Ah… New Year's. That time of year when everyone is busy making bold promises to themselves that they will never keep.
Would you believe me if I told you that I actually do love the unique combination of reflection and ambition that's in the air during these final days of every calendar year?
You can set goals any old time, but something about knowing that so many other humans are doing it right along with you makes it kinda magical.
Here's the problem though: the magic fades. :(
And if your New year's resolutions for your budding business were too massive, you're going to find it damn near impossible to accomplish them.
It’s just unsustainable.
Within just a few weeks life will get in the way, and you’ll be unable to keep it up.
Some people have experienced this disappointment so many times that they refuse to set big goals, telling themselves they’re “being realistic.”
But is that really the solution? Should you downsize your dreams to make them more attainable?
You don't want to dream small, especially when it comes to your business.
My kind of entrepreneur NEEDS to dream big. Without the big dreams, she's left quite empty and unmotivated. There doesn't seem to be a point to put in so much effort, so much hard work, into something mediocre.
So setting that big shiny goal is pretty much a necessity.
But that’s why in addition to dreaming up a big goal, I advise starting small. And the way to do that is by cultivating two important habits to help you get there: Patience, and Discipline. Here’s why:
Overnight successes are not made overnight
Scrolling through success stories on social media, it can leave you feeling like you’re treading water while everyone else is already at the finish line.
But true success (the kind that lasts, the kind that’s not a fluke, the kind that’s repeatable and scalable) NEVER happens overnight.
We live in a world that’s obsessed with the end result and skims over the work part. We don’t see the hundreds of hours these people have put in, the sweat and tear equity, the false starts and nagging doubts they had along the way. So it’s easy to get confused… But it’s called the fruits of your labor for a reason.
Invest in long-term assets
This is a form of “work smart.”
Sometimes people are so focused on the goalposts that they don’t see all the stuff they’re going to need along the way to get there. Then when they hit a wall they wish they would have invested in those things sooner.
I'm talking about things like a strong network, a community following, trust, a coherent brand voice. They don’t give an immediate payoff, which is why cultivating them requires patience (and also why it’s almost always in short supply).
Think of it as a rare and solid foundation to build your BIG dreams on.
Find a process you can trust
One of the big issues that entrepreneurs at the start of their journey face is balancing ambitious goals with a feasible action plan. You want to do anything and everything, and because most efforts take time to show results, it can be hard to know what’s really working -- and what’s a dud.
It’s crucial to find a process you can stick with that will help you weather the uncertainties and stay the course. Strategy-hopping is never a winning strategy.
Separate quick wins from long term accomplishments
You are definitely going to want to go for some quick and easy wins!
Little things like getting your website set up, landing a local speaking gig to establish your credibility, or even just a compliment about your service from a satisfied client can really help you keep the momentum of getting your business off the ground.
But don’t lose sight of the big goals, the ones that take a bit more time and effort to come to fruition. Things like getting your content guest-published on highly relevant, well-known sources. Or being the top search engine result for your search term. Or launching with prospective clients already lined up!
Don’t launch before you’re ready to launch
Resist the temptation to launch your project before it's good enough. It doesn't have to be perfect (see below) but it also can't be something half baked that no one can really understand, interact with, or relate to.
Don't let your desire to “get there” already trick you into launching a dud.
At the same time...
Perfect is the enemy of good
It takes a lot of discipline to make sure your work is really ready. But it can take just as much discipline to know when to stop refining your work.
Your project will never be perfect. At some point you might begin withholding it from the people who will benefit from it -- your clients -- because you are afraid.
Knowing the difference between fear of launching and not being ready is one of the skills you gain and refine as an entrepreneur. You’ll get better at this as you go -- and your progress will go faster if you’re aware of it. Now you are!
Practically speaking, it helps to have a have a good definition of “done” before you start so that you have something objective to refer to when you’re in the thick of it.
What are your big goals for 2019? What habits are you nurturing to succeed at pulling it off?