With a little help from my friends …

So if you have read some of my blog posts before, especially on my own site, you will have no doubt realised that there have been many occasions in my life where times have been tough and I have been left reeling. However, I am a strong believer in no matter what life deals you, if you get knocked down, you dust yourself off and bounce right back again, but this time not only stronger but also smarter because you learn from that episode in your life.

I know so many people who have gone through all kinds of challenges within their lives and they still keep fighting and smiling. So, why is it that when people receive knocks and obstacles within their business lives, they often crumble at the first sign of difficulty? Having gone through personal and professional difficulties, I believe I know the answer.

When going through a personal crisis, the chances are that people close to you are going through it too. OK, each individual will experience a challenge differently, but ultimately if one of your nearest and dearest are suddenly taken ill you will have friends and family who are also worried and who can offer support and compassion based upon their feelings of the situation. Even if you are experiencing something that does not affect your immediate circle of support, then they are likely to be able to draw reference from experiences within their own lives to once again rally together and support you. This support, encouragement and compassion is often enough to get you through the most difficult of times.

Asides from this, there is only one get out clause in life, if you are going through a horrible time personally asides from ending it all, then most of us know we have to keep fighting and pushing onward with the feint glimmer of hope that things will indeed get better (they will by the way).

So translate this scenario in to difficulties within your business life and you may already be able to understand why so many business owners struggle at the first sign of difficulty. If you have set up your own business, and left a nice comfortable job as a result, no doubt many of your family and friends tried to tell you that you were crazy, that it was a ridiculous idea? And maybe during those early days when you’re struggling to make ends meet you have been told by your partner, parents, children ‘Go and get a real job’. All of a sudden that wonderful circle of support that you have in your personal life, now is adding to your stress rather than relieving it.

Then we come to the ‘get out clause’. Unlike personal difficulties, there is a seemingly simple way to end the stress of being self employed – close the business and do exactly as you’ve been advise, ‘go and get a real job’. The pressure of becoming self employed can sometimes appear to be selfish, you’re following a path of difficulty in order to follow your dream and therefore husbands / wives can sometimes be less than supportive.

So, how can a struggling business owner get the support, help and compassion they need if they are unable to get it from friends and family? I believe that as soon as you become self employed, you should work upon building your own ‘virtual’ company. Surround yourself with people with varying skills and personality types that will not only add armory to your business, but will also provide you with that ‘staff room’ support you will be lacking when working alone. The best way to get this armory in place quickly is to network and develop contacts and support through the people you meet. You can also look at working with a business mentor who will guide, support and drive you at difficult times.

Don’t give up at the first obstacle, if you believed in your business once then don’t let it wane. Keep being determined and seek people who will support you and who understand what you are going through.

Written by Lianne Dupre

Lianne Dupre

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