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Home » Random

The Art of working through the middle

You’ve decided. You’ve started. You are a business owner.

It is all very exciting at the start. You begin by reading all you can, absorbing all the tips and tricks. You take in all the information on what to do and what not to do to be successful.

You begin designing your site, designing your products and services. You get your paperwork done, your site up, your store open, you business cards printed, you work tirelessly for weeks sometimes months but finally you are there… the place just after all the startup chaos.

That’s the middle.

It’s the part that comes right after all of the excitement of starting. The part where you have unveiled your new business suit. The part where you realize that perhaps it wasn’t what you thought it would be.

The middle is the hardest part. It’s the part where you must decide that you have what it takes to be successful. It’s the part where you have to be determined to push through when your business isn’t growing like you thought it would. It’s the part where you have to keep at it even though no one is talking about you yet.

The middle is the part that separates the business successes from all the rest. Because those that stick with it, stick with the middle, will get to the tipping point. The point where growth is inevitable, where your customer base keeps growing, where the monetization you’ve been working on so hard starts to pick up steam. It’s then that you become a real business.

Getting through the middle takes a certain amount of finesse and determination.

Here are five things you can do to get through the middle:

  1. Don’t listen to the naysayers especially the one in your head. We can be our own worst enemy.
  2. Do keep working on your tasks and goals, every day, all the time. If we believe Malcolm Gladwell’s estimate of 10,000 hours to become an expert (Outliers: The Story of Success), then every minute you work now, is one minute closer to being a pro.
  3. Do recognize that the middle is the make it or break it stage for many businesses. Lots of folks give up. More than you might realize. Business is sometimes just as much a game of attrition as it is anything else. Sticking with it will reap rewards.
  4. Don’t forget the basics. It’s easy to assume that the basics don’t matter when there are so many new ideas out there vying for your attention. “Build more traffic with this plug-in”, “monetize faster with this technique”, “do a pop-up”, “don’t do a pop-up”, you just can’t win with all that noise. Stick with the basics, they work.
  5. Don’t mistake patience for stall. It might actually feel like you are standing still sometimes or even going backwards but I promise even in the slowest moments your patience will pay off. There’s no substitute for persistence and tenacity; none. It really is a survival of the fittest type of deal. Those who don’t have the patience to work the program one step at a time won’t last. Those who keep at it even in the face of seemingly unbearable slowness will not just cross the finish line, they will finish ahead.

There are no quick tricks to getting through the middle. Just like there are no quick tricks to becoming an adult when you are a teenager or an expert when you are just a beginner.

The middle is inevitable but if you work through it, you’ll be the businesses success you imagine yourself to be; that too is inevitable.

 

This is a guest post by Yolanda A. Facio of Red.Hot.Momentum. Yolanda helps small businesses find clarity and the momentum to start, grow and manage their companies. Sign up for the free Red.Hot.Motivator e-Newsletter and get Red.Hot!

9 Comments »

  • BizSugar.com said:

    The Art of Working Through The Middle…

    When you hit a brick wall in your business, you need to break through. Yolanda A. Facio shares 5 tips to work through the middle. It is all very exciting at the start. You begin by reading all you can, absorbing all the tips and tricks. You take in all…

  • Rick Byrd said:

    Matthew:

    This is some great information for those that are stuck in the middle and feel like giving up. I am amazed at how many people start blogging and then give up within a few months. People will never know if they give up too early if they give up.

    I think people do listen to the naysayers around them and this is really unfortunate.

    This reminds me of the story about a donkey that fell in a well. The donkey cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, the farmer decided the donkey was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. The farmer grabbed a shovel and begin to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that fell on the donkeys back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

    Of course the moral of the story is sometimes we get dirt shoveled on us but we have to shake it off and never give up.

    Take care!

    – Rick

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Rick, glad you liked this story from Yolanda. I’m pleased to say that Yolanda has agreed to write a regular post on BRT so more insights to look forward to next month. Most people want quick results, which is why most people who make money online sell how to make money online courses. Interestingly enough most people who start blogging think that the blog is a business when it’s clearly not. It’s a platform.

    I do like your comments on here Rick, they bring great insights and stories and often a smile! Please do keep them up!

    Matthew

  • Mike Korner said:

    I think the middle is also hard because now you have to deal with the flaws you overlooked during start-up. Example: Not having your target market solid works in the beginning while you are powered by adrenaline, but in the middle, there’s no adrenaline so you have to face the brutal facts. The middle is hard because the novelty has worn off.

    I’ve thought a lot about Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to become an expert. Whether you agree with the exact number or not, the key is that it doesn’t happen overnight. I think it is really important for people to keep that number in mind to help them remember that it’s a long journey, to keep actively learning, and to keep the hope.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for making me think today Yolanda.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Mike thanks for the comment…Great website name btw. I think the 10,000 hours could equally be applied to business. True a business may start making money early on but in my experience success only comes after an awful lot of learning and experience. Thaks for the comment. Matthew

  • Yolanda said:

    Mike, thanks for weighing in. Glad I gave you something to think about!

    Yep the 10,000 hours concept really does help to remind us that there’s always more work ahead!

    y

  • Yolanda said:

    Rick,

    I LOVE that story! I have actually never heard it before!

    Excellent example of what it means to work through the middle.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    y

  • LaVonne Ellis said:

    So that’s what this misery is all about – I’m at the middle! Thanks, Yolanda, and congrats on the new gig. 🙂

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Thanks LaVonne. When Yolanda told me she had a great idea for a post and said it was working through the middle I wondered what it was all going to be about too. Glad you enjoyed it and hope with Yolanda’s tips you’ve soon worked through the middle.

    Thanks, Matthew