Top 5 Tips To Making Momentum In Your Bookkeeping Biz

podcast Jan 29, 2023



In today’s post, I’m going to be recapping some highlights of a private one-on-one coaching call that I did yesterday concerning ways to make actual momentum in your business.

It’s hardly the first time this subject has been discussed, but over the past week or so, I’ve been seeing this subject come up a lot in my group coaching and my individual coaching calls. This is clearly something that’s on a lot of people’s minds right now, so I know many of you are going to benefit from hearing what my client and I discussed in that coaching call. Without further ado, here are my top five tips for making momentum in your business…let’s start with reframing failure.



Reframing Failure: Forgive Yourself for Your Missteps

My first tip: forgive yourself for the things that you did that didn't go the way you envisioned they would, and work on reframing failure into something helpful, not shameful.

Across the board with my clients and other people in my business world, I’ve noticed a collective feeling of guilt, shame, and fear of having to repeat a step of their business journey that they tried to complete. If something doesn’t work out the first time, they feel as though it’s embarrassing to have to try again.

I’ve heard a lot of statements along the lines of, “I tried this one thing and it didn't work. I invested money in this thing, and then I changed my mind. I tried to post on social media three times a day, and I was consistent for two weeks, and then I stopped.” And because it didn’t work the first time, they feel like it’s a total wash. They can never try it again.

This isn’t true at all.

It’s so important that we stop judging the past—in fact, we need to stop even looking at our missteps this way at all. We have to commit to reframing failure.

The person on my one-on-one call told me, “I invested four years of time and a lot of money into learning how to operate an online business, and none of it worked. So now here I am trying something new, but the deep-rooted fear is that it didn't work then, so I’m going to try again and I'm going to fail.”

You know what I did? I looked at her and I bluntly said, “I hear what you're saying, but I don't even believe you. I believe that that's your lens, that you see it as a failure, but from where I'm standing, it doesn’t look that way at all. This is a book, and it's a book I've read before; you're somewhere in chapter three of fifty, and you think that those were failures, but I know that those things are just steps toward your ultimate success.”

Reframing failures as a step toward your eventual goal will change everything for you. Though my client sees those missteps as failures, there are tools, tips, and tricks that are in her back pocket now that she didn’t have before. She might not need them yet, but they're there, and there will come a time when all of a sudden she needs them. Reframing failure as something to learn from rather than something shameful is key for building momentum rather than halting it.

I want us to work on reframing failure and forgiving ourselves for the moments that we tried things and they didn't work in the timeframe and the way that we expected them to.

I love that I'm speaking predominantly to accountants right now, because maybe you'll understand the term sunk cost.

In your financials, when you've spent money, you don't sit there and mull over it. If you already spent it and you're not getting it back, it's a sunk cost. You move forward, you tell yourself you’re not going to invest in that thing anymore, and you let it go.

Even if these sunk costs were failures—and personally, I don’t believe they were—then the worst-case scenario is that you spent that time and money, and it's gone now.

If you continue to cling to the shame and guilt over that “failure,” and you let it stop you from taking action to progress your business in the future instead of reframing failure as a lesson, guess what? That’s the only surefire way you will fail.


Give Yourself Permission to Fail

The second thing I want you to do is this: give yourself permission to fuck this whole thing up.

When reframing failure, a big step is giving yourself permission to try…and giving yourself permission to fail. Because if you stop taking action out of fear that you’ll mess it up, you're already living out your worst fear.

You're not doing what you wanted to do because you're so desperate to protect yourself from experiencing self-generated feelings of disappointment. Oftentimes, you’re not experiencing others being disappointed in you for these mistakes; instead, you’re afraid you're going to disappoint yourself.

Let me tell you a quick story that demonstrates what I’m talking about as far as reframing failure. My five-year-old is learning to roller-skate, and it is such a beautiful analogy for taking a chance on something.

She just keeps falling down, but you know what? She also keeps putting her skates back on and trying again. She's going slow. She puts them on, she falls on her butt…and then she laughs. She gets back up and tries again.

When I was walking her around the neighborhood on Christmas trying to teach her how to skate, I wasn't letting go. And ultimately she looked at me and said, “Can you let go?” And I told her, “Yeah, I can let go. You just have to be okay with falling, because if I let go, you're going to fall.”

Did she cling on because she was too afraid to fall to try it on her own?

No. She said, “I'm okay with falling.”

And she did fall. She fell, and she got back up, and she fell, and she got back up…and so it continued. Because that’s the only way she’s going to get better. And this time next year, guess what? She'll be a pro on those skates, if not sooner.

You need to be patient with yourself and the process, and you need to continue to look at these things with optimism. Reframing failure looks like this: learning to be okay with falling, looking at where you messed up, and telling yourself, “Okay, that didn’t work, but what did it teach me for next time?”



Trust the Process

So the third thing that I have here is to trust the process. Practice that. Practice shifting the way you speak to yourself about your “failures.” Practice reframing failure through your own thoughts. The language that we use externally is powerful, and our internal language even more so.

Your words are really, really important, and not just for reframing failure. When we're talking to ourselves, it becomes easy not to hear it. It's just a loop that's playing constantly in our heads, so we often don’t take a second to say, “What am I saying to myself?”

I want you to recognize that you do have control over those thoughts. Whether you feel like you do or you don't, you do, and you can get better at changing them from negative to positive. Or you can get better at challenging the negative thoughts, at least.

I like to challenge myself on things. If I internally tell myself, “That didn't work, you failed,” you know what I do? Say it out loud. Pretend I’m saying it to somebody else. Because more often than not, when I pretend I’m saying it to someone else, it suddenly becomes exactly what it is: ridiculous and mean.

So if you find yourself constantly hounding yourself with negative, shaming thoughts, put up a mirror and pretend you're saying it to somebody else. Say what you're thinking, and it will instantly become more ridiculous. If someone else said that to you, you wouldn't let them say that. You would laugh in their face. So why do you let yourself say things like that?

Stop being so hard on yourself, start reframing failure in a way that doesn’t prioritize shame, and give yourself the love that you would give to anybody else. But also, be sure to say these things out loud, because you can't just ignore them. They're swirling inside of you. Let them come out, say them, and then watch them just dissipate.

And if they don’t immediately dissipate, challenge them. Ask yourself to find the evidence of it being true. Ask yourself whether that negative self-talk is actually going to benefit you. I can guarantee you that you’ll discover it’s not actually coming from a place of truth.


Do Less

This brings me to my fourth point, and it’s going to sound a little contradicting: do less.

I don’t mean you should do less so you fail less. That’s not a great way to work on reframing failure. I mean you should do less of what you think you should do and start doing more of what you know you're supposed to do.

Do things that are actually going to cause momentum, things that can multiply, but don't do things out of supposed obligation. You don’t have to constantly be doing something, especially if you're trying to build a business that is going to support a life.

You don't get there through having your head down and hustling and forcing things the entire time. You do things, and then you live. You do things, and then you go for a walk. You do things, and then you wait patiently. Chances are that you’re overdoing, and you need to do less.


Be Present in Your Body

This bridges perfectly into my fifth and final point, which is to be in your body more.

I don't know if this is scientific—it probably is—but it just feels annoying to me that you can't be in your head and your body at the same time.

As accountants, we're generally stuck in our heads. As people who have worked in corporate culture for a long time, we're very much in our head when it comes to getting things done right. And when we're so up here, we end up on autopilot in our body and we don't even feel our feelings or emotions anymore.

This is a problem because our emotions and feelings are absolutely guides. I don't care how crazy that sounds in the beginning.

I know that probably sounds so foreign; it did to me! Before, if somebody had said that to me, they would probably have started losing me. But I want you to try to ask yourself, “Could that be true?”

Play with it. You don't have to adopt it. You don't have to believe me at face value, but maybe play with that. Have you felt your emotions lately, or have you simply dismissed them in the name of getting your to-do list done?

As your to-do list grows underneath you and you grow more distracted, more overwhelmed, and more exhausted, when's the last time that you let yourself feel an emotion without gaslighting yourself into dismissing that emotion and telling yourself if you just work harder, then this thing will go away?

Typically, our bodies are screaming things at us, and we are ignoring them. I think that you could feel your way into a more successful life and a more successful business by hearing yourself and asking how you can problem-solve whatever it is that you're going through.

So, if you are so much in your head that you haven't felt yourself in a while, I don't care what your to-do list is—your homework is to take a walk. Take a walk, get outside, move, put the phone down for thirty minutes.

Look at birds, look at trees, look at snow if that’s what you have. Don't even try to find the answers to yourself. Just feel your body for a second, and then when you stop being so distracted, ask your body where this feeling is and what it’s telling you.



The Best Way to Build Momentum

There you have it—my five best tips for growing momentum in your business. For the most part, these all boil down to one thing: being gentler and kinder with yourself.

Business doesn’t have to be so harsh all the time. You can take a minute to feel what’s happening for you. You can forgive yourself for making an investment that didn’t pan out or struggling to build a habit. You can start reframing failure as something helpful to you, not embarrassing. And if you take a moment to try these things, I promise you you’ll see real results.

Learn how to take your bookkeeping skills and turn them into a business that allows you to replace (or surpass) your corporate salary, be present for your life, and profoundly impact your clients without selling your life in the process by joining Life by the Books (LIBBY).

If you're looking for more tips for bookkeeping, insight on how to become a bookkeeper, and how to say hello to a more confident business model, enroll in Become A Bookkeeper (BABs). 

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