Everything we read about building your business these days tells us how to structure things. But they don’t really mention the most important thing, a foundation of resilience.
You do the work “they” say you should do. You read all the books. You take all the courses. You tick all the boxes. You get your logo, build your website, start a Facebook page, pay for some ads, start blogging and building an email list… I could keep going couldn’t I?
You do the work and sometimes it’s great. But sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you’ve got nothing but crickets. Sometimes you feel stuck. Sometimes you feel like you’re going in circles. Sometimes you get bogged down in intense overwhelm. Sometimes you just feel lost or isolated.
And that can make it really hard to keep doing the work.
I know, because I’ve been there… many, many times.
I’ve been building businesses of one form or another for seven years, and I spent a lot of that time feeling pretty damned ineffective and unsuccessful. And we’re not supposed to admit that because there’s this pressure to ‘be professional’ and keep your ‘game face’ on at all times.
Well screw that, I’m going to be totally honest here and admit I do not have it all figured out.
What I have learned is that in all that time I spent building my business(es), ticking the boxes of branding and marketing and systems and structures, I was forgetting to build some really important things.
Worthiness, resilience, gut instinct, certainty, belief, confidence, tenacity.
And more, much more.
If you do a google search on “the qualities of a successful entrepreneur” these things will certainly be listed, but how do we actually build those things?
What nobody tells us when we first start a business is that the stuff we really need doesn’t magically appear as soon as we hit publish on our sales page!
That is why I’ve decided to stop building a business.
I’m going to build a ‘lighthouse’ instead.
I believe that we are each here for a reason; we have something we are meant to do in this world. For entrepreneurs, our business is both how we find and fulfil that purpose.
We are here to shine our light.
The lighthouse is a wonderful symbol for what we really need to build to make that happen.
We can spend all our time working on the structure of our business – what we sell, how we price it, how we deliver it, who we will hire to help us, etc.
But if we don’t build a strong foundation, the structure crumbles.
When you build a lighthouse you need to be aware that the foundation is just as important as the structure.
So make a conscious choice to build your entrepreneurial mindset.
We can spend a lot of energy and money beaming our message out to the world – engaging in branding, marketing, and sales strategies to get our product in the hands of our customers.
But if we aren’t lit from within, there is no light to beam out.
When you build a lighthouse you remember the importance of keeping your own light ignited, keeping your passion alive, finding clarity around your mission, your purpose, and your vision.
My favourite part of building a lighthouse? The fact that they generally contain spiral staircases. This is a great metaphor for the fact that stuff will happen that will leave you feeling stuck, or that will feel like a major obstacle in your path.
But you can choose to keep taking little steps to get past that stuff. You can deal with the fears and the blocks and the frustration and the failure… you can keep going. Dealing with this stuff is just part of the journey, just part of the work we need to do.
Every step takes you closer to the top, closer to your light, closer to doing the work you are here to do.
Now if you are reading this and thinking “wait a minute! I’ve done all of the ‘business work’, my venture is a huge success and I haven’t really struggled with anything!” then I think that’s really awesome and a huge congratulations to you!
I’m guessing you have an innate ability to stay ignited and beam your message out to the world with ease. You’ve likely got the entrepreneurial mindset in spades, and have no trouble dealing with the crap that falls in your path.
I envy that! Keep going!
But for the rest of us, those that feel stuck, or lost, or like we’re spinning our wheels, or not making the kind of impact we’re longing to make, or like there is something missing in all of the business advice we’ve been reading; for us, this is what I think we should do…
Stop building our business. Build a lighthouse instead.
Make a conscious choice to learn and implement the strategies necessary for shining your light (along with the business-y ones, of course) and choose to approach things differently from now on.
The world needs what you do.
It’s your job to build everything you need in order to deliver it.
Do you find your general resilience is constantly challenged by your business? How do you keep on building your business?