Persistence: Surviving and thriving as a sole trader

This is a rough sketch of my view of my success and failure journey as a solo business owner. If the last part is rated a little higher than the rest, it is due to a key lesson I have learned that you have probably heard mentioned often. Persistence.


Keeping on keeping on despite the dips is a vital factor in the eventual realisation of your vision, but what is it made up of?


Here is a little list I have compiled that may add a bit of colour to the idea:


P. Plan to fail


Sounds contradictory, but what I really mean is, keep the idea of failure handy so you can recognise when it happens and move swiftly on to the next thing. Having a picture that everything will be an outstanding success can be more of an obstacle than a help when it comes to feeling able to pick yourself up and dust yourself down and start all over again. But realising that things might not always work out as you would wish helps resilience.


E. Eliminate what’s not contributing


There are always aspects to any project that are not supporting you or achieving a return. Maybe the whole thing didn’t work out, but some parts were useful and worth keeping. Jettison the junk and use what’s left to start afresh.


R. Redefine success


No it’s not cheating! It’s just that your definition may be quite different from that of the general populace, so work out what success would look like to you and stick to that. Then you’ll be clearer about what a failure means to you too and it might turn out that there are not as many of them as you’d think.


S. Strive but not just to survive


Persistence is not all about rock hard immutable doggedness. You can strive in a calm, collected non-stressed way and enjoy the journey. Continue with what excites you to aim for but remember what all the effort is for. Persistence with a focus on the ultimate purpose for the excellence you want to achieve.


I. Inspire others with your vision and hand it over


One of my projects has never gone anywhere and so I say it has failed. But if someone I have inspired by talking about it wants to take it over and run with it, I say go for it! I would be glad to see it eventuate – even if it’s not me that does it. This is vicarious persistence, realising your ideas through others and letting go.


S. Stand back and reflect


Perspective is part of persistence and distance is needed to make the judgements and assessments mentioned above.


T. Thank yourself


Thank yourself and any others who support you and remember what you owe to them for getting this far. Giving up now is giving up on an investment of belief and their trust in your future.


There you have it. Well, I didn’t say it was easy! I just said it was vital.


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