Did you know that every year there are around 10,000 new business and 80% of them never make it past the first year? One of the main reasons for this is FEAR. Fear of not being enough, fear of losing money, fear of making mistakes…
Who said solopreneurship or entrepreneurship would be easy? I am sure you have figured out by now that owning and growing your business is a challenging task in your life. I know I HAVE! There is so much information about how to own a successful business: make it profitable, have a great idea first, find your target, write a business plan, and the list goes on and on. However, as a solo entrepreneur, I realized that I couldn’t start my own business if I didn’t work in a more of holistic way and change my mind and body in the process. That is why I put together a list of the best practices to succeed in a business by investing first in your WELL-BEING.
# 1 Mind
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford
My question for you is do you believe you can succeed with your idea? If not, let’s start working on that so you can have a thriving business. The mind is powerful. Did you know that we have around 60,000 thoughts every single day? And from those, approximately 90% are the same each day and 80% are negative. In order to create the business that you want, you have to believe you can make it happen. For that you need to be aware of those repetitive and negative thoughts so you can change the way you think because the brain believes whatever you believe whether it is real or not.
Our thoughts play such a big role in our success and happiness, which means it is important to find ways to improve our thinking.
I want to tell you a beautiful story that I learned not so long ago and it is about one of the greatest inventors of all time, Thomas Alva Edinson. Did you know that he was expelled from school when he was just a boy because he wasn’t smart enough? He didn’t know that was the reason. His mother received a letter with the news. She told him he was so intelligent; the school couldn’t teach him anymore. He believed her, of course, why wouldn’t he? She decided to home-school him and showed him a world full of possibilities. Do you think he would have been the great inventor that he was if his mother had not told him the truth?
What we believe becomes our reality. If we change the way we think to being capable, successful, it will happen.
What can you do to change the thoughts you have about your business?
Yes, you can change your thoughts. I never said it would be easy but IT IS POSSIBLE.
Change your perspective to a more positive one
Try to develop a more positive attitude in the face of challenges. Remember most of your thoughts are negative so if you are aware of them, it is easier to change them to a positive one. For example, instead of thinking, “Why does everything always go wrong?” change that to: “I can find a way to get through this.” It may seem difficult or silly at first, but you may find with time that it will help you to change your perspective.
Affirmations are positive statements used consistently to motivate ourselves and others. Research shows that affirmation can help you increase self-esteem, self-confidence and self-perception. In addition it helps us deal with stress. We need these qualities to build our business. I use affirmations every single day mostly after meditating in the morning and they DO work. Before I give you some examples of affirmations, I would love if you think of the way your friends talk to you when you are down, feeling worthless or helpless. Most of them have words of encouragement like “you are going to be ok,” “you will fall in love again,” “you will have a job,” among others. My advice for you is talk to yourself as your friends talk to you (well the good friends). Here are some affirmations you can include in your daily routine. Feel free to adapt them to what it feels right to you.
- My success is inevitable
- The best is yet to come
- Being successful is natural to me
- I can achieve any goal I set for my business
- I easily attract new income and clients
- I am thankful for all my clients
Limiting and empowering beliefs
Have you ever heard of limiting beliefs? I’ll tell you something, I hadn’t heard about them until I had my own personal coach several years ago, and it changed my life for the better.
A limiting belief is a perception of reality that a person considers to be true. These negative thoughts have an influence in your life and can limit the outcome you want and block you from achieving your goals, growing and evolving into the life you are meant to live. This is a HUGE reason to start working on changing these beliefs now that we are growing our businesses.
Margarita Pasos, an international speaker, says a limiting belief is like driving a car trying to go forward but you have the parking brake on, can you relate? I thought for a long time I was not good in sales (limiting belief), so how was I supposed to start this solo entrepreneurship if I couldn’t sell my services? Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. To change a belief, we need to program a new one like “I am the best sales person I know.”
How do you do it?
First, you need to identify your limiting beliefs. Then, create your empowering beliefs finally reprogram those new thought in your mind.
- Take a piece of paper and start writing events that change somehow your perspective or beliefs and write your limiting beliefs.
- For each limiting beliefs write an empowering one, just like my own example above.
- Reprogram your mind with your new belief.
Reprogram your mind (putting it all together)
After everything you just read, do you really believe that you are capable of anything? YES! But you need to reprogram your mind.
These are simple steps to create your company´s future the way you want it:
- Identify how you were programmed (limiting belief)
- Refute your belief being rational and logical (am I really not capable of doing this?)
- Install the new programming (empowering belief or affirmation)
- Use visualization (imagine that future)
- Include emotions (how do you feel if you have that future) happy? Empower? Grateful?
- Use a mirror (or not) to install the new belief
New belief + Visualization + Emotion = YOUR BUSINESS FUTURE
OF COURSE, you need to take action! But it is easier to take action for the future that you want, if you can already see it and feel it.
If you have some time in the next week watch this Ted Talk from Amy Cuddy “Your body language may shape who you are” (it is mind blowing).
# 2 Here and Now
“The future depends on what you do today.” Ghandi
There is no place like the present. I am serious, right now is the only moment we have to make our dreams come true. We spend most of our time either being nostalgic about our past or anxious about the future. But in reality, the only place we can actually do something is TODAY.
One concept you may have heard before is Mindfulness which for me is being present, in the here and now. Being present can help reduce the effects of negative and anxious thoughts (when we are building a new business, we are SO anxious).
There are several methods to increase your mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, and meditation. Mindfulness can help increase self-esteem, which in turn reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The actions we can take to succeed in our business are TODAY. Being present, practicing mindfulness has benefits that can help each of us be more successful by increasing awareness, making better decisions, being more focused, lessening stress, and many others.
What are some of the things you can do?
When I started my mindful practice, I used to focus a lot on my breathing to reduce my thoughts and anxiety and feel more in control. Breathing exercises do not have to take a lot of your time and the idea is that you can find the one that is perfect for you. Here are some exercises:
- Alternate nostril breathing
- Equal breathing
- Pursed lip breathing
- 4-7-8 breathing
“Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree. It completely changes your brain and therefore changes who you are.” – Matthieu Ricard
Before I start talking about meditation, contact me if you want to know about Matthieu Ricard, the happiest man alive.
Let´s continue… I have to tell you something, my life changed radically when I incorporated meditation every day. I didn’t see it or feel it right away, but I am definitively happier, more positive, creative and intuitive just to mention just a few changes.
What are the basics of meditation? There are many types of meditation, but most have four elements in common
- A quiet location (preferably)
- A comfortable posture (sitting, lying down, walking, etc)
- A focus of attention (mantra, breath, words)
- An open attitude (no judging)
Ok, I know that a lot of people talk about meditation and I do know some of you are wondering right now if you should start or not. I know how you feel, but I am going to lay out some of the benefits that can lead you to a better life and a better business:
Spiritual: increases understanding of oneself, connection and purpose.
Mental and Emotional: improves focus, perspective, self-esteem, happiness and flexibility, emotion control, the perception of negative emotions.
Physical: improves sleep, production of anti-aging hormones, anxiety and depression, cholesterol, and the list goes one.
- Shrinks the amygdala. It has been found that smaller amygdala, greater emotional control
- Increase grey matter in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for making rational decision
- Thickens the hippocampus which is key for learning and memory.
I could go on and on with benefits but I wanted to ask you this… If you have half of these benefits while running and developing your business… How do you think you would do? Exactly. You can start meditating any time. My advice “the sooner the better.”
Have you ever heard of mindful eating? What it means is maintaining all the attention in the moment while you cook, eat, and smell. Mindful eating helps you be present, in the here and now. Here are some techniques can help you be in the present:
- Turn off the TV, computer and other devices.
- Make your food look pretty in the plate
- Make a ritual like lighting a candle
- When you are ready smell the food, feel the different textures, flavors, colors.
- Be grateful and thank the food that you are about to eat and how it will nurture your body
- Chew each bite 30 times if you can
- Put your fork down after every bite
The idea behind being mindful is to enjoy all the benefits that come with this practice.
# 3 Body
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
How is your work day when you feel tired? When you don’t exercise or you don’t nurture your body the way you should? Exactly, not good. You are moody, unfocused and without energy. You and I know that we need all our energy to grow our business, visit potential clients, deal with stress and much more than that. In this process, we need to be physically healthy to thrive and impact people with our business.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough rest at night can help you think more clearly and have more energy. I am not the worker I usually am when I don’t sleep, are you? My take on my experience and everything I have read and studied about the subject: sleep between 7 and 9 hours every night.
“Every mistake I have made in my life I have made because I was tired.” – Bill Clinton
Eat for energy
How does food relate to how you feel? I would say a lot. But you do need to figure this out by yourself (as everything in this article). Sugar can help you have energy or put you in a bad mood. We do want to be healthy to thrive in our business. What should we do? Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthy foods helps give your body and mind energy. Avoid high-sugar snacks and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and lean protein.
I remember my older brother he always used to say to me “food is fuel” and he wasn’t wrong.
Being physically active every day is the best and easiest way to deal with stress (and we do have a lot right now). When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good, those lovely endorphins. Find something you enjoy, whether it’s walking, biking, playing softball, swimming, or dancing, and do it for at least 30 minutes most days.
Physical exercise helps you reduce stress hormones, release endorphins, improve sleep, feel more confident, competent and, improves mental wellbeing.
# 4 Resilience
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” – Steve Maraboli
Is life fair? I wouldn’t say if it is or not, but I do believe that during this process while working on our business, good things and not so good things are going to happen to us. Look at Steve Jobs at some point he was fired from Apple!
In life you will always find adversity no matter who you are, how much money you have, how tall you are, etc. When these challenging moments happen to us, we can choose to be a victim or to make the best out of it and learn from it. Resilience is a must during this process and through life. How we can recover from difficult situations and bounce back will become handy in our business journey.
What helps me everyday to be more resilient?
- Know who you are, your strengths and your weaknesses
- Take difficult times as learning lessons
- Be objective and optimist
- Be around positive people
- Be flexible
- Be present
- Be creative
- Stop controlling the situation
- Take action
- Seek help
- Practice gratitude
# 5 Support System
“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey
What a better way to get your business running than having a support system like the one we have at the Lola?
Connect with your loved ones. It is normal to let stress get in the way of your business but spending time with family and friends can help you feel better and de-stress. Confiding your problems to a friend can also help you solve them. Being part of a network of friends gives you a sense of belonging and self-esteem, which can help you through difficult times.
One study found that for womxn in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural relaxant. Another study found that men and womxn with fewer social relationships were more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
What is it going to be?
Connect with people like you. The other day I was listening to Mel Robbins and she said keep around people that have the habits you want in your life. What does that mean? Well, we are working on our super successful business so surround yourself with people who are doing the same and share the vision of success.
# 6 Emotions
“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” – Daniel Goleman
If I am being honest with you, I am not sure for how long I let my emotions get in the way and control my life. And for me, it was because I didn’t accept what I was feeling. I didn’t let myself acknowledge my emotion and I didn’t feel it was ok to feel this way. If I haved learned something over the past couple of years, it was that I needed to accept what I felt because when I didn’t, I got sick. Emotions are part of us, embrace them, feel them, accept them and move forward. If we learn how to control or manage our emotions that would help us to better manage our problems or challenges and the difficulties that appear on a day-to-day basis.
How do we do that?
- Be aware of what you feel (practice the here and now to increase awareness)
- Don’t suppress how you feel
- Identify how you are feeling
- Accept your emotion
- Don’t blame yourself or others
- Take action: this can be so many things. Talk to a friend, exercise, meditate, make a list of next steps, concentrate in the aspects that are ok
# 7 Gratitude
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Echart Tolle
Did you know Martin Seligman, a famous American psychologist, proved that you can be happier if you are grateful? Yes, if you write at least three things you are grateful every day you can be happier after a week of doing it.
Gratitude is a quality we can all have and it is about appreciating all aspects of our lives: we can appreciate people, health, material stuff, and basically just the fact that you are reading this means you are alive, you can see, you can read, you have a computer, etc.
Why is it important to be grateful for our entrepreneurial life? Being grateful as I mentioned relates to being happy, good mental health, life satisfaction, self-esteem, optimism, less stress, and so much more. Don’t you want to feel this way while working to get more clients and impacting lives? I guess you do, I DO!
Let´s use Martin Seligman three exercises around our businesses…
- Write 1 to 3 things every day that you are grateful in your business. For example, today as I am writing this, I am grateful for being able to share my experience and create awareness of my entrepreneurial venture, schedule two lunches for possible referrals, and sent a wellness proposal to a company.
- Write a gratitude letter for someone who did something for your business and maybe you didn’t properly thank him/her/them. I did this with a friend who owns a BTL agency. He made my logo and all my brand package when I decided to launch my business.
- Use the list of 24 signature strengths created by Martin Seligman and pick the ones that you have and are good in your career. Then think of ways you use them and how you could use them even more.
You know just like me that developing and launching your idea to a successful business requires a different mindset. You have got this. I could tell you several more tips to successfully entrepreneur but my recommendation is to start with one, change one habit and you will see how much easier would be to change the rest. If others have done it, you can do it too.