Imagine your business growing in the way you want. It provides you with fulfillment and freedom. You feel amazing because you know it took a great deal of effort to reach this point. You feel proud of it.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
However, when we start to look at our path, those challenges seem harder than we thought. There are days when you may feel overwhelmed. Maybe you wish there were more hours in the day to complete just a few more things on your to-do list.
Those days when you feel like you are not cut out for having a business, those are the challenges that bring down businesses and entrepreneurs. They cause burnout and make you feel like this is impossible.
But, they are not designed to do that. Those are growing pains; they are a particular kind of challenge that is designed to teach you something about you and your business.
Most often than not, when someone launches a business, she never takes the time to plan for those moments where growth has already passed the point where you can handle everything. And this is one of the biggest mistakes I see among new entrepreneurs.
They just assume they will be able to work at the same growing rhythm forever, without slowing down, taking vacations or taking into account the number of customers they will have. They just assume everything will work out.
That’s the fast lane towards burnout and to create a prison out of your business. I’m sure that’s the last thing you want.
Instead of just assuming everything will work wonders, I propose you devote some time to understand your business’ growing pain points.
A growing pain point, it’s just a part of your business that is fragile because it depends on a lot of things happening. It can arise in any area of your business, but most often than not, it happens to those areas that have complicated processes or need too much of your attention.
Let’s take me as an example. When I was starting out as a freelance designer, I was able to focus on one project at a time and meet my deadlines, mostly because I had few clients and it was uncommon for me to get more than one at a time.
But as I grew and my client’s starting to recommend me, I had to work more hours to keep the same demand for my skills. That was a growing pain point.
Let’s dig deeper and see what was happening.
First of all, we need to recognize the good. I had more clients and recommendations which meant that I was doing the right thing and growing my business in general. Hooray!
That’s all good, but as Uncle Ben would say: With great power, there must also come great responsibility.
So with an increased number of clients and projects, I also had an increased workload on the administrative side of the business. I also had to start investing more in the programs and systems I used on every project.
I had to take into account not only the number of hours I was devoting to my core work, but also understand the systems that were affected by this increased workload. On top of that, when a business grows, you don’t get any extra hours in the day.
I had no clue how to handle the growing pains. I used to think I could just burst through my to-do list and work more time, but that’s never the answer for this situation. It only creates more problems.
As the growing pains become bigger, I started to understand the hidden message behind them.
Now that I’m a bit wiser, I know that I had to start thinking outside the box. What brought me to that level of growth was not the way to solve it. I had to embrace new ways of doing things to keep a good level of service.
I got better tools, created new processes and simplified some that were just too time-consuming to keep going.
With all the changes in place, the growing pains disappeared, and I was able to handle more clients with ease. No more stress.
The same happens for all businesses, just in different ways. It all depends on your core work and the way you handle the admin side of your business.
But the lesson is always the same. You can’t do the same thing forever; you need to learn, adapt and level up your skills.
Once you start looking at the growing pains as an opportunity to overhaul your business, they will take on a whole different meaning. They will be milestones achieved and badges of honor that you can wear as a proud business owner.
So, if you are facing these pains right now, take a moment and remember the image of your business that you created when you started reading this article. Picture it clearly, that’s where you are going.
And these challenges are just a bump in the road that you will remember with pride once you reach that new level. You can do it. You just need to stop and understand what these challenges are telling you.