Dealing With Business Challenges: Strategies And Tips

bizchallengeYet another Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homepreneurs a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.

Today’s Q: 

What aspects of your business are challenging you right now?

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

BrendaFunky_me.jpgThe biggest challenge in my business right now is being present. My mother is very ill and it has forced me to work on my business at odd hours. If I had a 9-5 position I would have had to take weeks or even months off.  While it would be great to not need to work on my business at all, it is great to have the flexibility that I have to keep at it. I’m also grateful for Skype and Google Hangouts which allow me to meet with clients without travel time.

Alicia Jay from New VA Advice says:

AliciaJay100x100As business owners and entrepreneurs, I think there will always be something that we find challenging in our businesses. And the things that we struggle with will grow and change as we grow and change.

I’m currently struggling with time management and a bit of overwhelm. I’ll explain. My four year-old is in his last week of pre-school for the year. That means that he will be home with me full-time during the summer. While being home to raise him is one of my biggest reasons for working online, this means a major schedule shift for the summer.

I own two businesses, so I put on a lot of hats within a day. I will now have to adjust my schedule on what gets done in order to accommodate my son being home. But this is okay! I’ll have to streamline what really needs to be done, schedule these things on my calendar and outsource what I can’t do so that things keep moving forward.

Stephanie Watson from Barry Publishing says:

steph123stephheadshot.jpgAfter so many years in business, I’ve conquered a lot of issues. Issues like, “shiny object syndrome” and finding my niche. I’ve figured out that I don’t do well having to “clock in” on anyone’s time clock. I work better on projects that simply have deadlines without any clock keeping. I need people to either be super organized, or allow me to get them organized.

I also do not do well with unclear instructions, poor communication, and nitpickers. Granted, this doesn’t mean that I don’t want to please my client, but if my being off work Tuesday – Wednesday bothers you, and you disintegrate due to a missed comma — we won’t work well together. I work around my husband’s schedule, because as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that the best gift I can give him, or myself, is time.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to turn down clients. There are clients who understand that I’m a business owner, not an employee, and they value my work. Then, there are those who don’t. By turning down a few bad fits, they become a great fit for someone else, and it leaves room in my schedule to work with someone else.

So now, my biggest challenge today, is letting go of technology and outsourcing it to someone else. I have always understood technology and until recently, been an early adopter. In the past, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t learn how to do. We did not have computers when I was in school. Even when I went to secretary school in the 80’s we did not have a computer. We had a strange word processor but no computers.

I got my first computer, and I just excelled. Back then people were impressed if you could turn one on. I taught myself HTML by reverse engineering websites. I taught myself anything I wanted to learn, and handled everything on my own. Now, I’m in a position where I have so much work that I do not have time (or patience) to learn new things or click around and experiment until I get it to work. And frankly, the technology has outgrown me by leaps and bounds.

Since technology is not the focus of my niche today, as it was in the past, I need to outsource. I can afford to outsource, but I have problems just letting go. I’ve interviewed and found the people to outsource to, yet I still haven’t done it. It’s a real block for me to give it over to someone else. I have realized, just now as I write this — that it’s not the money — it’s the fact that by outsourcing, I’m admitting that I no longer have that skill. For an early adopter like me that’s hard to take.

This will allow me to enjoy the summer with my family while still making sure that my businesses are moving ahead.

Helena Bowers from Your Message Amplified says: 

headshot-dec-2012-100The two biggest areas where my business is challenging me right now is in branding and outsourcing.

As a result of some things I learned at Exposure and Profit a couple of weeks ago, my business has taken a turn in a different direction. This requires some major rebranding for at least a portion of it, and figuring that out, with market research, new logo and graphic design, has never been one of my strong suits. I’ve always been more of a “get an idea and run with it” type, so doing it right is proving challenging.

The second area that challenges me is outsourcing. Even though I know I can’t do it all myself anymore, giving up control is a very scary thing. Right now I’m putting together a team for the new venture, and once that’s done I will be moving on to add team members to help with the existing pieces. The challenge for me will be to stay patient, and not jump in thinking I can do it all faster myself.

My Insights

lyzqa.pngI’m no stranger to challenges in life. In fact, I thrive on it. I don’t know if it’s my type A’ish personality or my strict upbringing but I almost can’t perform unless I’m under intense pressure. It’s the reason why I decided to acquire Sparkplugging – because apparently managing one blog wasn’t enough weight. I had to go for a network of seven. Somehow, I felt like I had to go big in order to quench my  obsession with starting an online business. So, as a brand spankin’ newbie, I went for it. It wasn’t the healthiest route. It can get overwhelming at times; but, I can’t ignore the fact that although challenging, I am loving it.

When I asked the Sparkplugging advisors to share their business struggles, I knew I wasn’t alone. Entrepreneurs have tremendous tenacity because business is almost never “as usual.” It’s why most people opt out and become employees. It’s just easier. However, we can all fall prey to the habits of the norms. When something out of the ordinary happens and interrupts the flow past what we’re used to, it can create resistance. And resistance has paid me quite a few visits in the last six months as I struggle with time constraints, knowledge and lack of technological skill set.

When I think about a plan on overcoming my business struggles, I don’t entertain the idea of feeling limited. I believe that at the core of getting through a challenge is the belief that you can. I think attitude and motivation can transcend knowledge and skill. When it’s time to bounce back, your mindset is all you can control.

You can argue that there is a fine line between persistence and obsessive ambition. Either way, one thing is for sure. Quitting may invite a camping out into quiet desperation. It’s best to learn how to view a challenging situation as a window of opportunity. If you spend your life steering clear of obstacles, you will never have a chance to release greatness.

So I ask, how are you dealing with business challenges these days?

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Lyz has a passion for business, personal development and wellness. She hopes to help new and emerging home-based entrepreneurs discover both their personal and business strengths in order to develop a more productive, healthy and balanced life while rocking it in business from home.