Depending on how long you’ve been following me, you may or may not know the story of how I failed my way to success.
The short story is that I quit my corporate job with (what I thought was) a solid plan to hit my six-figure corporate salary within one year. But after six months of running my own business, I had only made $830. (Things were pretty bleak to say the least!)
I hear these kinds of goals from business owners a lot. They tell me that they quit their job and have X months to make $Y.
It feels like a ton of pressure!
If you’re in a position where you feel like you have to make money now, there are two paths you can take; one will create what you want while the other will sabotage your results.
The question then becomes, how do you make sure you get on the right path? Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you today.
Why Too Much Pressure Will Completely Backfire
If you’re in an all-out panic and you have to make money fast, truth be told, you’re setting your business up for disaster.
Why? If your potential clients feel even the slightest hint of desperation from you, it will turn them off.
It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how often you blog, how many networking events you attend; if you’re hustling from a place of total panic, people will feel it a mile away and run like crazy in the opposite direction.
On top of that, when there’s too much pressure on your business, your creativity suffers immeasurably, because you’re frantically rushing to implement every idea that pops into your head… even if they’re not great ones.
According to a recent Harvard Business School study, “The more time pressure people feel… the less likely they will be to think creatively.”Click to TweetToo much pressure squashes creativity and sets your business up for failure. Jenny Shih shares a better way.
Add all of this up and you’re in a heap of trouble.
You still don’t have the money you need and you turned off your potential clients and you’re so frozen from fear that you can’t find a creative way out of this mess. It’s a no-win situation.
Too Little Pressure Is Just as Bad
Before I go on, I want to be clear that pressure is a tricky line to walk.
(This is where I lived for the first 9 months after quitting my job, until I learned these lessons I’m sharing with you today.)
The flip side, however, isn’t good either. That’s when you’re putting too little pressure on your business.
Afterall, if you don’t need to make money, then you might not feel motivated to do the work required to build a successful business. You can easily stay stagnant, not challenging yourself to get out there and get clients.
If you’re working a full-time job, if your partner is the breadwinner, or if you’ve simply grown accustomed to a certain income level (no matter how low or how high it is), it’s can be easy maintain the status quo and not feel the pressure to build your business.
So then… if too much pressure makes you crazed and too little pressure keeps you stuck, how do you find your sweet spot?
Finding What Works for You
When you’re working under just the right amount of pressure, you’re able to get big things done.
Finding the right amount of pressure for you is highly personal and requires some experimentation.
You might have to swing the pendulum both ways before finding the amount of pressure that works for you and your business. (If I didn’t have my ass on the line at times, I wouldn’t have done the hard or scary things I had to do to make my business successful!)
Here’s how you can gauge where you’re at on the pressure scale:
You’re under too little pressure if you…
- Let months (or years) go by without committing to a big project
- Engage with your audience inconsistently—or drop off the radar entirely for months at a time
- Haven’t gotten new email subscribers in more than a couple of weeks
You’re under too much pressure if you…
- Feel panicky if no one is buying from you and you’re constantly checking your stats
- Take setbacks personally and assume something is wrong with you or your business or your expertise
- Compare your success (or lack thereof) to everyone else’s
You’ve found your sweet spot if you…
- Use a scientist’s mindset when things don’t go your way
- See setbacks as a way to learn more and do better next time
- Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing
- Feel pushed past your comfort zone and you have a plan in place if you don’t see the results you want right away
What’s the right amount of pressure for you?
I’m curious where you land on the spectrum?
How much pressure are you currently under? How is it helping and hurting your business?
Have you found your sweet spot? Any tricks for those trying to walk through this tricky line?
Fill us in below!