How To Stay Strong When Times Are Hard

1. Stay optimistic

Before you begin your business venture write a list of reasons you have to be optimistic that it will work.  Include the advantages you have over your competitors and anything that sets you apart from them. Make sure you have more than one item on your list, or you will be left with nothing if that particular reason falls through.

Whenever things go wrong and you are tempted to give up, reread your list and remind yourself why your business is going to be successful.

2. Maintain your enthusiasm

You might find yourself working long into the night, doing difficult or mundane tasks that don’t fit at all with your idea of being a successful entrepreneur.  Before you start to think about giving up, try to attach a positive meaningful outcome to the task in hand.  Think of every task you do as a step towards a successful business.

Take the example of nursing mothers. To hear them talking about the pain, frustration and exhaustion of breastfeeding, people may wonder why they bother.  Well the answer is they know that that tiresome task will give their child a happy, healthy start in life, and what could be more meaningful than that?

3. Establish your integrity

Throughout the process of setting up your own business, you will undoubtedly come across ways in which you can make a quick profit or take a few short cuts that you are not sure are entirely ethical.

Discovering elements of corruption or deceit in your field can be disheartening at best, and a deal breaker at worst.  As long as you make a personal commitment to doing the right thing, you shouldn’t give up just because you come across dishonesty amongst the people you work with.  Before you make any decision, ask yourself three questions:

* Is it legal?
* Is it fair to everybody affected?
* How will I feel about myself if I do it?

Answering these questions will allow you to retain the integrity of your business and yourself personally.

4. Have courage

When you need to make a decision that involves taking risks, it can be tempting to play it safe, or to quit while you are ahead.  Having the courage to take calculated risks is an essential part of moving on with your business.

The best way to find the courage to take a risk is to imagine the worst case scenario, and plan how you would deal with it.  Suddenly all other scenarios will seem much less scary. Risks seem much worse when you try to ignore them or don’t identify what they are.

5. Apply patience

When you experience setbacks and delays, it is easy to overreact and take issues personally.  Impulsive responses to problems you encounter are rarely positive, so take some time to assess the situation before you react.  Here are some things to remember when your business encounters problems:

* There is nothing you can do about delays that are not your fault.  Try to build time into your plans for possible delays, but if you have not done so you will just have to alter your plans.

* Take time to think before you respond to an issue.  Write a draft e-mail if you wish, or write down how you would like to respond.  Then take a half hour break, go for a walk or get something to eat.  The chances are that when you return you will want to react in a much milder way.

* You will probably have to wait some time for your business to start achieving good results.  Set your targets high but your expectations low for the first few months.

6. Stay calm

Eliminating stress and worry from your business life is never easy, but there are ways to avoid it.

Try to tackle the task you are dreading most at the beginning of the day.  This will prevent you worrying about them for the rest of the day, and will give you a positive lift as you feel you have achieved something.

Learn to recognize your own particular signs of stress.  Do your muscles become tense? Do you get a stiff neck or shoulders?  Employ relaxation techniques and take a short break as soon as you begin to notice these symptoms of stress.
7. Remain focused

As your business begins to take off, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of you.  The key is to focus on one priority at a time.  Make sure you finish one task before you start on another.  Empty your mind of thought that do not relate to that task.  Write these thoughts down if you are worried you will forget them by the time you need them.

8. Remind yourself of your belief

Belief is a crucial part of positive thinking, and it helps to remind yourself what you believe in when you are tempted to give up on your business venture.  Your beliefs can take a variety of forms:

* Belief in your own ability
* Belief in the quality of your business plan
* Belief in your original business idea
* Belief in the lifestyle that your business can give you
* Belief that your dreams can come true
* Belief that there is more to life than a monthly paycheck

They say a year in the Internet business is like a dog year…equivalent to seven years in a regular person’s life. In other words, it’s evolving fast and faster.

-Vinton Cerf

Staying on your toes is imperative to succeeding in internet business.  The final section of this report will look at motivating yourself to work from home, something that most people have to do when they start their own online business.
I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.
-Zig Ziglar

Motivating yourself to work from home

Kids are fighting, pets are hungry, your phone is ringing, the house is dirty and you still have work to do.

Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of Baby Einstein, knows first hand the difficulties of balancing life and family.  “When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all.  I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one year old and a three year old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.”

What did Aigner-Clark do?  She hired someone to help out around the house.  Imagine how much time you spend every day on household chores?  That’s time you could be spending on realizing your dream of becoming a business owner.

Starting your own business often requires you to set up an office in your house, and online businesses are particularly well suited to working from home.  It can be hard to stay motivated when you don’t have the structure of a day at the office to base your tasks around, so here are some tips to ensure you don’t let all that freedom go to your head:

1. Structure.  Build some structure into your day.  Each evening make a realistic to-do list for the next day and make sure all tasks are accomplished.  Make sure you sign in and sign out each day.  You may return to your computer to do some extra work once you have signed out, but do not answer the phone or check your e-mail during this time.

2. Set goals.  When you plan your day, do so in terms of tasks rather than time.  It is better to set a goal of completing three articles, than a goal of spending two hours on article writing.  If you finish your task early then that is a bonus, you can either get some extra work done or knock off early.

3. Family matters.  Consider the needs of your family; just because you are working they can’t act as if you are not there at all.  Set some rules as to when they can disturb you while you are working and when they can not.  Your son needing transport to the emergency room is of course a good time to interrupt, but if he has kicked his football over next door then he can wait until dinnertime.

4. Regular working hours.  Make sure your neighbors and friends are aware of your working hours and respect them. Many people equate ‘always at home’ with ‘always available’ and if you are not careful you will lose a lot of work hours to drinking coffee and doing favors for well meaning neighbors.

5. Realistic commitments.  Motivate yourself with realistic commitments.  When you first start out with your own business you may not have many actual deadlines, so it is a good idea to set your own.  Committing to a weekly newsletter or daily blog posting can help you to add structure to your working week.  Once you get established the deadlines will begin rolling in so make the most of it.

6. Regular breaks.  Plan regular breaks outside of the house.  Working and living in the same building can give you cabin fever if you are not careful.  Without the enforced lunch break you might get in an office you could find you have been at the computer without a pause for the whole day.  Finding an excuse to get our each day, even if it is just to go the store to buy fresh vegetables for dinner, will save your sanity and keep you from getting obsessed with work.

7. Trial period.  Give yourself a trial period.  Working from home is not for everybody, you may find you prefer the structure and the social aspects of working in an office and that may mean you choose to eventually set up an office away from home.  If you try working from home for say six months, that should be enough time to make sure it is right for you.

One thing may work for others and not for you.  Take your personality and needs into account when you’re setting up your day to day business life.  Some people choose to sleep during part of their day and take care of work in the evening when the house is quiet and the family is asleep.  Obviously that won’t work for everyone.  The point is to find a structure and process that works for you.  This way, when the going gets tough, you have a structure to fall back on.

There’s nothing more challenging or rewarding than being an entrepreneur.  It is a life faced with fantastic dreams and goals and filled with the inevitable disappointments, challenges, and occasional failures.  Successful entrepreneurs press on despite the tough times.  Pressing on, maintaining a positive attitude is the key to achieving real success both as an entrepreneur and in your life.  You know that you have what it takes to reach your dreams.

Take some time to answer the following questions honestly.  This is the beginning of your internet marketing adventure and an extremely important part of getting started on the right foot and in the right frame of mind.
Success Mindset Worksheet:

Now that you’ve worked through this report you may have a different perspective on what you’ve learned.  This is a great place to stop and regroup.  This worksheet is something you can take with you.

1.  Do you have a passion for something? It can be anything from baby food to skateboarding.  Write down 5-10 subjects you’re passionate about.  Rank them in order from one to 10.  One being what you’re most interested in and 10 the least.
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2.  Are you a good planner?  List some aspects of your life where you have to use planning and organization skills.

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3.  Do you have a go get ‘em attitude or do you let minor set backs cause you to give up on your dreams?  Write down at least one occasion where you jumped in with two feet and gave a goal everything you had.

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4.  How much time do you have to devote to your new business?  Write down your current daily schedule to realistically assess how much time you will have each day to conduct business.

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If you’re realizing you might be short on time, what can you do to modify your schedule?
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