The Rickety Tool Shed: Subtitled, The Importance of Getting Your Mind Right

The Rickety Tool Shed: Subtitled, The Importance of Getting Your Mind Right

A guy down the street decided to build his own tool shed. He’s not exactly handy or mechanically-inclined, so his DIY project was doomed. He didn’t appear to follow any type of plan. He kept trying to bolt thin, flimsy pieces of metal together and they weren’t even straight. Everything looked ramshackle and uneven. Worst of all, he did not anchor his contraption to anything. I live in Oklahoma where the wind does indeed come sweeping down the plains and the first gust took the whole thing apart. I bet pieces of that thing made it all the way to the next county!

Is your business built on a solid foundation?

Or is it like the rickety tool shed that blew apart? Sometimes entrepreneurs get frustrated with the BS they encounter at their day job and decide to strike out on their own. Some prepare well and others don’t. In a moment of desperation, they resign on a Friday and set a shingle out on Monday morning, hoping that doing the same things they did at their day job will work for them in self-employment. You may already know from direct experience that plan is not a solid foundation.

Working IN a business or working ON a business…

There is a vast difference between working 8 to 5 in an office where you show up, do the job, and then clock out versus running the whole enterprise by yourself. A lot of solopreneurs try to do everything themselves, either out of having an ego that’s too big or attempting to pinch pennies. They run around frantically and burnout because they aren’t even doing the things they intended to do when they started the damn thing! The 8-to-5 office employee works IN a business; the guy on his own has to also work ON his business. These are two distinct things.

Your foundation has to bear the weight.

Here’s some handy trivia in case you’re ever on Jeopardy: according to This Old House, the average weight of a house is 50 tons and the average weight of a foundation is 7.5 tons. This means the foundation must be able to sustain more than 6 times its own weight and if it can’t, you have major (and very expensive) problems. This is the point where most coaches or consultants would go over a dry list of practical action items: did you draft a business plan; did you file for an LLC; did you open a business bank account; have you looked into coworking spaces to save money at first; etc. I disagree with that order of operations.

It all begins with getting your mind right.

You can have every practical, financial, and legal step executed perfectly and still fail. Just as someone else might “wing it” on those things and succeed anyway because the mental foundation was solid. Let’s use a few examples:

• Your agreements and invoices clearly say that payment is due in full at Net 10, but a client doesn’t follow through. In fact, their AP department tells you, “Aww, well. Due dates are just arbitrary anyway. We’ll put your check in the mail here soon.” (This happened to me word-for-word a few years ago. I almost dropped the phone.)

• Your A+ candidate turns out not to be and circumvents you to begin negotiating with the client directly, which leads to him being released from consideration, costing you a $30K placement fee.

• Your best sales rep resigns without notice and takes a copy of your client list with her as she walks out the door.

How will you handle these setbacks? Will you fly off the handle and cuss everyone out? Will you get depressed and spend the whole night crying and screaming? Will you binge eat an entire tub of ice cream to soothe yourself with sugar? Someone with a solid mental foundation understands, as Susan Jeffers says in her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: “Whatever happens, I’ll handle it.” That person knows that challenges will occur but also knows that they can handle the tough times. It’s no big deal. The person who hasn’t gotten their mind right first is often in oscillating states of panic and fear, anger and resentment, paranoia, and depression. Don’t skip the step of building your mental foundation before you start a business.

Where’s your mind at? Could you use some help working your way out of a funk? Do you realize now that you started a business without getting your mind right? Let’s talk about it.

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