when reality sets in
Tom Clairmont

Tom Clairmont

Helping you pivot through your small business journey.

When Reality Sets In

Having the dream

It’s great to have a dream. Right? I think we all have some sort of dream that we’d like to  accomplish someday. And having that dream of a better life is always a good thing. Because not everyone can have those positive thoughts and ambitions. Not everyone even knows how to dream big…or even dream at all about a better life. 

I know I wasn’t brought up to think that way. It never even came up. I’m certain of it. My dad didn’t graduate high school and my mom never went to college, but somehow, I really don’t know how, she learned how to take shorthand and become a secretary at the Towns City Hall. 

But for some, dreaming can come harder than others. For some, it can be something that maybe exists in the back of their head, but if it seeps up toward the surface, it can quickly get squashed down to where it came from…the depths of the inner conscience. 

And that’s really a shame, isn’t it? Because I think we’re made to have those dreams of a better life someday. That’s how the US was founded, on a dream of a better life. Better than being oppressed. 

And so…when we’re working that job…that J.O.B. where we grind out every day, just waiting for the weekend to come…when we’re hoping for a better job, or a better life, and maybe, just maybe, someday, I could have my own business…doing…whatever. It doesn’t matter sometimes, does it? 

You keep seeing others with their businesses and how they, somehow, made it work, and you think to yourself, ‘could that EVER be me?’ And you’re thinking ‘I see this guy on LinkedIn or on some Internet ad and he’s talking about how much he makes and that I could make that too.’

Getting the courage to act

And then…it happens. Something finally clicks or snaps in your head and you just can’t take it any longer. You have to have a way out of whatever situation you’re in. You can’t go on like this. You have to change something because if you don’t then everything stays the same. And that’s just not acceptable anymore. 

And it isn’t about the money for some people. It’s beyond that. I know for me, when I quit my job, back in 2001, it wasn’t about the money, it was about my personal happiness. It was about the situation I was in and how terrible it was. 

And that’s what you’re looking for as well. Your personal well being. Your sanity. 

So…you get the courage to act. You get a book, or you sign up for a course, you may even start talking to someone about what to do next. But you take the first step. 

And then, after some time goes by, maybe a few weeks or a few months…you take another step toward the dream. You start to shape the dream and feed the dream. The dream shifts from being a dream to something that you really believe is now possible someday. 

So, you create some time by giving up some things..whether it’s TV or some other time consuming thing that you were into (for me it was the long bike rides). But now, with this extra time, you’re starting to put some pieces together in this big puzzle called self employment. 

Making the leap

And then…there comes the day, when you’re convinced it’s time to go in a different direction. You’ve got the confidence now and you believe in yourself now and you’ve had enough of the old and you’re all on board with bringing in the new life you’ve always wanted. 

So…you quit. 

What do I do now?

And for awhile, you’re riding on adrenaline and the excitement of new beginnings and things are great. For awhile. 

And don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of things being great. I’m not even hinting that I don’t want people to have a great new path. 

But I’ve been doing this for awhile now, myself and I have some inside information here about being self employed. I’ve also talked to a lot of people along the way that are in the same realm as I am and believe me, usually the same thought hits them all at some point or another. 

They’ve make the commitment to have their own business and then it hits them. ‘What do I do now?’

And for some, they may have a business plan or they don’t, that part really doesn’t matter. It hits them all the same. Because the business plan…even though it’s supposed to lay out The Plan, it still focuses more on strategy than the actual tactics you’ll be using to fulfill the strategy.  

So when it finally comes time to fill the day with the most meaningful tasks…like, oh I don’t know..selling something, there can be a lot of distractions along the way. 

Now that you don’t have the commitment of having to go to work every day and be totally accountable for your time, now that you don’t have a boss, and you’re your own boss, you keep finding that the days can just fly away one after another and that being self employed isn’t really what you thought it was going to be. 

Too much free time

Why? Because in the structure of a job, you have to do certain things at certain times and there’s no other option. It’s just the way it is. You may have had a schedule or something else that planned and controlled your time. But you didn’t have a choice.  

But now…things are different. 

Now you not only have a choice, you have 1000 choices every day. YOU now decide how you’re going to spend your time and what you want to do. 

And that’s a problem. 

You see, if you’re working from home already, then you know first hand what I’m about to say. 

But once you’re in that self employment role, and you don’t have the discipline or focus, your days…even weeks can fly by without really accomplishing much. Certainly no sales happened. 

And this is what I see happening over and over again. 

The fridge is too close

Things that aren’t normally distractions are now distractions. And I’m not talking about just cell phones, even though that’s got to be the number one distraction. There are some others as well. 

No matter how far away it is, even if it’s on a different floor that where you’re deciding to work from, some things are just too close for you to remain focused in your business. 

Take that refrigerator. How many times do you find yourself just looking inside…for…who knows what?

And then…there’s the TV. The one thing you gave up to get yourself more time to learn about having a business…and now it’s back in focus for all those shows you want to catch up on, now that you’re not working a job.  

Or maybe it’s not the fridge or the TV, but that you just get caught up in being busy? And that’s easy to do, right? Because there’s a lot of things we can fill our day with that keeps us feeling and looking like we’re building a business. 

But if you’re just busy being busy, and you’re not closing sales, then there will come a time when you’re just going to have to pay those bills that keep rolling in and you may find yourself wondering if you need to go back to that J.O.B. scenario again. 

How do I focus?

So how do you deal with all this freedom that you’re now bestowed with? How do you find the self discipline you’ll need in order to focus and actually build a business? 

It’s easy to make a to do list every day. It’s easy to put a plan in place and have a strategy. But what about the focus to do all that? 

And what do you focus on anyway? Sales? Marketing? Networking? Social media? These are just a few of the mountain of topics that you can focus on. 

What works for me? Having hard deadlines to get things done by a certain day. I pick a day for podcasting, writing, finances, social media. These days have a hard deadline. I must get these things done before a certain day, not ON that day. 

Getting help

Now, I’ve said many times that you’re not alone on this journey, and I’ll say it again. You’re not alone. You can get help. Whether you get an intern or a VA or a coach, or even hire someone to be part of your staff. You don’t have to do everything yourself. 

I offer my online tech services to other small business owners and non profit organizations to be an ‘on call advisor and tech guru’ when they have a need. It’s harder for me to plan the finances that way, but another service that I offer is to be on a stipend each month (typically $500 a month) to do specific tasks:

• Email marketing

• Copywriting

• Website updates

• Website security

• Podcast production 

So you see, you don’t have to do everything yourself. You can get others to help you do the things you either don’t like to do or don’t want to do. 

If you feel overwhelmed, you don’t have to. 

I like to put it this way. 

If you want to take a trip…go on a journey…to…let’s just say the west coast of the United States (I live on the east coast). You can get there a number of ways. 

You can take the low budget way and:

• walk

• ride a bike

You can pay a little bit more and:

• drive

• take a train

Or, you can get there the fastest by getting on a plane and arriving the same day. You’re paying more, but you’re getting there faster and now, you can jump to the next goal of the journey because you’ve got that first one out of the way. 

This is why I offer the ‘Done With You’ and the ‘Done For You’ option for launching your new Podcast. They have different price points, but they both get you to your destination faster than the walking pace. 

And that’s why options like these work. If you want to move at the walking pace, I have the DIY ‘Starting a Podcast’ E-book mini course I created for you. Over 50 pages that cover all the basics you’ll need to know to get started. But…you’re at the walking pace.

So, when you’re finding that reality is setting in and having a business wasn’t what you thought it was going to be, just keep in mind that you can outsource some tasks to take the most burdensome things off your shoulders. 

Then, you can focus on just a few tasks that only you should do. In episode 6 of the Podcast, I talked a bit about staying in your ‘zone of genius’. Check out that episode to hear more about what you should focus on and not focus on. 

But be encouraged friends. As time goes on in your new small business journey, you’ll improve many skills. And one of them will be how to focus. It will get better. Your small business survival depends on it. 

For more tips and tools to help you on your small business journey, just go to the Resources page. There, you’ll find some FREE, helpful downloads that will help give you clarity and a strategy as you plan your new small business launch. 

If you’d like some help in determining your path to self employment, I’d be glad to assist. Send a little information through the quick contact form at the Contact page. 

“Working a terrible job is hard. Building a business to build a better life for yourself is hard. Choose your hard.”

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

If you need coaching for your startup idea, or assistance with a specific service that I offer, please book a free discovery call
by clicking on the button at the top of the page. 

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