Life Has Lemons. Embrace Plan B.
Well I last left you with the wheel falling off… proverbially and literally… which made for a pretty rude awakening on what it REALLY takes to keep a part-time entrepreneurial business going. But when life hands you lemons, it is handing you an opportunity to deepen your commitments to what really matters.
If you know me already, you know I embrace failure and fear by viewing it as research. And this research becomes my stepping stones to the next level of business growth and success. I can’t say the wheels are back on exactly. But I’d say we have some really good spare tires that we’re rollin’ with, and it’s getting us back on track. And as a result, I’m thrilled to report the ‘research’ from the past 3 months of challenges has provided me with important nerw insights into successful part-time entrepreneurship.
What happens to Plan A when life hands you lemons?
While as a part-time entrepreneur you can be as committed and driven and capable of success as your ‘all or nothing’ colleague, you are part-time for a reason. Likely that reason is an obligation that for important reasons trumps your entrepreneurial desires (for short or long term). Which means that when that other obligation enters a crisis of small or epic proportions, it needs your attention more than your entrepreneurial baby does.
Tell me this. If you run a part-time business as a solopreneur, and your partner loses their job, or you finally go into labour, or a child gets sick, or a parent breaks a hip, or your grandmother has a car crash, or your other job has a major project, do you not HAVE to curtail your entrepreneurial dreams for a few moments, days, weeks or months?
Even though you have fully committed to your passionate self-employed vision in your heart, you are NOT a full time entrepreneur in your time. And your obligations have to place your time elsewhere. This is what happened to me.
Plan A looked like this: Grow MPowered Marketing at a slow and steady pace until all 3 of my children were in school full time. Carefully and pragmatically layer new marketing opportunities, products and classes onto a well-crafted concept that is easily managed by following my own rules: 7 Essential Resources for Part-Time Entrepreneurs.
What happened instead was a series of starting and stopping on building products, rolling out classes, trying new things (most worked, only one didn’t – but it was a big one). Having my husband face a career crisis, being he is full-time income earner and ‘traditional breadwinner’ while I’m the ‘mompreneur/ chauffeur/ etcetera, put a HUGE spotlight on how my part-time business at this point in time would not save our family. I was doing a whole lot of things right, but not fast enough to make the difference we needed. The irony in it all is for another post. But the outcome was a HUGE decision to take on a part-time J.O.B. This was not a Plan B… it was not any plan at all… until I had to overcome my idealism and gain some realism that my family needed me to take some heat off in a new way. So I did.
Plan B is actually the Rainbow leading to the Pot of Gold!
My part-time job is not actually a JOB, it is a dream opportunity. So while taking a job was not at ALL but I thought I would be doing, it fits my life in a realistic, not idealistic, way like a glove. I’m adapting and embracing the significant capability I have to leverage my marketing business, and my on-the-side consulting role with Usborne Books, for not-for-profit Calgary Reads as Director-Communications. This role is a half-time position with extreme flexibility on time (how lucky is that?). It involves new websites, blogging, social media, and a connectedness to the Calgary community in a new, exciting and deeply meaningful way. It feels great because of what the organization stands for, also a passion of mine- reading, literacy and books for children. Ideal. It is the rainbow that is part of my path to reach the elusive Pot of Gold.
The Pot of Gold? Well, it really is my mission to continually prove that business success can be achieved NO MATTER WHAT. No matter what lemons life gives you, no matter how limited your time or money resources. This is as true for a not-for-profit like Calgary Reads as it is for any part-time entrepreneurial pursuit. I will reach the Pot of Gold when I can prove success… which I define in happiness and comfortable, consistent cash flow. And I believe I am still on the same timeline… in two years when my youngest is in school… thanks to Plan B.
So what is Plan B? Always build Credibility, Visibility before Sellability.
Plan B is not different from Plan A, but rather in support of it. It is the foundation of success in your business that drives your long-term growth, that becomes the bare bones operations when life really hands you lemons. Plan B is the placement of monthly activities and long-term strategies that focus on continual building of credibility, visibility and sellability (c) in such a simple way, it barely needs your attention.
For a year and a half before the wheels fell off, I blogged, had clients, did business building ventures, taught classes, and was generally transparent and honest while sharing marketing insight that makes a different. I have built a brand on credibility. I have visibility built on this credibility that continues to grow on its own.
So when the wheels fell off, and I had absolutely zero effort or time to give to Plan A – my slow and steady layered growth strategy – I had just implemented a joint venture program where the work had been done and the program was running itself. While my family was in crisis, my database doubled, I saw a small revenue stream that required absolutely no extra effort, and pre-recorded webinars created visibility and credibility to new people. Pre-written blog articles and use of scheduled delivery in Mailchimp and Hootsuite allowed me to manage life, while technology managed my business. Plan B – didn’t know I was going to call it such – but having built a credible, visible business on a small but steady scale served the automated marketing streams I had created incredibly well.
Life will also hand you lemons at some point. So always focus on building your credibility and visibility, and get some sellability pieces in place so you can keep faith you’ll reach the pot of gold. And join me in letting yourself off the hook on not yet fulfilling those dreams so you can enjoy sipping that freshly squeezed lemonade.