Recently my partner was out of town and mostly out of pocket due to a personal matter. At the same time, my body decided to go on strike. With illness keeping me isolated in the nest (my name for my live/work space) I spent a lot of time motivating myself to keep things moving forward (Image Solitude by Aleera, Creative Commons).
November and December are a huge opportunity for us
-especially given that our product is all about gratitude and these are considered to be the gratitude months. So my goal was to launch a content area full of information about ways to give back including a Gratitude Challenge to introduce the concept to a broader range of people and help get the word out about Thankfulfor. With my body partially on strike and my head feeling thoroughly stuffed, I worked hard each day to get out of bed, make a focused list of what needed to be done and work diligently to get items crossed off. By the end of each day, some were done, others were not.
Remarkably, the world did not come crashing down, our product was still running and those undone list items were still there, ready for me to take on the next day.
Between the sneezes and coughs, I realized a few important things during this time.
1. Many people are perfectly comfortable starting a business on their own.
Yet I much prefer having a partner. We are there for each other to bounce ideas off of and to keep each other in check, sane, and motivated. Life is full of unknowns and sometimes there are personal emergencies we can’t prepare for. Working alone, I realized how much I enjoy having a partner and it was nice knowing I could take care of the important things while he was indisposed (even if I had to do them a bit more slowly than usual).
2. Look truthfully at your perception regarding time and priorities.
When you launch, it’s easy to get in a mode where everything feels urgent and the days feel like they’re moving at the speed of light – thousands of things to do and not enough hours to do them. Take a step back. How much of that is real versus invented by our own need to create an illusion of forward movement? We can fool ourselves into thinking that all the things we do are necessary to keep the ship moving, but in reality, many of those things can wait.
It all comes back to prioritization.
3. Being on your own is the surest way to shine a light on your strengths and weaknesses. My solo-down-time allowed me to really see what areas I need to develop. Of course I already had a general sense about what those things were, but I’ve now become keenly aware (when there’s no one to ask or hand it over to) and have incorporated some of those things into goals to improve upon.
4. Asking for help is OK.
Many of us feel a responsibility to work hard and long trying to do everything ourselves. I’ve been known to write a little HTML now and then but launching webpages complete with CSS, following standards, etc is not my strength. After working on our holiday site for a week or more and having little energy left to figure out how to finalize and launch it, I reached out to someone who could.
The money was worth the savings in time, energy and stress.
5. Staying healthy is THE most important thing you can do.
My personal health standards are fairly high, so when I finally came out of denial about being sick, I felt absolutely defeated. Alas, it happens to the best of us. The trick is to quickly figure out what you need to do (move appointments, ask for help, etc) so you can rest, take care of yourself and get back on your feet more quickly.
Ultimately, I knew I needed this break. The past few months have been extremely busy and loaded with travel, interviews and conferences. And with more travel and events coming with the holidays, health is of utmost importance. And while it was later than I anticipated (remember flexibility is our friend) I did get our holiday site launched last week including the Thankfulfor Gratitude Challenge.
What about you?
When you have rolled out new products or services, what did you realize helped you stay most grounded, organized, and effective?
And with that, be well.
Guest contributor Jen Consalvo writes the Women Grow Business series on all things related to launching product (pre and post launch). She is co-founder of Shiny Heart Ventures, a new technology startup focused on building community driven products that remind people of the joys of life. For almost 14 years, Jen has led teams in a range of product areas such as digital imaging, social platforms and personalization. The majority of her career was at AOL, planning and building products used by millions of people globally. Also find Jen at jenconsalvo.com, bodysoulconnect.com and twitter.com/noreaster.