Feeling Down About the State of Your Business? Make an Asset List to Pull Yourself Out of the Funk

Make Your Business Asset List

If you’ve spent any time doing personal growth work, then you’ve likely heard some variation of the expression, “what you appreciate, appreciates.”

Also known as:

“Energy flows where attention goes.”

“What you focus on expands.”

“You attract what you think about.”

“Energy follows thought.”

And so on.

Practicing an “abundance mindset” or “prosperity consciousness” (or simply a positive outlook if you don’t happen to be into personal growth lingo), is very important to the success of your business.

You’ve no doubt experienced this.

When things are going well, you feel unstoppable, on top of the world, insert your favorite cliché here, and you’re more motivated than ever to do the next big thing on your business to-do list, the thing that will get you closer to your dream scenario, even if it feels huge and uncomfortable and scary.

You’ve probably noticed that when you feel positive about your business and act from that state of consciousness, more good things come your way.

But when things aren’t going so well – your last promotion launched to crickets, you made very few sales last month and your income ain’t looking too damn skippy this month either, no one is reading your blog posts or opening your emails, and you don’t have enough clients, no matter how much marketing you do – well, then, it can be a tad harder to feel motivated to keep at it.

Me, you, and everyone else we know who has a successful business doing big things in the world has experienced the above not-so-wonderful scenario. The trick is to not let yourself spiral into a negativity funk that becomes your permanent state of mind and prevents you from making progress on your business goals and big vision.

How Creating an Asset List Helped Me Transform from Cranky Pessimist Back to Cheerful Optimist

Back in August, I went through a couple of very trying weeks. It’s wasn’t any one big thing, but a long series of minor annoyances, stressors, irritations and challenges, that piled one on top of the other in rapid succession, left me feeling overwhelmed, cranky, and defeated.

And it just kept coming. From a slow business month to a minor car accident to a call-back after a routine medical test (turned out ‘twas nothing) to a few other unsavory things, and I was hitting the Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Caramel Fudge like nobody’s business. Practically nightly.

Now, I’m generally a very positive person, but during those two weeks in August, I’m sorry to say I spent a little bit too much time dwelling on what I did not have.

In my business, I wished for more income, more clients, a bigger email list, a new website, and a best-selling book. In my personal life, I wanted more time to visit friends, time to write for myself, a lavish vacation off the grid for a couple of weeks, and a few other things I’d be too embarrassed to share in a public venue.

I felt hamstrung and stuck by what I perceived to be my “lack” of this or that thing.

But the “lack” is a big fat lie. It’s a myth.

The truth is, I have everything I need, right now in this moment, to create exactly the business and the life I want, while enjoying the really wonderful life I already have. 

When I succumb to that nasty lack mentality in my business, what pulls me out of it every time is focusing on the benefits, resources, opportunities and advantages I do have, by making an asset list.

An asset list for your business includes things like:

:: Your current clients, past clients, and clients on their way to you now, even if you can’t see them yet

:: All those people who have inquired about working with you or buying your products or services, but who haven’t become clients or customers yet. Let’s call them “potential clients.” (I dislike the terms “leads” and “prospects” to describe this category of people because of how transactional it sounds, but that’s essentially what it is.)

:: Your blog, website, Etsy shop, Shopify store, or other online venue that makes it possible for you to sell online 

:: Your email subscribers, blog readers and social media followers

:: Your products and services

:: Your body of work

:: The talents, skills, gifts and abilities you possess that allow you to do the work you do and earn an income from it

:: The sales you made this week, this month, this year

:: The ideas and inspiration you have for new products and services you can offer

:: Access to the internet and other miraculous technology that make doing business easier these days than it’s ever been before

:: Your beautiful, beautiful mind

:: And so on and so forth

Once I made my own asset list, which includes everything on the list above and more, I felt much, much better about those two terrible weeks in August, which in truth, weren’t that terrible after all.

In fact, because things were a little slow business-wise in August, I was able to go home to visit the family for a few days, focus a big chunk of time researching and outlining my book, and map out my 4Q plan, all things that wouldn’t have happened had I been booked solid with work.

And, since it’s a law of the universe that what you focus on expands, when I paid attention to the assets in my business, rather than the so-called lack, new opportunities came my way. I got six new clients, an uptick in email subscribers, an introduction to what could be a huge source of referrals for my business, and a few other pretty great opportunities that will play out over the next few months.

So if you’re feeling down about the state of your business, bemoaning all the things you think you lack, sit down and make your asset list. You’ll feel a whole lot better when you do.

And when you focus on all the good you already have, more good will come to you.

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The Thing You Have to Understand Is That You Are Different

blog img_You are different

:: Not everybody wants to escape the 9-5 world. 

:: Not everybody who is deeply unhappy in the 9-5 world makes the leap to self-employment or any other kind of cubicle liberation. 

:: Not everybody wants to start a blog. Or launch a website. Or create an Etsy shop. Or write a newsletter for an audience of raving fans.  

:: Not everybody believes it’s possible to liberate themselves from unfulfilling work and build an online presence that sells their good and services, all while tapping into their innate talents and skills and abilities. 

:: Not everybody is comfortable sharing their art – whether that’s writing, graphic design, fine art, photography, business & marketing strategy, or any other kind of creative pursuit – in a public venue. 

:: Not everybody feels the fear and does it anyway. 

:: Not everybody chooses the friction of being visible over the much more palatable friction of being invisible. (Inspired by Mark Nepo

:: Not everybody chooses to feel utterly alive doing what they love to do, despite being terrified a crash and burn scenario could be imminent.  

:: Not everybody decides to take action on their dreams despite the naysayers who proclaim it’s not possible to do work you love and be well-paid for it.

:: Not everybody believes that creative sovereignty is a worthwhile and achievable goal.  

:: Not everybody keeps marching to the beat of their own quirky drummer when it would make much more sense to cave and get a job. 

:: Not everybody understands the liberating and undeniable joy of being unemployable. (I am full-time self-employed, but I consider myself unemployable.) 

:: Not everybody reads blogs like this one for marketing advice/how-tos/inspiration. (Thanks for that, by the way). 

:: Not everybody believes they have to ask permission from some kind of “gatekeeper” to do their thing, pursue their art, and sell it

The thing you have to understand is that you are different. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Revel in it. Fall in love with it. 

 

What would you add to this list? What do you believe/do/practice that goes against the accepted wisdom about how to earn a living or pursue your creative work? Please share in the comments!

Inspiring Business Reads: The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau

$100 Startup Book

Want to launch a business, be happy, and live life on your own terms?

Then I have the book for you.

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau, is a guide to building and launching a successful microbusiness based on your skills and interests, and yes, if it’s something people will pay for, your passion.

I’ve read this book twice – the first time in a single weekend, then later, over the space of couple of weeks. Inspiring stuff here.

Collecting data from over 1500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more per year from a small investment (in many cases less than $100, hence the book’s title), Guillebeau chose 50 of the most inspiring stories to focus on in the book.

The book is more than a series of case studies – it’s actually a blueprint for launching a small business around something you love that others care about.

It covers how to test your market, how to write a one-page business plan, how to create a killer offer, and how to launch, among other things. Checklists and templates are included; I loved the 39 step product launch checklist, for example – very handy.

Case studies include everything from a small business transcriptionist to a day-care marketer and a maker of ketubot (custom designed Jewish wedding contracts) to an event planner who puts on art workshops.

If you think what you do – or want to do – can’t be turned into business that supports you and brings you joy, then I encourage you to read this book.

However.

For my money, the most important distinction he makes is that a successful business exists at the intersection of something you love that you can get paid for, something Guillebeau calls convergence.

That second part is very important – that you can get paid for.

I’m all about following your passion, but the truth is, not every passion can be turned into a business, nor should it be. I’m passionate about watching what my favorite Bravo-lebrities are up to on my “shows” each week, but I’ve yet to figure out a way to make money from that. (Andy Cohen, if you are reading this post, please hit me up on Twitter and let’s chat.)

In fact, as Guillebeau mentions, “you usually don’t get paid for your hobby itself; you get paid for helping other people pursue the hobby or for something indirectly related to it.”

There are several case studies in the book that illustrate this point, like the story of Benny Lewis, a world traveler who loves to immerse himself in other cultures and learn their languages, which he’s figured out how to do in a very short time. Benny says he gets paid to learn other languages, but what he actually gets paid to do is help others learn languages using methods he’s perfected as a result of his own travels over the years.

At the end of the day it’s passion plus a skill that provides a solution to a problem that produces a successful business.

Here’s the formula, according to Guillebeau:

(Passion + skill) –> (problem + marketplace) = opportunity

Once you’ve got that nailed, you can use the exercises in this book to help turn your idea, skills and passion into a business.

And if you’re just starting out and don’t have your big idea mapped out just yet, this book will help you see what’s possible.

Fun, freedom and fulfillment, here we come.

Learn more about the book and get inspired at The $100 Startup.

And check out Chris’s site here, including his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity: Unconventional Strategies for Life, Work, and Travel.

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