When the honeymoon period ends, you’re left with hustle. (No-one ever said building a business was easy – for good reason). We consider this the ‘make or break’ phase – where the rollercoaster of ups and downs feels daily, and the myth of entrepreneurs in stilettos drinking champers is well and truly busted. The hustle zone is Day 334 to Day 666.
Typically in this phase, you’re asking yourself “what the F am I doing” on a regular basis (probably while sitting on your couch alone at 2 am in the morning with a glass of red wine in hand). This is when your commitment to your vision, your audience, and your future is put to the test. You might be tired… but you KNOW that it will all be worth it at the end (and it is!).
Stay firmly centred on your vision – when it feels like the world is challenging you, you need to come back to your why. Implement practices (could be a vision board, a repeated purpose statement, or journaling) that allow you to find inner calm and clarity, amidst the crazy, ever-changing outside world. A quote we live by at Future Females is – “be committed to your destination, but agnostic of the approach”. If something you’re trying is not working, know this is not a sign that your business won’t work, but rather that you just need to take a different path.
Focus on the HIGH-VALUE tasks – often at this point, you’re not getting to the bottom of your to-do list every day, and so you must be spending your (very limited) time on the tasks that drive value (i.e. revenue) for your customers and your business. Park the coffee dates, ease upon (or delegate) your admin, and make a ‘not to do list’ for all the exciting new ideas that you KNOW will only serve as a distraction if you give them headspace at this time (you can always come back to them later!).
Invest in yourself & your team – your business will only grow as fast as you do, and so now is the time to invest in yourself and your capabilities. Knowledge is a muscle you need to practice, that when repeated, becomes a skill. You need to have an understanding of the different elements of your business and be skilled in four-five strategies, but you will never master EVERY aspect, even of your own business. To seek out those who have mastered the skills you need, and bring them into your fold, your community, and onto your team.
Get familiar with profit (over revenue) – It’s easy to focus on the top-line revenue, but you need to look at your holistic profitability – it is a profit that you reinvest for growth, month on month. It’s important to understand this metric – what levers you can pull to maximize your profitability (i.e. to increase revenue and/or decrease cost). You should get to know which of your products or services are most profitable (it’s typically 20% of the products driving 80% of the value), and focus there.
We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding the failure is not opposite of success, it’s part of success.
– Arianna Huffington