Growing any kind of business can be bloody hard. You will make mistakes, doubt yourself and experience setbacks.
I’ve seen all of this on the front line as an illustrator trying to make a living at it. But I’m still here to tell the tale.
If there’s one vital trait for succeeding on your own — that is to be resilient — to be able to continually pick yourself up if you fall.
I’ve seen a lot of people who decided to start their own business or write a new book or start a new painting, who simply stopped. They never completed it.
They just couldn’t find the motivation to keep going because they weren’t seeing enough improvement, at least in their eyes.
Most people sabotage their progress by letting the insignificant become significant at the expense of winning.
Less significant things like…
- Dealing with crap clients.
- Trying to plan everything.
- Worrying about money over doing things that earn more.
Succeeding is shifting your focus from the inconsequential stuff to what helps you win.
“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” — Vince Lombardi
There are three parts to following a ‘winning’ philosophy:
1. Make note of your wins
Despite all the talk of needing to fail often, there are only so many failures we can take; so little progress we can see before we give up.
You will not be motivated if you do not strive for — and take note of — your wins.
Of course, you need to win in the first place, but often it’s about how you frame things. A lot of us don’t pay attention to our successes, especially the small ones.
We’re usually too focused on what isn’t working.
Whenever I remember to do so, in the last few moments before I fall asleep at night, I make a note in my mind of all the successes I’ve had during the day, including the tiny ones.
This never fails to lift me up, setting me up with good thoughts into the next day.
Simply thinking about these little successes trains my brain to notice and attract more winning.
This awareness is what will keep you going, and take you to the bigger wins.
2. Focus on creating more wins
This sounds obvious, but it’s very often overlooked.
I still spend far too much of my time worrying about the things that hold me back, rather than moving forward.
This starts by creating a strategy that leads to more little wins, like getting up on time, writing a certain number of words each day or sharing a few things each week on social media.
If you acknowledge, record them and reward yourself for them, you will be motivated to keep winning.
With greater confidence and a better awareness of what is actually working in your business, you must build on and seek out new successes energetically.
You do this with such enthusiasm that you don’t even need to concern yourself with those little things that got your knickers in a twist before.
For example, if you had a client project that was enjoyable and/or well paid, then it’s your priority to bring in more of this kind of work.
Seek the best projects out and scale them up. Then you won’t even have to worry about all those clients who stressed you out and wasted your time.
If a video or blog post you shared had a good response, then double down on the work you need to do to create similar posts.
Another example is to seek out making more income, rather than worrying about saving every penny. When you make earning money a priority, then you won’t need to worry about your expenses.
3. Seek out win-win deals with people
Always be looking to make win-win deals. You want to focus on your own wins, but things will move quicker when you help others win too.
People will be drawn to you and want to help you more, like by recommending you and supporting you.
You need to be tuned in to winning like a bull that zeroes in on red.
This applies to you and to the people you lift up along the way.
That’s how people build great businesses.
They seek out wins, acknowledge that they happened, do more of what worked, and help others win too.