How To Deal With Frustration/Not Making Progress
In today's episode, I just want to check in with you all really because I've been having some really quite deep conversations with a lot of you on social media and a lot of you are feeling frustrated. It's that time of the year where things are slowing down and your sales aren't going through as quickly or people aren’t responding to your emails. You’re just feeling frustrated and a bit aggie and like you're not making progress. We all go through it. This is just the natural cycle of working for yourself or running a business. So in this episode, I want to talk about a couple of things that I do when I start to feel that way with business.
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This episode was spawned from a lot of frustrated messages that I was getting on Instagram. In particular, from some of you guys who are going through a bit of a rough time right now. Firstly, I'm so sorry that a lot of you are going through that and I want you to know that you're not alone, this is absolutely a natural part of working for yourself or running a business, especially in those early stages, especially whilst we're going through a global pandemic. Especially as you're trying to break through and get to those new customers and getting yourself off the ground, in terms of working for yourself. So you're not alone. I'm here for you and let me talk a little bit about what I like to do in these circumstances, because we all go through it. It's important to know, this is just the natural ebb and flow of business and particularly, it's good to know that every year, you will spot patterns and that certain times of the year will be naturally quieter and that could be down to a number of things. Whether it be the big sales seasons, in general consumer behaviour for example, running up to Christmas is usually busy for consumers, which means sometimes busy for companies, but companies usually do all their prep, running up to Christmas a little bit earlier. So sometimes you can see a bit of a dip from a lot of corporates, if they are running up to that busy season, they've got less of a focus on trying new things, or working with new suppliers around that time, because it's very hectic, it's very chaotic, everything's going on for them - internally. So that's important to know and you'll find that is usually the New Year can also be a little bit quiet but around March/April, that’s when it really kicks off, that's usually my busiest time of year. That's why probably this pandemic kind of hit even harder, psychologically, because just around the time that we would usually be rearing up to our busiest time of year, that’s when all of the work died off, and the world stood still. I mean, that's just anecdotal, that could be different for everyone and it also depends on what industry you're working with, specifically.
So if you're working with a particular niche that happens to have opposite sales cycles, so maybe they're busy period is during the summer but then really quiet around March, April, it's really vary depending on who you're working with. So number one could be a way to deal with your frustration is maybe have a look at some of those trends, maybe do a bit of research online to find out where those sales cycles lie. In England in the UK, specifically and it's also important to to know when the tax year falls, because that also has quite a big impact, usually anyway, on things like marketing budgets. And so that's not something that you can necessarily find out readily, but in England I think it's the same in the other UK countries, but specifically in England, that's where my company is based, a lot of companies year ends will be around March/April. So again, that's why it tends to get busy with new budgets are coming in and everyone's looking to allocate more, sometimes you can benefit from people having a little bit left over in their marketing budget, and they need to spend it before the new tax year. So, you know, all of those things are coming into play in the background which I guess leads me on to point number two, which is that when I'm feeling frustrated, or I'm not getting as many sales or I'm not kind of pushing or progressing, as much as I wish that I was I like to sometimes bring it back to the core basics of business which is - am I thinking about them?
Let me take myself out of my own head, my own bias, my own wants and needs and let me put myself in their shoes, in my customers shoes, and my clients shoes, in my potential customer and client shoes. Let me think about this from their point of view and sometimes it's as simple as that. That can already give me a good enough big picture perspective to not feel frustrated anymore.
So for example, if I'm waiting on a project to be signed off, you know, we literally on the final stretch, they've committed to the project, we know what we need to do, we've committed to the kind of project it's going to be, we've even got a high level storyboard in place, I'm just waiting for them to sign off the script or I'm just waiting for them to sign off the budget. Then, we can go and then that will be important for me because I can invoice my deposit invoice, and then that will mean cash flow into the company account and all that stuff that’s going on in my head. But actually, let me take myself out of that and let me think about it from their point of view.
This project is about to launch and we've done all the prep work. So why might they have delayed it their end? Well, you know, maybe this was part of a larger marketing or event strategy that now has been pushed back or is suffering, or is having to be redesigned because of COVID. So potentially, that's why it's been delayed or potentially, my project manager, my direct line of contact with the client, maybe they've got some personal stuff going on at home. Maybe they've got loads going on and actually, they've just not had a chance to chase it up on our behalf. Maybe they don’t want that project to start just yet because they're really busy. Do you see what I'm kind of getting it? There could be all these different reasons going on, on their side, really human reasons as well, not just like….oh, the company accounts don't align and or any of those more bureaucratic reasons. It could be more personal reasons. Like I say, all businesses is human right? So it could be that the humans on their side are going through some stuff. I once had a project that was signed off, deposit invoice was paid, we were ready to go, shoot date was scheduled, and then literally I just never heard from them, never heard from them. I chased and I rang them and it was the day of the shoot, I was in London, because I thought, well, I'm going to be here just in case, but I've not heard anything. I thought, this is really weird. It was one of those situations where luckily, it was just me and it's not like i'd pulled in a load of other crew for it but it really was bizarre. I was so annoyed, because I felt this is ridiculous waste of my time and I just couldn't get a response from anyone. Low and behold I think, probably a good few weeks had passed and it turned out that the person who was heading up that project had died really suddenly, a heart attack, and so on their side, on the company side, not only were they dealing with this grief, not only were they dealing with this huge loss, a fairly big company, but this person in particular was at the heart of that company, you know. They’d been there since it started, they were really quite an important figure. So everyone was grieving, but also, now they were dealing with the ramifications of that person's death and having to put things in place behind the scenes and take over their duties and, you know, get around to all of the 10s of hundreds of projects that, that person was responsible for. Obviously my shoot, my little tiny part was this tiny bit of the puzzle for them and when you kind of realise something like that, you go - wow that’s heavy, you know? Sometimes it takes half of putting yourself in those in those mindsets, sometimes it takes kind of zooming out and looking at the big picture and even if you don't know what's going on, your clients or your potential clients, and even just kind of thinking about what could possibly be going on kind of alleviates frustration. But you know what, just think - everyone's going through a tough time right now so maybe they're going through a really tough time and I'm not going to get angry and I'm not going to get frustrated and although of course there are ramifications for you, whether that be you know you need to pay your rent, you need to put a roof over your head, you need to put food on your table. Of course, those things are important but also, there's a human on the other side of that, so hat just helps me. I think, learning that early on, and having that experience with that particular client really helped. As horrible as that is to say, it helped shape my perspective on things like this. So that's a really good solution.
The other thing, which is a bit less perspective and mindset, and a little bit more like cold, hard, practical advice would be to go have a look through all of your correspondence that you've been sending out to potential clients. Go have a look through all of that or have a think through like the phone calls that you've had, have a think through the marketing, you've put out. What have you written in your captions on social media? Just analyse all the stuff you've been putting out and analyse how much of it is from the perspective of helping yourself versus helping that other person? In your emails, are you talking me, me, me? Do you need work from me? I'm an expert so I can help you with this. If so, change that. Change the tone, the vocabulary. How can I help you? What problem do you have in your business? How can I help solve your problems? Where are you at with your marketing? Can this help you with your sales? Can I help you solve your problems? I know that I always bring it back to this, but that is what is at the heart of business, personally that’s what I think is good business, a good service, a good product at the heart of that is helping solve someone's problem. So, of course, you're not going to get as far with your sales, and as far with your marketing, if you are coming from a selfish point of view, and don't get me wrong, we can absolutely all get into that headspace, I can be very guilty of that sometimes, you know, I just get in my own head. And I get frustrated and I can go into that place. It's funny because I can spot it immediately because I will look through the stuff that I'm putting out and be like - oh, yeah, I can really tell that I was in a ‘me me me’ mode then and I wasn't thinking about the other person, I wasn't thinking about solving someone else's problem. I wasn't thinking about how I can offer value and ultimately, in order to run a good business, in order to deliver good services to your clients, to the people in your life in general, you have to put them first. You have to think from their perspective. So cold, hard, practical advice, go through your correspondence, your emails, and see if you've been a little bit to me, me, me and then with the next load of emails you send, make sure that you make it about them. Make sure that you're offering to solve their problems, ask them about their business, how are they doing during this time, rather than coming from a selfish point of view.
I hope those few little tips can get you through this difficult time. It's just small changes, but I promise you can make a massive difference. It's like the little ripple in the river… you throw the pebble and the ripples get bigger and bigger. Just from that one little throw, just change that slight thing in your mindset in the way you're approaching people and that will have massive repercussions down the line, I promise you. However, also know that it is okay, it’s okay, this is a part of being in business for yourself that you will go through cycles like this, but it's important that you do reach out.
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