Without that entrepreneur mindset, I’d be in a tailspin right now.
One client needed to shift internal budgeting, another needed to pause for a few months, and finally, someone else called it quits to focus on other SEO efforts. And just like that, in a matter of two months, my revenue was cut in half.
I know the entrepreneurial roller coaster is all about this idea of feast and famine, but I don’t like that terminology. We bring into our lives what we put out into the world with our thoughts and, most powerfully, with our words. So I don’t live life thinking about “feast” or “famine” and instead, choose to find every shift and shake in my business as a sign that The Universe is making room for something else to come in.
So when I had a rough two months, and realized I was going to come out the other side with less monthly revenue than I’d like, I didn’t freak out. Instead, I trusted the experience, leaned into the discomfort—and learned a lot in the process.
Lesson #1: Reinvention Requires Loss
I’ve been actively focusing on transitioning my business from relying solely on one service to creating a larger client-base in another area. As I manifest this, I know shifts will take place, and as they do in fact happen, I’m reminded that sometimes change means you have to start back at the beginning.
While I’m far from starting at the beginning, I am taking a hit on monthly revenue that makes me squirm when I look at the numbers. The good news is: hard (read: smart) work trumps all and if there’s one thing I’m good for, it’s doing the work. Reinventing my business and making these changes will come with loss, but the good news is, there’s something better on the other side.
Lesson #2: Self-Belief—I AM an Entrepreneur
I’ve been coasting in my business. I have great clients and a great team of writers, which makes the work easy. I have been able to operate on autopilot for nearly a year. When losing clients, I’m reminded of all the reasons why I’m a great business owner and challenged to prove my ability to be resourceful, creative, efficient, smart, and great at creating and nurturing relationships.
I need to use all of these skills in a way I haven’t for many months and the challenge reminds me why I love being my own boss. It feels great to have a stake in this and I will do the work to rebuild and reinvent. I DO have that entrepreneur mindset and it makes me a better business owner.
Lesson #3: Trust Cannot Be Underestimated
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last year is that when I believe everything is happening for a reason, the struggles are easier to manage and the stress is less destructive. More importantly, sooner than later, the reasoning always becomes clear, reinforcing the belief that I can trust in what’s happening and that it’s all necessary for where I want to go.
If I had freaked out and worked myself into the ground, I’d be burnt out and anxious—two energies I do not want to be putting out into the world. Quite the contrary, when I stay calm, do the work that I can control, and trust what’s unfolding, the end result is always in my favor.
Lesson #4: Loss is an Opportunity
Losing clients and rebuilding my roster back to full is an incredible opportunity for me to take the reins and do what business owners do: get into the entrepreneur mindset and decide what I want and how I want it. In this period of reinvention, I’m able to ask myself:
- How much do I want or need to raise my prices?
- What kind of clients do I want to take on?
- What businesses are best suited to my current skills?
While you can ask yourself these questions at any point, and you should, a transition like this is a great time to ask, decide, and then commit to building what you want.
Lesson #5: Being Reliant On One Client is Dangerous
It’s always a dangerous game, as an agency, to rely on one client to bring in the majority of your revenue. In my case, I had one client bringing in a third of my revenue and when they pulled out, that revenue left a gaping hole in my financial sheets.
The good news is, now I’m motivated to find ways to diversify my client base for more sustainable revenue. This will strengthen my business in the long-term, making it a tough but valuable loss.
Lesson #6: Our Contacts Are Valuable Resources
Something I do well is create relationships. Over the course of my career, I’ve developed long-term relationships with hundreds of editors, marketers and decision-makers. I’m very good at making those digital connections and then nurturing them into valuable relationships that I turn to again and again. Working to find new clients is a great reminder to stay in touch with these people because they represent potential, whether that’s in the form of a new engagement, a referral agreement or otherwise.
In my attempt to stir up new business, I got in touch with many past connections and customers. Emails turned into phone calls, which turned into work, and suddenly I’m working with past clients again. We can’t forget to leverage the resources we already have at our disposal
Lesson #7: Always Be Saving for a Moment Like This
I’ve never been an impulsive spender or someone who struggles to make and keep money, but I wouldn’t have placed as much stock in actively maintaining a strong savings or saving for retirement in our 20’s if it wasn’t for my husband, the CFO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting—and of our lives.
This revenue change reminds all of us to always be prepared for it. Not in the sense that we should always be stressing over impending doom, but that preparing for a financial instability is simply necessary as an entrepreneur.
Because I already have this entrepreneur mindset, a change like this isn’t going to make or break me. I can work toward building my client base back up without stressing about paying bills—and that’s possible for everyone. It’s simply a matter of making an intentional choice to set yourself up for financial success, no matter what’s going on in your business.
Use the Entrepreneur Mindset to Find Calm in Your Storms
I’m sharing these lessons so you can use them to better yourself and your business now, before you have to learn them yourself. Whether you’re a business owner or not, having an entrepreneur mindset—always being ready for change and trusting in the process—is key to reaching the other side.
A version of this post originally appeared on my LinkedIn Pulse: I Lost Nearly Half My Revenue in Two Months—and It’s Okay.