This article is the fourth in a series on how you can use the power of Failure to your advantage. In the last article, I spoke of how you can tackle the feeling of insecurity and in this article, I am going to write about the fourth letter in Failure, the letter L for Loneliness, and the lessons I learnt as a solopreneur.
I was a solo founder in two of my companies and the pressure sometimes can be immense. In one company I did not encounter so many problems. It was a business that would generate revenue and always had a steady income. We did go through a bad patch during the recession of 2008–2012 but we managed to survive it and a few years later I sold the same company for 3X times the price I was willing to let go of in 2012.
However, not all businesses go as well. While my first company was generating revenue it was being eaten up by the latter project (startup). My intention was to make a transition from hardware to software such that one day the software company would feed and provide the clients for the hardware company but it was going slow, very slow, much slower than I had ever anticipated and the recession did not help. Everyone found it a great product but no one had the money to pay for it or was being cautious where they spent their cash.
On top of that the product I was selling brought about transparency and communication to a sector that opposed the change. I had many people who simply did not want my product rolling out because it jeopardized their business and the way they were running it and controlling clients’ funds.
It was possibly the most difficult time of my career and being a solopreneur, loneliness was possibly the hardest thing. I had no one to share the burden with, no one to brainstorm with, and at times no one to speak with.
My initial response was to work even harder, double time, cram in as much as I could so I could get more done, speak to more clients, progress with the product, and make ends meet or keep the negative cash flow as to low as possible. Have you been through this or for that matter are you going through this period?
Guess what, at one point the thin thread will snap. It snapped for me, I collapsed, and my body could no longer take it physically. Mentally and Emotionally I was drained and I had no more energy. I came to a FULLL STOP.
There is a way out and this is what I wish to share with you. As solopreneurs, you have to take on more than others but the upside is that you are in charge. You can make faster decisions and you can make the changes happen immediately. With this knowledge at hand, the only other variable that remains is you and how you decide to tackle this problem.
For me, it was a number of things.
A) I hired a life/business coach. Sometimes when you are deep down, it is hard to see. My coach helped me see things from a different perspective and helped me balance my life/work relationship.
B) I stopped working at weekends. You need to give yourself a break, recharge batteries, and release stress. Double work was not paying off. This doesn’t mean that I stopped ignoring emergencies but I stopped pushing what was out of my control.
C) I started running again almost every day. Running was an amazing way to release stress and feel energised in the morning.
D) I started going to bed the minute my body showed signs of being tired. Instead of fighting it and working through the night. I would hit bed within minutes of feeling tired. It was amazing, it helped me sleep better and I used to wake up earlier in the morning. The routine change was simply phenomenal in how it reduced my stress level and increased my energy and alertness
E) Finally I started attending other entrepreneurial events, speaking to other solopreneurs, sharing ideas, and helping each other. I started attending Toastmasters to improve my communication and leadership skills and I started to share my newly learnt skills as an entrepreneur.
Every coin has two sides and all you need to do is turn it upside down. This is what I did and how I turned the power of failure into what helped me pull up, rework my business and finally sell one of them 3X the price I was going to dump it for a few years earlier.
In the next blog post, we shall tackle the next letter in FAILURE. The letter U for Uncertainty.
I help entrepreneurs throughout their journey. Are you feeling FRUSTRATED and don’t know how to burn this excess energy? give me a call. Together we can work out a way for you to direct that energy in the right way.