Spinning Your Wheels

How is it that some people just seem to know what they’re doing in business and most of us are scrambling about hoping that we can figure things out?

I don’t think I’m a natural entrepreneur. I don’t. I’ve been many things in my professional life, from flight attendant to training leader and more besides. None of those things prepared me for having my own business. School didn’t do much to prepare me either, even though I did business studies. I can vaguely remember how to do a profit and loss chart, a skill I have never used since.

I’ll freely admit that I’ve been very lucky in many ways as an entrepreneur. When you look at what average survival rates are for new business, the fact that I’m still operating over 10 years after leaving regular employment is something of an achievement. So, am I successful? Well, in the regard that I’m still here and I’ve been able to keep picking up new clients and regular coaching and training work for all this time, yes. Do I feel successful? Umm… not so much.

I’ve had ups and downs, successes and failures and a hell of a lot of time spinning my wheels. I am only too aware of how getting in the way of certain opportunities has enabled me to get to where I am and I’m really not that high up the food chain and nowhere near where I want to be. So… why is that?

One of the things that have made the biggest difference for me professionally over the last 2 and a half years has been starting a podcast. What began as a project for my Toastmasters club slowly turned into something that I started to see a lot of professional potential in. So… I carried on making shows. Some good, some not good, some great and some so bad I couldn’t publish them.

Building an audience has been, and continues to be challenging. I’ve nearly quit several times, wondering why the hell I keep doing it. I’ve had big names on my show that I had thought I would never get to connect with in real life. I had also thought they might be the thing that gets the show to take off. They were not but they were still amazing experiences. I’ve even been in tears at times with my show. The learning curve to becoming a podcaster of any quality is high and I did not seek out any help.

Back when I was cabin crew at Gatwick Airport I would often go out in Brighton with airline buddies and nearly every weekend there would be young guys with their pimped up cars burning rubber in the car park by the beach. Maybe that’s still a thing? There would be lots of noise, lots of smoke and an overwhelming smell of burning rubber but nothing much would actually happen and ultimately, even though it seemed there was a lot going on, it was all rather pointless and I’d imagine quite costly too. That’s how my entrepreneurial life has often seemed to me and I know I am not alone in this.

Much like the lads with their rubber burning antics, it passes some time, they feel like they’re doing something impressive but afterwards, all they really have to show for their efforts are skid marks and bald tyres. If that’s what your business life feels like then I would suggest that the chances are very high that you are too focused on the impressive and fun parts of entrepreneurship and not nearly enough focused on the strategic, foundational and unsexy parts.

I hold my hands up to having been guilty of this for the longest time and somehow hoping someone would recognise my talent and ability and then do all the unsexy stuff for me. That hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen. Welcome to the world of unrealistic expectations.

The fastest and best way out of wheel spinning is to get some quality expert coaching and a clear roadmap that includes the foundational and less fun elements of being an entrepreneur and that might mean putting a hold or limit on those fun activities you love to do whilst you build the foundation you missed because no one told you that you needed it and because you believed the people selling quick fixes and magic pills, just like I did.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs are all too often taken advantage of by those who would sell you the promise of quick success. It’s an attractive offer and far more appealing than putting in hours, weeks, months and years of work, slowly building a personal brand business and having to go through the often painful journey of finding out who you really are and who you need to become in order to achieve your goals.

I’ve been very fortunate to get my professional and podcasting life back on track. I was able to find a great mentor, several wonderful coaches and a terrific mastermind group. My mentor has shown me that I needed to have the right foundations for a successful business, my coach has helped me implement those foundations and my mastermind group also keeps me accountable as they are on similar journeys too. We learn from each other what works and what doesn’t and we inspire each other to greater heights.

I used to hope that I’d become more successful but when you have a good strategy and strong support network you don’t really need to hope, it just starts to happen. I’m not saying you can’t get there without those things but I am saying that I couldn’t and I know of many others who can’t. That feeling of the stars aligning that you end up feeling is the foundational work you’ve put into your business paying off.

If you’re spinning your wheels and you want to stop, find someone who can help you create a realistic road map for your business, who will show you how to build the foundation you need and focus on the right things. It will feel like the slower path but really, nothing wastes more time than trying to take quick-fix solutions that when you put the pedal to the metal you find yourself just burning rubber as your wheels spin, your tyres melt and your bills keep piling up.

I don’t have all the answers, I really don’t but if anything I’ve said here resonates with you and you want to talk to someone about it, you’re welcome to connect with me. If I can’t help you myself, I’ll point you in the direction of someone who I think can. Whilst I wish I had found better help at the start of my own entrepreneurial journey, I’m glad I’ve done that now and those who know me can tell you how much positive change there has been even just in the last 6 months for me. If I can help you stop your own wheels from spinning, I will.

I’ve got some podcast treats for you today. I had a chat with an absolute master of storytelling who has been studying the topic for many years. My conversation with Leon Conrad is a masterclass and I hope you will get as much value from it as I did. It was an absolute joy to be schooled by Leon and you may never think of storytelling the same way again afterwards.

Since I managed to get organised with my editing schedule this week, you have another show to choose from, or hopefully, listen to both. This time with Dr Stevie Dawn Carter where we talk about overcoming that feeling of invisibility, what EQ is and how we can use it to improve our communications and why we should all aim to be a bit more like sharks. It was a really fun chat with many valuable takeaways.

If you’d like to find out how podcasting could help your business, you can take this short quiz https://mrqz.to/podcastpossibilities

Sometimes I like to share what I’ve been reading and listening to. It may be interesting or useful to know. This week I have been listening to the Audiobook of Derral Eves YouTube Formula. Derral is a YouTube savant who just seems to know how everything works. I bought the hardback when it came out and the audiobook as a companion. Very useful if you’re trying to grow on YouTube and want to understand it all better. Some great extras too.

One of my favourite podcasts is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this week he put out an older show with Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Captivate and Cues, 2 books I highly recommend. The episode is called The Science of Succeeding with People and here’s the link to the show on Apple Podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/...

As always, I like to wrap things up with a song to help lift your mood and get that weekend feeling going. This week, the princess of pop Kylie Minogue’s song Spinning Around seemed like the ideal choice. Have a great day because you decided to and I’ll be back next week.

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John Alexander Ball

John Alexander Ball

6 Followers

Host of the Podfluence podcast. Professional speaker & ethical influence coach. The James Corden of podcasting, a chubby British guy who thinks he’s funny.