Small Biz Leadership: Keeping Momentum

I run a group for small business owners who are delivering a valuable service to their communities, and are trying to grow. We come together to practice facing our fears and to hold each other accountable in moving forward.

In a recent group we had a moment of bonding around how difficult starting and maintaining your own business really is. It wasn’t a pity party. It wasn’t allowing ourselves to become awash in negativity. It was accepting the reality that playing all the roles in a business — keeping it running, managing finances, marketing, and not to mention, delivering your service — is a near impossible endeavor. At least it’s near impossible to do it all well, all by yourself.

And as you may know from experience, often times the coffers demand that we do it all by ourselves, until we can afford to get some help. Which can take an incredibly long time.

And because it is so challenging, and because it is doable, and because other people appear to have done it well with little issue (appear being the keyword in this sentence), should you muster the courage to build a small business or practice, you will inevitably bump into two feelings that we naturally try to avoid at all costs: shame and overwhelm.

Of course you will feel ashamed. When you compare where you are with where you want to be, you will feel inadequate (a flavor of shame). When you compare where you are with others who are doing what you want to do, you will feel deflated (yet another flavor!). And when you set out to do that big marketing thing that you are avoiding, and your avoidance wins, you will feel slightly more than disappointed in yourself. Shame is going to be there.

But shame is not the problem.

And of course you are going to feel overwhelmed. When you realize you just mastered being a coach, and now you have to master copywriting, too? When you worked hard to first realize that you wanted to be freelance fact checker because you are an introvert and you wanted to travel and work by yourself — and now, in order to get business rolling, you have to learn to a number of things that includes schmoozing with other people?

But overwhelm is not the problem.

Which is that it usually comes to a halt.

When shame and overwhelm bubble up and kill your momentum, I recommend two strategies. Both require other people.

1) {Reach} Out yourself: There is something about speaking the shame, about outing yourself, that really helps it move. Like in AA when people are instructed to reach out to a sponsor when they want a drink, there is literally no shame in contacting people in your accountability corner and letting them know, for whatever reason, that you are not following through, and that you’d love some encouragement.

It’s helpful to remember that so often, the reason why you feel you can’t do what you set out to do, is because you are literally under-resourced!

2) Celebrate a win. You didn’t make the potentially life-changing call to the agent, but you thought about it and rehearsed it in your head? Okay! We can reframe that: That means . . . you’re warming up to it. If you don’t have something to celebrate . . . MAKE IT UP.  Don’t lie. Just find something you actually did that in some way contributes to your success. So, you didn’t take on the enormity of signing up for an email service provider like MailChimp this week, but  in opening and reading a competitor’s email, you learned about what might work for you. It is not lying to yourself.

These strategies help you use your leadership and accountability to build momentum, not to stop it.

If you would like to be a part of a group that understands the true challenges of growth and helps you articulate your vision, the Get More Clients series focuses on community marketing and the accountability practice groups will help you move your business and your self-esteem forward.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *