I’ve not been marketing my business or managing my social community as I should.
I got a little bit stressed, a bit overwhelmed. It happens when we put ourselves into the public domain to grow our businesses.
During my networking chats, I found that there are a few of us feeling flummoxed. We work alone, in many cases with little support.
A year of learning
During 2020, I went on training courses, I’ve read self-development books and listened to podcasts.
I heard the most fantastic speakers, joined an awesome accountability group, networked and had multiple 1:1 Zoom meetings. It’s been amazing.
The year started with a simple aim – to help business owners to understand websites and I am determined to do it.
But my confidence started to dwindle as I compared myself to the very people I was following and with whom I was building business relationships.
Nobody should do that. I’ve had all the warnings. It’s just some people are so … brilliant. I felt like I couldn’t contend.
Mistake one was that I had little time. I got busy due to a marketing push. Plus, I almost had too much information from all the new things I had learnt. How could I make a decision about the future of my business?
Mistake two was that I didn’t get a team into place fast enough. Even though I knew my business was changing and growing fast.
What suffered? My social media marketing and my content production. Sometimes you don’t feel like shining bright.
That combination of information overload, working too hard and not looking after myself sent me into the murky depths. I just didn’t want to post.
And then I formed some guilt for not supporting my followers. Guilt is one of the biggest intensifiers for anxiety.
The confidence in posting, speaking and teaching that I had built up over the last year was suffocating, if not vanishing. Have you ever felt like that?
It’s so important to forgive ourselves.
We know we need to be consistent on social media to ‘beat’ the algorithm. We need to keep going through the tough times – we all have.
But this time, I took a break, and I’m okay with it.
Anxiety in business
Most small business owners set out with a passion for that particular industry. We took action and chose to improve our lifestyle.
Few of us went to business school or did an online survival course. Yet, we have so many tasks to complete within our small businesses.
Feeling nervous every single day is part and parcel of building a tiny enterprise.
If we don’t deal with them, nerves build stress and lasting feelings of anxiety. Anxiety is a natural human response to stress which is so common in our modern lives.
When we’re busy, we tend to stop looking after ourselves. At least, I know I do. (Yes, all this happens even when you live on a mountainside).
Few people feel confident in marketing a business whilst dealing with stress.
So I thought I’d share a few ways I regain my confidence and self-control now that I recognise those feelings.
How to stay confident in business
I am the first to admit I do not look after myself enough. As I say, this article is for me as much as you.
Here’s what I do to get myself out of the apprehensive holes. These help me to stay confident in business.
I’ll remind you that I am a middle-aged woman with plenty of fat rolls. But I’ve exercised on and off all of my life – swimming, kickboxing, snowsports, biking and yoga.
Here’s what I’ve learnt from the periods that I didn’t prioritise exercise.
- Without exercise, the mind tends to turn on its human and negative energy builds up.
- Regular exercise keeps the mind strong and if there’s one thing you take away today, take this.
- Exercise releases stress, makes you feel stronger in your body, powerful in your mind and confident in business.
- Core and back muscles help you sit for lengthy periods at a desk with less pain. It’s proven to be beneficial to stand and move around every 30 minutes – even if that’s just to make a cup of tea.
- Flexibility helps joints, especially shoulders and hips, where stress accumulates.
The exercises I choose can be done for little cost and can even be done when you travel:
- Running because I feel free when I lollop along.
- Yoga because it stretches and strengthens.
- Boxercise because my brilliant online lessons are so varied (see Ali Bell Fit Box).
Running is a brilliant way to explore a new city. Neither yoga nor boxercise needs much space around you and little equipment. I don’t even wear trainers when I box.
Choose what you love, what you can cope with but MAKE TIME to exercise. Add exercise to your diary. Have that time signed off for yourself, six days a week.
Dehydration stresses the body, and stress, in turn, causes more dehydration through adrenal fatigue.
Coffee, tea, and soft drinks that contain caffeine increase blood flow to the kidneys. This encourages the kidneys to flush water out of the body before it hydrates. So you need to take on water as well.
- Drink most of the water bottle beside the bed as soon as you wake up.
- Choose a herbal tea first – two mugs of peppermint tea before caffeine is recommended (by me).
- Keep a bottle of water on your desk, but half fill it. Drink from it frequently. When it’s empty, refill it. This exercise is a simple reminder to stand up and move around.
Food affects sleep and performance as a business owner and athlete (okay – a middle-aged jogger).
- Don’t eat at your desk; food digests better when you concentrate on what you’re eating.
- Mealtimes are perfect moments to calm down and clear the mind.
- Eat proper meals; we’re at home – all the food is at our fingertips.
Take a few hours each day for yourself. If you don’t look after yourself, you cannot look after the other people in your life or your business.
Relax your brain often – in the form of naps and meditation.
Meditation is relatively new in my life; I’ve been doing it – minimally – for a year. At first, I couldn’t understand the benefits. Now I realise how much space it creates.
I love to clear and organise thoughts which enables the next chunk of information to be taken onboard faster.
We can train the brain much like we train our bodies. Thoughts can be more conscious instead of inanely flitting from one to the another. You can call on that calmness in moments of stress.
No matter how big your business dreams are, take time to rest. Omit a simple thing like relaxation, and it catches up with us in the form of illness.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day”, they say.
Don’t make comparisons
Avoid comparing yourself to others – we all take different paths and appeal to different people.
I found things more manageable when I didn’t even listen to other people. My blinkers were on, and I just went for it! Although I realise I can’t do that forever – I was learning.
In your marketing, focus on the kind of people you like or who are like you. It all becomes much easier.
Become confident enough to disconnect with people who make you feel out of sorts.
We all have moments of self-doubt and personal troubles, even if online posts reflect a cheerful, positive state of mind.
Imagine each connection is suppressing some stress and anxiety too. The likelihood is that they are. Be as nice to yourself as you are to others.
My new outlook
Stress may affect you without you realising it. I believed I was just a tense person, slightly shy and pretty jumpy. I didn’t listen well because I was internalising everything.
I’ve come to recognise the signs and responses after working alone for such a long time and the short journey I’ve taken in well-being.
My attitude hasn’t changed hugely – I know I have to keep going, but I am more aware I need to look after myself along the way.
I’m taking MORE alone time. Being alone isn’t all bad. Alone time gives you space for spirituality, productivity and creativity.
Quiet moments can enrich our lives if we use time wisely.
So please look after yourself. You are the most important person in your business.