Each month, I ask my Instagram community to join me in a focused, crowd-sourced discussion on a specific subject. For the month of November, we rolled up our sleeves to chat about small business owner mindset. Nobody understands the stress of the holiday season like a small business owner, and I was thrilled to see so many Lucky Break Clients sharing their thoughts and experiences.
THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID…
- bodysystemsteri: It’s so essential. And I feel as entrepreneurs we don’t take notice till it’s too late.
- zirafkahanka: For me these three come first: SLEEP, EAT, MOVE. Then anything else. To start to look at my life this way helped me tremendously last year.
- printtherapy: I have to make the time. I’ve burnt out so many times emotionally and physically that I now really understand the importance of self care. For me it’s good sleep, healthy eating, and working out. It’s also time alone and Netflix binges 🙂 Either I spend time taking care of myself, or I spend the time being tired and anxious and therefore unproductive.
Overwhelm and burnout are, unfortunately, rampant in the entrepreneurial community. While everyone’s coo’ing over four-hour work weeks and how sexy it is to be at the helm of your own ship, what they’re not often talking about is how we often work 60-80 hour work weeks and how we sometimes sag under the weight of long to-do lists and massive responsibilities. I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but we’re all about “real life” business here at Lucky Break and that’s the reality for many of us. But as someone who’s hit her brick wall more than once, I’ve learned the importance of self-care. A few tips I’ve picked up along the way…
- Put your own oxygen mask on first. The LBC Community is made up primarily of women and we often put ourselves last, taking care of ourselves only after everyone else has been tended to. But you can’t pour from am empty cup and I’ve learned to move myself up in line so that I can be a healthy resource for those who depend on me.
- Business ebbs and flows. There are times in each of my businesses when I’ve needed to let off the gas a bit to tend to my own health o r the wellness of my family. Keeping the gas pedal pressed all the way to the floor 24/7 is an impossible ask, so flexibility is key. Recognizing that there are seasons for big launches and concerted waves of outreach, and the development of new collaborations has been key, because there are also seasons for pulling back and conserving energy. Yin and yang and all that jazz.
- When I feel myself breathing up against a brick wall, a change of energy is needed. Think of it as an intervention: work half-time in your business next week. Go to bed an hour earlier every day this week. Find one thing from your to-do list that you can delegate to someone else. Being attuned to yourself and proactive about your own wellness is much easier than picking up the pieces after you’ve slammed into the wall and everything has shattered.
THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID…
- a_wildflower_gypsy: Meditate and clear my mind out in nature, phone free. Quiets the chaos and allows ideas to flow.
- zhibathandbody: I clean… something about putting on my sneakers, cleaning house, and burning sage gets my juices flowing. I find myself away from those things that have my mind cluttered.
- mistybluebotanicals: I like to FB and insta-stalk creative people I admire. Instagram, in particular, is hard for me because I don’t feel particularly talented in the creativity department, so I like to see what other folks are doing visually. Somewhere taking a ride somewhere news helps to unblock creativity for me.
- pearlglow_bodybutter_and_soap: I like to look at things I love, read, or start at the beginning. I’ll go back to some of the first things I created or wrote, this always helps.
I second all of these awesome suggestions! One thing I’ve learned in fifteen years of being a full-time entrepreneur: pushing through roadblocks rarely helps. When I’ve reached my breaking point, the best thing that I can do is redirect my energy. Whether that’s cooking a good meal, taking the dog for a walk, calling a good friend, or soaking in a hot bath- anything I can do to change my current paradigm and replenish energy levels before diving back in proves beneficial. Throwing good energy after bad is rarely successful. But it’s also very necessary to dive back in. So take heart, walk off the ship for a bit, but don’t abandon the ship entirely.
THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID…
- stellachroma: Erryday! Lol. I just ignore it and keep pushing.
- becauseofzoe: Stay in my own lane and know that what I’m trying to build is based on my priorities and current season. Not trying to keep up with anyone or compare my grass to another’s.
- snapdragonstyling: I try to tell myself to look at myself from someone else’s POV. I realize, from the outside, I look the part, so maybe there’s something to that. Channeling Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce doesn’t hurt either.
- doubleclutched: Reminding myself that things take time and that this day job is here to pay the bills.
- gildedoliveapothecary: Looking around too much only makes me feel worse (but it’s only because I’m in awe of the other impostors). Refocusing on my own work helps a lot. And I just tell myself not to listen to that other voice, that it’s just BS and it happens to everyone else, too.
- printtherapy: The further I niche down, the easier it has gotten for me. It’s still easy to look at successful stationers and feel jealousy (I’ll admit it!) that I’m not where they are. But then I remind myself that even though our category is the same, and sure, on some level we’re competing for business, what I’m doing and offering is different. So I just keep telling myself they’re not better than me … they’re just different than me.
- theejamieleigh: I used to suffer from Impostor Syndrome hard, and I can still hear her talking shit outside of my mind’s apartment window. But, I’m in here with my new awesome sauce confidence, the knowledge that now is the time for me, and my cheering sections of friends and family and they’re MUCH LOUDER than that mess-ass Imposter Syndrome girl outside!
Sisters, I hear you! I recently wrote a blog about Impostor Syndrome, and I think it’s worth sharing that advice again because I don’t think there’s any level of success that’s immune from this beast. But the key- I think- is to hear that narrative when it pops up. Be attuned of it, but don’t indulge it. Two things that help me:
- Keeping a journal of my accomplishments. Progress is hard to see when it’s incremental and we’re standing so very close to it. But if I keep a notebook nearby (or even a digital note on my smartphone), then I can casually jot down the wins- both large and small- in the moment. When I feel stagnant and like I’m up against the impossible, I leaf back through those notes and I’m continually reminded of just how far I’ve come.
- Maintaining a “rave” file. Whether those are snippets from positive emails, or press clippings, or product reviews… I digitally gather assets to stow away for the most grueling of days (pro tip: The Evernote app is a godsend for this task!). When I’ve just heard my third “no” of the day and every time I’m paralyzed by fear or indifference, I spend a few minutes immersed in those glowing words. It’s an effective strategy for reminding myself of the importance of my work and restoring my gratitude for the opportunity to do it.
Remember: There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they decide to believe in themselves.
THE LUCKY BREAK COMMUNITY SAID…
- nolacuttingboards: Keeping that watchful eye makes me more competitive and motivates me! BUT when I see something that gets me down those are the tough days …
- wildairskincare: It can be both. Important to see what is happening to keep updated on trends, but more importantly for me to keep focused on my goals and tasks.
- sanaraskincare: Before I had my brand message buttoned up and not focused it was distracting and discouraging because to me they “had it together”. Now that I do have my own point of view it’s interesting to see someone else’s take.
- sheabath: It can be distracting and discouraging. Need to do better in that dept.
- thepotionshoppe: Helpful + distracting + overwhelming.
- snapdragonstyling: I like the idea of scheduling time to do research. Some days I find it disheartening and other days it’s motivating. I’m going to try to schedule the time to better control how it impacts me. Good tip!
- stellachroma: The indie polish world is different and it’s near impossible to NOT notice competition. I try not to spend too much time though. And now that my branding is on, I don’t compare as much as I notice.
- lisamichellethebelle: I’ll be honest. Watching my competition hindered me. I would create a product, look at someone else’s, and scrap mine because I felt theirs was better. I had to transition to tunnel vision for a while and focus strictly on my creations.
- mistybluebotanicals: It’s a blessing AND a curse. It’s important to see what others in the competitive landscape are doing – it inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing. But on the other hand, it can be demoralizing to see better packaging and better marketing and a better website knowing I can’t afford that right now.
- theoakleysoapco: Oh man. I went on a deep dive looking at competitors yesterday and developed some major Impostor Syndrome. This is just what I needed today.
- shopmilked: Oh wow. This is so helpful. I’ve gotten sucked into the black hole of comparison, and somehow translating that to mean I’m doing worse than my competitors.
The struggle is real, friends. And judging by how passionate and numerous your responses are, it’s helpful to know that we’re in good company. You can’t possibly run a company in a vacuum, so knowing who you’re p against in the marketplace is key. But not obsessing over them is *also* key. Here’s a helpful strategy I’ve shared with hundreds of clients.
STEP ONE: Decide who your direct competitors are- these are the brands your customers would be buying if you suddenly disappeared off the face if the earth
STEP TWO: Hop on their email lists. Then set up a special rule in your inbox to automatically filter all of their emails into a special folder that you use as a holding tank of sorts.
STEP THREE: Don’t follow them on social media. The goal here is to eliminate them from your daily SM feeds and your inbox.
STEP FOUR: Establish one day every quarter as Competitor Research Day. In the morning, open all those emails. Peek at their social media intentionally and strategically. Think about their new product launches, the tone and nature of their messaging, the frequency of their posting, the level of engagement, their pricing structure, their product photography, how they structure their promotions, etc.
STEP FIVE: Make a list of those observations and build an actionable to-do list for yourself incorporating the wisdom you’ve gleaned.
STEP SIX: Spend the second half of the day doing things you love. Schedule a dinner date with a friend. Grab a massage. Do you some yoga. Read a good book in the bathtub. Make an elaborate meal. Whatever you need to do to combat the funk and recalibrate your energy
STEP SEVEN: Pull your periscope back down and refocus your eyes on your own paper. Schedule your next Competitor Research Day, then get to work on your own business for the next 3 months!
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Be sure to stop by the Lucky Break Instagram, where every month we chat about all things business. I’d love to hear your thoughts and hope you’ll lend your voice. Search the #LBCWantstToKnow hashtag to weigh in! In December, we’re chatting about all things pricing.