Mindset can keep us moving forward, but it can also keep us stuck in the same place for a very long time. Talking daily with struggling small business owners, I realize it’s not their skills or situation that prevents them from achieving their small business dreams; it’s their mindset. I’ve been there and that’s why today I want to share with you five mindset shifts I did to grow my small business from a weekend hobby to multiple six-figure full time job.
1. Focus on the path and consistent action instead of short-term results
When we focus so much on seeing results and all we get are crickets chirping real loud, we get discouraged and let our self-doubt in. We stop doing what we need to do to break through. But building a business is a long-term game; the only way to see results is to keep going. In the end, everyone started at 0 orders or followers, but only those who kept going learnt how to grow their business.
Look at it this way: growing a small business is like growing a muscle. You can’t go to the gym twice and expect to see results. You also can’t just eat a salad instead of chips one day and see results tomorrow. On the other hand, the more you go to the gym, the more you learn, the more confident you feel, and the pants fit better. You switch fries for salad all the time, start drinking water instead of soda, and you feel even better and see more results. You can not see the muscles without getting your workouts in.
In the small business world, one of the biggest mistakes I see every day is that small business owners put in a little bit of action, and then they are waiting to get orders. There is no time to stay when we have a small business to run. Your small business success is in your hands. You will have more orders if you will consistently work on creating new listings, marketing your small business and improving your shop. The same goes for social media – your account will grow if you continually keep working on it. No matter what goals and dreams you have for your small business, the only way to get there is by putting the action in, even if you don’t see results yet. Don’t let not seeing results now stop you from working towards seeing them in the future.
2. Say goodbye to the shiny object syndrome
If you are constantly taking on new projects, you might be dealing with a shiny objects syndrome! I think every creative woman will come through this stage at some point, but if we let it run its course, it can really take up a lot of time and hurt our business. Especially for us, creative souls always seeking inspiration, it is very easy to get distracted by all the fun shiny project ideas. If you are a true crafter, chances are that those creative project ideas are born in your head night and day!
The truth is that always picking up new fun projects can keep you busy, but also prevent you from accomplishing your small business goals. If you feel like this is you, before you go all into your new exciting project idea, ask yourself at first:
- Is this project contributing to my small business goals or should I do it on Sunday afternoon as a fun activity instead?
- How much time, money and effort is this project going to require and is it going to take me away from what I really need to do now for my small business?
- Is this a distraction, because I struggle with my small business and it’s easier to shift my attention to something exciting?
- Lastly, if you run yourself through these questions and your project sounds like a good idea, instead of impulsively starting to work on it, write it down. I have a list of “project ideas” and get to them once I have more time. Don’t let those projects take away from the things that you really need to do in order to grow your business now (like focusing on marketing or understanding your ideal customer).
3. Get clear on your “Time vs. Money Mindset”
The golden rule is to spend the majority of your resources (80% of your time & money) on the tasks that bring the most results to your small business and the remaining 20% of your time and budget on things that don’t have a direct effect on your small business growth. Let me explain:
I could spend hours designing cute stickers for my packaging and then spend half of my day driving across the town to buy the sticker paper on sale to save two dollars and make my cute packaging stickers. In reality, I wasted a day of my time to save $2. If I only get a few sales a month, I need to focus on how to get more customers to my shop or create more products for my shop. Instead of wasting a day creating DIY packaging stickers and saving $2, I should upload 5 new listings to my Etsy shop to give me higher chances for customers to find my product search. I could spend that day recording 10 reels to market my product on social media, so I get the exposure needed in order to get customers to my shop. These are the actions that can directly affect how many orders I get and help me to grow my small business. Packaging stickers are cute, but they will not give me more orders if I am struggling to get customers to my shop right now.
Wherever you are on your small business journey right now, paying attention to where most of your time and money is going can help you ensure that you are moving forward, instead of just staying busy and stuck in the same place.
When I realized that I was wasting months of my time trying to DIY everything and learn on my own, I started to spend most of my resources (time & money) on things that would get me to success faster. (Like keyword software, machines or courses which would either save me time or teach me how to do things faster).
4. Switch your “I don’t know how” mindset to “Let’s figure it out one tiny step at a time” attitude
It’s so easy to get stuck on obstacles that come our way. At least I did. I used to say “I just like creating products, but I don’t know how to take photos. I don’t know how to get customers, I am not good at business kind of things, I am not good at technical part…“
I realized that my “I don’t know how” attitude just kept me stuck in the same place for months, and the only way to move forward was to start learning those things I wasn’t good at. I began to look up people online who had already walked the path and learn from them. Sure my product photos weren’t perfect on the first or second try, but I kept learning new tricks, playing with light, backdrops, and editing and looking back, I can see the progress I made every time I tried again! If I just left it with “I am not good at taking product photos”, my photos today would look the same as they did seven years ago when I started my first small business. The same goes for learning how to get customers, social media marketing, keywords, new machines and every other aspect of my small business, which I used to label “I am not good at it”. Don’t make the same mistake; it doesn’t make it easier; it just makes us avoid the journey we have to walk anyways if we want our business to grow. So go on, write the ONE thing you need to get better and start learning and improving it one tiny step at a time.
5. Practice believing in yourself
I say practice because it’s harder done than said. Sure you heard before that you need to believe in yourself, but how do you do that when you sometimes feel like you have no idea what are you doing? The good news is that we all feel that way sometimes! All you need to do is believe that you can do one tiny step forward and follow through with it. Now you have proof that you actually can do it. Big results are nothing, but a compound of thousands of tiny milestones and steps forward.
I want you to start looking at other successful small businesses and instead of thinking about how behind you are, start looking at them from the perspective that all of their success is also possible for you. If I did it, if they did it, you can do it too as long as you keep moving forward.
Phew, that was a lot more than I originally intended to write, but after I shared a bit of this on my Instagram, I received countless messages about how valuable this insight was, so I thought I’d share a bit more about that with you. If this blog post resonated with you and if you found it helpful please let me know. You can send me a DM on Instagram at @smallbizbabescommunity; I’d love to hear from you!