026: Don't Give Up! How To Get Out Of The Entrepreneur Dip
Are you feeling frustrated and unmotivated, even though only a few weeks ago you were feeling on top of the world about building your business and then, seemingly out of nowhere, you feel despondent?
You feel like it's never going to work - what were you thinking?
Well, the good news is that it is completely normal and today we're going to dive into exactly why it's normal and - importantly - what you can do about it. Let’s go!
So, you've found your purpose, right? Only a few months ago, perhaps up to a year ago, you discovered that you had something within you that absolutely had to come out in the form of a business. You knew that you could help people. You knew that you wanted to create transformation - feel lit up every day, make fantastic income, make an impact. It was all good. You were riding high. And then suddenly you're thinking, what was I thinking? Why did I think this was a good idea? Suddenly you’re letting the negative things said by those naysayers that popped up along the way ring true for you.
That thing that your Mum or your partner said, where they were like, ‘really? you're going to give up a day job to do that? Is there really money in it? Is that really an option for you?’ At first you were like, ‘oh absolutely. Listen - the online business world is phenomenal. There's so much opportunity. There's so much money out there. I can do something I love for the rest of my life. This is amazing! Then suddenly you're like, ‘why did I think that? It feels difficult suddenly, what exactly am I going to do next? Am I going to give up?’
Here's the good news - it's so normal, experts are writing books about it.
I'm sure you've heard of Seth Godin - he is a marketing genius and he's written a book called ‘The Dip’ where he recognises that it's a journey all entrepreneurs go through, where we go into this ‘dip’, which is a great word for it, right? It certainly resonates with me. Not that long ago I was in the dip too, which is why I feel so passionate about recording this particular episode today.
That first stage where you first find your purpose and realise that there's an online business opportunity for you, you feel like it's fun, right?
It's amazing feeling so high, but then the dip is what exists between starting out and the mastery. It's the long slog between beginner's luck and actually becoming the expert. The key is not to just enjoy it, but to embrace it, because it's part of the journey.
It's the part that you will tell the tales of. It's the part where you overcome the adversity. It's important that you don't quit because success is on the other side of the dip.
Any chance of being exceptional is always on the other side of the dip and it's this adversity that separates the few who make it from the majority who stay average.
If you're here right now, then you are someone who is not unfamiliar with adversity, because we are attracted to people who resonate with us. I talk about my tales of adversity and how the overcoming of that adversity is what makes us who we are. It gives us that resilience and that ambition. For that very reason, let's not be scared of the adversity that is in place now and will come in the future, that's going to further our ambition and help us build businesses of our dreams. Whilst I say don't quit, that doesn't mean don't quit the wrong stuff - if there's something you're doing right now that isn't resonating, that you are feeling is heavy, work, or something that isn't lighting you up, then you do not have to keep doing it. Focus on the right stuff and putting in the energy about building that and let the uncomfortable stuff go, because your intuition is giving you a message.
It is simply saying that you can quit the wrong stuff.
Seth Godin's book absolutely encourages you and talks about how the most successful entrepreneurs have quit things along the way, so you can do so too. However, that doesn't mean you quit your dream. Another book that talks about exactly the same thing is Cameron Herold's book called ‘Double Double: How to double your revenue and profit in three years or less’ - awesome title, right? He talks about the five stages of the entrepreneur’s transition curve. This is basically a rollercoaster, and you go on this rollercoaster every time before you level up. In fact, we should embrace the roller coaster because when you start going into a dip, it just means that you are heading for your next upswing.
In Cameron Herold's transition curve, you start out in stage one and he calls this uninformed optimism. Does that sound familiar? It's where you feel excited, passionate, you're on fire and you're going through a period of rapid learning and growth.
At this point, you feel invincible.
Perhaps this was the time when you first realised that you had a purpose and that you knew that there was a business out there, a business you could grow where you can transform lives and make loads of money. It felt great. It was like, ‘yeah, all I've got to do is get myself on Instagram and create an offer and I'm off’ and you just knew that that momentum would carry you. Of course, it only carried you so far, because the watch out in stage one is that you can be easily oversold, and you can get unrealistic expectations.
Now, if you're still in stage one, then optimise on it, because there is nothing wrong with feeling full of energy, full of optimism and stepping towards it every day, taking the action. You embrace that because stage one is the time of growth. It's such an important stage, but you can also do it knowing that stage two is going to follow and that's okay because it's the entrepreneur journey that everyone goes on.
Stage two is where you might be right now, if the title of this episode resonated so much with you, which is informed pessimism. This is where you've got more information and with it’s come confusion, fear, and frustration. You're starting to feel pessimistic. You might be thinking, ‘gosh, you know, I got an Instagram, but I'm just not growing.
How do I reach more people? I created my first offer, but not that many clients are now coming, so how do I push out of this? How do I move to my next level? How do I make growing my business just that little bit easier? How do I move into profit? How do I understand the levers and mechanisms, which things I should do and which things I should stop doing?’ These are fantastic questions because this means that you're becoming more informed and you're starting to understand that there are different skills and knowledge that you need to get under your belt in order for you to level up to the next level.
In the next stage, you could enter crisis of meaning and this is where you get genuinely scared or despairing. You can actually feel helpless because the confusion has just tipped the balance and suddenly, you're not so sure. Can I really build that business you ask yourself? Can I really think that this is what I should be doing, or have I made a big mistake?
I was completely unrealistic when I first stepped into this. Crisis of meaning is fine - it’s normal - because it's what happens next that will define you. You can go in one of two directions. You can either enter a stage which is rather pessimistically called crash and burn. This is where you just give up.
85% of solo businesses actually fail in their first year and those that get through are those that recognise their feelings and actually reach out for support so they can continue to grow.
That's the direction that we all want to take, and that stage five called informed optimism is where you now feel calm, knowledgeable, and you're cautiously optimistic and moving forward - the growth continues. I love the way that both Seth Godin and Cameron Herold have defined this dip, this moment in all of our journeys where things just feel hard and heavy, and we're not really sure where to take it next. I went through this myself only a few short weeks ago, and suddenly realised that even though I had worked so, so hard for so many months, that I just didn’t know what to do next - how to level up, what the next steps were and ultimately how to feel better and get back on track.
It's because of this that I was so inspired to understand this better, and I love the fact that this is normal. If you're feeling this way at all, if you're in the dip, please feel fine that this is part of your growth. The question is what to do about it. I'd love to share what I discovered, what I did about it and not only that, I also spoke to my clients about it, who were feeling the same way. As we spoke and I shared my experiences, I was so excited to find that actually it was helping them too and they were able to literally lift themselves up and move on with great spirit and enthusiasm. I'm excited to share them with you now.
There are three steps. The first step is to recognise it, to recognise the dip and show some compassion to yourself. Be kind. At the end of the day, you don't have to push so hard and if you do, you're going to head into burnout, which is exactly the position that I had led myself into. It's time to just take a break. It could be literally shutting that laptop, stepping away from your mobile phone and taking an afternoon off, having a warm bath - which is my favourite way of taking a break - or simply taking the best part of a week off - refusing to do overtime, stop missing meals, stop working in the evening, whatever it is that feels a burden to you. If you need the permission, this is it.
Just stop, take a break, because it's in that pause that the realisation will come - that the divine download, the inspiration can allow itself to flow through you again, because isn't this true that when you're in the dip, one of the worst things is that you feel blocked for inspiration and enthusiasm – and that's where the real fun is.
That's where you get to play. The best way, the only way of having that come back, is to take a pause, because this is your opportunity to reset.
That's my second piece of advice, which is to help yourself to find a better vibration. If you're into manifesting, the law of attraction, you’ll get what I mean by vibration. If that's not something for you, I simply mean energy, enthusiasm.
How can you feel more vibrant, have more energy? I think there are two ways of doing this so effectively. The first one is to look at what is working rather than what isn't. Have a good look at where you've come from, how far you've come, and celebrate your successes, because there are plenty along the way.
Have you had a paying customer? Have you created some transformation? Have you developed new skills and learnt something that you never thought you'd have the ability to learn? Perhaps you've met new people, lifelong friends, people to collaborate with - all of this is working. Take those moments and celebrate them, knowing that they are your signs that you're on the right path.
The second part of helping yourself is to find where the fun is again. Now I completely dropped my self-care when I was in the dip and I felt like I had to work harder in order to achieve more and I didn't have enough time in the day. This is what I believed. I believed that doing the meditation, taking the run, wasn't important. It wasn’t more important than getting to my desk and completing that piece of work, that presentation, that email, that social media content. I truly believed that self-care was secondary. What a mistake that was. It wasn't until I reached the dip, that point of almost crashing and burning and feeling burnt out, that the realisation came to me that the self-help has to come first. You have to get yourself in a much better feeling state.
By doing your journaling, your meditation, your exercise, whatever it is that you enjoy - perhaps it's playing music or doing your art - this is where the magic happens and you start to feel better, and by feeling better more inspiration comes and the enthusiasm comes back. You get to lift your vibration. Instead of being in this heavy state of saying, ‘I can't, I don't know, what do I do?’
You start saying, ‘this is fun. I like this! Perhaps I should do more of it. In fact, I've just had a great idea. I could do this as well’ - and suddenly ideas start to flow.
The next step is to find the fun and do it more. For example, I was pushing out a lot of complicated offers. At one point I was having a lot of fun. I built a fantastic workshop called creating offers, which I absolutely adored, but I felt really tired by the time I'd completed that and felt like I wanted to step away because it wasn't having enough fun creating new offers at that point. However, I did find - and this was very unexpected - that I was enjoying making reels on Instagram.
At first, I thought that TikTok was only for kids and indeed my teenager just loves them, when I discovered that actually middle-aged people were having a lot of fun on Instagram, creating reels that added real value, I got really excited. You can take a peek on my Instagram, which is IamJo.Ingram. You can see me having a lot of fun with reels! I was doing this for pure passion, but of course by showing my passion and doing what I was enjoying, I was actually getting quite a lot of engagement.
People were gravitating towards it. And that's the magic of when you're doing something you enjoy, your vibration is really high.
My third step for today is to reach out. This is where, when you're in a dip, you simply need to get more informed. It feels confusing and it feels overwhelming because you don't know the answers, but there are other people out there who do. Whether that's a life coach that can help you with your broader issues or whether it's a business coach like me, who can literally help you find the exact steps that you need next in order to elevate you and lift you out of the dip. Make sure that if you work with a coach, you work with a coach that's right for you. There are two important things in my view.
One is to have real strategies, real information that you can follow. For your business you might need to understand much better about how to grow your email list or how to create your first paid offer. You might need to understand more about your avatar and your niche. You may even need to go right back to basics and start understanding how your purpose fits into an online business model. This is the information that you need to take you to the next level.
However, quite often we have a lack of confidence that’s stopping us taking the next step and moving into an area that we know will elevate our business, whether that's fear of visibility or imposter syndrome, or even a fear of success. Often it underpins some of the barriers that we put in front of ourselves when it comes to real strategies and action taking.
If you want to talk about this more, you can jump into a free 30-minute strategy session with me - I'll put the link in the show notes so you can jump into my Calendly and book a time with me. Let's chat about what's happening in your business right now and how I could help.
Let's summarise what we've gone through today. First up, it is really normal to go into the dip. This roller coaster is a ride that every single entrepreneur in the world goes on and you are no different. Next, actually going through the dip is going to give you even more reserves, resilience, and inspiration. It's an important part of the journey. So don't despise it, embrace it. Next, know that you absolutely can rise out of this dip. Remember the three ways that I described - recognise it, help yourself and reach out.
I adore doing podcasts on things that mean a lot to me and this dip is something that's come around and around. I've recorded previous podcast episodes also talking about raising your vibe. I just understand so clearly because I'm seeing it in myself and in my clients and in so many people reaching out and just acknowledging that this is the case. When you reach six months, 12 months, 18 months into your business, and suddenly you're worried that you're not sure if you can keep the momentum, no wonder there's a crisis of confidence.
I really hope that this podcast has reached out to you today and has given you the hope or the encouragement that you need to take your next step, or to know if you haven't yet hit the dip that it's coming and it's OK. Also, to know if you're in the dip that it's just time to rise from it and there are strategies and people out there that can help. Have an action filled week. Speak soon.