How To Overcome Setback as an Entrepreneur

There are a few things that I don't lack as a human being; extra weight, fine hair products, and a loving supportive wife are just a couple. But, believe it or not, there are a few things that I do lack. Sometimes after making 50 sales calls, a few pitches, and walking across NYC in the cold wind just to find out your appointment stood you up...gets to you.

A new challenge that I did not expect when I first became an entrepreneur was the peaks and valleys that my friend and mentor Richard Dyke warned me about. I remember sitting in his living room as he shared with me the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and the value of always looking for a new peak to conquer. When this conversation happened I was just an infant to the entrepreneurship world and was just finding out what it's like to not have a reliable check written by someone else. Below is how I stay sane, positive, and moving forward.

In my wallet you can find two things, guaranteed: An old and tattered photo of Jesus that my Nana gave me with a very encouraging scripture on the back and, my old business card - with my personal mission statement written in pen on a small piece of paper. (Seriously, next time you see me - ask I'll show you them). I carry the photo because it reminds me of where my strength comes from and the point of it all. I carry the personal mission statement because it reminds me where I'm headed and why I must love the grind.

What is the grind? For me, the grind is the fact that my business the main source of income for my household. That means if I don't provide enough monthly income for my family I will have some unhappy people in my life. For some strange reason, my 2 dogs, 3 chickens, family of deer in the backyard, wild birds, and my wife all like to eat at least once a day. The grind is the things that I do daily to provide that security. What are those daily things?

  • Sales Calls - I make new sales calls every single day. And, if I can let you in on a secret, I hate doing it. While everyone I know says I'm a great salesperson, I absolutely hate picking up the phone. I sweat, I put it off, I write a new blog, I eat....anything other than making those calls. But guess what? I still make them. Why? It's the grind. The grind will make my story and hopefully, my story will inspire someone else.
  • Meet at last one new person every day and make them feel good about themselves - This comes easily to me. I love complimenting people and offering an honest word of encouragement. How do I do this? When I'm at Starbucks I ask the barista about their day and listen for a way I can help uplift them. When I'm making those dreaded phone calls I stay human and listen for ways to help that have nothing to do with the service that my business offers. Why do I do this? Because making someone else feel good, makes me feel great. It makes a deposit in my emotional bank account much larger than most.
  • Hand Written Notes - My mom whom I refer to in almost every blog was a master of making people feel special. One way she made me feel special was by slipping a note in my lunch box or mailing one to my house when I had moved out. I now mail notes to people I care about for one simple reason: I want them to know I care about them. If business comes from it then that's great.
  • Read 15/20 Minutes from a Positive Book - Almost every massively successful person I know is a voracious reader. That's enough to convince me.
  • Meditate on Where I am Headed - Meditate is kind of a wonky word if you ask me. I think about people in robes rubbing cymbals or talking bowls. My version? Sitting with a cup of coffee, alone, and simply thinking about where the journey is headed. It revives me and often times helps me think of new ideas.

When I'm down I take massive action. I recently lost a large client and it stung. My business isn't going to close up and you probably won't see me picking you up in an Uber but, it made me sad. Losing business when you have my personality doesn't make you angry, it makes you sad to see them go. I take it to heart and it feels like I lost a friend. Here's what I did to get over it:

I gave myself about 30 minutes to mourn and feel bad about the relationships I had just lost. I analyzed why the client left and if there was anything I could have done to change their mind. I need this time to find closure.

After mourning, I picked I up the phone and called the largest Whale (large money prospect on my list) and tried to book an appointment to pitch them our social media management services. Guess what happened? He wasn't in the office that day! But guess what, it didn't matter because I was taking action.

In the next 24 hours, I made roughly 60 phone calls to new prospects, booked 2 appointments, found a new consulting client, and felt my gas tank go from "E" to "F."

I recapped the entire experience with three people who care about me and my business. The first person I called was a mentor and friend, Bob Berkowitz. Bob is an amazing communications coach and has a resume that could make most pro's blush. If anyone knows peaks and valleys, it's him. I told him what happened and about the sales calls I made. Know what he said? "You're fearless David." For me, that's what I needed to hear. Later I called my brother Tom, who is an executive sales trainer and master motivator. And, once I hung up with him I called a local business professional who offers me a lot of advice named Mike. He and I laughed about the experience and he said, "Time to fill the funnel. You just need to get out there and do the work."

In the next 48 hours, I found myself excited about the new prospects on my list and almost completely over the client I had just lost. The train was moving forward and all it took was a little intentional action on my part.

Here's how this applies to you. If you've read this far, you can probably relate to my story. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a wantrepreneur, or a business owner - you will experience peaks and valleys. The best way to get over those valleys? Stay focused on the next peak, give of yourself to others, surround yourself with people who build you up, and take massive action.

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it's a dare. Impossible is potential, impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing." ~ Muhammad Ali

David A. Pride is a professional speaker whose talks on youth entrepreneurship, social media marketing and client engagement have taken him across the country and around the world.

David owns Social Impressions, a social media marketing agency that has helped companies around the globe produce exciting and engaging content.