My second mistake in business: overthinking

Did you miss the beginning of this story and my mistake n. 1? Here you can read about it.

Today the story continues….

I had so many business ideas in that period. And what was I doing with them? I was just thinking about them. I still remember how many nights I spent considering all the implementation details, all the problems and possible solutions, all the pros and cons of each idea.

MISTAKE N. 2: overthinking

What was the result of all this thinking? A massive confusion in my head (made bigger by insomnia). During the day, I couldn’t even remember most of what I had thought about at night, so I was incapable of coming up with a clear verdict about whether a specific idea was worth pursuing or not. Maybe the biggest problem was that I didn’t know how I was supposed to analyze my ideas in an objective way. I didn’t know how to understand whether an idea: 1. Was suitable to me/could make me happy; and 2. Had success potential. So, I kept killing my ideas, after coming each time to the same conclusions: either I wasn’t capable of or passionate enough for implementing them, or they weren’t good enough to be successful. However, this was not the result of an objective assessment, but of a totally unhealthy overthinking.

How much did this mistake cost me?

First, nervousness and irritability. The realization that I wasn’t doing anything with my ideas and that I was just going in circles made me feel really frustrated.

Second, time wasted, as a couple of those ideas were actually good ones (now I can tell)! I could have acted on them, started earlier with another business, and maybe have at least two different businesses at this time, instead of one.

What should I have done instead?
I should have taken these ideas out of my head and found a way to analyze them objectively, with the support of someone else – either a sparring partner or a group of fellows. I should have investigated the possible tools available to understand whether an idea could be good for me and could be successful, and how to choose among different ideas. Bringing clarity in my head during the day would have made me sleep like a baby and take action at least one year in advance!

(Remembering my awful, sleepless nights, I recently decided to do what I should have done years ago, but not to help myself (too late for that), but others experiencing the same issues. I came up with three tools that I now use extensively in training and coaching, because they are simple and effective.)

What can you do?

You have three options:

  1. You can do your homework and start investigating the possible tools and approaches to analyze business ideas, choose/adapt the ones you prefer, and then apply them to yourself and your own ideas. If you choose this way, I warmly suggest that you look for a buddy or a group of people, who can help you with the analysis. You cannot be too objective in judging your own ideas. If you don’t know where to find these people, the Women’s Circle of Business Dreamers Switzerland is an easy, free option for you. The only condition is that you have to be ready to share your ideas and questions online.
  2. If you are free on January 19 and you can be in Zurich, you can participate in a workshop + brainstorming, designed to help you get your ideas out of your head, analyze them with my guidance, discuss your specific questions and challenges with a small group of like-minded women, and come up with an objective assessment. If you conclude that your idea (or one of your ideas) is worth pursuing, you will even be able to go back home with your first business model. The beauty of this half day of intensive work is that you will be in a safe environment, where sharing your thoughts, asking questions, and receiving feedback will be very easy. My promise is that in just 3 hours you will get very far. So, if you are frustrated because you are NOT DOING ANYTHING with your ideas (beyond thinking about them), learn more about this workshop and listen to a few people, who have worked with an online version of it last year. By the way, if you are lucky, you can win a free ticket to this workshop! The best thing to do is to buy your ticket today (so you won’t miss the early bird discount) and then participate in the competition. If you win, we will refund you the ticket price.
  3. If you prefer to work on your ideas with the help of a business coach, I suggest you to choose your coach very carefully (I will soon write about my own mistake in choosing my coach). So, please get in touch with 3-4 people, talk to them, and choose the one that is “right for you”. If you would like to talk to me to understand whether I could be “the right one” for you, get in touch and ask for a free 30-min discovery call!

See you soon with mistake n. 3 (when I finally decided what I wanted to do:-)! If you don’t want to miss it, sign-up to Our Swiss Business.

Gretel

My very first mistake in business: loneliness

From today and for the next few weeks, I will share with you the most important mistakes I have done since I started looking for a business idea until this very moment (Our Swiss Business is about to turn 3 years old). Why? Because they taught me more than 100 business books. By sharing them with you, I hope to be able to: 1. Help you avoid some of the biggest mistakes that I made; 2. Give you the courage to go after your dream of a professionally fulfilling life, without fears of making your own mistakes (and, no matter what you do to avoid them, you will still make quite a few of them:-)

Let’s start from the very beginning, in the period from 2012 to 2015. In these years, I was still new to Switzerland, I had recently lost my first (and only) Swiss job and I had realized that finding a new one was much more difficult than I thought. Moreover, I had a baby of a few months and a second child, who was just 3 years old, at home with me, so I was a full-time mom and housewife. To be more precise, I was a deeply unhappy and frustrated full-time mom and housewife. When I finally realized that the only way out was to start my own business, I made my first mistake (and most likely the biggest of all).

MISTAKE N. 1: being lonely with my thoughts

I was constantly thinking what I could do, while washing dishes, while walking in the woods, while feeding my baby… I was totally alone with my thoughts during the day, until I could share them with my husband when he got back home from work. And to tell you the truth (please don’t tell this to my husband, if you know him:-), talking to him didn’t help me much. Why? Because he couldn’t really understand how I was feeling (he’s never been jobless in his whole life); because he was trying to help by suggesting business ideas that most of the times had nothing to do with me, my strengths and my passions; because he didn’t know anything about business, having always been employed; because he loved me and was trying to make me feel better, and this meant that not always he told me what he really thought about my ideas. Also my very few, very recent friends didn’t help me, for some of the reasons above.

How much did this mistake cost me? 

First of all, I lost a lot of time. How far could have I gone in those 3 years, if I only looked for some support? Second, it cost me a lot of unhappiness, for myself and for my family: dealing with this massive problem alone made me feel miserable for about 3 years. And I wasn’t the only miserable one: my children and my husband had to deal with a very irritable and nervous wife and mom for all this time.

What should I have done differently?

I should have actively looked for a community of supportive women. But even if I had looked, I would have had a hard time finding one in Switzerland. Fantastic networks like DrivenWoman didn’t exist in Switzerland at that time, co-working spaces in Bern (where I live) were in their infancy and weren’t providing yet the great networking and collaboration opportunities that exist now, and online groups for women didn’t offer what I was looking for (they were either for stay at home moms or for businesswomen, not for people in-between like me). But I should have at least tried and maybe I would have found the right people. Unfortunately I had no idea that this was what I needed. I had never experienced the incredible help that a group of supportive women can provide. I discovered it later.

What can you do?

If you are struggling like I was in this dark period of my life and you are reading this blog, you are lucky. Now you know what can help you. Please do yourself a favor. Check out your opportunities:

  1. Attend a DrivenWoman LifeWorking workshop (how to find one? just look for “DrivenWoman LifeWorking Workshop” in one of these locations on Eventbrite or Facebook … If you don’t find an upcoming event in the city of interest, just try again after a few days:-)
  2. Go for a tour at some local co-working spaces (there are even some just for women, like WeSpace in Zurich!)
  3. Check out Our Swiss Business’s offerings, ranging from the new free online community on Facebook (the Women’s Circle of Business Dreamers Switzerland), to great events where you can learn and work on your ideas with a group of like-minded women, to 1-1 support, if you feel the need of more personalized guidance.

Choose the type of supportive environment that you prefer and start working on yourself and on your ideas with others, not in complete isolation. I promise: this will make a BIG difference.

See you soon with mistake n. 2 (if you don’t want to miss it, signup to Our Swiss Business)!!
Ciao,
Gretel