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The Cold Hard Truth About Entrepreneuring

BIGG Success can be an emotional rideWe love Discovery’s The Deadliest Catch. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a show about crab fishing in the brutal Bering Sea.

On the season opener this year, Sig (one of the captains) said something to which we can totally relate as entrepreneurs. But first a little background…

Crab boat captains fish much like entrepreneurs. They develop a theory about where the crab might be like entrepreneurs do with customers.

Based on this theory, they put out their pots – crab fishing code for the baited cages they use to lure the crabs in. Likewise, entrepreneurs use promotional messages to attract customers.

Now back to what Sig said…

He had put out pots but the first run is often disappointing. It’s really about just trying to find out where the crabs are.

On this particular string, though, they hit the jackpot with the first pot. The team celebrated! And then got back to pulling in more pots.

But the tide turned quickly. Pot after pot, they scored zero after zero. No crabs!

Sig said, “It was fun and now it’s not so fun.”

A perfect description of entrepreneuring! Entrepreneuring is a roller coaster ride.

You’re up. You’re down. It’s fun. It’s not. And it’s often a short drive between the two.

It may happen from one day to the next. Yesterday was great. Today sucks. It can even happen from minute to minute when bad news is suddenly front and center.

When you’re the entrepreneur, you often don’t see the good news. Your employees take care of that. You also may not see the little blimps.

No, it’s the big things that hit your desk – the loss of a significant customer or key employee, an impending law suit, or an unexpected bill (e.g. a tax penalty).

The sages say you shouldn’t get emotional about business. But the sages aren’t entrepreneurs. Entrepreneuring is an incredibly emotional experience.

It forces you to reach deep down within yourself, to draw upon resources you didn’t even know you had. It makes you stronger and tougher.

Just realize this – you’re not alone. Every entrepreneur rides this roller coaster.

So when you feel lonely, reach out to a fellow entrepreneur. Reach out to us. We all need to support each other through difficult times.

It will help you get through the down cycle. It’s how you keep pushing.

Remember, the downs are usually followed by an uptick. And the journey is worth it because it ends with BIGG success!

How do you handle the down times?

Image in this post from stock.xchng

The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

When you own your own business, you have your highs and you have your lows. And it seems like you rarely have any in-betweens.

George said  …
I never talked about this for years. I thought it was just me. Then I got up the nerve and mentioned it to my sister, who also owns businesses.

She said she knew exactly what I was talking about! So that encouraged me to ask other business owners about it. So far, every single person I’ve ever talked to about this knows exactly what it means. You can see it on their face as soon as you bring it up.

But it’s something I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t talk about.

Mary-Lynn added  …
With Bigg Success, I’m experiencing business ownership for the first time. And I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. There are days where I feel exhilaration from the ride and there are days when I feel sheer terror and want to get off the ride.

Entrepreneurial terror

If you’ve never experienced it, count yourself lucky, but most people in business have.

You can feel terrified at times even with a job. You may fear you’re going to lose yours when you see other people’s jobs getting cut. But it’s still different for business owners.

George …
I remember one of the guest speakers for my class who talked about the number of mouths he had to feed now. A lot of the most successful business owners I know take personal responsibility for their people. They don’t look at just putting bread on their table; they worry about their employees as well.

That can keep you up at night!

Inc. published an article (way back in February 1987) called Entrepreneurial Terror. A portion of it has been republished on Wachovia’s Small Business site.

It was written by Wilson Harrell, a serial entrepreneur and author of For Entrepreneurs Only. He said:

“… the ability to handle terror, and to live with it, is the single most important
– and, yes, necessary – ingredient of entrepreneurial success.”

This company doesn’t love misery

He says that you shouldn’t share your lows with your friends and loved ones, because you’ll just pass the worry on to them. Unless they’re your partner in business.

He adds that you should always share your highs, though.

How highs turn to lows

The way you spend your time and money when you’re on a high often has a lot to do with how low you go. Let’s look at two examples:

  • Too busy for marketing
    When you’re so busy, you may even be running at capacity, and you know your business couldn’t crank out any more volume no matter how much you wanted to. So you slow down – or even stop – your marketing efforts.

    George …
    I’ve done this! It’s easy to do – there’s no time! But that insures the next down cycle because you’re not doing those things that you did to get to the up cycle.

  • Being careless with money
    A lot of times cash flow is at its peak during an up cycle. That’s part of the reason you’re on an emotional high. So you make that major expenditure. Or you add to your overhead. The next thing you know you’re on a low because business and cash flow have slowed down and you have little or no cash reserves.

You may not be able to avoid the highs and lows. What you can do is conduct business so that your lows are higher … and your highs are higher!

It may not feel any different, but you know it is. You’re reaching ever higher levels of success! Now that’s bigg success!

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(Image by LilGoldWmn)