Julie M. Gile
When you own your own business, you’re wearing the hats of at least a dozen different roles.
It’s easy to spread yourself thin, leave things by the way-side, and to feel lonely and overwhelmed.
All the aspects of running your own business, keeping things organized, building brand awareness, maintaining a social presence both online and in person can slow you down and distract you from what you love most about your business.
So how can you be a successful Lone Wolf in business?
You post a photo of your products, or the interior of your store, and hey! It gets a bit of traction, some people leave comments, the likes come pouring in, you even gain a few new followers. It feels pretty dang good to have found your people online!
But then you have to take inventory, and your office needs a new coat of paint, you have a few consultations with clients, before you know it, it’s been 4 weeks since you’ve posted online and connected with your tribe.
Now you’re left feeling a bit guilty that perhaps you’ve abandoned your social media and wonder if you can ever step foot into that space again.
“How in the world am I supposed to be able to balance all of this while building my small business?!” You think to yourself as you feel frustrated and burnt out.
You’re not alone, it’s something that not only I’ve dealt with, but hundreds if not thousands of other women have struggled with too, perhaps right within your own community. Here are some excellent and practical ways to help you combat the lone wolf syndrome.
Take a step back from it all, schedule yourself an “Out Of Office” day. Go take a long walk to clear your mind, take your kids sledding or head to the beach, sign up for a local 5k.
Studies have shown that by just getting outside for a little bit each day, anxiety can be reduced drastically.
Another thing I love is working near a window so I can have a bit of sunshine on my skin even if it is below 0 outside.
Connection is KEY
You might be caught up in the false idea that the life of an entrepreneur is meant to be lonely and isolated, but that’s not the case. People are meant for genuine human connection!
Finding your people can be hard, and it might take some work on your end, but in the end it’s worth it to know you have someone you can call to meet you for a chai. Almost every community has some sort of women’s group that can help you get connected with fellow business owners, but other good places to look at co-working locations or a mastermind group.
You can find a mastermind mentoring class out there for almost any passion you may have, it’s such a great way to surround yourself with like minded individuals who are chasing their goals right alongside you.
Ask For Help
Just because you’re a small business owner doesn’t mean you HAVE to wear every single hat.
It’s 100% okay to outsource things that might not be your strong suit. Is creating unique products your favorite part, but then they sit in a pile waiting to be photographed so you can list them on your site? Don’t be afraid to reach out to a local branding photographer like myself, while it might seem like you’re just checking one thing off your list, it could be the very thing that it takes to get your entire business kickstarted by presenting your products in a way that clearly shows your brand's vision.
Do you love to photograph beautiful weddings and engagements, but have a tough time balancing all your emails and office work or keeping up with blogging each session? Hire a VA! There are VA’s that specialize in everything from responding to client inquiries, to sending out invoices and following up with couples, even writing your blog posts and social media content. When you have a task you don’t like doing outsource so it doesn’t get swept under the rug.
Branding Is Important
What is your brand’s message? Is your website and social media content communicating that effectively? Taking time to sit down with a branding expert was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business.
Not only did it help me become crystal clear on the purpose of my business, but it helped me tailor my services so I wasn’t trying to do it all. I was able to figure out exactly who my target audience is, and now I can connect and serve them better.
Good branding helps weed out the clients that aren’t right for you, which saves you both time and money in the long run when marketing your brand, and leaves you free to build better relationships with the clients you already have established.
Praise Your Progress, NOT Perfection
As a business owner it’s easy to get caught up in the little details of things. You want everything to be done perfectly, and can fixate on them for far too long. Something as simple as making a to-do list every single day which gives you clear and defined goals which are achievable.
It’s okay to put a handful of things you’ve already accomplished on the list too, crossing off items on your to-do list give you that little boost you need, and each time you are able to cross something off, even if it’s something as simple as “shower today,” give yourself a pat on the back. It’s progress. It’s a step further than you were before.
You’re gaining traction to accomplish other goals by doing one little thing. Go you!
While this might look different for everyone, finding your way to focus and clear your mind is important. Some people pray, some people go for 10 mile runs… I find that meditating is one of the strongest ways I can temper the rollercoaster that is small business, and really the rollercoaster of life too.
Whatever is the best way for you to hit your own reset button, find it and hold fast to it.
Keeping a journal seems like just one more thing, but what if you just used a journal when you really needed it? Like when you are going through majorly overwhelming times and the information in your head is just too much to keep track of.
Journalling is a very positive way to download the information out of your head and free up some much needed room to breathe.
“I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” - Thanks to the tenacity of the person behind that quote you and I have the ability to light our house with the flip of a switch. That was Thomas Edison. If he had given up anyone of those 10,000 times we wouldn’t have the lightbulb as we know it today.
Instead of looking at your setbacks in a negative light, reframe the situation and think about it in the way that you simply found a way that isn’t the best for your business and now you have the knowledge to fix things and how to build your small business moving forward.
Have you tried any of these resources or suggestions mentioned above while trying to navigate the world of owning a small business? What are other ideas you’ve tried that I may have missed? Leave a comment down below to let me know!
As always, if you need any help in figuring out what your brand’s vision is, and want to know how I can help you bring your product photography dreams to life… Reach out. I’d love to chat and help you create something you’re proud of!