feel horrible? Are you broke as f*ck? If answered ‘yes’ more than once, it might be time to move on. And that might be harder than you think, especially as a solopreneur you’ll probably feel like a failure. But there’s one thing that you’re not and that’s a failure. Your business might have failed, but you can move on, get a job or start up another business. And you’re not alone. Some statistics show these depressing numbers, like close to 50% businesses closing up shop after their first year. That might be a bit too much, closer to 80% of entrepreneurs survive the first year, and around 50% complete five years. So realize, it’s not you. This is just something that happens.
I know it might look like everybody is doing SO great with their online businesses, grinding in 6 figure months – month after month, but how do you know this is actually true? Everybody can write an article online, and without actual receipts, you should not take it that serious. Use it as an inspiration, not as something that makes you down and like a failure. If you’re sensitive to this, skip reading income reports and focus on your own goals and business plan.
First thing first, you’re not a failure, don’t make it personal. One step to realizing this is realizing that you’re not your work. You are you, and so much more than your work. Realizing this, you’ll also try to enjoy life more outside of work and that’s a very good thing. Take a good vacation if you have enough funds, or try to do a few weeks nothing but relaxing. Find your new identity: who are you, outside your work? Go to the cinema alone. Work out every day. Meet new people. Become the person you always wanted first, then search for a new job.
Check your finances. Now you’ve quit your business, do you have enough funds to survive? Do you need to find a job ASAP? If so, stop by every employment agency in the nighbourhood, because often they’re not all too happy with ex-business owners and it’s probably a bit harder to find a job (ANY JOB) even when you have great credentials and skills. Your number 1 priority should always be: making money. To survive and don’t get more troubles. After that: work on your well being and next step.
Don’t obsess over your failure. Cry, really loud. Give it a few days or weeks. But then, move on and get over it. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. It happened, learn from it and move on. You cannot change the past, but you can shape your future. The faster you take a positive step forward, the quicker you can leave this bad period behind.
Stepping away from your everyday life is the best way to see things clearly. If you can combine this with a vacation or world trip, you’re the ultimate winner. I’ve met several business owners on the road that needed a break from their business and life, and started traveling for a few months. Reinvest yourself, do workshops, enjoy the unplugged life and find your hidden skills.