The Sidelined Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is often compared to being on a roller coaster. After nearly two decades of gambling with the grocery money every day (no, we’re not actually gambling with grocery money…. just giving you a realistic visual), I’d say entrepreneurship is more like a roller coaster being operated by a drunk 3-year old Willy Wonka. And that’s on a good day. 😉 It’s exciting, thrilling, and invigorating even when you think you’re going to throw up and jump from the ride. On a bad day though, it’s hell. Lately the turns have given you whiplash and the drops, well those seem to go on for days. Being a business owner when there is no business leaves you in this limbo that is full of what ifs and now what. While we wait for clarity and answers that may never come, the biggest challenge is what to do when you can’t do your work.

Let’s assume you’ve done the basics thus far: checking emails, returning a few calls, touching base with employees, maybe even going to your business a few times a week to “check on things”. Now what? Well, let’s start with your workspace. Do you have a dedicated space at home? If not, find one. Clean it. Organize it. Make sure everyone in the house knows this is not a catch-all space. It’s your office, even if it’s only temporary.

Next up, let’s tackle that inbox. You know there are voicemails, emails, and papers that you’ve been putting off dealing with until you “have more time”. Guess what? You have a ton of freaking time on your hands. No more procrastinating. Take it all to zero. Empty it all… and no, that doesn’t mean hit the delete button. Actually do something with each item. You will feel amazing looking at an empty inbox.

Smile and dial. Call everyone you’ve always wished you had the time to chat with. Family, friends, former colleagues, former clients, current clients. DO NOT SELL. Seriously. This is about checking in on people. Be the person that calls to say hi, not to ask about outstanding invoices. Be genuine. If you can’t, don’t call. Compassion goes a long way.

Send cards or emails. Follow up your calls with notes of encouragement, thanks, or just a hello. Do this on a somewhat regular basis especially when we return to ‘normal’. A little note goes a long way.

Now, let’s eat a frog! If you’re unfamiliar with Mark Twain’s quote about eating frogs, here it is:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.

And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

So what’s on your someday list? Every business owner has a list of all the things they’d love to do if only they had the time. Maybe it’s something that was on your list but for whatever reason you’ve dismissed it as not necessary to grow or enhance your business. Well, you have nothing but time right now so it’s time to start tackling those items! For us, it was buckling down and really committing to utilizing our CRM system to the best of its ability. We thought the time needed to set it up was more than we could spare. By week four of quarantine we needed a new project that would benefit our business in the long run, so we jumped head first into the project. Now that we’re several weeks into having a clean, updated system with all the bells and whistles, it’s surprising how painless it was to implement. Don’t get me wrong. It took a ton of time that we otherwise never would have had, but it’s definitely worth it. Going forward this will be a huge benefit to our business. What can you tackle that will set you up for success in the months and years to come? Being sidelined is a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes sitting out for a bit can be just what you need to get ahead. Do things now so when the world does reopen you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with nothing but generating revenue on your to-do-list. We’ll have tons of lost time to make up for. Don’t let a desk full of stuff get in your way when you can handle it now.

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