When I Worry About Going Broke
Someone asked me if I ever worry about going broke. The answer is an unequivocal YES.
It’s been two years since I’ve been working for myself full-time. And cashflow still seems pretty unpredictable.
Sometimes I don’t have enough work. Sometimes I have more work than I can handle.
Some months I don’t make enough income. Others I make more than I need. (Having multiple income streams helps to even this out.)
Winter is the slowest time of year for my business. It has been this way ever since I starting speaking and consulting as a side hustle in 2008. While it was all fine and good to have a dip in income when I had a full-time job, now that I work for myself it scares the hell out of me.
When too many weeks go by without me getting a hefty enough check, these are the kinds of things that go through my head.
Oh my God, it’s been 2 weeks. I’m never going to get another client ever in life.
Maybe my prices are too high. Maybe they’re too low.
What’s wrong with people? Why aren’t they buying my stuff? My books are useful! My speaking inspires new ideas! My coaching sessions help people move to the next level! Right? Right?!
Despite the fear, I make myself keep going. I make myself do one thing every day, even if it’s just writing a blog post, sending an email, or following up with a new connection.
I should be familiar with fear by now – the panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach, the lingering sense of dread when I get up some mornings, wondering if I’ll make a sale or book a client or get a check in the mail. I know how debilitating it can be. Right now at this very moment, there’s a big project on my plate that I haven’t worked on for months, even though I know that finishing it will mean a new source of income for my business.
Fear is brutal when you let it beat you. And the fact is, sometimes it wins. But sometimes, you do. Either way, the battle has to be fought on a daily basis.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that both success and failure are impermanent. If business was a boxing match, you would never win the belt. On Monday, you might get a few jabs in, but by Thursday you’re up against the ropes. On Friday, you wake up feeling bruised and groggy, yet lucky you get to live to fight another day.
When I’m centered enough to sit still and breathe, this is my mantra during the rough patches.
Fear flows through me but it is not me. I am bigger than fear. I am beyond fear. Fear does not define me. I am not fear.
When I take care of myself enough to think clearly, I do what I know works.
I create. I serve. I connect.
I blog. I network. I ask for the sale.
The universe does the rest.