Are you starting to wonder if your business will ever make money?
We have all been there. You spend all your time working on your business, marketing it, following all the advice of experts - and yet you still have tumbleweed's blowing through your bank account. Even if your main reason for running your business isn't to generate wads of cash, we all know that a healthy bank balance makes you feel good. No money coming in knocks your confidence.
I'm going to share my story, warts and all.
In 2011 I sold a PR business that I had set up five years before. I sold it for one year's turnover. It wasn't a fortune, but it was a five figure sum. Given the business was - in essence - just me, my client roster and contacts lists, it was a good figure.
Almost exactly a year ago, having had several years off, I decided to start freelancing again. I set myself up as Melissa Talago - freelance writer and marketer. My old clients gave me some copywriting work, but basically I was going nowhere fast. I knew why. I didn't have a USP or a defined target market or a clear set of products or messages. After limping along for about 4 months, I decided I needed to change things. I had a series of lightbulb moments and I came up with the idea of Campfire Communications.
I spent all of last August creating an online PR course, a new website, new packages. I started getting super active in networking groups - both online and face to face. I launched in October.
And nothing happened.
Well not nothing, I had a few clients come in, but it was slow. A trickle. I continued to promote, promote, promote. And still nothing substantial really happened. I started to feel deflated. I probably felt more deflated than the average person because I kept telling myself: 'You are meant to be good at promoting people and if you can't do it for yourself, how can you do it for others? You are a fraud.'
The negative talk track in your head when you run your own business is a bitch.
So I ignored that negative voice and kept on trucking. I also did a few brave things. I set up a couple of webinars. I set up a few face to face events. I had no idea if anyone would come along to any of them. I decided to delete the very expensive website I had paid for as it wasn't working for me and I created a brand new one by myself. And I kept on doing the promoting and marketing.
Last week I decided that as it was almost a year since I had officially started working, even though Campfire had only been running for 6 months, it was time to do my accounts. Yes. Seriously. I had not done them once in a year. I had so little money coming in that I honestly didn't feel it was necessary. However, I did have quite a lot going out that needed sorting out.
I spent a full day doing my accounts. I ended up with a graph that looked like this:
And I thought - that looks healthy. It's growing! Then I added up my earnings for March. And I realised that in a single month, I had earned enough to pay for our family holiday to Namibia that we're having later this year.
It's a though I had turned a corner. All my months of hard work promoting my business and being brave was finally paying off. I know that I can't stop now. I know I will have other bad months. I know that promotion is an ongoing thing. You have to keep on keeping on. But when you do, you will be rewarded.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because I know how disheartening it is when you are trying everything that the experts tell you to do and nothing seems to be working. Take heart. Nothing happens instantly. For some people, what I have earned this month will be a pipe dream. For others, it will be a seriously bad month. Don't compare yourself to others. Don't lose heart. Don't give up. It takes time to grow a business. There is seldom overnight success. Success comes to those who keep believing in themselves and don't stop.
I hope that my sharing this story has inspired you in some way or at least given you the determination to keep going. Speaking of inspiration, I was invited to talk to Steve Twynham for his Be Happy radio show in which he shares inspiring stories. I was flattered he thought I was inspiring. So thank you Steve. You can listen to it here.
Leave me your comments below.