Lemon Tree; How Not to Make Lemonade

Everyone says follow your passions, even me. Everyone will tell you; you can do anything you set your mind to, even me. Everyone makes it seem seamless, easy, obtainable this goal setting thing. No one really speaks about those times when all the ingredients to make lemonade are available, but still fail to make the best out of lemons. I am here to talk about those moments. The moments when you have all the ingredients you need, you know all your actions steps, but you begin feeling like you can’t squeeze enough lemons to keep up with your lemonade stand.

I am a mother of two boys and I also work full time. I have been researching and attending every free webinar to piece together the puzzle pieces I need to take my business to the next level. After every freebee I get an e-mail for some masterclass. Which I would love to take and sign up for but, unfortunately, I can’t afford them all. I begin to feel guilty at least three times a day. I hear very successful people say, “Don’t you want to take your business to the next level?”

Sure I do! However, I find being a mother with daycare bills, mortgage, car payment and then also starting up a business from scratch is extremely hard! The funds get smaller and smaller every day as my boys grow older. So here are my tips on how not to make lemonade. In other words, my recipe for my own chaos that I hope you don’t do as well.

1.Comparing Your Business to Others

Yes, stop thinking you can run your business like them because everyone may not use the same ingredients to make lemonade. Well obviously you will need lemons but you get the idea. Some people have a ton of help and that is why they are able to get so much accomplished. Some people don’t have children, families or work full time outside of their businesses. No matter the case, don’t settle yourself short because you are not doing as well. Don’t worry I am typing these words but I still do this at least three times a day. What can I say? We are humans and we all want to be great, give yourself a break. Tell yourself, I will reach my time when I am ready. Just accept the season you are in.

2. Not Setting ACHIEVABLE Goals

Keyword: ACHIEVABLE goals. Yes, there is a difference between setting goals and setting achievable goals. I come up with this unreasonable list of tasks to complete each day. Talk about FOMO overload. I don’t know how I (little Astrid) think I will achieve all these things daily. Somehow in my mind I think I will be a great productive employee, great mom, great wife, productive entrepreneur all in the same day. Somehow, I am supposed to squeeze social media, live performances, writing, blogging and reading all in the same pitcher. What the hell was I thinking? Did I also mention I am my husband’s photographer and website designer? Now tell me how was your day? Exactly! I am just glad I didn’t suffer from a massive heart attack. I usually do really well under pressure and I guess that is why I convinced myself that I can do all these things, and do them well.?

Obviously, I need to improvise this thought process. So I am saying to you, don’t do this unless you want to experience debilitating anxiety attacks. Set achievable goals daily. Even if it is only one a day. It is important to know your limitations and not stretch yourself too thin.

3. Thinking You Can Do It All

Whenever you start a new business you have to be cautious of your expenses. So you try to learn as much as you can about everything. Then you find yourself doing everything. Then you find yourself overwhelmed with everything. Then you feel like you’re failing at everything because you are drowning in to-do tasks that never seem to shrink. Something I am learning, sometimes just hire someone else.

Yes, it may cost some money you may not have budgeted for but think about something you can carve out. Like maybe you don’t need to go to Sephora every other weekend. Maybe you can pack some lunches and you can actually hire someone to handle your landing pages, marketing e-mails, and distribution of webinars. I am just saying scaling your business while you’re ahead is more of an investment rather than an expense. Besides, you will be hiring more people as your business grows. You decided to start your own business so you can have more freedom, right? Sometimes, those freedoms cost a few dollars and cents.

4. Not Setting Down Time

The whole all or nothing is the worse philosophy to follow personally and professionally. You will crash and burn if you don’t set up time to just relax and unwind. Unfortunately for me, this is one I struggle with as an entrepreneur and as a mother. I feel like I am constantly putting out fires. I am super stressed most days because I want to do so much but my little one requires so much of my time. Do you feel the same? Sometimes, I even find myself fighting just to have a few moments to myself.

Last weekend I had a whole melt down because I had been trying for three weeks to get my nails done. Every weekend something else took precedence and I began to feel super stressed. Plus, you gotta love with incidentals that happen (car maintenance, house maintenance, sick children etc.) that you didn’t plan for. I like to think of these as the universe saying, “Sit down! I’m in charge.” So you need to set up at least one hour a day to just sit and do nothing. Well, maybe stuff your face and listen to some music but do no work. Do nothing for no one else. Just sit with yourself. Listen to your thoughts and just allow yourself to recoup and be creative. They say having a good sleep and morning routine helps. I would add that but I am still finding my own, as it is very much dependent on my rug rats. So I can’t be much help in this area. Again, something else I need to work on, setting and not budging.

5. Seeking Validation from Strangers, Customers, and Social Media

This is like adding salt to your lemonade. I know that we creatives, artist, self-published writers, entrepreneurs in general are constantly doing this. We are always asking if our work is good enough. If our art is good enough (comparing again). We fall into this pit in our stomach and we drown in our pelvis. We measure success against numbers, follows, and mentions.

Let me say, you are good enough. You deserve to be successful in everything you set your mind to. However, you must outline what success looks like to you. Everyone success story will be different. This is something I had to do because I found myself saying how come I haven’t gone viral? Why is it so hard to gain followers? How are these other poets accounts so huge? Should I quit this side hustle and just remain an employee all my life?

Side note: I think about quitting ten times a day. Aside from all the things I previously mentioned, I feel like I am constantly fighting against the clock. I never have enough time to do the things I really want to do. I deal with a high pitch cries interrupting my thought process every time I think I have found a flow in my writing. Then I begin to feel depressed because I feel like I’m failing in every role. Don’t be like me and revise your success plan.

I could add more but I will let you digest the ingredients for a sour lemonade that I mentioned above. Remember that you don’t have to be great at everything. You don’t have to know everything. You can create while you’re learning. You can take others on this journey with you. Most importantly, do what you can. Don’t feel ashamed if that is just a little bit a day. Consistency is more important than quantity, says a very stressed mom.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. Show yourself love, patience and understanding. Without that you will only continue to make undrinkable sour lemonade. I believe in you and let’s make some changes together. Let me know which one you do most and how you can change this going forward.