How To Survive A Hard Season When You’re An Entrepreneur

The other day I was looking over my Google Analytics and checking out which of my blog posts have been read the most in the past 6 months. This one about my 21 day blogging challenge ranked #1, but this one about my husband’s recent deployment was a close #2.

In that post I talked about some hard lessons I learned during that deployment, our second since getting married (and my husband’s fourth), and some of the ways that it actually paralleled my experience as a business owner and taught me how to be a better entrepreneur.

You may not be a military spouse like me. Maybe your a vet with your own deployment experiences, or maybe you’re firmly in the civilian world with no experience with military life at all.

No matter who you are, I think that post really resonated with people for one big reason: we can all relate to deployment-like difficult experiences and the challenges we face when trying to survive as entrepreneurs in the midst of suffering.

Because the truth is that as hard as it is to be a new mom with a deployed husband, there are other seasons of life that are really hard too.

Maybe it’s the death or illness of a loved one, or a long term relationship turning into heartbreak, or a personal illness or injury that makes it hard to function every day.

These rough seasons happen when you’re single and they happen when you’re married; they happen to millennials and they happen to baby boomers. No matter what season of life you are in, hard stuff happens to you, and you have to find a way to survive it without losing the business you’ve worked so hard to get off the ground.

Of course there are some hard seasons that are TOO hard, and you need to step back from business completely. That might be the right decision for you; in that case, ignore this post and take care of yourself – no judgment here. But if you do think you can continue to run your business at this time, I have a few tips.

I wanted to write this post and share some of the things I’ve learned about surviving hard seasons as an entrepreneur; not to say that I’m an expert my any means, but I have gone through some crazy times the past few years and I’ve learned a few things the hard way.

So here you go – for the new moms and the deployed spouses and the grieving and the hurting entrepreneurs – and for those who are still waiting for their hard season to come – this post is for you.
10 Ways To Survive A Hard Life Season When You’re Running A Business
Prioritize ruthlessly

Say no to everything that is not essential to the survival of your business. Networking event? No. Volunteer role? No. New client who wants a project that goes outside your focus? No. New investment that won’t generate a return for a while? No. New social media network that “everyone” has to be on? Nope, nope, nope.

Be ruthless. Take care of your paying clients and customers, and then say no to everything else you possibly can. Now is not the time to be taking on distracting and exhausting new projects.
Don’t apologize

I used to apologize pretty much any time I sent an email. If it had been more than a few hours between when I received it and when I replied, I would apologize. But then I thought about it: when I apologize, what exactly am I apologizing for?

Am I sorry that my baby got sick and I had to take her to the hospital? Am I sorry that I woke up to soothe her 8 times last night and didn’t have the energy to tackle emails first thing in the morning? Am I sorry that my paying clients are my top priority and everyone else’s emails come second? No, I’m not really sorry about any of those things, so why was I apologizing?

During a hard season as an entrepreneur, you have to do what it takes to survive. Be firm and don’t apologize that you’re in survival mode. You don’t need anyone’s approval or affirmation. Just do what you have to do.

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