So, you’ve decided to start a home business and take over the world… You’ve bought the books, the course, connected with a mentor, cracked your knuckles and you’re ready to go.
The only direction from here is up…
Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, the entrepreneur’s journey isn’t nice. And it’s anything but straight up. In fact… you can plot your journey on something called the Transition Curve.
The transition curve applies to any skill.
- Uninformed Optimism – When you start out you’re excited, but you’re not fully informed or aware of the challenges ahead.
- Informed Pessimism – This isn’t as easy I thought it was going to be.
- Crisis of Meaning – Also known as the wall. This is hard… really hard! Should I quit?
- Crash and Burn – Depending on your journey, this could be a soft landing… or rock bottom.
- Informed Optimism – If you survive your Crisis of Meaning and don’t Crash and Burn, better days are ahead.
Whether you’re learning guitar, studying a trade, or starting a diet… the transition curve usually provides an accurate map of your experience.
This roller coaster takes a depressing turn when as an entrepreneur, you learn this is your journey and hitting the wall is inevitable. The difference between those who make it and those who don't is decided during your Crisis of Meaning.
Every entrepreneur goes through it.
And the curve might look like this…
Extended Transition Curve
Entrepreneur's “real” Transition Curve
The One Thing Every Entrepreneur Must Do
Accept that sooner or later, you’re going to reach your low point and it won’t be pleasant. If being an entrepreneur was easy, everyone would do it.
You might even crash and burn, learn from the experience, and rise from the ashes to start the journey again. But to make it as an entrepreneur, the one thing you must do is get through your Crisis of Meaning.
It doesn't guarantee you'll succeed… but NOT getting through it guarantees you won’t.
Crisis of Meaning Survival Strategies
We all have our demons… fear or what others will think, which forces some people to quit, while driving others to keep going.
Doubt in your abilities, doubt in the process… or both.
Sometimes it’s fatigue. There’s more time and energy required than you expected, and you’re not sure it’s worth it.
Most likely, your Crisis of Meaning will involve all of the above and more… to some degree.
There are some general strategies you can use to keep yourself moving forward.
- As mentioned a moment ago… acceptance. Accept that it’s normal, that we all go through it and 9 out of 10 times as Gary Vaynerchuck says… the answer is patience.
- Establish baseline habits and routines before hand. My strategy is to keep it simple. Keyword research (online marketing speak for learning what people are searching for) and writing with no expectations of outcome. It keeps me moving forward and doesn’t tap into my financial resources. Your situation will be different… but baseline habits and routines can help you get through.
- Pay attention to your health. Sometimes despair and depression are nothing more than poor nutrition and a lack of sleep and exercise.
- Realize your challenge is the same as when you started, the only difference is you can now see it and although your enthusiasm may been going down, your skill and ability have been going up.
- On the topic of skills… they may not be on your bank statement, but they’re as valuable as any sale. Even when you’re not selling… you’re learning. Keep going.
- Lean on others. Talk to other entrepreneurs who have been there before. If your friends and family are supportive and encouraging… share your struggle with them.
- Keep a journal. When your thoughts are on paper (or the screen), you can take a third-person perspective, work through them logically and plot a solution.
- Remember your “why”. There’s a reason you started this journey, and even if it's ten times hard harder than you thought… most likely the outcome is still worth it.
Finally… some things you should NOT do.
- Don’t turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope.
- Don’t spend money you don’t have. Don’t hire people, don’t buy another course, don’t purchase more equipment or marketing tools. It might feel like a good time to double down or go all in… but unless you’re prepared for the consequences, it’s not.
- Don’t give into shiny objects. There’s always a “guru” with the next “single-click solution” and ninety-nine times out of a hundred… it’s nothing more than a waste of time and money. Or… if it does work, it has its own Transition Curve and Crisis of Meaning. You’ll be right back where you started. I lost an entire year learning this lesson… hopefully you can benefit from my mistake.