Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Business Chat - One step at a time.


Oh boy, it’s that time of year again, I rejoined the gym! Me and everybody else who starts the new year with great intentions. I love running and it’s just too cold to run outside so I join a gym for the winter months.

Before I actually went to the gym there was a little shopping for new running shoes, and shorts. And then there was some time spent making a playlist for the perfect music to listen to. It’s important to have all the equipment lined up before you start.

So then I was ready and I hit the treadmill. I began with such enthusiasm, that first kick of adrenaline is awesome. Yay, I’m thinking, yay I’m actually running. A little while longer and I’m starting to think, hm, ok, not so much fun now. It’s becoming really hard. I don’t like the hill part of the program. I’m bored. This hurts. Ick. Ooohhh, look at that other machine over there, maybe I should move and try that thing. Wait, those people look like they’re having fun over there, maybe I should join them. Oh, I don’t like this song.

And really, who’s going to care if I stop now? Who’s going to know?

Me. I will know. I am the one who has set my goal, my finish line. I am the only one who can get across it.

Whether or not you go to a gym, I’m sure you’ll recognize this pattern. It’s us as we run our businesses.

The idea of running a little crafty business is SO exciting! We dream about how it will be when we have a successful, fun business. We buy new tools and supplies (oh so shiny!). We organize our workspaces. And we organize again. We read books and websites and then we get out there and sell a bit. It’s still so exciting.

And then that first flush wears off. It becomes winter, a traditionally slow time for sales and our work stops selling. Huh, not so much fun now. We write blog posts that no one comments on. We facebook and no one buys anything. We have to fill out more show applications, take oodles of photos, fill out a tax form, boring work when we’d rather just be making more cool stuff. The reality sets in that there’s just a lot of stuff that has to be done over and over. It’s hard. It’s work.

And really, who’s going to care if you don’t do the hard stuff? Who’s going to know?

You. You will know. Because you won’t reach your goal, your business will not thrive.

The only way to get to the finish line of a race is by putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over.

The only way to succeed in business is to do the work, to constantly keep up with the hard bits that have to get done. Ignoring the work won’t make it go away. Getting sidetracked by SOS (shiny object syndrome) won’t get you farther along your path.

The only way to get to your destination is to constantly and consistently put one foot in front of the other and move forward. You need to do the work, one step at a time.

Here’s a couple of ways that I use to make myself do the work.
  • Have a list of colleagues who you can call when the going gets tough. Sitting in your little studio by yourself can be demoralizing. Sometimes you need to call someone who is in the same boat and vent for a bit.
  • Set a timer. Really, you can do just about anything for 15 minutes. Filing expenses is not fun, so tell yourself it’s only for 15 minutes. We can always find 15 minutes in a day.
  • Bribe yourself. OK self, I will take 50 photos and edit them into the best 5 and then I get a trip to the café for a cookie and coffee!
  • Hang a picture of your personal finish line – your definition of success on your bulletin board. If your goal is to earn enough for a trip to Europe, pin up a photo of where you’re going. If your goal is financial, write yourself out a cheque. (If you write yourself a cheque, keep it in your wallet so that you can look at it every time you open your wallet).
  • Hang up motivational posters, read biographies of successful people you admire.

When things get tough, or boring, or overwhelming you just have to concentrate on taking one more step. And keep that finish line in your mind. One step at a time you’ll get there.

And I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines.

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