Being an entrepreneur takes guts. Yes there can be some glory in it (hmnn… or maybe that’s just in my own secret little dreams and fantasies…) but there can also be a lot of pain, fear, doubt and disillusionment. Self-employment isn’t easy and anybody who tells you it is… they’re lying through their scummy little teeth and you should knock a few out just for kicks. Yes, I’m bloodthirsty!
Point being, there are a TON of potential obstacles to derail even the most focused and efficient over-achievers, never-mind the massive number of complacent under-achievers that make up the bulk of the population these days. I myself like to fall somewhere in the middle of those two categories, but either way you’ll be tripping over opportunities for derailment no matter which side of the road you drive on.
So let’s talk a little cold hard truth. Often times as an entrepreneur you work from home. Sure it sounds like roses to the uninitiated, but come on… get real. Think about how you FEEL when you’re at home. Most likely you don’t exactly feel like Mr. or Mrs. Efficient and Productive.
You definitely don’t feel like WORKING. Psshtt… who want to do THAT? There are just so many distractions! Let’s name a few just for sh**s and giggles. For your reading pleasure, I’ve placed these in handy dandy bullets so you can be perfectly clear on all the many distractions available to you while attempting to WORK from home.
- If you have kids, then you can feel my pain with this one. Kids screaming, yelling, playing, fighting, demanding your attention or making repeated, very single-minded attempts to kill each other. And then sometimes, they’d just really like to cuddle… like RIGHT NOW!
- If you’re married or happily un-married, then it’s possible you have a significant other that likely pulls away your attention, whether they really mean to or not. (C’Mon honey, I’m not DOING anything… I’m just watching T.V. and making some lunch… you can work! I’ll be quiet as a mouse, it’s like I’m not even here!) Sound remotely familiar?
- If you have pets… please insert the barking, meowing, door-frame shredding, yipping sounds that apply to you. If you have other animals such as livestock that goes moo or roosters that crow… I feel really, really sorry for you and suggest killing them all off and cooking them for dinner. Problem solved.
- Then there is the telephone… you just can’t STAND shutting it off completely because ‘what if there’s an emergency!?’ Know what? Hate to break that particular little bubble but…there probably isn’t going to be an emergency. At least not today. Or tomorrow. Or even next week. Just sayin’.
- Then there is the cell phone you vow to turn off but instead turn on vibrate… and btw…turning it on vibrate doesn’t count. Because then you feel a superhuman compulsion to check it every time you ‘think’ you hear a buzz, or see the screen flash in your peripheral vision. Sheesh… talk about overwhelm!
- Then before you know it… ‘Crap it’s lunch time! And man, I am hungry… I wonder if (insert name of cool friend you like to lunch with here) is home and wants to grab a bite?’
- Then of course there is Twitter… and Facebook… and email… and Twitter… and Facebook… and email… and before you know it you’re caught in this psycho loop of checking them all compulsively and guess what? I know you’ll find this uber surprising, but you’re not getting any work done!
And I will be honest. Those distractions are just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone’s situation is unique and each unique situation affords their own distractions. But that was just a little fun exercise to give you an idea of what you might face as an entrepreneur that works from home. In all actuality, all of those distractions are things that can easily be overcome by implementing strategies, organizing and structuring your work day, and exercising a little self-discipline and restraint. Really!
What is much harder to overcome when traveling down the road to self-employment is the obstacles you face that YOU throw up in your path. As an entrepreneur, often times you are the biggest obstacle you will ever face. It’s almost like this secret little game where you see how often you can sabotage yourself before you say ‘Ow! That kinda hurts… I think I want to fix it now’. Or ‘Let’s keep a tally and see how many times I can get in my own way today!’
The sad part is that 99.9999% of the time… you don’t see it. I’m guilty too. And then the other times, you DO see it, but almost can’t seem to help yourself from doing it anyway. It really is like some crazy mental gymnastics with yourself and the primary goal is to throw you off track from the things you really do want.
So what are some of the ways you might be limiting yourself and getting in your own way? Good question, and I’ll tell you one that is VERY common to people today… we’ve been discussing it a bit in the discussions section of my new group on LinkedIn, and it’s something a lot of people who are self-employed,( especially if the business is online) suffer with… it’s called BSO. And nope, don’t confuse that with body odor!
Otherwise un-affectionately termed the Bright Shiny Object syndrome. It’s the phenomenon where you are always allowing yourself to be distracted by the ‘next big thing’. You know… where you run across some sales letter promising you a ‘killer way to make ten grand’ and you start telling yourself ‘THIS could be it! THIS could be what will finally set me financially free!’ Except that in most cases… it’s not.
And in most cases, it’s not the answer not because it isn’t a viable solution or idea… it’s because you have already zipped off on another tangent because you ran across ANOTHER sales letter that sounds ‘really cool’ and maybe ‘THAT one is the one!’ Sound familiar? BSO.
It’s nothing to feel ashamed of or bad about, it’s something we all are afflicted with at some point, especially when you’re just starting out and still a little low in the confidence department. But it’s important to realize that it’s not unavoidable, it’s a roadblock YOU throw up whether you realize it or not.
YOU are in control, and if you can’t get a handle on your BSO problem then you will forever be chasing ‘the next big thing’ while all these other ‘big things’ are lying in shambles all around you. Sounds grim right? So you need to start taking control and shutting out all the distractions when you’re working on your business.
- Choose a business model.
- Choose your products or services.
- Set-up your business model.
- Market, market, market.
- Eliminate all other distractions until you are seeing steady revenue. I just wrote a blog post on 18 Ways to Kick Distractions to the Curb yesterday if you’d like to check it out.
Another way you limit yourself is by your own self-talk and your own belief systems. There is almost a ‘lack of confidence’ epidemic in the world today, whether you see it in the faces of your peers or not. The economy situation can make even the stoutest hearts question their beliefs, question their actions, and question whether or not they can measure up in some way.
People have been losing jobs left and right. Businesses go under every day. The stock market nose dives on a regular basis, the housing market decreases even more all the time, consumers are being evicted and filing for bankruptcy daily… it’s enough heartache to make someone question anything and everything they previously knew to be true.
And when you’re trying to make a go of being self-employed, you literally cannot afford to give in to self-doubt and allow yourself to entertain negative self-talk. You have to focus with superhuman strength on being confidant in what you do, in keeping a positive mindset, and in concentrating all your efforts on areas of your business that will show you the maximum rewards. Avoid self-limiting behavior at all costs. If you don’t do those three things, you really can expect a long hard road ahead, if not downright failure.
When you’re in business for yourself, you may have worries like:
- What if my clients realize I don’t know everything?
- What if my clients don’t like what I offer?
- What if my clients think my rates are too high? Etc…
These are silly things to allow your mind to entertain. For one thing, no one knows everything and no one ever will. So for a client to expect that is ludicrous and in fact most don’t. Most just expect you to back up what you say you can do. Moral of the story? Don’t say you can do something if you can’t. Simple.
For another, if your clients are your clients, obviously there was something about your offer they liked. Now it’s your job to keep them coming back for more. And another thing… two words. Target market. Don’t worry about the rest of the world, target your market properly and they WILL like what you have to offer the majority of the time.
Finally, worrying about things like ‘Are my rates to high’ etc is a waste of energy. It’s a given your rates are going to be too high… for some people. And guess what? Your rates are going to be to LOW… for some people. Again it’s all about the market you’re targeting. Target the right one and your prices are going to be just right.
Finally, pay attention to how you talk to yourself. The thoughts that go around in your head. Things like ‘I suck at this, or I’m not good enough, smart enough, fast enough to do this’, etc are all limiting thoughts that will hold you back from where you want to go. I use this simple rule of thumb when I find myself harboring negative thoughts that aren’t helping to move me forward.
If you wouldn’t allow someone else to talk to you that way, why the heck would you allow yourself to talk to you that way? If the thoughts that are rolling around in your head is something you’d slap someone else for saying about you… slap yourself because you don’t deserve to be talked to that way, even by yourself! Get it?
OK, so this article went super long, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below. Do you have things that hold you back from seeing success? Distractions and limitations that you have trouble avoiding? Are they what I talked about here? Or something else? How do you get past them and move forward? Thanks so much for reading!