Want to know why you’re struggling in business?
It’s probably not due to a lack of effort. A staggering number of entrepreneurs put in the blood and sweat and tears – and still end up wondering where things went wrong.
Many of these fledgling business owners obsess over technical strategies and complicated marketing tactics. But they ignore one of the most important elements it takes to succeed: a proper mindset.
Developing an abundance mindset can make the difference between continuing to struggle… or starting to thrive.
Keep reading to find out how!
The Perils of a Scarcity Mindset
A lot of entrepreneurs run their businesses with a scarcity mindset.
This mindset causes them to believe there are only so many resources and opportunities to go around. They do everything they can to protect what they have instead of to grow. Essentially, instead of playing to win, they play not to lose.
A scarcity mindset leads to a lot of anxiety and fear. It also causes us to overlook great opportunities and avoid taking intelligent risks.
This concept of scarcity vs. abundance might seem a bit new age or “woo woo” for your liking, but bear with me a second. Your mindset has major, real-world impact on your business.
If you’re running your business with a scarcity mindset, hard work isn’t enough to succeed because you’ll pour all that effort into the wrong things. Instead of seizing the opportunities that really matter – ones that will grow your business – you’ll get muddled in details and minutia.
If you feel like you’re doing everything right but still aren’t seeing results, your mindset might be to blame!
The Answer for Struggling Entrepreneurs: Abundance
The most successful entrepreneurs have an abundance mindset. They view the world as a place of limitless opportunities, and they trust in their ability to make a positive impact.
If you’ve been acting from a place of scarcity for a long time now, this kind of thinking might seem strange. A scarcity mindset is the “default option” because it’s what has been ingrained in us in school, the 9 to 5 corporate environment, and society at large. Fortunately, with a little practice, you can train yourself to develop a mindset of abundance.
Here’s a few key mental shifts to get started:
Find Ways to Work with Competitors
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A lot of entrepreneurs treat their competitors like mortal enemies instead of people who just happen to be in the same line of business. They get so wrapped up in protecting “their share” of the market that they miss the bigger picture.
This brutal struggle comes from a place of scarcity. If you adopt an abundance mindset, on the other hand, you’ll often see competitors as the source of your largest opportunities.
The Gordon Geckos and Wolves of Wall Street aside, most of your competitors aren’t cold-blooded sociopaths. They’re just looking to serve a similar audience as you and make a little cash in the process.
Instead of asking yourself how you could steal customers from the competition, consider how you could work together for mutual benefit.
Study your successful competitors to see what they’re doing well and better understand your target audience. Sometimes you can leverage your unique strengths to create joint ventures which offer more value than you could create on your own.
Competitors aren’t to be feared or ignored. Why not try talking to a few of them instead? Be open to the possibility of working together, and you might be surprised just how many opportunities you find.
Celebrate Others’ Successes
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It’s a plague afflicting entrepreneurs far and wide. Because we are creative and ambitious, sometimes we find ourselves envious of others’ successes. It’s only natural to compare our progress to others’ – and end up frustrated when we don’t measure up.
The roots of this envy run deep, but it’s often a symptom of a scarcity mindset. We assume that, with only a limited number of resources to go around, whenever someone else succeeds it decreases our chances of doing the same.
The good news? This simply isn’t true. There’s no reason why others’ successes create obstacles for our own.
You don’t need everyone to become a customer in order to be massively successful. As Kevin Kelly’s brilliant essay points out, it only takes around 1,000 true fans in order to thrive. And markets are only growing as the global population – and percentage of those connected online – continues to climb. Even if a market disappears or gets tapped out, you can always use your skills to serve another.
Instead of resenting others, what if you studied them and learned from their successes? Help them become even more successful, and sometimes you’ll catch their attention for potential joint ventures or mentorships.
Celebrate others’ successes. You’ll come away with a lot of actionable insights to grow your own business.
Focus on Creating More Money and Income Streams
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It’s tempting to pinch every penny as you run your business. Especially when you’re first getting started.
That makes a lot of sense. Frugality is key. It will help you weather fluctuations in income and keep going when things (inevitably) get tough.
With that said, some entrepreneurs take it too far. They get so obsessed with slashing expenses that they forget about the other side of the equation: making more money.
Sometimes, trying too hard to save is destructive. You end up doing everything on your own – even things that aren’t a good match for your skills – instead of delegating or outsourcing. You devote countless hours in money-saving mode… when you would’ve been a lot better off just spending a little and using that time to generate a lot more cash.
You can only save so much. Focusing all of your time and efforts there is the product of a scarcity mindset. By all means, be frugal whenever you can. But don’t neglect the importance of making more money.
How can you increase profits from the sales you’re already making?
How can you build a new income stream?
How can you increase the average customer value?
These all the kinds of questions to ask yourself. Pondering them will help you develop an abundance mindset. There’s a floor on how much you can save. But there’s no ceiling on how much you can make!
Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Ties with Unreasonable Customers/Clients
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One of the crucial differences between the scarcity mindset and the abundance mindset? Entrepreneurs operating from scarcity don’t trust in their abilities to create new opportunities.
This lack of confidence leaves them in a lot of unsavory situations. They end up stuck with flaky, completely unreasonable customers. This causes them to waste a lot of time – time they could have spent earning money from people they actually wanted to work with.
Every second spent with an unreasonable customer/client in a second you could spend finding – and working with – someone who’s excited to work with you. Making that leap can be intimidating, especially if you’ve grown comfortable with someone and don’t want to ruffle any feathers. But the peace of mind (and increased earnings) are more than worth it.
It might be time to take inventory of who you’re working with and pinpoint any problem clients. Parting ways with them will free up time and mental energy for better clients with better projects. Scarcity thinking keeps you from doing this because you fear you won’t find anyone else willing to work with you.
Trust in your abilities to create new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to let go of the bad and grab onto something better. That’s all it takes to develop a mindset of abundance.
Start Seeing Yourself as a Value Provider and Problem Solver
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A scarcity mindset limits your perspective of the value you have to offer. This causes you to miss out on opportunities to grow your business – and the income that comes with them.
Say you’re a web designer. With a scarcity mindset, you see that surface-level still as the only value you can create. With an abundance mindset, you look deeper. You recognize that client work is only a fraction of what you can deliver. If you taught yourself web design, why not start a course or write an eBook to teach others? If you started a design agency, why not blog to build authority and document the experience?
Each one of us is a unique product of his or her education and experience. If we’re willing to tap into all of those things – instead of using needlessly-limiting labels (“I’m just a web designer”) – we can find a lot of cool ways to grow our businesses.
Stop seeing yourself as just a writer, marketer, or developer. Start seeing yourself as a value provider and problem solver. That’s true abundance.
Commit to a Lifetime of Learning and Growth
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Think about the path for the typical entrepreneur:
In the beginning, they do whatever it takes to learn about their industry and find customers. It’s daunting, at times completely overwhelming, and they often feel like they’re in over their heads. But somehow, miraculously, they put the pieces together and start to bring in business.
What happens after they navigate that initial learning curve? They stop learning. All of their time and attention goes to running their business.
Entrepreneurs with abundant mindsets realize there’s always more to learn. They can’t afford to slow down or stop. That key concept you learn today might not seem important now. But it could prove invaluable next year when it’s time to develop a new product or pivot your business.
Sustainable businesses evolve. Copyblogger started out as a humble marketing blog; now they sell software, WordPress themes, and content marketing training programs.
With technology advancing so rapidly, we can’t afford to assume we know it all. Entire audiences and markets can rise – and fall – in a matter of months. A scarcity mindset makes that something to fear. But an abundance mindset, with a commitment to constant learning, make this an incredible opportunity.
Just imagine how many customers you could reach if you learn something every day. Imagine how different your business might look in a few years!
No one can afford to neglect the hard work and strategy it takes to grow a business. Mastering skills like product development, marketing, and customer service are essential…
But approaching your business with the right mindset is just as important.
Adopting an abundance mindset empowers you to work intelligently, minimize your anxiety and fear, and seize the opportunities that really matter.
Have you ever felt that your mindset was holding you back in business? How? Leave a comment below and share your experience!