22 ways entrepreneurs pull through the ups and downs of business

January 15, 2020

Do you ever wonder what it feels like to be an entrepreneur and experience all the ups and downs of business?

From out there it might seem like all it’s sunshine and rainbows with occasional rainfalls and you feel like an all-mighty deity that has the ultimate power over everything. Еxcept not. All you get is a one-way ticket to the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship that almost never stops. You’ll be rolling up and down, feeling excited, scared, happy and overwhelmed, all at once.

Jump directly to:

 1. Celebrate the little wins

 2. Measure and analyse

 3. Concentrate on going forward

 4. See the silver linings

 5. Create a work life balance

 6. Write a daily journal

 7. Being equanimous

 8. Remember your roots

 9. Know that everything passes

 10. Don’t stop learning

 11. Talk to other business owners

 12. Have an accountability partner

 13. Take long walks

 14. Focus on the process

 15. Physical exercise

 16. It’s about perseverance

 17. Eyes on long term goals

 18. Don’t put all eggs in one basket

 19. Structure focus and consistency

 20. Circle back to your why

 21. Don’t let emotions overwhelm you

 22. Build a passionate team

What are the ups and downs in business?

When it comes to the feelings of running a business, like excitement, inspiration and motivation, they are all just byproducts of euphoria. Your adrenaline levels will be so high you can power a rocket.

However, as you progress through different stages of your business it’s also inevitable that things will start going downhill at some point and your desperation will hit alarming levels. Thus all other emotions of an entrepreneur are byproducts of these two.

Now, hop on the entrepreneur emotional rollercoaster with us and let’s see what it feels like to be an entrepreneur.

Euphoria – Your head is high up in the clouds

euphoria
/juːˈfɔːrɪə/
noun
intense excitement and happiness

This is unquestionably the most emphasised of all feelings of starting a business. It may seem naive from a more distant perspective, but if you’re not feeling euphoric and enthusiastic about your business, then you’re doing something wrong. Of course, after a while this emotion of excitement and confidence will tone down and seem just like a distant memory but what is important is to get back at it as soon as possible.

Euphoria builds up easily when things are going good. One new client or a signed business deal can take your serotonin levels up in the sky. In fact, euphoria makes you feel invincible and unstoppable which leads to taking more risks than usual. Although this can turn out to be a two-sided sword, we all know that risks are the base of entrepreneurship and having the courage to take them is a virtue an entrepreneur has to master in order to succeed. Starting and running a business itself is a risk-taking decision.

However, this state of intense excitement and happiness is usually followed by his evil brother – desperation.

Desperation – You hit rock bottom

desperation
/dɛspəˈreɪʃn/
noun
a state of despair

In business, euphoria and desperation have one thing in common: they both make you willing to take risks. However, in the second case these risks are taken only to get yourself out of a bad situation you can no longer cope with. While this can sometimes turn positive, more often than not it leads to even bigger disasters. Why? Because desperation clouds your judgement so much that you’d walk into a huge hole without even seeing it. That’s why entrepreneurs are advised to take decisions with a cold head.

In other words, despair has the power to kick hope out of the Pandora box. And when hope is gone, everything seems impossible and you feel like a total failure wishing you had never started doing what you do in the first place.

Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that this too shall pass.

Desperation is just a regular part of business, and all you can do is to learn how to overcome it more quickly and easily. It is always there, lurking, waiting for an opportunity to knock out your confidence. Accept this and it will have less power over you.

How to cope with the ups and downs in business?

Yes, the ups and downs of business will make you sick to the stomach at times. You’ll want to give up, unfasten the seat belt and just quit. But you won’t do it, and you shouldn’t. You know why? Because you become addicted to it, and going back to how things were before looks scarily boring. And most of all, because what differentiates a winner from a loser is that the winner tried again after losing.

So if you’re struggling with the ups and downs of business and don’t know how to pull through it, take notes from the following examples. Twenty four entrepreneurs are sharing their secrets.

Celebrate the little wins

I have learned to celebrate even the little victories. Small wins come much more frequently than those big milestones and recognizing them keeps the energy positive and optimistic. Burnout is not so much the absence of milestones as it is the interval between them.

There’s a lot of good things that happen in business on a smaller scale and learning to celebrate those small wins is important. Thriving is maintaining momentum through difficult times – focusing on good news, good times, good outcomes no matter how big or small builds a positive mindset.

Ryan Novak, Owner of Chocolate Pizza Company, Inc.

Measure and analyse

For me, the biggest challenge of running a business is keeping calm during the ups and downs in revenue. My company’s daily revenue jumps around quite a bit – and this can lead to some serious stress. Our daily revenue generation is the cumulation of a number of upstream activities.

Thankfully, we have built analytics on our company’s metrics. So I can quickly check the upstream metrics to make sure that there is nothing wrong or broken. If the top of the funnel is still working well I know that a dip revenue is no big deal. And if the top metrics are off, I can dig in and figure out how to take action.

Healy Jones, Co-Founder of Fin vs Fin

Concentrate on going forward

I consider running a company to be similar to running a marathon. There will be ups and downs, so you must mitigate both to remain energized throughout. Have your energies concentrated on going forward and constantly progressing when you’re in an upswing, and keep your energy focused on the same position when you’re on a downswing. You’ll exhaust yourself with all of the ups and downs if you let yourself get wrapped up with your own hype.

Will Cannon, CEO at Signaturely

See the silver linings

While difficult times make businesses’ survival incredibly difficult, keep in mind that every coin has two sides, so focus on the positive aspects of difficult times. I have seen many businessmen become nervous in such situations that they pack their bags and leave the market, making it difficult for them to try out new avenues and business models

I would strongly suggest trying to bank your savings and policies to avoid a crash in your business. To get through such difficult times, continue to focus on the old-fashioned approach of community outreach to get the word out.

Such circumstances also compel us to innovate and refresh our business model, as well as look for ways to change stuff. Take difficult times as an opportunity to reflect and develop as a business.

Thilo Huellmann, CEO at levity.ai

Create a work-life balance

Getting through the ups and downs of running a business comes down to having a really great routine outside of the workplace. Make sure you have balance in your home life, and do daily activities that you know de-stress you. If yoga or meditation works for you, make time for it throughout the week. Everyone is different, and it’s really about tending to your own personal needs for a healthy mind.

Jim Beard, COO of BoxGenie

Write a daily journal

I’ve developed two consistent habits that keep me grounded through the ups and down of business.

One is writing a daily journal. This allows me to vent, reflect, pause and analyze situations. There have been times when we have lost customers, had technical problems or team member conflict. All through this my daily writing has helped me regain perspective and allowed me to get back in balance.

The second is my exercise routine. Sticking to an exercise routine, no matter what’s happening in my business has kept me fit and healthy. I have a Google Tracking sheet for my exercise and that helps me customize and update my routine.

Samir Penkar, CEO at Simulation Powered Learning

Being equanimous

I think the coping mechanism that has best served me over the years has been an ability to be equanimous, which is to say, being able to experience negative emotions without being overcome by them. 

Equanimity is a Buddhist principle which stresses that a person should basically intellectualize their emotions and try to focus on what it feels like to experience that emotion, being present in the moment, rather than dwelling on the thought or issue that provokes it. What you end up doing is disempowering the negative emotions associated with the downs and you avoid the distractions of the ups.

Bryce Welker, CEO at CPA Exam Guy

Remember your roots

Remembering where we began, how far we’ve come, and what our current objectives are. When trying to develop a business from a vision to a global brand, it’s easy to get discouraged and exhausted. We began the organisation with the belief that art should be accessible to all people, and it’s so important to remember the mission during difficult times — maintaining the same excitement and zeal as when we first started is crucial.

Julian Goldie, CEO at Goldie Agency

Know that everything passes

My number one coping mechanism for navigating business is the phrase “We will see.” I’ve found that what initially looks like good fortune can actually be bad, and vice versa. Keeping a level head that looks toward the uncertainty of the future is a great stabilizer in dealing with this. 

For example, last year our business crashed overnight from $2.8 million per year to nearly zero. On the surface, this event seemed very bad (and it was), but it also lead to good fortune — we pivoted our business model, recovered our revenue and started to grow again. Now, in what feels like an era of good fortune, I remain mindful that “we will see” and that it could all shift again.

Michael Alexis, CEO at TeamBuilding

Don’t stop learning

Many company owners lack a curiosity for learning that expands beyond their industry-leading to difficult times in their business. They aren’t investing as much in themselves as they should be. Although staying on top of your industry is crucial, it’s also important to stay on top of what’s going on in other areas.

Coaching, workshops, books, and mentoring are all good ways to learn new skills. You can’t stay the same forever, and if you don’t develop with your company, you’ll ground to a standstill and lose momentum.

The more knowledge you have, the better choices you will be able to make and overcome the ups and downs in your business. So, never stop learning and filling as much information as you can into your brain.

Daniel Foley, SEO Manager at Considered Content

Talk to other business owners

I have found that one of the best ways to cope with the ups and downs of running a business is to routinely talk with other business owners. I have a group of business owners that I speak with on a regular basis, and it really helps keep everything in perspective. Some are in the same industry, while others are in completely different ones. It also helps that a lot of us are in different stages of our businesses. It’s nice to have people that you can bounce ideas off of as well as share your wins and losses.

Michael Cohen, President at Bering Insurance Partners

Have an accountability partner

One of the primary relationships I advise small business owners to establish early on, is an accountability partner. I’ve started four businesses and could not have succeeded without an outside source of support. When the roller coaster of emotions and business situations inevitably happen, it’s important to have (and to likewise provide yourself as) a sounding board and support system. In addition to an accountability partner, I’ve also been lucky to have a mentor in my armamentarium. Both provide a stabilizing presence. 

Sandra Holtzman, Co-Founder of MarketingCures.GPS

Take long walks

I lean on my exceptional leadership team, advisors and friends. Talking through successes, ideas and challenges with others of varying backgrounds helps maintain perspective and find solutions. Sometimes it’s as simple as a weekly phone call with the friends I had as a teen!

In addition, I take at least two long walks a day, aiming for 4-7 miles daily. This is the time I chat with friends, listen to music, podcasts or an audio book. Depending on my mood, I may choose something that helps me find new marketing ideas or grow as a leader, or I’ll tune out and listen to my favorite songs.

Antonella Pisani, CEO at Eyeful

Focus on the process

The biggest challenge has been to stay consistently adaptive. Looking for a way to develop a complicated, deep technology takes thinking outside of the box and lots of adjustment. That said, pioneering a new business sector from the ground up isn’t an easy task. It has the hurdle of introducing an innovation to the market that you’re hoping other companies will buy into without precedent.

I’ve learned the value of being experimentative while remaining highly disciplined. Results come from focusing on your business and minimizing distractions. By focusing on the process rather than the outcome, you gain the knowledge needed to make the necessary changes for success.

Dan Widmaier, Founder of Mylo

Physical exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways that I handle the ups and downs of business. Exercise gets me out of the house and breathing fresh air, while also letting me get a lot of frustration that I might have throughout the day out too. Setting aside just 30 minutes of your day to work out can go a long way in helping your mood.

Steve O’Dell, Co-Founder and CEO of Tenzo

It’s about perseverance

My favorite business quote is: “If you’ve ever had bacon and eggs for breakfast, the hen contributed, but the pig was committed!” Entrepreneurs have to be committed to their companies in order for their business to be successful. Your idea will take more time and money than you anticipated, and you’ll encounter failures. But if you fail quickly and never give up on your company, you’ll keep pushing through until you finally find success. It’s all about that perseverance. 

Elias Janetis, CEO and Founder of Squeeze

Eyes on long-term goals

As a business owner you must be still thick skinned. I often joke to friends that I have calluses all over my body. Resiliency is a must if you’re going to be successful. The best way to pull through is to stay focused on long term goals. Business owners who work on their business and not in their business are able to maneuver the ups and downs of daily operations.

The best coping mechanism I have is to surround myself with like-minded people. Other business owners that understand the stress and constant maneuvering that occurs in our lives on a daily basis.

Lisa Carter, President of Drinkwater Marketing

Don’t put all eggs in one basket

How I pull through the ups and downs of business is not putting all of my eggs in one basket. So, when things get slow in one area, I rely on my other sources of income or place my focus into learning something new that will benefit me and my business moving forward. 

I cope by understanding that all things are temporary (even in business) and things happen as they should. What many may consider as being down, I consider it as being a time to reflect and strategize. Other times I do absolutely nothing. I simply relax and that is a coping mechanism that feels great too.

Jasmin Willams, CEO at The Notary Network

Structure, focus and consistency

With a structure in place it doesn’t matter whether I am in a peak or trough, I know what to do and when to do it and as long as I follow the structure I can help alleviate some of the peaks and troughs into a more consistent workload. Focus helps reduce any panic during quieter times. It’s so easy to forget that downtimes aren’t forever so having focus alleviates that fear. Remaining consistent in what I do and when I do it, day in day out ensures that when good times return I am prepared for them.

Vanessa Bird, Director of The Aesthetic Consultant®️

Circle back to your ‘Why’

I think being a true entrepreneur always needs to circle back on their “Why”, why put yourself through these huge highs and lows with sometimes minimal ROI. I always work outwards from a moment that gives me an up or a down, from that split second to the minute to the week and so forth until I see that that brief moment doesn’t distract me from my macro why. The little things can distract you at the time, but if you take a breath and think into the macro, it all becomes easier.

Shawn Soole, Owner of Soole Hospitality Concepts

Don’t let emotions overwhelm you

Do not let your emotions decide what you do next. Take a look at the bigger picture and be objective. Just because you failed today doesn’t mean you can’t succeed tomorrow. Or just because things are going so well today you can already get ahead of yourself without thinking. It doesn’t mean you should take your emotions out of the equation, just saying you shouldn’t make decisions based solely on them.

Mark Valderrama, Owner and CEO of Aquarium Store Depot

Build a passionate team

Build a team that is just as passionate about the business as you are. When you have people who want to succeed as much as you do brings you together and keeps you striving for success. Having it be a group effort makes it all worth it.

Bari Medgaus, COO of Stabili-Teeth™

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