NOTE: I think this is such an important topic, so I’ve refreshed and extended this post for 2018.
Let’s make no bones about it:
While running a business has a lot of fun perks (like doing the work you love, setting your own schedule, wearing activewear every day…), it can be a hard slog a fair chunk of the time. And kind of isolating. Especially in the first year or two.
That’s why January feels so powerful for so many of us.
It’s a fresh start. We have a ton of energy, and there’s this sense of possibility and excitement about what the new year’s going to bring.
Then… February comes. And March. And the sense of excitement we felt at the beginning of the year, similar to the beginning of our businesses, begins to fade a bit.
The truth is, some days are hard no matter how much you love what you do.
Setting up your coaching/creative/consulting/freelance business takes real, hard work and dedication!
It involves uncertainty, isolation, and money stress, and for some of us, pressure from family or loved ones who don’t understand what we’re doing, or why it’s important to us.
There may be moments when you feel there’s no one else supporting your business, or your workload becomes outrageous, or you really start to buckle under the stress of feeling responsible for your own security, and everything that goes along with that.
(That’s why, in my opinion, anyone who says it’s fun or easy to build your business ALL the time is either lying or smoking crack.)
But remember — even when you feel like it’s an uphill battle, and you’re not seeing the results you want, there’s a good chance you’re still probably doing a great job, and making great progress in your business.
Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it!
Here are 15 signs that you’re moving in the right direction and doing really well — even when you don’t quite feel like it.
1. You’re actively turning up to work.
By just not giving up on your dream, you’re already doing better than a huge portion of the population.
No matter how much time you’re able to dedicate, or what’s going on in your work, taking action every day (no matter the context) is far better than doing nothing. The fact that you turned up to work today, and yesterday, and that you plan on being at work tomorrow, is a sign you’re on the right track (even if you’re taking baby steps).
2. You have a vision for your business that inspires you.
Staying inspired by the vision you have for your business and the impact you’d like to make (for yourself, your family, your community and your clients) is so important. A vision that’s bigger than just you, will drive you to keep going, even on the days when things feel harder.
I recommend reminding yourself of your vision daily. Maybe for you, that means journaling on it, creating a vision board around it, or just daydreaming about it every day. Whatever works for you.
The fact that you have a clear idea of a future that inspires and motivates you, is a really critical piece of the puzzle. Keep it up, babe!
3. You love your ideal clients.
If you’re head over heels for your perfect peeps, and would either happily hang out with them outside of work, or see yourself reflected in them, or otherwise have barrels of empathy at the ready for them? Then you’re on the right track.
Knowing who your right people are, and working with your soulmate clients, is one of the biggest battles an entrepreneur faces, so if you’re all good with that? You’re miles ahead!
4. When you work with or talk with clients, you love every moment.
For example, if you’re a designer, that means when you’re actually in that planning and design phase for a client, you’re feeling super hyped about it. Or if you’re a personal trainer, you love taking your clients through their paces in their session. Or if you’re a VA, you love getting your client’s to inbox zero.
Whichever field you’re in, when you’re doing the work, and you feel energised (instead of like your work’s sucking the life out of you), that’s a sign you’re doing the right stuff.
5. When you look back on the past 90 days you can see progress.
Checking in with yourself every 3 months can be a great way to see if you’ve really made strides on any goal. It’s not so long that there’s no sense of urgency, but it’s not so short that you feel rushed.
Even if it feels like you’re just plodding along most days, a lot can change in 3 months. If you started something 90 days ago and you’re still in focused action, and you’ve seen progress? You’re killing it!
6. You have a simple business model.
Having an over-complicated business model is actually a form of self-sabotage. No one needs to have a really complicated business model. It’s confusing and way less likely to be impactful.
Keep things simple. Clarity is your friend. So if you have an easy-to-explain AND easy-for-others-to-understand biz model? Pat yourself on the back, because you’re awesome.
7. You are part of a supportive community.
Whether your support squad is online or in real life, having a group of people behind you who are able to push you and cheer you on is really key for a number of reasons. They can help you create a network of clients and collaborators, answer your questions, problem-solve, mastermind and strategize with you, and more. Plus, it just makes things more fun!
8. You are following a proven approach to whatever it is you’re trying to achieve.
For example, if you’re trying to get booked out with 1-1 clients, you might be following the step-by-step approach I share in the Betty Booked Out Formula. Whether you’re following one of my proven systems, or a system from someone else, you’ve made the right call.
I really believe when you’re starting out, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Your fastest path to success in the first year or two of your business is following an approach that’s worked for other people who have achieved what you want to achieve.
Eventually, you’ll start doing things your own way, but beginning with a proven approach, or step-by-step process you can follow, is a sign you’re on a great track.
9. You are taking care of your well-being.
This can be as simple as having a healthy morning routine you stick to or taking time every week to connect with friends and family offline (which is something I’m committing to more this year!), or sticking to your workouts.
When you’re building a business on your own, it can be easy to let your well-being fall by the wayside. But, this business building gig is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to build something sustainable that you’ll be able to do for the foreseeable future, you need to make sure you’re taking care of your body and mind too.
Got this on lock? Amazing! Keep going!
10. You practice a little bit of gratitude every day.
There are so many different ways of doing this!
I like using The 5 Minute Journal each day to go over my blessings. But you don’t need a special journal to do it – you can just grab a notebook or your phone, and first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, take a few minutes to write three things you’re grateful for.
It’s a great way to reflect on your day, find some gold nuggets, and recognise signs that you’re doing well, and are on the right path.
11. You’re working to specific targets in your business.
Like I mentioned a second ago, I recommend 60 or 90-day targets, because those timeframes are short enough to work with your planning horizon and keep you motivated, but long enough for you to achieve big things.
Setting and tracking targets (which you can do in a really low tech way – I love keeping track of things on a wall in my office I’ve painted with blackboard paint and chalk or in a simple spreadsheet!) is a strong sign you’re doing well in your business.
Need a few ideas for targets? Shoot for getting a certain number of clients on your roster, or releasing a new offer, or hosting a certain number of discovery sessions, or increasing the size of your subscriber list or social media following.
12. You’re learning every day.
Can you see that you’ve learned something new, or researched something relevant to growing your business every day? If you’re reading this post, you are! After all, you can apply this info to your business today.
You might be a part of programs or other membership groups, or maybe you have a coach, or maybe you’re reading books about your particular field. But whatever it is: you’re learning every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes.
That’s a sign you’ve got the right mindset – and you’re on the right track in your business!
13. You’re not overcomplicating your marketing.
So many times I’ve been my own worst enemy in business by unnecessarily overcomplicating things. These days I remind myself every day that success in business is about doing the right things at the right time.
It’s not about doing ALL the things ALL the time. And when it comes to marketing the ‘right things’ are rarely complicated.
If the marketing strategy you’re executing on right now feels overcomplicated, expect overwhelm and confusion to follow. If you’re rocking a simple step-by-step strategy and you’re clear on your next step, congratulations. You’re doing a great job!
Sidebar: Check out what my daily marketing habits are in my post: Daily Habits To Help You Quickly Get (& Stay) Fully Booked and grab your Daily Success Habits Checklist by clicking the button below!
14. Your intent is to serve.
Ask yourself ‘if others knew what I know, would their lives be better?’. I thought so (SO many incredible people in the Betty community are genuinely here to serve and improve the lives of others!).
Answering yes to this question is a neon flashing sign that you’re in this business to serve. Keep chasing that intent and the money will eventually follow.
15. You’re working towards something that excites you.
Of course, enthusiasm can naturally ebb and flow. But at the end of the day if the vision you’re working towards, the clients you’re working (or want to work) with, and the message you’re putting out in the world, continue to set your heart on fire – you’re on the right track!
Just don’t forget: From time to time, business is going to be tough. But long-term, you can be tougher.
Do you have any “I’m doing alright” check-ins, or a little “Am I on the right track?” litmus test you use in your business to stay encouraged?
Share it with me in the comments below!
And hang in there, lady. While the road is long, I promise the longer you travel, the easier and more rewarding it gets.
So keep hustling. I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines. <3
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