Yup, It IS Hard!

Yup, It IS Hard!

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There is just no way around it – running your own business IS HARD! Sometimes it is very, very hard. And sometimes, it is so amazing you cannot believe just how fortunate you are. At those times, you may even feel a bit sad for all those “other people” that have to work for someone else every day.

Running your own business requires that you balance so many different things all the time with no small amount of skill, and maybe it even takes a smidgen of luck once in a while. One thing I can promise is that very few days will be the same or ever be repeated. Every day is different.

Living in a constant state of change, transition and newness does come with a price however – change is hard!

Constant change can be downright exhausting, particularly if you are running your business alone, in isolation. And in this industry, that is surprisingly common. While it is true that our families, spouses and friends “know” what we do, they probably have NO idea of what your day truly is like on any given day. They cannot understand all the decisions that you make, all the conversations you have with your customers, with your suppliers and even with yourself (it is OK to admit this, we all do it!), all the “Oh NO, now what should I do?” moments that you experience, nearly every single day.

On some days, you feel like you are invincible. The machines are churning out orders at a great pace, the creativity is flowing and the designs are coming together smoothly, the customers show up on time with payment and they love their orders. On these days, you feel like you could take on the world, and nothing can stop you. These are great days, aren’t they?

Then on other days, you cannot seem to catch a break. The machines are cranky, the designs are just not coming together and your creativity is not even flickering, much less sparking. A customer has an issue with one lousy letter in the design, on all 24 shirts. On these days, it is so hard to keep going forward. You feel that for every step forward you fight for and manage to gain, you fall backward at least two or three steps. On these days, the struggle is SO hard, so draining – sometimes it is completely overwhelming.

Here’s what you need to know and to remember on these days – it is OK!

This struggle is real and it does stink – BUT…it will not be as challenging tomorrow. You can and will make it through today. If things get really over the top, just stop.

Quit trying to get the machine to behave.

Turn off the embroidery software.

Quit ruining garments.

Put up the Closed sign or Be Back in an Hour sign.

Whatever it is that you are doing and running into brick walls with, just stop. Take a break. Go watch a baby goats video on You Tube or Facebook (really, I highly recommend it, it will change your mindset, I promise!). Crank up your favorite music. Call a friend or better yet, connect with a fellow business owner and ask if you can stop by for a quick visit, a cup of coffee.

The idea is to disrupt the cycle of UGH and replace it with something that makes you happy, makes you feel better, gives you a bit of breathing room, recharges your creativity. Physically moving away from you desk or machine is the key – don’t just stand there – walk away and get some fresh air! It is not going well any, so why stick around?

Go elsewhere and do something else. If you were hitting the wall working with the machine, go make deliveries. If you were ready to throw your bookkeeping system out the window, go hoop some garments for an order that you know runs wells. If you were ready to pull out the guts of the embroidery software system, go make a phone call to your favorite customer to see how things are going. Change it up and put something in play that brings the possibility of a better “vibe” into your world, for lack of a better term.

For members of NNEP, one of the best ways to do this (so members tell us over and over again) is to connect with fellow members using the NNEP Exchange, the members forum online. It is a great way to vent with people that will say, “Oh, me too! I know exactly how you feel and here’s what I did…” We cheer each other on, we pick each other up and we help each other through the rough and tough parts. NNEP is a community of people who relate to each other on so many levels and even more importantly, we care about each other.

If you would like to benefit from this community and join of this group creative and successful business owners determined to own thriving businesses, consider becoming a member of NNEP – check it out at NNEP.com

Here is what Jay Fishman of Wicked Stitch of the East said about NNEP:

To me, belonging to NNEP was never a choice, it is a necessity.

I have been in this industry working in many capacities for 30 years and the one shocking truth is that approximately 40% of commercial embroiderers close their doors within 5 years.

How does NNEP play into all of this? Most people think of NNEP for their discounts and the embroidery trade shows. If you were to look at the mission statement of NNEP, it states ‘To inform and educate embroiderers to ensure long term success.”  These are not just words on a piece of paper. They are a commitment to help you to NOT become one of the casualties of this industry because of poor choices.

A membership to NNEP is like health insurance for my business.  I know that I can pick up the phone and get help with the little (or big) questions that I have. Sound advice – not just opinions, based on having assured the success of hundreds of businesses over the years.

One way or another, you need to power through the challenge or struggle that has you frustrated today. Step away from IT, whatever it is that has you going bonkers, just for a bit, mentally and physically.

You CAN make it through until tomorrow – that’s the part to remember. And you just never know, tomorrow could be one of those amazing days where things gel completely and seamlessly and everything flows the way it can sometimes.

Successful and balanced business owners are the ones that do walk away at times and then when they do come back tomorrow, they are ready for whatever comes their way. In the meantime, they know to step way, to reach out, to change it up on the days that are a struggle to replace whatever the struggle is with something better.

What do I do on an “UGH – I cannot take this for one more minute!” day? I told you – a baby goat video gets me smiling, every single time!

What have you tried, to get yourself through a rough day in your business? Post your UGH-beating strategy below, it might be exactly the right suggestion for someone else!

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