3 Best Practices to deal with Ups and Downs in your Entrepreneurial Journey

ups and downs changemakers association

We recently published an article on the importance of iteration, showcasing 3 real-life case studies of Changemakers having twisted their business model and strategy along the way (if you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here: Business Model (R)Evolution).

>> We’ve since received a number of comments and messages, encouraging us to share more on the topic of Ups and Downs! It’s unanimous: the entrepreneurial journey is a roller coaster of emotions, with tons of Ups, Downs, and Turnarounds.

  • The good news is: it happens to E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E – no matter how “figured out” things look on the outside. So it’s nothing to do with YOU (or the quality of your work 😉 )
  • The bad news is: it does affect our motivation, our energy, our capacity to be creative … and so, make the most of our time to build momentum and have an amazing impact in the world while generating sustainable revenues.

In this article, you’ll discover 3 best practices to “deal” with the Ups and Downs of your entrepreneurial journey. You cannot make them disappear, but you do have the ability to enjoy your journey beside them, and not let those affect your actual impact!


[ WARNING ] Reading this article WILL NOT have any effect on your entrepreneurial journey… only your actions will 😉 And so, why don’t you start by taking notes as you go through the article, and write down practical actions you can take for each of those 3 best practices?!

Best Practice # 1 Surround your self with Like-Minded Entrepreneurs

There is nothing worse, on an entrepreneurial journey, to get demotivated by people around you. You already have to deal with circumstances, PLUS your own limiting believes and fears… and so you REALLY don’t need to add to the mix, the doubts, and skepticism of others (i.e. friends and family).

This is true for “downs” : when things don’t go as planned and you’re bombarded with ideas going in every direction, from people who have not been there and do not understand the reality you are facing (or worse, advise you to “maybe find a job for the time being and do this entrepreneurial thing on the side?!”)

But for the ups as well! For instance…

  • When you finally validate your idea and “people” ask “Are you SURE this will work?!”
  • When you reach your first 100 facebook page fans, and “they” say “So what?!”
  • When you start your pilot with ideal beneficiaries and you’re asked: “So, you are going to work for free?!”
  • When you have your first paying customer and “they” say “So, does this mean you are making a living finally?”
  • When you land your 1st interview for your favourite podcast and “they” go like “Never heard of… is it famous?!”

Long story short: only people who have been where you are (or are in a similar path) can “get” you. And it’s important that you find those people and get to share your journey with them: so you can deal with the downs and get outside perspectives to find a way out… as well as properly celebrate the ups so they build up your confidence, and the momentum to move mountains!

If things don’t go as planned, I share my thoughts with people who have already been there or like-minded people in general. Usually I find support in FB groups for women entrepreneurs. If I keep my thoughts for myself or talk with people who don’t know how I might feel, it’s hard to get out of that situation!” — Mary, Coach for Teachers working on improving Happiness at Schools

[ AAAAND ACTION ! ] Are you part of a mastermind or an association where you can share your journey with like-minded positive entrepreneurs ?!

You might find one locally (go check if it exists!) or simply online (if you’re a Global Citizen at heart).

Best Practice # 2 Get Clear On Your Goals

Imaging starting a boat trip with no clear destination in mind: you might try to move forward, you’ll definitely get pulled by ocean’s streams, heavy storms and get blinded by the sun. 

That’s exactly what happens when entrepreneurs have a “rough” idea of where they want to go, but do not dedicate time to actually define clear goals.

Now, if that’s your case: I hear you thinking already “how could I know what’s achievable this far in my journey” or “what if I set a strong goal and I don’t reach it”…

We all have internal resistance towards goal reaching. That’s called, the comfort zone : as long as you don’t have clear goals, you don’t really take the risk to not reach them, right?! Well, as I am sure you have already heard, the magic happens OUTSIDE of the comfort zone. And in this very case, you have 100% more chances of reaching the goals you do set (properly), then the ones you don’t. No exceptions 😉

So let’s go back to our boat trip metaphor : you continue your journey in the middle of the ocean. There are still storms, streams, and hot sun. BUT this time you have found your North Star : something strong and that doesn’t move, something you can look for when in doubts of the right course. Something that helps you readjust the actions you take in order to go back in the right direction, and finally reach your destination (no matter how many storms on the way!) 

The relation between Goals setting and actual Achievements :

[ AAAAND ACTION ! ] Write down your key goal at the moment (it can be a visibility goal, a sales conversion goal, an income goal, an impact goal…) and get really (really) specific : why is that goal important? By when do you want this goal to be reached and why? What are the key milestones on your way to this goal, that needs to be reached?

Now, make sure you review your progress toward this goal as often as possible : That’s the KEY to achieving it !

  • You can keep track of your KPIs in a simple spreadsheet that you fill EVERY WEEK.
  • You can journal about this goal daily (to get connected with your purpose, and get pulled towards it instead of pushing and pushing).
  • You can visualise how things will look like once this goal is reached, by creating a Goal Board, or a pinterest board.

No matter what you choose, remember that “What we focus on, grows”… and so be sure to dedicate time to focus on that goal (and have all your activities, readings, meditations, webinar watching… converge on this very goal!)

Best Practice # 3 Focus on 1 thing at a time

That’s probably the BIGGEST lessons from our own entrepreneurial journey : focusing on 1 thing at a time is the most powerful way to move forward efficiently.

Because ups and downs are one thing, but when on top of that you are nowhere near reaching your goals, it can become quite frustrating (and simply unsustainable !). If this is what you experience today : don’t give up ! You simply need to develop something they forget to talk about in classic “start’up business planning” approach… Leadership Skills.

When you step into your Leadership shoes, you get to decide a course of action with more clarity and confidence. You get to create more impact and revenues… and most importantly, you get to enjoy the ride more !!

One thing we have noticed many entrepreneurs struggle with is knowing exactly what to focus on when… and what NOT to spend time and energy on !

>> At Changemakers Association, we have supported dozens of changemakers from 23+ countries. Because of this, we have seen first hand what approaches work, and where people struggle the most to make progress in their social enterprises.

That’s why we’re thrilled to invite you to Leadership Roadmap, a 1 hour workshop where you’ll learn what to focus on when in order to lead a financially sustainable social enterprise !

During the workshop, we will share with you : 

  • How to make smart decisions in each of the 3 foundations of leadership: learning, sharing and growing.
  • Behind-the-scenes, transparent and authentic stories of our own journeys (including our own ups and downs!)
  • Exactly which pieces of the puzzle you should be focused on at each stage of growth (and what NOT to focus on!) to take your impact to the next level !

Say bye to feeling overwhelmed, ciao to procrastination, and hello to the FLOW 😉

[ AAAAND ACTION ! ] We hope to see you soon during the workshop ! There are several session times to choose from when you sign up (including immediate access) so you can pick the option that fits best with your schedule.


We’d love to hear your perspective !

Share in the comments below, what is your #1 best practice when it comes to dealing with Ups and Downs ?!


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