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How You Can Successfully Get Through Tough Times As A Small Business Owner

This year has been TOUGH! 

As predicted, 2023 has not been the best year economically - and we’re all feeling it, one way or another.

For small business owners, this can be a scary time.

So in this blog post, I want to talk about what to do when times are tough and how we can get through this.

I’ve definitely made some ‘mistakes’ (note: I don’t like to call them mistakes, they’re more learning opportunities) this year, but I learned from them and I want to share some takeaways with you. 

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Big Mistakes We Often Make As Business Owners

So let’s start with my big mistake…

Much to my team’s agony, I defaulted into doing what I do best - Getting In The Weeds.

I decided to review in detail every single word of every single email, page, order form, and post that was going out.

I decided to attend every single meeting, call, and interview that was requested of me. 

I decided to throw random requests at them on Slack instead of taking the time to be clear about what I wanted.

Basically, I started doing a lot of non-CEO stuff…

Stuff that was not helping at all. All it was doing was leading me right into burnout.

My Moment of Clarity

Until I came across a sentence that hit me like a ton of bricks…

It came from Dan Martell’s book Buy Back Your Time:

“80% done by someone else is 100% freakin’ awesome”

Source: https://www.buybackyourtime.com/, 2023

And he was completely right. I was doing a lot of things that I didn’t have to do. 

And the one thing I actually did need to do was getting lost in the middle. Which was leading

I needed to lead my team. To empower them to make decisions. And lastly, to get myself out of their way.

My Toughest Year in Business

I started GeekPack in 2018 and it’s definitely been an incredible journey.

We started small, as a 2-person team with about 100 students. So to see where we are today and all the progress we’ve made still feels quite surreal to me.

But I am the first to admit that the last 6 months have been, by far, the hardest in my entrepreneurial journey.

And I know it’s not just me. And it’s not just you.

But there’s one thing I have no doubt about: we will survive. 

Because this is not permanent. 

What we need to do now is float. It’s not the time for crazy growth, it’s the time to stay in business.

We need to get through these choppy waters, get back to the basics, get back to what we know, what we can rely on.

Stay in business and when growth time comes again you’ll be ready to embrace it.

And I know this doesn’t sound very exciting… but it’s actually a good reminder to have when things aren’t going great.

And the one thing you should focus on when times are tough is….

Intangible ROI

Because as much as having your best revenue month and crushing every goal you set for your business is absolutely awesome - it doesn’t always work out this way…

Who here has seen this meme?

Source: https://www.kevincsnyder.com/what-success-really-looks-like/, 2023

It’s been around forever and it is SO true.

You will have different phases in your entrepreneurial journey, and success is not a straight line. 

Unfortunately, we can’t always be on top - this was not something easy for me to come to terms with, but it’s a necessary lesson to learn.

It was especially not easy this year when I had to face lower than normal revenue at the same time we had higher than normal expenses.

Especially not this year when I invested my energy, financial resources, and time to launch and grow a new membership, The GeekPack Collective

But it was worth it.

This membership is something that’s been in my mind for a long time and even though it was harder to pull off than predicted I am SUPER proud of what we created.

So… back to intangible ROI. 

When you can’t get excited about big revenue or skyrocketing sales, what is it that you can get excited about?

  • Is it the people you met in a mastermind?
  • Is it the new skills you’ve learned in this slower-than-normal period? And that crazy good feeling of learning something new?
  • Is it that client you helped with an issue that was driving them crazy?

Point is … 

The impact matters.

The impact you have in other’s lives, but also the people or actions that have an impact on you.

Everything you do for your business is an investment of your time and focus. And sometimes, the return may not be instantly visible. This is particularly hard to accept when we’re geared to want everything to be immediate…

But the truth is most things in life start out feeling "tough". And you still do it and get through it because you know it will lead to something better.

We just have the bad habit of overlooking the many micro-moments that make a big difference. We are conditioned to measure everything in terms of money. 

If you aren't making a bajillion bucks, you aren't winning. 

That's one reason why we’re re-working GeekPack’s vision and mission statements.

And why I decided to hold our very first in-person team retreat.

What Good Thing Can You Focus On?

GeekPack team during the retreat in Durango, 2023.

We believe success is beyond a dollar amount. 

The retreat was a very special moment for me and for my team as well.

My business would never have taken off and sustained all these years if I didn’t have a ride-or-die team that kept me in check. In good times or not-so-good times. 

So on the first day we got together we went back to 2018, when everything started.

We went back and year by year we wrote a list of everything we’ve accomplished. 

GeekPack’s progress over the years, 2023.

Seeing our progress like that, as a timeline on the walls was a huge moment for me.

It’s so easy to forget where we started. But we’ve come a LONG way. And regardless of the turmoil that’s going on this year, we need to be there for our students.

And you need to be there and carry on for whatever your why is (support your family, travel the world, financial freedom).

Keep Your Eyes On The Big Goal

It’s now time to reset. It's time to have our second wind. It's time to reflect on what we've done, steady the boat, and come out the other end.

Our team retreat was a big highlight. And that’s what I want to remember about this year.

So if there’s one thing I can ask you after reading this article is to take a moment to reflect... 

Reflect on all those wins that put a smile on your face even if they didn't bring in instant revenue. 

Join our strong community of +30,000 women who are making their dreams a reality through empowering skills training.

Better yet… Join our FREE Facebook Community and share those wins with us.

About the Author:
Some people look at the sky and see stars; others see constellations. Some people look at lines of code and see a website; Julia saw a path to empower women in building their dreams. As a (former) military wife, self-taught web developer, and lover of location independence, Julia has taught over 3,600 women to say “YES” to any WordPress request, but not only that, “YES” to themselves, and “YES” to creating life on their own terms. Empowering women and seeing others succeed is the biggest motivator for Julia. And so, she created a program to teach others the skills that allowed her to take back control of her life and start living on her own terms.
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