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7 Questions To Ask When You're Experiencing Tough Times In Your Business


Article Summary

In this article, I share what to do when it feels like nothing is working in your business because these times are tough when you're an entrepreneur and feel alone and like you're the only one dealing with the hard times. I share my approach that helps me and my clients navigate the tough times and come out stronger on the other side. I share my step-y-step process (which includes 7 questions to ask yourself) for assessing the stressful situation and creating a focused and intentional plan to move forward. All along the way we also check in with your mental health to ensure that you're taking care of yourself as well as your business.


  • You are not alone in experiencing challenges in your business.

  • Entrepreneurship is inherently hard and will always have ups and downs.

  • Do not take setbacks personally; focus on your business rather than yourself.

  • Assess the situation by pausing, checking in with your mental health, and identifying points of stress.

  • Focus on what you can control and take intentional action.

  • Find accountability and support to stay focused and navigate tough seasons.

  • Remember the lessons learned from tough seasons for future growth.

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #228). If you'd like to listen to this conversation, use the link below.

Ep. 228 - 7 Questions To Ask When Nothing Seems To Be Working In Your Business


How To Assess The Tough Time In Your Business

Stop/Pause - this feels like the worst thing to do but it's important to give yourself space to separate you from the actions you're taking and take care of yourself mentally.

If you keep going, you're going to keep doing the same thing and not be able to see above the clouds to what the best option is.

Check in with your mental health - my friend who happens to be a therapist, yoga and ayurveda teacher has a fantastic blog post that outlines 7 questions to check in with your mental health:

  1. Have I drank water?

  2. Have I been outside?

  3. Have I eaten?

  4. Have I had a regular bowel movement?

  5. Have I moved my body?

  6. Have I slept well & slept enough?

  7. Have I connected with someone or something I treasure?

"If any of your answers are “no,” that is your focus. If there are several, I recommend picking one to focus on for a week. From there, take small actions towards turning that no into a yes." - Kendi Vrska-Weygand

7 Questions To Help You Move Forward During A Tough Time In Your Business

#1: Who are 1 - 3 people I can talk to honestly about this situation?

Don't just ruminate on thoughts alone, talk to someone. A therapist is great but you can also find a friend, partner or business friend to go through the questions.

#2: What are your points of stress right now?

Chances are there are several things piling on at once because that's how life tends to work. Since you can't fix everything at once, a list will help you get a handle on the situation and see how they are affecting each other. Specific to your business, identify the most pressing point of stress and tackle that first.

#3: What can I control in this situation?

Our business outcome (revenue) is reliant on other people's actions (purchasing) and we cannot control that. So what we have to do is separate ourselves from the outcome and ask ourselves what we can control in this process.

  • Our actions - by identifying what actions will be the most helpful in this season, we can optimize our energy and time (by the way, it's not panic posting on social media!)

  • Our outlook - it's okay to be mad about going through a tough season but we also need to make the most of it. By changing our outlook from "nothing is working" to "nothing seems to be working so what can I learn from this", we will come out on the other side even better.

Woman working on a laptop

#4:  What is working? What has worked before in this situation?

I know it feels like nothing is working but chances are something is. If you're working with clients, ask them why they keep working with you. Look back at testimonials and what people have shared with you previously. Reach out to past clients and ask them how they would describe working with you. Identify what is working and how you help people so you can talk about it and describe it better (aka: gain more clients).

#5:  What's realistically possible for me to do in the next few weeks, based on what's working, so that I can ease the stress I'm feeling?

While big goals are great, in these seasons sometimes we have to focus more short term. How can you "stop the bleeding" right now even if it's not in the long term plan? And remember, less is more.

#6:  How can I ensure accountability and support in this hard season?

In tough seasons you need someone else to hold you accountable because it's too hard to do for yourself. Create a plan where you can check in with someone on a daily or weekly basis to ensure you're staying focused on the intentional actions that will get you out of this slump. If you want this season to end, this is the quickest way out of it.

#7:  What do I want to remember about this tough season?

This one is really focused on supporting your future self because this season will end and things will get better but there will also be more tough seasons ahead too. What do you want to remember about this season? Write yourself notes that you can look back on the next time you're in this season.


Take Away Message / Action

Remember that this is a season and it will pass but it's okay to want this tough season to pass as fast as humanly possible. Do your best by asking yourself these questions to learn as much as you can through the tough seasons because it's often the time we gain more clarity and information. When things are going well, we don't take as much time to learn but when things are hard we have more incentive to dig in and figure out why things aren't working and it often leads to the biggest improvements in your business overall.

Until next time give yourself permission to learn in the hard season and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.

Other Resources:

Ep. 228 - 7 Questions To Ask When Nothing Seems To Be Working In Your Business

"Entrepreneurship is tough and it's okay to be mad or frustrated when you hit hard times but we often learn more during the tough times so always look for the lessons."

- Amanda McKinney


Let's Work Together!

Image of book: Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success

I'm on a mission to help eradicate the feeling of failure when it comes to goal achievement.

If you'd like support as you pursue your business goals, let's work together. Use the link below to see my current options.


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