The Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster: Understanding the 7 Stages of Business Growth.

business Apr 24, 2023
Illustration of a rollercoaster representing the ups and downs of the 7 stages of business growth for entrepreneurs.

Starting a business is an exciting but challenging journey that involves personal growth and self-discovery.  It's a kind of rollercoaster of ups and downs, but the ups are not possible with the downs and the flows are not possible without working through the ebbs. Many quit at the second stage when their limiting beliefs, fears and doubts take over.  This was supposed to be fun they say.  It's quite common at this stage to blame outside factors such as the economy, the weather, the father and so on, but if you're wiling to 'stay in the room' and feel the discomfort, there is an incredible opportunity to reprogram limiting beliefs and take your whole human experience to the next level.  I've summarised the 'rollercoaster' into a series of 7 ebbs and flows which I want to go into more detail with you now.

The seven stages of being a business owner can be summed up as the Vision, Fears & Doubts, Inspired Action, Resistance, Celebration, Inner Saboteur, and the The Next Level.  I'm sharing this because when you know this is the journey ahead - you can prepare and embrace each stage for what it has to offer to deepen your experience, instead of getting upset that its not all unicorns and rainbows.

The first stage is the The Vision, where you set your mind to start your own business and take the leap. It's significant in terms of your personal journey of self-discovery, the intention is put forth and you work to manifest (make real) your dream into reality step by step. This is a big high moment, a big flow moment - it's all going to be so brilliant - this is what I call the honeymoon period!

The next stage is Fear & Doubts, where you find your footing and realise that every vision has an equal and opposite negatively charged core belief that prevents any action towards it. So it might be that you started your business to earn money - but a core belief could be that money is the root of all evil creating conflict.  It might be that you started in business to help others because its what you love to do - but then feel like you should do that for free if you truly love it - argh another conflict!  Working towards a big vision is like reprogramming limiting self-beliefs that have been holding you back for your entire life.  I often call this stage the end of the honeymoon period and it usually occurs around the 3-6 month mark when the initial excitement of starting out has passed and it's time to roll up your sleeves and do the work - on the business and on yourself.

The third stage is Inspired Action, where you take action despite your fears and doubts.  You feel the fear and do it anyway.  I like to listen to my doubts and fears and say 'thank you for keeping my safe - but I'm doing this anyway!' This is a lot of flow, lots of motion, and the most free-spirited cathartic action you might have ever taken in your lifetime.  It's literally like unshackling yourself.  Busting through the fears and doubts, the overwhelm, the paralysis analysis and the procrastinating perfectionism requires breaking the action down into easy bite sized steps.  When you are swamped in the Fear & Doubts stage it's like being in a dark hole with slippery sides, and hard to get out.  But bit by bit and by taking Inspired Action such as making that follow up call, posting your offer pitching to a new customer gets you over the fears and doubts and on with the vision!  It's truly liberating and such a buzz to bust through the Fears & Doubts stage.  It's important to have a lot of compassion for ourselves in this stage and keep our cup full with nurturing activities that increase our self worth like eating well, moving our body, resting and connecting with inspiring loved ones.

The fourth stage is Resistance, where fear and doubts creep up yet again, and they take hold of the steering wheel every day. It's a fitness test to see if you can keep moving forward.  But you've done it before, you know you can do it again!  Lean into the resistance, what is the message, where are you trying to stay safe?  Remember the comfort zone never really is that comfortable - it's often a place of never ending plateau.  It's true that the magic happens outside of the comfort zone - but only if you're willing to go through the vortex of resistance and push to the next stage?

The fifth stage is Celebration, where you've crossed the threshold, and you're moving towards your vision, it is becoming a reality!  You started your business, you have products, you have sales and customers and even some testimonials and money in the bank!  It's time to celebrate not just the vision that you have created for yourself but actually facing the self-beliefs and moving forward. You've experienced incredible personal growth along the way that's made you stronger, more resilient, and more experienced. Wooo yeah girl!!  I like to find conscious ways to celebrate that don't involve a food coma or a hangover!  Even simply raising your arms over your head in a victorious pose and saying 'yes I did it' will change your body's chemistry and release hormones such as dopamine (job done) and endorphins (feel good).  Take a tiny moment to celebrate as many wins along the way as you can because it will help normalise the new dizzy heights of success on your terms.

The sixth stage is the Inner Saboteur, where everything comes to a screeching halt, and the celebration is over. It can come through external or internal conflicts sometimes outside of your control. It's your journey with yourself, identity, self-discovery, self-motivation, self-talk, and self-belief. I remember my first fifth stage of celebration - the day my first Primalista paid in full for a Primalista Licence.  I saw the money in my business bank account and lay back to savour the moment.  However, that moment was short lived!  As soon as I lay back my inner Saboteur piped up 'huh!  Big deal - that's a one off you'll never do that again!'  Brutal.  So painful. It was almost more painful and uncomfortable to succeed than to never get a sale. But guess what - I did it again, I did it again over 300 times thanks very much Mrs Inner Saboteur -  and you can do that too!  Once you know the signs of your Inner Saboteur! The Inner Saboteur is a sneaky victim - you can watch out for her if you find yourself blaming others, being in denial, failing to take responsibility or ownership for the current state of your venture.  Once you know the signs you can spot her and weed her out. And so we progress onwards and upwards and only when this stage of celebration and witnessing out Inner Saboteur in action becomes the new normal, can we achieve the final stage!

The seventh stage is the The Next Level, where you've manifested your dream business and lifestyle. You're living that life, feeling happy, aligned, and knowing that there are endless possibilities and opportunities that start coming into your field of awareness. With your hands rubbing together, you prepare to set your mind to start the cycle of the big vision once again.  It may be to take your business to the next level - but bigger isn't always better.  I like to reverse engineer what I need to earn to achieve my dream lifestyle.  Then I like to figure out how to streamline my processes and costs to increase profit and work smarter not harder.  So the seventh stage for me was about building our dream family home, creating my dream lifestyle where workouts, saunas, spas, massages and coffees with my bestie where non negotiables. What will it be for you?  I have seen many business owners pivot their business in a new direction at this stage, maybe they add in something new or try something different altogether.  The previous six stages have built your resilience and your trust in your own inner guide and intuition and you've gotten so good at watching for the signs of the Inner Saboteur - what else is possible?

Can you relate to these stages of, not just being a business owner but of personal growth and development.  I believe the human experience is made up of contribution, growth and experience - isn't having your own business the ultimate way to enjoy being a human - all the feelings and all the emotions.

Being an entrepreneur or a home-based business owner is a rollercoaster ride, and you need to keep believing in yourself. You're going to ride the ups and downs, and you're going to feel the highs so high that these moments will drive you to the next stage of your journey. You'll keep pushing forward, knowing that you're heading in the right direction. When things get tough, turn inward and find that tiny spark that tells you that you must make a difference in this world, that you're here to serve people and contribute in a meaningful way. Keep going, and every time you rise again, you'll be stronger than before.

This blog post was inspired by a post by Jana Kingsford.

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