Updated: Jul 3
Is it the COVID slump? Is it natural entrepreneurial doubts? Am I just being overly emotional? Or did I really make a mistake in chasing my dream?
Geez. That’ll catch your attention right?
But here’s the deal: I’m less than 6 months into my business feel like a complete and utter failure.
Have I booked projects? Have I made clients happy? Yes and yes.
So why do I feel so terrible right now? Well, for the benefit of discussion (and let’s be honest, by "discussion” I mean with myself, but you can join in too), let me explain what I’m feeling:
I’m not making enough money.
Look, we saved prior to me leaving my day job and are totally financially stable, but I hate that I’m not contributing more to our family. Having less time than expected (#covidproblems) means fewer projects and less income. It’s frustrating even if it’s understandably out of my control.
I should have prepped more before jumping in.
This is probably true rather than just emotional thoughts. With a full time job, three kids, and the side hustle, I didn’t do all the research and prep that I likely needed to launch a new business as smoothly as possible. You live and you learn, I guess. But when in an overly emotional state, this feels like a huge error or sign that you shouldn’t have made the leap at all.
I’m struggling to find space to be creative.
Being trapped at home most of the time (with three kids) makes it so much more difficult to find my creative rhythm making it harder to complete projects within the timeline I had hoped to be able to see my desired increase in income. Not being able to just jump into my creativity right when I actually have time to work is beyond frustrating.
I’m failing at juggling work/family/home.
I’m at home all the time and still not spending a ton of time with my kids which makes me feel like a bad mom. I’m not getting enough work done which makes me feel like a bad business owner. My house is more of a mess than typical which makes me feel like I’m even failing at the basics of life.
Everything has stalled out.
The potential of new partnerships and growth opportunities seemingly vanished with COVID. I could see great things happening - things that would help take my business to the next level and now they’re gone. Gone forever? Hopefully not. But deferred hope can feel just as bad as lost hope.
I’m not executing all the ideas I have wanted to pursue.
Videos with helpful design tips
Partnerships with other businesses
New community building opportunities
Educating on non-toxic living choices
There seems to be an endless list of things that I want to do, but continue to have zero time for. Is it true that I don’t have time or am I just not disciplined enough to bring them to fruition? Did I overestimate my abilities to work for myself?
Everyone else is succeeding.
Well, I know that’s not true, but gosh, don’t we all fall into that thinking at some point? I see so many others succeeding in their social media growth or seemingly rocking their business which just adds salt to my emotional wounds.
All of these things combined have put me in state of thinking that maybe chasing this dream, jumping into this business was just unrealistic. Selfish even.
Is that true? Maybe not.
But it’s how I currently feel. And typing all the above out does kinda point me to the fact that maybe it is just the crappy cards COVID has dealt us all in this season causing most of my doubts.
But I guess the next part of the discussion is: What will I do about it? Do I continue to sit in these feelings of failure or do I choose to fight against them?
Well, I choose to fight and here’s my version of fighting.
Step One: Write out how I feel
I don't know why typing out my feelings always seems to help, but I did it earlier this year when I was struggling with friendships and loneliness and while I didn’t share that with the world, typing it out made a huge difference in moving forward. (And honestly, at this moment, I’m not sure if this will be shared with the world either… I guess we’ll see how brave I’m feeling later.)
Step Two: Pray
I have to pray for guidance and renewed hope. And for my heart to shift from only finding success in accomplishments (#enneagram3) and instead finding fulfillment in who God has created me to be. (Always easier said than done, friends.)
Step Three: Oil up
I’m a big believer in essential oils (don’t judge me) so today I began a 30 day protocol with a “Feelings Kit” and emotional affirmations in an effort to shift my thoughts and emotions to a better state. (I’ll keep you updated on the progress - you know, if I actually share all this with people IRL.)
Step Four: Write down my successes
To combat the feelings of failure, I’m going to force myself to also type out all the things I’ve been successful in thus far. Maybe the perspective shift will be enough to boost my confidence again and allow me to work through the frustrations and current challenges.
(I had a friend once tell me to keep a notebook with all the compliments people give you so you can pull it out and reread them in difficult seasons. Great idea that I of course never did, but probably should 'cause, hello! Difficult season.)
Step Five: Define my successes for this season
Maybe I just need to embrace that this is not at all how I envisioned my first six months of my business to go (I mean, did anyone have “global pandemic” noted in their 2020 calendar?!) and redefine what success means to me in this moment.
How many hours of work per week is realistic and how can I make it happen? And when it does happen, how can I celebrate it as a win?
Maybe success right now isn’t what I originally hoped it to be, but does that mean I’m truly failing? Maybe not.
Step Six: Look for guidance
I guess the next step in this process will be to find others who have processed these types of doubts and emotions before. Surely I’m not the only one to feel this way, right?
[ Now accepting applications to be my mentor. ]
OK, I guess that’s all for now. I’m sure this is the exact opposite of what someone trying to grow a business should share, but you know, I could use more vulnerability in the world right now so here we are.
Oh, and having the kids in school this fall in Nashville ain’t looking great at the moment (we just shifted back to our Phase Two opening plan) so this redefining success thing may need to happen multiple times.
Oh gosh…is success going to look like being a kick-ass homeschool mom?! Lord, beer me strength.