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Top 4 Ways to Stay in Business Long Enough to Succeed

Don't Quit-K100

It took me more than 4 years and running through all my savings before I could earn enough from my business to afford to live a good and simple life.

That’s a long time to be earning less than I need.

I could have quit.  

I could have hedged my bets and not given my business my all.

But, I’m glad I stuck it out.  Because, I can honestly say that I owe my current success to those amazing and difficult first 4 years.

And I’ve noticed that there’s a mindset difference between the people who quit, and those who stick it out and make it through the tough times.

From what I’ve seen since talking to small business owners, most businesses fail for 2 simple reasons:

  • The business owners quit
  • The business owners sabotage their success and thus quit be default

So, what can you do to not only stay in the game, but also play full out in this game we call business?

Today I’d like to share that with you.

1. Know the minimum amount you need to earn in order for you to be satisfied.

This is not a number that will make you ecstatic.  This is the minimal amount of money you need to live a simple and satisfying life.

If you don’t know what that amount is, take a couple of hours to create a little budget of what you really need to live on to be satisfied.

(Hint: the less you need the more satisfied you’ll be)

2. Set clear expectations for your journey towards success

You started your business because you wanted to help people.

You also wanted to be your own boss and be in control of your destiny.  You didn’t think this would be easy, but you certainly didn’t know it was going to be this difficult.

When the difficulty level of our endeavor is higher than we expected, we tend to want to throw in the towel.

So here’s the real deal:

Growing your business is going to be challenging.  All of your gremlins and monkey mind thoughts will come out to play.  You are going to want to quit at times (I certainly do).

But it’s your relationship to those challenges that determines your ability to stay in the game.

So how do you relate to your “challenges?”

Remember, having some obstacles in your way is not a “sign from the universe” to quit.  It just means you may need to try a different path to get to the outcome you want.

Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow.  And one of the biggest mindset shifts you can make is to align with a  learning/growth mindset vs. a goal-first mindset.

The more you can adapt a learning/growth mindset, the easier your journey is going to become.

I am not knocking “goal setting.” But what if instead of you getting down on yourself for not meeting your goal, you asked yourself the question “What 1-2 things do I need to adjust?”

If you did that every single time something didn’t meet your expectations, do you think you would eventually hit whatever target you set?

3.  Everything takes longer than you think

Businesses are like remodel projects – they take twice as long as projected and we have to invest double the money into it.

It seems to be our nature to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, and we tend to underestimate what we can accomplish in 10.

So set your expectations straight and don’t expect to be an overnight sensation – they don’t exist.

And remember – right where you are is just fine.

4. Stop focusing on the things that won’t really get you to where you want to go

We all want to get masterful at our craft.  After-all, sharing our gifts with the world is what we started our businesses for in the first place.

But for most people, putting more and more time to perfect our service delivery is NOT going to be what helps you get to the next level of impact and of earnings.

It’s putting the time and effort into improving your marketing and your sales/enrollment skills. That’s what’s key to get you from here to there.

How much of your time of the week are you truly devoting to client-generating activities?

Are the activities you are involved with going to DIRECTLY lead you to getting clients?

If the answers are NO, you’ve got ‘splaining to do.  Yes, it would be good for you to talk to your boss – YOU – and redirect your energies into activities that will actually bring you the revenue you are looking for.

Conclusion:

I know you want to rock your business.  I know you want to make a difference.  I know you have what it takes to make this happen.

And in order for you to reach that awesome potential of yours, you have to stay in the game long enough to succeed.

I hope this post help you to do that.

Contest time!  

It would mean the world to me, if you leave a comment on how this article impacted you and which of my 4 points resonated with you most.  I’ll be picking 1 of the comments and gifting you with one my awesome programs – Time Mastery.  Hope you win!

Let me help you make it happen.

Put your name and email below for a free report on the one skill that can double or even triple your income and learn:

  • How to enroll 8 out of 10 clients with your 1:1 consultations without selling your soul
  • The key to doubling your clients and your income in 30 days
  • Weekly business tips and resources you can only get on my email list

Comments

  1. The points you make in #3 & #4 really resonate for me. I want to have all of my projects created and ready to go, as soon as possible. And up until recently, I didn’t have enough of an understanding of what to do about marketing, so I focused on creating, rather than going where potential clients are. You can guess what results those choices have given me. Shifting my focus is a work in progress, but I’m getting there!

  2. Christine S says:

    #4 smacked me in the head! I do waste time on things that do not generate new clients. I tend to be one that “gets masterful at my craft”. Thanks for putting this into simple ideas!

  3. Thank you Bill. This post came at the perfect time. I’ve been feeling a bit like throwing in the towel, so much so, I even went on an interview for a part time job today. The point that most resonated w me is #4 – Stop focusing on the things that won’t really get you to where you want to go. It is sometimes easier to focus on other things to fill up our time because failure at what we want hurts deeply. I have a problem “busyness” and am going to ask myself from now on, “is this getting me to where I really want to go?” On a scale of 1-10, if it isn’t a 7 or higher, I’m not doing it. By the by, I didn’t take the part time job. Smiles,
    Cyndy, The Whoopie Queen

  4. Thank you Bill for your article. After trudging along for past couple of years in my business and hearing so many entrepreneurs giving the impression that this can be achieved quick and easy, it is so refreshing to hear someone actually tell the truth. It is a path that requires a lot of personal development, being certain of what your true path is, clearing the blocks and then being realistic about the how and what’s.

    Your article spoke strongly of this and getting clear on the minimum we need to be comfortable is a great perspective, when every one else is encouraging the big money goals. Of course there is also nothing wrong with that, but having both ends clear I’m sure will be helpful. Having the smaller goals to start with help to keep us going. Little rewards as we go. “Great I have achieved something, now I can achieve something a little bigger”. Being grateful all the way, rather than disappointed that we haven’t yet made the 6 figures.

  5. #2—I appreciated the question, “What 1-2 things can I adjust?”
    I think that will help me in working toward what I desire.
    I tend to get hard on myself when I don’t make it happen
    and that question is a great way to start a day.
    Thanks and Peace, Julie

  6. Beverly Brown says:

    #3 hit me in the head like a ton of bricks because I’ve been here for soooooooo looooooong (over 15 years trying to get funding for my vision). I have to come to grips with where I am must be where I’m suppose to be until it’s ready to manifest. Until then, I will focus on #2! Thanks!!

    • I think #2 is even more important. What do you need to adjust in your vision or your pathway in order to get closer to the funding?

  7. Hi Bill – just love this post and am planning to send it on to 2 other entrepreneurs I know – one just starting out, and another wading her way through her 3rd year of a wonderful coaching practice.

    What spoke to me most? ‘We overestimate what we can do in 1 year and underestimate what we can do in 10’ and ‘What 1 – 2 things do I need to adjust.’

    Really appreciate the encouragement to ‘hang in there’ and ‘don’t beat up on yourself’
    Bless you!

  8. Judith Halmai says:

    Hi Bill,
    I love your post. All along I was thinking, “Wow, that reminds me of marriage.” The learning/growing mindset is so applicable! Shame so many give up too soon, when they could have just persevered through the tough times to find themselves richly rewarded.
    Thanks, and keep up the good work!
    Judith

  9. Honestly, this whole article – every single point resonated with me and it is exactly what I needed today. Thank you!! Probably the one that I needed to read most was 4. Stop focusing on the things that won’t really get you to where you want to go. I spread myself pretty thin, and my ‘yeah, sure!’ button is overactive. I need to learn to prioritize and say no and stay focused on what gets me the results I am looking for.

    Thanks again – super big help!!

  10. Bill,

    #2 Really hits me hard, particularly because of a recent experience with a consulting client within the past year. It’s one thing to claw and fight to land your dream five figure or six figure payday. It’s another thing to land that “dream client”, cash the check, and then watch the engagement crumble into dust in your palms. I had that experience, and I can think of nothing more discouraging.

    However, upon further review, I realized just how much damage could have been prevented if I’d paid serious attention to #2 – Setting clear expectations about the journey (both with respect to client expectations, and my own internal conversation). It would have saved me a world of trouble and stress.

    I also now see how having an unhealthy attachment to previously stated goals, contributed to my making things worse than they could have been. Thanks for a great article.

    • That’s the way of our human experience – we learn more from avenues that don’t succeed often more than when we quickly stumble upon success. So you are right on track!

  11. #2 really got me. Your question about how I relate to my challenges made me realize that I actually have a relationship with my challenges. I didn’t know that before. If I have a relationship with my challenges, then I also have the power to make that relationship of a certain quality so that it is in harmony with what I’m trying to achieve. What you wrote about aligning with a growth/learning mindset reminds me of Carol Dweck’s work on the two kinds of mindset, and is a great reminder that we are more flexible than we think. Also loved the question “What one or two things do I need to adjust?” That is a powerful way to combat overwhelm. Thanks Bill!

  12. Linda A. Janssen says:

    It’s almost scary how much I needed to read this post, and especially two key points in #2 and #4. Your simple question in #4 – Are the activities you are involved with going to DIRECTLY get you more clients? – seems to be a no-brainer, yet if I answer truthfully, it’s actually an eye-opener. I am the Queen of planning and working on tasks that will facilitate getting clients or prepare me to get clients or lay the groundwork for getting clients, when in fact I may be making it more time consuming and complicated than it should be or needs to be. Meanwhile I’m missing the ‘low hanging fruit’ that equates to clients, who beget more/new clients, and so on. As for #2, I was feeling sorry for myself for working long and hard on a non-work activity that means a lot to me (writing fiction), and instead of the usual kudos with some suggestions tossed in, I got hit with confusion, tons of questions, people scratching their heads, totally not getting it – difficult to swallow when you are responsible for creating the written experience that sweeps them along in a torrent of belief. I was having a pity party for myself and knew I’d have to regroup tomorrow and try to salvage the mess, but your point ‘it’s your relationship to those challenges that determines your ability to stay in the game’ was golden. Tough love. Thank you, Bill.

  13. Hi Bill,

    Thank you for a very genuine article! I really appreciated your candor!

    #2 was the most powerful for me. The question “How do you relate to your challenges?” coupled with your comment “Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow.” was a wonderful reminder for me. Usually, I love to be challenged BECAUSE I get to learn and grow and once in a while, it feels “too much” and, as you said, “All of your gremlins and monkey mind thoughts will come out to play.” (I love that!)

    Thanks,
    Helen

  14. For me, your message showed up at the perfect time. I’m 9 months into my business.
    It’s growing, but I’m frustrated.
    I feel like I’m riding a roller-coaster.
    I want it all now! And yet, there is something exciting about this time where I am learning how to run a business and struggling while being successful.
    Reading about your first four years was comforting to me. Thank you for always sharing your truth. This is why I connected with you from the start.
    I know where I have been slacking and not being true to my calling, and thank you for the reminder to stop focusing on the things that won’t get me to where I want to go. Thank you for the confirmation that everything takes longer than we think it will, that is so the truth!
    It’s empowering to know that I am not alone.
    In gratitude,
    Lemuela 🙂

  15. You had me at “Don’t Quit.” I spent all of today going over all the reasons why I should give up on my business with a mentor and family member. I already know what it will take to live on and what I need to survive however the finances have not manifested and 5 years of struggling is too much even for a serial entrepreneur like me.

  16. Point 3 – “everything takes longer than you think” really resonated with me. It’s like my newly decorated hall which is almost finished.(I thought it should take a few days!)…My business does well and I work full time seeing clients and yet I know the future client generation is my weak spot, I am grateful for recommendations but I have a great desire to share the work that I do with a wider audience, Your point made me realise that no matter how many 6 figure promises, webinars and JV out there, it all takes time.

    I went into business to help others and provide for my family in a flexible way that aligned me with my life purpose and you know what I am doing that…..thanks for the reminder.

    Janet

  17. Hi Bill.

    Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts regarding quitting. The Universe (through you) sent this at the perfect time. I opened my practice 4 years ago, and I’ve used all of your steps during that time. The one that truly resonates with me is the statement made in #3, “And remember, right where you are is just fine.” You see, I’ve decided to close my practice at the end of this year due to financial reasons, and I’m fine (as a matter of fact, I’m completely at peace) with it. During my time in the corporate world I knew I would open a hypnosis and life coaching practice when it was time to “retire”, so I set aside money specifically for that purpose. Per Step 1, I determined the minimum amount I would need to maintain the practice for at least 4 years. Per Step 2, I set clear expectations and definitive goals for my journey. Per Step 3, I knew everything takes longer than one thinks (ask me about my 2 hour DIY projects that turn into 4 or 5 hours). And per Step 4, I’ve done a tremendous amount of marketing and networking.

    The amount of money I set aside during my years in the corporate world is quickly dwindling, and so I’ve decided to, not quit, but move on. I’ve helped many people achieve their goals through the use of hypnosis and coaching techniques, and so it was well worth this journey. When people ask how it feels to fail, my reply is based on Tony Robbins’ description of failure, “There’s no such thing as failure. There are only results. You ALWAYS produce a result. If it’s not the one you desire, just change your actions and you’ll produce new results.” So, as you note, where I am is just fine. I’ll continue helping anyone I can, just not in a formal practice setting. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Have a wonderful day filled with love and gratitude.

  18. I appreciate that you addressed the “time line.” So many websites lead people to believe they can take a course and instantly gain everything they need to be successful. It does take time, perseverance, determination, sometimes tears(!) to reach the destination.

    • One course can be one piece of the puzzle and it takes the whole puzzle to get there. And it’s not an obvious puzzle.

  19. Sp great to read this and have the relief that one is not alone in many of these sentiments and experiences! Self employment means often pioneering a way to do things as one is likely stepping into something for which there is no blueprint, no one right way or wrong. This means, as you’ve illustrated, earnings are rarely what we expect, time commitments far outweigh what our peers with traditional job sets have, and our day to day is usually about ‘putting out the fires’. What really resonated with me is that understanding of ‘knowing what you need to be happy’. I figure, having been self employed now for over 25 years, that all that time I spent learning how to live well on next to nothing wasn’t just to get by, if I am honest with myself, I find I am quite happy earning ‘just enough’. This takes practice, and the reassurance that others are navigating similar waters in the same kind of boat gives me encouragement! I found that your #4 point is the best advice, and the hardest to be mindful of. Something I try to ask myself several times along the course of a day, is this action going to directly benefit my business? Will it benefit today or down the road? If in future, how long and is it sustainable? Just sharing the common experience and reading how others resonate is sometimes enough to let up the pressure of feeling one is all alone in ‘the struggle’ Thanks so much!

  20. Hi Bill! What a great article. The point that resonated with me the most was to “Set Clear Expectations for your Journey to Success.” I have been working as a freelance writing for a few years now, with the plan to one day be my own boss – and be successful at it. If I look at my plan as a “journey,” I can see where I need to plan out the trip. What stops will I make along the way? What experiences do I want to have? What knowledge do I want to gain? What friends (partners) would be the best to take on my journey. By mapping out my journey step by step, I will see what step comes next, and can watch myself move closer and closer to my destination.

    Thanks for all of the great information you share. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I am selected to receive your Time Mastery program. This is one of those big “steps” that my journey will definitely benefit from!

    Lisa

  21. Just what I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear it. Thanks, Bill.

  22. Hi Bill,

    this post came just at the right time!
    isn’t the universe awesome in it’s choreography!! I resonated with #2

    Been asking for clarity and direction in my biz and today brought that through the wisdom of “contrast” – what i don’t want, which helped me get clear that this wing of my business needs to fade as i focus on my priorities. “How i relate to my challenges” spoke to me and opened this new perspective, which i can now work towards growing my priorities!

    My gremlins and monkey mind thoughts arose quite strongly and then I read your article and I felt better
    and now I am trying a different path to get a new outcome!

    My focus is now to stop expecting I get it right the first time and shift my biggest mindset to align with a learning/growth mindset vs. a goal-first mindset. Whew….this approach feels so much more spacious and grace-filled!

    Thanks for your wise words that offered me strength just when i needed them!

    Onwards and upwards….baby steps, patience and perseverance!

    love and blessings,

    Eoanna!

    • Yes, I love the natural synchronicity the Universe offers us from moment to moment. I find it miraculous and divinely beautiful.

  23. Great article Bill! I am replying as a restaurateur although I am also a coach at http://www.marybotham.com. My husband and I have been in business for 35 years next month. In your article number 1 hit me as very important. I think living frugally has always been a key ingredient for our success. We often played the game “What would we do to live even cheaper if this doesn’t work out” game. We kept going through many, many and it does work out. The keep going is the important part. Even though I never have liked math, knowing the numbers is super important. Now I just tell myself that as long as numbers have $ signs in front of them I can DO THE MATH!
    Mary Botham
    http://www.PrincetonSeafood.com
    http://www.MaryBotham.com

  24. #4. Stop focusing on the things that won’t really get you to where you want to go… is a “show stopper” for me.

    I’ve been pregnant with my new business concept for almost 3 years. It’s going to be a big baby.

    Real life issues… health and caregiving others have kept my “new business working hours” to a minimum. Those challenges have strengthened me to learn and grow, especially patience and don’t quit. Yet I have held back starting my new company.

    #4 needs my attention, especially when business creation time is so precious to me. I mentally use the, “I don’t have enough time” excuse instead of asking, “What is the best use of my new business time?”

    For me, I comes down to time and energy mastery.

    If I don’t take the next step and actually “open the doors” on the Internet…I’ll never be in business and my dream will never materialize.

    I need to focus on the things that will get me where I want to go…
    Thanks for shining the light…
    Mazie

    • Mazie, thank you for such a beautiful and vulnerable comment… It’s time to give birth… 3 years is enough time… My advice is to do the one thing every day that brings you closer to what you want.

  25. It is so nice to see that it’s not only you who struggles.
    Having read this I feel at peace that I can actually get to my goal! I have high ambitions and dreams and I know with hard work and elbow grease I van get there!
    The idea of continuing, pushing yourself to he better and having the positive mindset to go with it, really helps my stay motivated…
    How you have written this, has helped me rebalance 🙂 I am so happy I read this!

    Thank you for being so down to earth and reminding me to preserver and push for what I want!

    My new daill read!

  26. I love the point you make in #2–that having obstacles in my way is not a sign from the universe that I should quit. I just need to figure out another way around to it. The times I wonder if I should quit, I always go back to my WHY. Why did I start this to begin with? If my why has not changed, why would I allow my circumstances to change my desired destination?! It’s up to me to change my circumstances. Very timely article. Thanks for sharing!

  27. I really enjoyed your article. I am writing an article right now and you article was useful. I especially like the “everything takes longer than it takes” part. It is important to have patience.

  28. This entire article spoke to my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I started my business about 18 months ago and thought there was something wrong with me that I was not seeing the growth and profit I thought I would have seen by now. The amount of effort and rejection was shocking in the beginning. I was a bit naive for sure in the beginning. I believe whole heartedly in what I do and see such a devastating need for it that I thought the world would warmly and enthusiastically shout for joy at my arrival. I was in shock when people would turn me down…they’d rather complain and do nothing to change. I was amazed at the amount of follow up required to stay top of mind and move people to a decision. I’m still learning as I am going, but I have FINALLY accepted that this process takes a while. People need a lot of reminders and follow up. I won’t get 100% yes. People take a long time to make a decision. Some people choose to remain the same than embrace the process of change. After fighting these realities, I now have more energy to do what needs to get done to keep moving and get in front of the ones who are ready and willing to invest in themselves.

  29. All the points really resonated, but for today what particularly struck me was just not giving up. I give myself pep talks regularly, and this really reinforced my determination.

    The fourth point also hit me, I hadn’t thought that being better at what I teach isn’t going to get me more students. So, more time on marketing and client attraction!

  30. While they all resonated with me, Bill,
    the one few ever tell me
    was the first one.
    Should I call it
    ” THE MAGIC OF THINKING SMALL ”
    ?

  31. Well written Bill. The quote “people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime” compliments your article. I agree that perseverance is the biggest indicator of success. Thanks and continued best

  32. Thanks Bill -I love your advice of taking on the growth-mindset as opposed to only focussing on my goals which tends to flare up the monkey mind. It’s also great to be reminded that as long as I make the minimum to live a satisfying and simple life I’ll be happy with my choice – rather than having some crazy, unrealistic 1-year goal for rockstar success.

  33. I am in the forth year of my businness! I resonate the most with point number 4 because this is what I am doing lately, improving constantly my marketing skills. You might laugh at me but I only have discovered marketing 6 months ago, I wonder how I managed to remain on board like this.
    Thank you again for your article.

  34. Reading again this article and discovering new things. Thank you.

  35. #2 #3 and #4 just do not quit.
    We all know this at a gut level, you have just reinforced what we know and give us the strength to hold on Thank You

  36. My hurdle is #4. I’m pretty sure my “clients” don’t even realize they need my services. So finding an audience is like looking for a drop of water in a lake. I edit PowerPoint and Keynote slide decks. Most webinars, for instance, could communicate so much more if designed to maximize the tools provided in the software.
    How do I find this audience?

  37. I really like your style of writing. . .There are two points that really resonate for me as they’ve been forefront in my mind: Things take longer than expected and don’t focus on what doesn’t move you forward, that isn’t related to the goal(s).

  38. Thank you Bill!
    I am a coach of a number of entrepreneurs, and I loved what you wrote about the learning/growth mindset. I believe if you look at it that way, you will not beat yourself up as much. Also the “What 1-2 things do I need to adjust?” If you look at that on a regular basis, you will fine tune your actions…
    It never hurts to learn from those that have gone before, and I appreciate that you are willing to teach those of us that are coming up behind.

  39. Hi Bill,

    Thank you for the encouragement. I needed it today! It’s helpful to hear that even successful business owners get discouraged at times and that, yes, we always have a choice in how we move forward.

    I use my business as a resource for my own personal development. If something isn’t working, it means I need to address a part of myself that is limiting my success. As I teach my clients, challenges are resources in disguise! In order for the healing to take place, we must work with our challenges directly.

    Sometimes we lose that ability to see clearly, get enthusiastic or to even have hope. That’s where it’s nice to hear guidance like yours. After reading your blog, I’m reminded to get back on the horse! Thanks!

  40. mary maguire says:

    Very relevant to life not just self employment. Thoughts and feelings rather than fact can force defeat. Good positive reading thank you.

  41. Hello Bill,
    There ‘ve been years since I folow you from Paris.
    I love your great heart and video with your wife when you kiss her… 🙂
    I Love to see a gentleman & Kindness in the heart. makes me follow….
    Thank you really for all you show, give to us all. It’s essential.

  42. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this brilliant
    blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog with my
    Facebook group. Talk soon!

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