You’ve finally taken the big leap into working your business full-time.
You’ve waited for this taste of freedom for a long time. You’ve got the business plan, the tools and strategies are working for you, and your ideas are flourishing.
The last few months have shown you a clear sign that you’re on the right path and it’s time to spend every day being your own boss.
You bounce out of bed every morning without needing an alarm clock. This was the life you dreamed of.
But after a month or two of growth, the income starts to plateau and drop.
You realise you no longer have the security of a monthly pay check taken care of by someone else. Never again will you receive X amount each month, with your 9% super contribution on top.
You start to panic.
What if I’ve made the wrong choice? What if my luck has run out? What if I just don’t have what it takes to make this business provide for me for the rest of my life? What if I’m just forgotten? What if it fails and I’m left with nothing?
Befriending fear and uncertainty
Consistent, or inconsistent, income is the biggest worry with running your online business.
To survive long-term you need to befriend uncertainty. You have to learn how to sit silently in the tumultuous fear swirling around you.
I struggle with it. My money demons creep out of the darkness and rasp You’re not good enough and It can never happen to you.
Nasty little gremlins aren’t they?
These fears start to pop up for me when I finish my contracted work. I immediately slump into that feeling of, “Damn well this is it. The run is over. I don’t have anything on the horizon so I’m screwed.”
What this fear does, is completely block the opportunities that are sitting in arms reach just waiting to be invited in. When one door closes it doesn’t mean all doors do. You just have to put on a pair of glasses for greater clarity and deeper insights.
Here’s how I overcome these doubts and fears when they strike:
Sit with the fear
One of my beloved mentors, Yossi Ghinsberg taught me that fear is not something you run from but swallow.
Whenever I start to feel the shallow breath, the churning stomach and the tightness in my chest from those attacking gremlins, I don’t race to the whiskey bottle, the packet of chocolates, or Facebook, I just sit in the anxiety and agony.
I focus on where it hurts in my body and I ask it why it’s here. After a little digging, I always strike the gold – I’m don’t feel good enough or that it can ever happen to me.
Hello lurking monster, now let’s play.
Disintegrate the fear
If you want a simple process for swallowing your fears and anxiety then you must read The Happiness Trap.
When you focus and understand your emotions (actually you don’t even have to understand them, you just have to feel them), after some time their power will just disappear. It’s when we try to ignore or run from them that they start to grow roots and wreak havoc.
So when you feel this fear and anxiety, just breathe slowly into and try to detach yourself from it.
You’ll start to see that you are NOT your fear – it’s just a feeling based on your own imaginings stemming on your past experiences or future worries. It’s not real in this moment.
When you detach from the fear it starts to disintegrate.
Empower your thoughts and actions
Now your fear is swallowed, you can think more clearly and truthfully about your situation. Time to prop yourself up with some strategies and empowering thoughts and actions.
1) Analyse your income streams
The best way to appease your mind is to look at your income streams.
Where is the money coming from?
During the first module of B School this year, I listed my income streams and evaluated which ones were making me the most money, which ones I loved doing the most, and where I wanted to focus my time.
I set goals for those income streams and created a plan with tasks that I’d have to do in order to improve them.
Now I had a series of actionable steps to implement. My income increased across all streams. This would never have happened if I did not first analyse what was happening with them.
What are you missing? Where can you improve?
I now have a spreadsheet with my monthly income goals for each stream, and at the end of each month, I add in the actual amount. Now I can clearly see what needs my attention.
This proactive strategy helps me feel confident and comfortable that I’m doing everything to ensure my income remains consistent and I’m not leaving anything on the table through ignorance.
2) Look at the bigger picture
When working jobs, the weekly or monthly payment makes it easier to budget and pay your bills.
Being an entrepreneur is a completely different way of thinking. You must look at the much bigger picture and plan for that.
You might only get paid on a contract basis, which means your payments come when the work is done. My invoices can be paid anything from immediately to six months later.
Make a list of all the work/contracts/invoices before you get paid so you know how much is owing to you in the future. This can help calm you down for those unpaid months that seem like nothing is coming through because the bank deposits are less.
Look back on your yearly income as well so you can see that this is just a dippy month. I’ll show you below how to plan so your dippy months don’t send you down the black hole.
3) Can you cut any expenses?
One of the best things to do is evaluate your expenses.
Where are you wasting money? What’s not really giving you a return on your investment?
This is a good time to cull and make some changes so you can improve the bottom line.
4) How have you been supported before?
I mentioned this in my post last week about running out of money when you travel.
When those doubts come flooding in that there is nothing else available to me, I look back at the evidence of my past through a series of questions.
As I moved into each new month, did I know where the money was coming from? Not really.
Was I doing everything I could to ensure the paths were open? Pretty much.
Am I now? Yes. Some tweaking might be needed though.
Has the work dried up before? Well no. Things have always magically appeared. Things I’ve never really expected. Actually, almost all the time what I needed arrived for me.
How long has this been going on for you? Well, it’s been a good eight months now of consistent healthy income
So if you’re doing all you can, if you’re setting your income goals, if you’re learning, loving what you do and giving the best you have, then why all of a sudden would the opportunities disappear ? Hmm. I guess not.
Why don’t you just start believing you deserve it and trust that you’ll continue to be supported? I guess this is the only thing I’m missing. Thanks for helping me see how I have been supported in the past. That means I will only keep being supported.
If you’re working on your mindset, if you’re doing what you love, if you’re changing peoples lives, if you’re learning and taking action, and things are consistently working for you then they will continue to do so.
If you’re consistently having bad months, and doors seem to be slamming shut or just not opening, then you will have to revaluate what you’re doing. Maybe you might need to return to the office until you come up with a clearer plan.
5) Turn to nature
I don’t just mean earthing and hugging trees. (although earthing is a smart healthy mindset choice!)
Look to how nature works and the lessons it teaches us every day just through observing.
Everything is cyclical. You’ve got your four seasons and in some places just a wet and dry. Either way, there are periods where everything starts to die or stagnate and those that have flourishing growth.
Use the dry spells to re-evaluate and make changes, and then have your plan in place for the lush.
Believe in the cycle and just ride it out.
6) Is there anything else you need to learn and implement?
Dry spells are great for improving your skills.
What’s missing from your business? What are some new ways you can bring in income? How can you learn how to be better?
I’m currently devouring the Four Hour Work Week and Virtual Freedom because I know I need to learn how to be a better manager of other people. Outsourcing is a huge way to grow your business and create more income.
Work out the areas you need to improve on and then turn to the experts in those fields to learn from. Tony Robbins has the perfect strategy for this
C.A.N.I – Constant and never ending improvement.
You can’t know everything, but you can sure learn.
Do you need to get a business coach? What changes do you need to implement to ensure the income flows more consistently?
Little tweaks can sometimes make a world of difference.
Michael Hyatt currently has a free video series growing your business through small tweaks.
7) Are you working on your money blocks?
There is so much power in being proactive. If you worry about the money side of your business, then you’ve probably got some money blocks going on.
What are you doing to help clear these so you can allow the flow back in?
I had a freak out week or two last week, so I jumped straight into re-doing my 30 day Money Cleanse. It’s not available to anyone yet, but me. It’s really helping me to take control back and start believing in my value again.
I use tapping and meditation to help clear my blocks and just last week, I had a reiki session in Darwin to help clear some money blocks with the lovely Tammy. A friend recommended her and she was awesome!
I feel so much more in control again and the worry has vanished.
8) What’s your base level of income you need to earn?
Most of the time, if our income dips we start freaking out without realising what it actually means.
How far is it dipping? Are your basic needs still covered? How much of a backward slide can you manage and for how long?
Most people will be okay if they know their basic needs will be met and will take the short-term hit for the longer-term reward.
Are you okay with that?
I’m okay with having a couple of bad months every so often because I know my trade off is this amazing travel life. It’s what I would work for anyway, and I can have more of it following the inconsistent income path.
9) What’s your plan when the flourishing months come?
What are you doing with that growth income each month?
Use that as part of your back-up plan for the dry months.
Put that excess money away or re-invest it into your business. You might need to invest in new courses, tools, or team members, all of which are things that can help you grow.
Don’t go crazy and spend it all on your desires. Save your desires for designer clothes and luxury holidays when you have a consistent income above your base line and plenty of savings in the bank.
I know you’re working hard and you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labour. But find ways to enjoy it without spending a fortune first.
And the biggest reward is you get to keep working a business you love.
Ahh. Now don’t you feel better and a little more in control! You are bigger than those gremlins!
How do you manage to overcome the fear of inconsistent income with your business?