You can usually pick up on what season a person is in by listening to the way they speak about their careers or businesses.
A while back a woman called me for advice. She knew she needed help with her business but she didn’t know where to start. The conversation went something like this.
Me: Describe your business to me.
Her: I’ve been in business for 15 years now, and everything is different. I used to make a great living and have great clients. Now I just keep dropping my prices and having fewer people book with me. I fight more and get less. The clients are rude, and they always try and haggle with me to get the lowest price possible. I hate it.
Me: What are you doing for marketing right now? Have you tried improving your website to bring in more traffic and get more potential clients?
Her: I have a site. It just sits there doing nothing. I never get clients through it. I have an ad in a local magazine too and haven’t had a call in months. People just don’t like what I do anymore. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve considered classes at my local college so I can get into something new. I just don’t know what to do.
Me: Are you ready to give this business up?
Her: No, it’s been a part of me for so long. I’ve loved it; why can’t it go back to the way it was a decade ago? The clients were great; I made a lot of money. But now, this is awful. I just don’t think I can do it anymore.
If you’ve ever reached a point like this in your own career or business, you know what it feels like.
Frankly, there was nothing wrong with her business; but everything was wrong with her attitude towards her daily circumstance. That’s because she had fully circled through what I call the Four Seasons of Business.
The Four Seasons of Business look something like this:
Spring – an idea is formed. You’ve fallen in love with your potential business and it’s all you can think about. You start imagining yourself pursuing it in as much force as possible.
Summer – full out research and implementation. You can’t get enough of it. You explore it in any way you can: you go to school, find a mentor, attend seminars, read books. You are at the point of starting in a position or building your business. It becomes your passion and you are quickly becoming the expert.
Fall – its fully implemented, you have all the systems in place and it brings in a healthy income. This is where things get easy. You no longer think about it because you are the expert. You may be teaching or mentoring others because you are at the top of your game. It’s also where you start to feel complacent, start looking at all your options both in this industry and in others.
Winter – questioning what its all about. You ask yourself constantly “is this really all there is?” Your business begins to slide as others move into position to out do you, out sell you, and out perform you. Others start to make it look easy when all you have is trouble.
For every industry, every niche, every business or career that someone currently is working in, all four seasons of business exist. There are people at all four junctures, and it depends on how you move forward as to how your future will look.
For the woman in my story, she was clearly in the winter season. She was tired of her current lifestyle and was already admitting she wanted more. Yet she wasn’t ready to give up because of how important it had been in her life up until that moment.
With just a little coaching, I helped her “find” her new lifestyle, which was in a completely different industry altogether.
The key was having her discover how far away she was from her old business, and how easy she could implement her new ideas if only she would give herself permission.
She could ride out the winter months in her old business, while she spent quality time in the spring months of her new idea.
And as her new ideas start making money, the winter months could fade away quickly. Because they always do.
Which of the four seasons are you in your business? Is it time to let the old go to make room for the new?
You have permission; now its time to wake up and smell the fresh spring flowers popping up ready to shine. You can do it! Let me show you how.