So You’re Unhappy in Your Business? Get a Life – Start Here:

by robinana on September 24, 2009

help my failing business

Okay, so I’m a boat rocker.

If you don’t want your boat rocked…stop reading now.

I would consider myself to be a pretty well rounded individual.

How Did I Get Here?

If you want to talk about what defines me, or what right do I think I have to call myself “well rounded”….let’s see:

  • I’m a woman in my 40’s.
  • I am the mother of three amazing teenage children, yet I don’t use the fact that I’ve birthed them as a free ticket to be overweight.
  • I raised all three of my children alone after a failed first marriage. I was exactly 30… I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Is THIS what you want your life to be about?” My ex-husband, who is now my friend, was horribly addicted to drugs. Soon after my 30th birthday, the four of us (my children and I) found ourselves alone. My son is the oldest. He was five at the time.

When my children were toddlers, I didn’t date. I never left them with daycare so that I could go to a bar and meet men. When my marriage failed, I stayed in church. I taught Sunday school…I taught children’s church…I became a youth leader…I helped others instead of feeling sorry for my own circumstances.

When I was 31, I became the first woman of my church to be honored with the, “Mother of the Year Award.”

I never relied on a man to take care of me…ever. (Unless Jesus counts as a man…and He does).

I’ve never received child support, yet I somehow always found a way to make ends meet.

My children attended a private Christian Academy (reserved only for the elite) <–funny how God makes things happen when you aren’t crying ‘poor me’ all the time.

I never looked for handouts. Instead, I relied on my intellect, tenacity and strong will to make things happen. I trusted God to make me stand out from the crowd.

Who Am I Now?

Now, let’s fast forward….Have we been through a lot? Yes…Do you want to hear it all? No.

I’ll cut to the chase. I am a strong, powerful, hit-the-ground-running kind of girl, who will never fully grow up, yet will always survive. Recession? Big deal. I’ve been through much worse.

What’s my point? Do you think you can handle my point? I hope so….because HERE IT IS:

There is a concept that I’ve always known about, although I wasn’t aware that it had a name. It’s called Social Clustering.

The secret of my success lies in the fact that I have always stayed away from it. Instinctively, I knew that it would get me nowhere.

Maybe it was because I was an only child…a loner. I have no clue what the true reasoning is, but I’m so thankful that I’ve always steered clear of it.

What is Social Clustering?

Want a one word answer? Poison.

Don’t believe me? Well keep reading…

Social Clustering:  Much like the fact that “you are what you eat” holds true, many of your good and bad traits are driven by the people who you allow into your inner circle.

Here are some sobering facts:

According to studies, when an individual becomes obese, his or her friends are 57 percent more likely to become obese as well. Even more astonishing is the fact that the effects don’t stop there. Connecting friends are 20 percent more likely to become obese, even if the connections factor down to ‘a friend of a friend.’

Is that crazy? Do you think it’s not true? Well, you’re wrong…period.

I’ve been through every situation in the world, even support groups. Guess what? Most support groups are nothing more than a union or comradeship of people who have the same problem. Do you think this helps them? Think again.

The Frequent Failures of Support Groups

When people go to support groups they often create bonds around their weaknesses with others who share the same weaknesses. Perhaps this makes the weakness become more ingrained in their identity, makes it seem more normal, and makes it harder to change. If this is true then perhaps the support groups that work are those based around doing something positive, rather than those based around not doing something negative.

And, from an online perspective, if you write about having a specific personal problem (not being able to quit smoking or being overweight) you will attract people with similar flaws into your life…recalibrating your sense of normalcy and making it harder to change the behaviors which create the undesirable results.

Hence, the phrase is true, “The more you try to erase something…the more it appears.”

How to Use the Eraser Correctly

So, what’s the answer? What’s the hook here? What am I trying to say?

It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth….

You are alone in this game called life.

Are there a million self proclaimed ‘gurus’ that will try to tell you how it’s done? …of course.

Are there encouragers, life coaches and enthusiasts who will steer you in the right direction? Yes.

Bottom line. You’ve got to get some tenacity for yourself. You have to OWN your situation. Own it and conquer it.

Two examples really quick and then I’ll let you get back to your life:

Example 1 – The economy was starting to fail here in Cape Coral. Foreclosures were popping up and a 30,000 dollar water assessment was coming through our town. What does that mean? Well, for us it meant an extra $175 per month added to our mortgage payment that was already $1600 per month. The house was built in 1984, had no dishwasher or garbage disposal and only had 1400 square feet of living space.

As soon as I received the “water assessment” notice in the mail I made a clear and conscious decision.  I was going to sell this house.

I called my husband. He said, “The economy is bad. The house will never sell. Especially with the water assessments tacked on.” —and then he heard me speak.

I said, “Andrew…I am telling you right now that I am 40 years old, I’ve paid my dues and I deserve this. If I am going to pay almost two grand per month for a house payment, it should at least be a big, roomy, beautiful house.” <–We have four children, two dogs and a cat. We need ROOM!

I’m not going to tell you how it all played out, because that would take an entire book…Here’s what I WILL say: I sold the house; by myself. I put the house on a For Sale By Owner’s web site and I sold it. During this period of time I had plenty of opportunities to align myself with the “rest of the real world.” Several realtors spoke with my husband.  They gave us numerous print outs of what the houses in our area were selling for. (basically they were telling us that we were crazy)…. I didn’t listen. I proclaimed OUT LOUD, that if ANYONE in Cape Coral was going to sell their home, it would be me. My husband tried to get me to look at the statistics…I despise statistics. I wouldn’t look. I threw all the print outs away. Basically I acted like a kid who puts their fingers in their ears and says, “La-la-la-la-la-la, I don’t hear you.”

And guess what? I sold my house. Not only did I sell it but I got the price I asked for. That’s me. That’s what I do. I close my ears to the ‘norm’ and I go for what I want.

Example 2 – My online freelance business.

When I first began writing online I joined a group called WAHM’s forum. Join it, go ahead. It’s great. Every woman on the forum will tell you exactly how you can write articles and web content for approximately $5 per 500 word article. If you can make a living with that, I salute you.

When I first joined the forum, I was full of optimism. I gained information, did some research, I knew that I had stellar writing and management skills, so guess what I did? I tried to align myself with one of these women (any of them really) to start a business.

Social Clustering at its finest. Do you know what I was met with? Ummm…. uhhh… yea okay. I’ll get back with you. And then there was the day that one of the WAHM oldies sent me THE LETTER. I lovingly refer to it as THE LETTER because it is what catapulted me into the success I am enjoying online right now.

In short, her letter to me said this…”I have researched you, Robin. You have been with WAHM (work at home mom’s) forum for exactly one month and ALREADY you are (rocking the boat) trying to tell these women that they are working for peanuts, they can make more and that they can own their own business. Who are you to say this? Who are you?…”

This resonated with me and reminded me of so much in my life. Who am I? Who do I think I am to immediately recognize the problem, find the answer and build an online business. … The sheer nerve of me.

What am I really saying here?

What I’m really saying…or urging you to realize, is that social clustering is true. It is a fact. I got in with WAHM’s forum and then quickly got out.

I immediately recognized the fact that my goals were much higher than these women, so I left them. I had to.

If I had aligned myself with them, I would have become one of them.  I don’t believe in excuses for failure.

What am I telling you here today?

Basically this: You are alone.

Can I email you some form of encouragement or pep talk? Yes.

Can I recognize the problems in your life? Can I see what is holding you back from success? Yes.

Can I say, “Go get ‘em…You can do it!”…. Yes.

Will it work?

That’s up to you…

Success, at times, is a lonely place.

Success is a step above your peers. It’s a benchmark. It’s an achievement brought on by determination….tenacity, and the ‘knowing’ in your heart that just because no one else has done it, that doesn’t mean YOU won’t.

If you have a determination to succeed, please tell me about it….comment…encourage others…..

There is so much failure in the world today. We need more trailblazers… Be One.