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  • Writer's pictureNikki Olson

4 Simple Ways to Overcome Business Setbacks

A person climbing a mountain and overcoming obstacles
A person climbing a mountain and overcoming obstacles

I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I look at a task in front of me and think, “Go big or go home, right?” I can’t just plant a vegetable garden in my backyard. I have to dig out every single garden bed and redo all of them at the same time. That’s the type of person I am.

So when I launched my copywriting business in January 2022, I dove right on into the deep end. I built my website by myself. I committed to writing a blog every week. I began an ambitious social media campaign. And then I promptly burnt out faster than a dandelion on one of my uncle’s jet engine bonfires.

Like many creative entrepreneurs, I got overwhelmed by the big picture instead of focusing on smaller steps. So I pretty much stopped working on my business, retreated into my little writer cave, and hid from the world.

The problem then became getting the momentum going again. Doubt and imposter syndrome set in in a big way. I hadn’t written a blog in months and yet here I am trying to convince people to hire me to write one for them every week? Who do I think I am?

I’ll tell you who I am. I’m a resilient business owner who stumbled, fell flat on her face, and is now pushing herself back onto her feet. I’m bruised and my knees are bloody. The road in front of me is twisty and I can’t see exactly where it goes, but I’m going to keep moving forward.

I’ve done a lot of thinking since March when I completely fell apart, and I keep coming back to four central tips for overcoming business setbacks. No matter what I do in the future, if I hold on to these four pillars, I know I’ll be able to make it through anything.

1. Move Forward Step by Step

Or move forward leap by leap. Or move forward inch by inch. Crawl if you have to but keep moving forward. No matter what. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I can easily spiral into despair. But as long as I do something related to my business each day, I’m still moving forward.

Maybe it’s writing one sentence. Maybe it’s browsing materials for your next project on Amazon. Maybe it’s clearing all the junk off your desk so you have a clean workspace. As long as you do something every day and keep moving forward, you will make progress.

2. Build a Sustainable Routine

You’ll hear advice everywhere about getting into a morning routine or blocking time so you’re more productive throughout the day. I want to narrow that advice down a little bit. Build a sustainable routine for your days.

I tried to do it all at first. I journaled as soon as I woke up, then meditated, then read an inspirational book while enjoying my coffee. Then I made breakfast, went for a walk, and before I knew it it was noon and I had no motivation to write.

I’m one of those strange creatures who is most productive in the early morning, before the sun rises. And instead of taking advantage of that time to work, I was using it for routines that I personally find more beneficial for winding down. So now I’ve reversed my schedule. I still enjoy my coffee and a book first thing, but I save the meditating, journaling, and working out for when I’m ready to wrap up my day.

Building a sustainable routine means building something that works for you. This is deeply personal, and there is no one size fits all. What one guru on the internet says changed their life may do the opposite for you. Keep in mind that you are building your business and everyone else can shove their opinions out a window.

3. Take a Break

Taking a day off is better than burning out and going into a funk for three months. You’ll hear a lot of people talk about how important consistency is when building your business and that’s absolutely true. But this is a marathon, not a sprint, and consistency builds over time. In a year, this three month blip of no content is barely going to matter.

The thing is, it’s so easy to get into the mentality of “Oh crap, I missed a week, now there’s no point.” So many people get discouraged and just give up if they break a streak. Believe me, I get it. Not being able to figure out “cacao” and breaking my 50+ streak in Wordle just about broke me.

But you won’t make any progress if you let that mentality keep you stuck. It’s much easier to keep moving forward when you plan breaks to rest and recharge. You won’t feel like you’ve been derailed if you set aside deliberate time for yourself. Instead, you’ll be honoring your need to reset and you’ll come back ready to kick some business butt.

4. Ask for Help

For me, this has been the hardest thing to overcome. As a creative entrepreneur, I’m used to working by myself. Most of the time, I prefer it. But I’m not an expert in everything and more importantly, I’m not good at everything.

It can be hard to admit that we need help, but the tasks that we struggle with are more than likely stealing massive amounts of time and energy that could be spent on the things that light us up and are the core of our chosen businesses.

For example, I’m obviously a writer. Duh. I feel great when I’m writing. I’m instantly in a flow state and I’m happy. I’m good at it, and I make pretty good money when I focus my time and energy on creating sentences and paragraphs.

I am not a social media manager. In fact I hate social media. I love creating the content, but I hate hate hate posting. It takes me forever, and I end up wasting so much time with my head on my keyboard just dreading having to do it.

Finally, I had a friend smack me upside the head and say she’d do it for me. It was like a massive weight had been lifted and I could focus my attention back to the core of my business instead of sobbing over hashtags and reels.

So ask for help. If there is something in your business that you find overwhelming or you dread doing, hire someone to do it for you. Your business will grow faster when you put your time and energy towards the core elements that you’re passionate about.

Need Help with Your Business?

If creating SEO content that brings in organic leads is the area you need help with, shoot me an email. Let’s talk about getting those words out there so you can focus on the more important things.

Looking for more inspiration on overcoming setbacks? Get ready to meet my three legged hamster, Bubbler! Overcoming Adversity as Told by Bubbler the Hamster is the story of his journey. Check it out on Medium and follow me for more!

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