It’s been an incredibly hard week. At all levels one can think of. But that’s what trepping (my shortcut word for entrepreneurship) is about. One tends to think of the entrepreneurial challenges as these really hard ones that a few brave through. The revenue challenges, growth troubles, team problems, issues with clients, and skirmishes at the tax department. But that’s really a usual day at work for treps (entrepreneurs).
Then there’s all that personal stuff to be taken care of: this week, atop the usual issues of having a dementia ridden elderly person at home, I found myself in the flurry of buying a new car, selling the old one, and then closing the week with the kid not doing well in school, going against her usually easy conquests at studies.
You know, these are not really hard issues, if you think of it. If you manage your time right, say No to a few things, focus on the key things, and stay balanced, you can slay the week.
But the fact is, I didn’t.
I am just exhausted. And happy to see my bed, and sleep for straight 10 hours.
If you look at what happened, there’s nothing out of the ordinary, this week. A client mail asking to take a pause in the billing cycle. Warning bells ring, cash flow issues ahead. If you’re an entrepreneur, then you know this. You’re up against this frequently, if not nearly all the time. This was followed by a call, where we set the intention to get things smoothened out, get teams aligned and focused on the same goals, and move ahead. Fairly common in an agency life.
But for once, this call wasn’t easy. I am of the opinion that we have done our work, and gone the extra mile several times in the past three months of an inbound marketing project just to get the client team comfortable and achieve their goals. I think process improvements are in order, and my team is ready for that. The client team is of the opinion, that there are no results, cleanly ignoring that the website went live just 27 days ago. And yes, there need to be process improvements, cleanly ignoring that the laid process has not even been followed by their own team.
To avoid a game of ‘he said, she said’, and to be focused on the end game, which is to have a successful project, I went into the call agreeing to the pause in billing while we got things in order. And we ended the call with the right intentions going forward and to have a game plan with buy-in from all stakeholders.
Phew. Why does it have to so hard? Doesn’t anyone get inbound marketing? Why is the agency at fault for issues at the client’s end?
These were some of the questions running in my head.
And I am sure the various people on the client was thinking: they seem to be doing a lot of things, but there’s nothing to show for it. They don’t get strategy much. They don’t get execution much. Etc etc.
This happens all the time. And we have processes in place that tackle a lot of these issues. And still we falter, as each client team is different, and you need to have modifications in your process to enable smooth functioning.
It’s just a thing to be done so we can get back to the fun bits of creating great content for them, have a good ABM plan running, hit the ball out of the park with their social media and ads, and so on. The numbers are already looking good, and we are going to have fun with this.
But I was exhausted all the same.
Once the call was over, I headed straight to the car dealer’s where the car awaited us, and so did all the paperwork, the demo, the explanations, the ceremonies (they actually played devotional music, rang a temple bell to create an aura of sacredness for the purchase).
I was beat.
And trying to get my head around the last two hours: the stress of trying to not lose a client, which had exhausted me and the excitement of buying a car, which I wasn’t feeling. My friend heard about it and said, I should learn to see the humor in the situation.
That was Tuesday evening.
Then came Thursday morning. Weekly brainstorm with one of the co-founders on what’s next for the business. And got to hear some harsh things, about my work. I saw that what he said was valuable, and right for the business. But he isn’t exactly the diplomatic kinds, and doesn’t have a way with words when he sees incompetence.
I was already smarting from the call of just a day ago. And here was more; pride being attacked.
But we are treps, right? Never beaten down, right? So I agree with him, say that I see his point. And as GaryVee says, triple down on work.
And that’s how the week ends.
Nothing new in this week that should have crumpled me up, really.
But think back two more weeks, and that’s where it really began.
I had a trauma of sorts. Coming smack up against the realization that you will be let down by people who you took for granted, who you think have your back, will take your side at the time of reckoning. The day of reckoning came, and I found myself standing alone with my handful of values that no one cared for.
I grieved for a bit. And two and a half days later was back to work. A week passed, and I started to taste normalcy. The week ended. And then that Tuesday that I mentioned earlier happened.
So, here’s the thing. It’s not so much about the challenges. It’s about the fatigue of having a challenge after challenge.
And here I had thought I had overcome that a long ago.
But as with all things, you just find a new level to find your ease with.
Here’s my new finding this week. When a core belief of yours get challenged and you’re trying to put your head around it, your stamina to handle the rest of the stuff can go down. You might need extra support, or time out or meditation (or whatever helps you resolve and let go). Treps like me are used to being on our own and will not immediately see this. If I had sought support or taken some time off, I might not have finished the week this exhausted.
Sure, some of us think we don’t have the luxury of a time off. I do. I have great co-founders, a great team, clients who would understand. But I don’t allow myself that. I should have.
I can see it is detrimental. And why it has been this hard. I haven’t allowed myself the time to recuperate, integrate and find my bearing again. And without that, more challenges, even minor ones, will drag me down.
You need the stamina. I am telling this to myself, and any entrepreneur reading this who is like me.