In this blog post I’ll be talking about personal weaknesses and how they can impact on the running of a business if you’re self-employed or work from home. Weaknesses can include poor skills, emotional or social problems, and health conditions; basically, anything that can affect the mind and body. The same principle applies even if your problems are slightly different. Sometimes it only takes one rupture in the system, and the whole ship goes down!
Personal matters can affect short-term and long-term success
The link between personal matters and business success hit me with force in early September 2018 when I realised they were holding me back, in the present to some extent and certainly in the long-term. In the present it can be like being burdened with a perpetual problem, causing you to brood, or it can be like a glitch that shows your personal weakness before it is ignored and life continues. Often there is a link to unhappiness or past problems that you know exist and you haven’t resolved. Why would you resolve them when you’re trying to run a business?
In the long-term personal matters are intrinsically related to your happiness as a human being, your performance, and your business skills. Any serious rupture that repeatedly causes problems should not be dismissed because they will crop up when you least expect it and perhaps sabotage a situation you could have used to your advantage.
Is it possible to ignore personal matters when building a business?
The short answer is yes, it is possible and likely you will be able to ignore personal matters when building your business. You see the activity of business much like a manuscript or any activity you put sufficient effort into, as something external that relates only to you in so far as it enables you to achieve your goals in life.
How personal matters affected my business success
As somebody with Asperger Syndrome many of my weaknesses were interpersonal. This wasn’t helped by the fact that in early life I struggled to forge many friendships, and I was often perplexed by the behaviour of other people and I suffered social anxiety; none of these were conducive to interpersonal growth. I’ve lived most of my life since without needing to build relationships or ‘contacts’, being occupied with routines and hobbies in my own comfortable bubble. I then became a freelance professional copy editor and proofreader and many people in this vocation struggle with getting out, meeting people, and taking time away from their work.
I became comfortable in my bubble because it was familiar. It defined my strengths and weaknesses, who I was even, or so I thought. To me the realm of people was one of potential misunderstanding and failed interaction. Losing people and being rejected by them was a fear but it was also expected by me. I suppose, in hindsight, I didn’t emotionally care for myself much and never had, so why would others care? Everybody was a potential stranger and categorised mentally as ‘unfamiliar’.
I would lose some friends and contacts, but more often than not the problem was with finding new friends and contacts. When it keeps happening the problem inflates and paralyses some of the relevant mental faculties, allowing anxiety to take its place. As you can see, this mindset is not conducive to making new contacts and building a business. People skills should not be overlooked in any area of life, but certainly not in building a business, where you have to be one of the main reasons potential clients will purchase your services, and becoming a familiar, friendly, and well-known person is essential.
What I did – one step back solution
It’s frustrating when you’ve spent so much time on business-related tasks and then you realise you’ve ignored how your personal life is tied to it. You need to analyse this new problem from step one, going back a few steps, and this can take time. In my case, I began to realise my approach to other aspects of life wasn’t doing me any favours personally, never mind in connecting with people for business purposes. I took a few good days thinking hard about why it was I thought the way I did, and what I was doing wrong. Sometimes help from an outside perspective can be beneficial too in allowing you to see that you cannot continue on the path you are on, and this can be in the form of friends, mentors, and support organisations.
I tend to think building a freelance business is not always about a simple linear path to constructing your success, or even about a massive expansion of clients. It can be as simple as building, seeing what went wrong, and then building again. Each time you’re widening your base and creating a model with more success that is more in line with your goals and can withstand the test of time. This model should have factored in personal matters too and how they describe you as a person, where they are letting you down and where they are giving you an advantage. Eventually, it is hoped your client list will expand and you’ll have greater choice over type of clients, and greater income.
Conclusion – how to tackle these types of problems?
You’ve got to take care of yourself, and that means not existing in a vacuum, and it means reaching out to friends, family, and support networks. It isn’t enough to know you have weaknesses; they should be addressed at the earliest possible time and with the right support. Escaping from personal matters won’t help you in the long-term. The longer you leave it, the more difficult and upsetting it can be when it is finally confronted.
Building a business is about you, foremost, and your health and wellbeing is intrinsically linked to your ideas, performance, and long-term success. It can be easy to lose sight of this when you’re too engaged in present tasks or pressured into doing work that isn’t necessarily helping the ‘bigger you’ that cannot be defined by a limited model of business.