How To Survive The Entrepreneur's Dark Days

Published by Mike Michalowicz (Google+)

You are not alone. Every entrepreneur has dark days. I mean days of complete despair. I asked the TPE community to share their “dark day” experiences, and how they navigated through them:

Dark Days

1. Princesses, Pixies & Pitfalls

How To Survive The Dark Days: As a kid, I learned many stories by listening to them on book and record.

I also learned a simple truth about life and business.

Know when to turn the page.

Many great minds have suffered failures before enjoying success. Accept that you will make mistakes – we all do.

Get mad if you need to. Have a good cry if that helps. Then get over it and turn the page.

The real tragedy would be if you allow the record to get stuck there

Thanks To: Traci Hayner Vanover of The Creative Concept, Inc.

2. Go Forth And Network!

How To Survive The Dark Days: My dark days happen when I don’t have enough projects in the pipeline. It’s not just about the $$, it’s also the energy I get from helping others. Since I’m a “people person”, I need to get out to networking events often. I look to re-connect with colleagues, find potential vendors, meet new prospects, and introduce folks. When I remember “it’s not all about me”, I usually have at least one FUN conversation and meet at least one person I might do business with.

Thanks To: Leigh Kramer of Helicopter Marketing

3. Friends Outside Your Field

How To Survive The Dark Days: How to get through emotional times at work? GIRLFRIENDS. It is imperative to have someone who is completely outside of your field that you can relax and visit with that has nothing to do with work so that when you do get back to working on making it through the cloud, you are refreshed and clear minded. Without friends, the dark days are terrible. Get some!

Thanks To: Dawn Lenzie of Announce, Invite & Delight, LLC

4. Once More With Feeling!

How To Survive The Dark Days: When my mind wanders into the Dark Abyss, I sing my success jingle – to myself, or with Ethel Merman gusto, situation permitting. It’s an upbeat little ditty I made up sung to the tune of “This Little Light of Mine” — “my company prospers and grows …” bladdy blah.

Thanks To: Nancy Rielle of

5. Reach Out And Touch Someone!

How To Survive The Dark Days: Have a confidante – no matter whether that’s your spouse, partner, close friend or fellow entrepreneur in a non-competing business. The medical and emotional benefits of the stress relief from sharing and just verbalizing a burden are well-documented. Even if that person can’t do anything to help you, they already have, just by listening. And better yet when they can offer some perspective and insight that shows you a possible solution you had overlooked.

Thanks To: Colleen O’Donnell Pierce of Breaking Gravity LLC

6. ‘tube, Thanks & ‘rita Works!

How To Survive The Dark Days: My top things that lift me up when I’m feeling blue about working 12 hour days and getting little results (sound familiar?) are 1.) Youtube: Watching motivational videos a la Tony Robbins pumps me up, 2.) Put it in perspective. It’s not cancer or life threatening; it’s just business. I feel grateful for what I do have! 3.) When all else fails, a serious margarita and some salty or cheesy food puts a smile on my face and makes me forget it all…until tomorrow!

Thanks To: Karen Moehr of Moehr and Associates Success System

7. Give It Away.

How To Survive The Dark Days: When things are slow in my business, the negative self-talk creeps in (“you’re no good at this, you don’t have what it takes, you’ll never find a paying client”). That can make a bad month SO much worse! During lean times, I hold contests where I offer free consultations, and I collect valuable market research from each entrant. This way, I get great exposure AND learn valuable information from my target market. It has always lead to new business.

Thanks To: Carley Knobloch of Mothercraft

8. Here Comes The Sun

How To Survive The Dark Days: Once, when I lost an important bid, my brother–a successful businessman–consoled/counseled me thus: “Do you expect to be awarded every bid you make? If not, view this as part of the process. It brings you one step closer to the next victory.”

My advice: Be realistic. It may be dark now but you know the sun will shine soon. (If you don’t believe this, you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur!)

Thanks To: Mc Caroselli of Principled Persuasion

9. Happiness Is A State Of Mind

How To Survive The Dark Days: I always had the attitude of whatever happens is for the best. I learned to say thank you to God when things are going well and also when things are not going well.
Struggling economic days do not cause me to ignore the other good things I should be thankful for, such as my wife, kids, health, etc…
Therefore, I tend not to have dark days at all.
“Everyone is looking for the City of Happiness, but they don’t realize that it is in the State of Mind”

Thanks To: Shai Atanelov of Unlocked Cell Phones & Accessories

10. Be With Your Core Team

How To Survive The Dark Days: For an entrepreneur something as important as the company itself is the core team because they are the people who have nurtured the company with him/her.So its very important that when bad time strikes you unite the core team and inspire them to move towards a common objective with a positive stride and giving them confidence that ” we can make it together once again “.

Thanks To: Akash Sharma of Revenue Strategy Solutions Ltd.

11. Are You Working On Purpose?

How To Survive The Dark Days: Entrepreneurship is the ticket to creating wealth from a variety of business models. It is an opportunity to use your knowledge, expertise and creativity to build the business and life of your dreams.

Experiencing success in your business requires not only a commitment to your values, but a clear understanding of your purpose; the key to business bliss. Even during the darkest days as an entrepreneur, the sun is always shining when you’re working on purpose.

Thanks To: Kay Fontana of Coaching For Quality

12. I Look From Afar

How To Survive The Dark Days: When faced with difficult emotions and challenges on your entrepreneurial journey, try to look at them from afar. Here is how I visualize it – In my mind I fast-forward to something I dream of, like meeting Oprah, and then I see how insignificant the problem is from that point in time. It helps me to walk through the difficulty and keep going, know that it will be worth it.
Embrace all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly and know it’s all part of the package – you can handle it!!

Thanks To: Debra Medina of Spa Time Baby

13. Two Selves

How To Survive The Dark Days: Everyone is a plural.
Everyone has two selves.
I do.
I have a down, negative side
that wants to live life by what
I only see and under my circumstances.
The “other self”, the positive one
believes in my BEST intentions of MY heart.
And so that is the self I listen to in those dark days.
I believe in the beauty that lies ahead.
Success, authority and ocean front property is strictly reserved for the mighty, for the strong and for the second self to stand strong.

Thanks To: JoAnn Donahue of Donahue Development

14. Thetruth About Failing

How To Survive The Dark Days: There is at least one common cycle that you will find in the life of every successful person regardless of how much money they have, where they started or even how they became successful: They failed and then they tried again. And that’s over simplifying it. In most cases it looks more like: fail, fail, almost got it, nope missed it, totally blew it – all before getting to “Yes This Is It!” My advice: Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of the consequences of living your life by default.

Thanks To: Tai Goodwin of The Career Makeover Coach

15. Don’t Be The Lone Ranger!

How To Survive The Dark Days: So often, we get caught in the foolishly mistaken belief that we’re the only one going through “it.” Knock it off! You’re not the only one! The key is to shake the shame and be willing to reach out to your support network. That’s why they’re there! Use them! Talk. Share. Laugh. Cry. And at the end of the day, discover solutions together. Maybe it’s a JV, new product, or new business! Just avoid the feeling that you’ve got to suffer alone, in silence.

Thanks To: Laura Orsini of Write | Market | Design

16. Let Me Count The Ways!

How To Survive The Dark Days: In my dark entrepreneurial moments what serves me best is to go back to the reason that I launched my company to begin with! I count all of the lives and all of the ways that they have been changed and gifted by what it is that I do!

Thanks To: Ann Farrell of Quantum Endeavors, Inc.

17. Dark Side Of The Room

How To Survive The Dark Days: Starting and keeping any business going is tough. In this recession, especially if you’re a retailer, it’s even tougher. Sometimes surviving simply means covering the right cost and the right time. And sometimes you have to be prepared to be left in the dark. It happened to me recently as we were just too far behind on our electricity bill. So, my best advice is to always keep a good flashlight around.

Thanks To: Joshua Auerbach of The Black and White Cookie Company

18. Strategy Is Boss Even In Fire

How To Survive The Dark Days: When the going gets tough, the tough get tactical! They react, firefight, jump from idea to idea. The successful go back to the plan – they have one – they tighten it, throw out extras, focus on short-term actions that help long-term goals. They stay focused on mission. I know it works. All my Q1 contracts canceled. Zero revenue. My amended strategic plan saved me, business grows again. Fear is a friend, a natural reaction to new directions, bold action. Know purpose, feel feelings, and take action

Thanks To: Rebecca Staton-Reinstein of Advantage Leadership, Inc.

19. Focus On The Money!

How To Survive The Dark Days: Don’t let media reports and negative people get in the way. Think, plan, set financial goals. What are your monthly expenses, including your salary, pay yourself! What do you have to do to meet those expenses? Go after it. Sell it, sell it, sell it. If someone says no, ask if they know someone that maybe interested. Don’t fall into the negativity. Talk about your product and service as it is the best and the only thing that matters in good or bad economy. Love it, believe it, sell it!

Thanks To: Vera Babayeva of Women Can Have It All

20. Focus Forward In Tough Times

How To Survive The Dark Days: When facing dark days, ask:

1. What is my ultimate goal? Do I want a certain amount of money in the bank? Do I want to provide specific things for my family? By reconnecting with our ultimate goals, we motivate ourselves to find new solutions.

2. What actions do I need to take RIGHT NOW to move me closer to those goals? Put together a list.

3. Am I taking those actions right now? If you know what to do, but you’re not doing it with every waking breath, start doing it now!

Thanks To: David Blaise of Sledgehammer Marketing

21. Remember The Dream

How To Survive The Dark Days: Every business owner had a vision when they started. What was yours?
Was it to help an undeserved community? Was it to do well for yourself by doing well for others?

Whatever your business vision, when things get tough, and you are down, you must step back and remind yourself why you started.

There are people are counting on you to continue your mission. Reminding yourself there is more work to do will help propel you through the rough patches.

Thanks To: Lynn Switanowski-Barrett of Creative Business Consulting Group

22. Why Are You In Business???

How To Survive The Dark Days: During my darkest days, I try to take a step back, and remind myself why exactly I am in business for myself. 1. I want to build something special for myself (and future generations) 2. I want independence 3. I want the potential to retire early. And so on. Once I do all that I’m instantly reminded that building a successful business takes time and lots of hard work. That realization is usually enough to get me out of the funk!

Thanks To: Frank Carnevale of Fourward

23. Find A Mentor

How To Survive The Dark Days: We all know that running a business will have it’s ups and downs. I could not have gone through the dark times of running a business with out the support, encouragement and inspiration from my mentors. It is important to connect with one or a few individuals that get you, what you do and are willing to be there to lift you up when needed and celebrate with you during the success!
You can’t go along this Entrepreneurial journey by yourself…Find a Mentor!

Thanks To: Cheryl Hill of Simple Bella Biz

24. R U Attention Savy Or Needy?

How To Survive The Dark Days: It’s vital to know the kind of attention you need these days to keep your energy expanding, your health in tact, your creativity pulse up and your vision flowing. Struggling to get it from others often fails to make the grade. Best you discover for yourself exactly how and what you need;give it to yourself first and then ask for it from others when necessary. Begin the process of identifying and clarifying the kinds of attention that work best for you: space, collaboration, supervision!

Thanks To: Alice Aspen March of The Attention Factor(R)

25. Re-ignite To Burn Bright

How To Survive The Dark Days: “In the darkness of fright, re-ignite to burn bright!”

Practice daily inspiration and activate creativity. How?
-Watch a short activational DVD like “Power of Attitude” by Simple Truths *every single morning. It truly gets you going!
-Find a place that you are most creative and create there. For me it is the shower (no laughs please). So I bought AquaNotes to be able to write my creative thoughts down as they flow!(Now you can laugh but not at AquaNotes.)

Thanks To: Kate Nasser of The People-Skills Coach, CAS, Inc.

26. Find Gratitude Where You Can!

How To Survive The Dark Days: Find gratitude where you can. Where you can’t find it, cultivate it. Every moment, in every situation, there’s something to be grateful for.

In your darkest moments or times of crisis, you may not be able to find gratitude for the events leading to a falter in faith or sensibility – though later, most likely, you’ll find a lesson learned, or a wound healed.

Even in the midst of crisis, you can center into gratitude. Once you do, you’ll begin feeling better.

Thanks To: LaSara Firefox Allen, MPNLP of Gratitude Games & Ecstatic Presence

27. Focus On One Satisfied Client

How To Survive The Dark Days: There will be tough times if you take the trip down Entrepreneur Lane. It’s part of this life. You will perform poorly. You may upset a client or prospect. You will make an honest mistake. You might even face a financial issue. But whenever these happen, keep your focus on ONE very satisfied client or customer. Someone you really helped. Someone that you made a big difference for. Remember a client experience that sums up why you do what you do and the massive value you create, and DO IT AGAIN

Thanks To: Randall Dean of Randall Dean Consulting & Training

28. It’s All In The Mind

How To Survive The Dark Days: When things seem to be going wrong I stop, breathe and realize it’s all in my mind. When I go deeper and listen to my heart I know that everything is fine. If that doesn’t work I eat a packet of Milano cookies!

Thanks To: David Couper of Transitions Coaching

29. After The Darkness, Light!

How To Survive The Dark Days: It is crucial to stay focused & move forward even when the dark gloom cloud hovers over you. To combat the dark cloud act like a frog! A frog never moves backwards always forward, even in a disparing situation. Have a pupose, your focus and a Plan B prepared to aid you in these times that will happen. Take a deep breath, act like a frog moving forward with your Plan B. He who gives up usually does so the day before amazing success!

Thanks To: Robin Hardy of MMPA-Marketing, Media & Production

30. Keep Your Eye On The Prize!

How To Survive The Dark Days: Everyone has that one thing, or that one person that motivates them. Perhaps it is that one goal you had in mind when you decided to become an entrepreneur in the first place. For me, that one thing is my children and my goal to officially be a work-at-home-mom. Every bad day, every rough week, I think of them and the reason I keep pursuing my goals. Starting and running a business can be difficult, financially, physically and emotionally. When struggling emotionally, focus on the positive goal.

Thanks To: Dawn Berryman of Market Mommy

31. Focus On The End

How To Survive The Dark Days: I find it helps to focus on the end, not where I am now. Visualize your goal, so you have a clear idea of where you want to be, then find one or two things you can do each day to move you in the direction of your goal. Every time you find you are thinking negative thoughts, replace them with positive ones. In the long run it does make a difference.

Thanks To: Gladys Strickland of GS Business Resources

32. Get Mentoring Through Osmosis

How To Survive The Dark Days: I listen to audiobooks while I work. In particular, I listen to the ones which offer inspiration and keep me focus. Oftentimes, I see my work in a different light and remember why I do what I am doing.

Thanks To: J Rembrandt of 5 Life Skills Smart Moms must Have

33. Surround Yourself Positively

How To Survive The Dark Days: Being on entrepreneur can be overwhelming and stressful, since often it’s me, myself & I responsible for everything. Therefore, I have found it critical to surround myself with very positive people who can encourage, prop me up and even cheer me on!

Thanks To: Katie Danziger of nomie baby

34. Dark Day Demons

How To Survive The Dark Days: Every owner of a start-up knows that it is a roller coaster ride in any economy. For every euphoric upswing in business, there is always a Dark Day Demon (cash flow stress, marketing worries, personnel problems) lurking around the next corner. My best advice is to accept the swings and know that you can count on the fact that it will keep changing. Very Zen, actually!

If it were easy to run a successful business, everyone would be doing it, right?

Thanks To: Lynette Mattke of PicPocket Books

35. Believing In Your Vision.

How To Survive The Dark Days: You have to believe. I never succeeded as an athlete; I would ask myself, why am I doing this? I quit simply because I stopped believing. I lost my vision. In my business I am having the best year in 9+ years because I BELIEVE in my vision. No one can believe in your vision, you have to do that. To succeed is to never give up. You have to keep asking yourself: why am I doing this? Adversity builds character; character keeps your eyes on your VISION. Believe in it and you will succeed.

Thanks To: Edwin Soler of Libreria Berea

36. Nothing But Sunshine

How To Survive The Dark Days: You could have dark days if that’s the way you choose; however, even with the economical issues you always have to see the light. These are my sunshine.
Keep your chin up
Take long walks to keep a clear head, which will help you generate ideas to try new things.
Spend quality time with family/friends.
Take a moment or two to pamper yourself.
No matter what is happening in your life remember, there is always someone somewhere who has it worse than you.
Simply count your blessings and say a prayer.

Thanks To: Janette Buckhaulter of Success Transcripts

37. Find A Business Mentor

How To Survive The Dark Days: Pushing through your darkest days as an entrepreneur is extremely tough when you attempt to face those days alone. Establishing a business mentoring relationship is the key to not only pushing through, but coming out on the other side with a plan for sustainability and renewed energy. Business mentors will be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of your business, as well as, your talents as an entrepreneur, and will be able to encourage and support you during rewarding and tough times.

Thanks To: Dayan Douse, PhD of P.R.I.D.E Consulting

38. Focus, Flex, Faith

How To Survive The Dark Days: When the days get dark, and you have no idea if there is a light at the end of the tunnel:

1. Focus. Review your goals, your achievements, your efforts. You have something to offer-do not give up now.

2. Flex your mind. Take classes, hone your networking connections, create a new brochure. A change will do you good while waiting for traffic to increase.

3. Have plenty of faith. Rome was not built in a day. It takes both the good and the bad to make a sustainable company.

Thanks To: Doula Angelita of Resurgam BirthingWell8899

39. Walking Brings Enlightenment

How To Survive The Dark Days: When the going gets tough the tough gets going. Call me the perpetual optimist. Having to be the sole provider of 4 children has taught me many lessons and one of them is that every dark hour eventually allows the light. You just need to believe.

Therefore, when I need to re connect to the light, I put on my walking shoes (literally).I listen to books on tape or I reflect on all the positives in my life – My children, good citizens of the world & my adorable granddaughter’s effervescent

Thanks To: Adalia John of Circle of Enlightenment

40. Tough Times: Leaning On Others

How To Survive The Dark Days: When times are dark and tough for me, I look up to my mentors for guidance and help.

These are groups of peers that have “been there & done that”. Without them, I would not be where I am today- helping other small businesses understand the power of using the internet to grow.

Thanks To: Kevin Puls of

41. Faith In God

How To Survive The Dark Days: No matter how dark the days, my faith in God carries me through. When we realize that no matter how dark the current time may appear, God can carry us through.

We will face dark days when the economy is bad. We will face dark days when the stock market is dramatically down. When employees don’t treat us right, when everything is dark.

Prayer and talking to God is the best way to unload our burdens and cares and face each day with renewed vigor.

Thanks To: Scott Lovingood of The Wealth Squad Inc

42. Lump It.

How To Survive The Dark Days: When you hit dark days in business you know you can “take your marbles and go home”. You also know you can try to find the good, the lesson, the silver lining. However, the truth is there are dark days when reacting, over analyzing or looking for solutions just burn your energy and drive you nuts! When I was a kid and unhappy my older pragmatic sister would say “like it or lump it”. And sometimes the best way to get through the dark days of biz is to “lump it”. Accept it & keep moving forward.

Thanks To: Kimberlee Hayward of Brilliant Marketing!

43. More For Your Memoir

How To Survive The Dark Days: On your darkest days as an entrepreneur just remember, you’re in good company. When it seems like you’re fighting an uphill battle, check out the biography of a well known business mogul and see how many times they failed before they succeeded. Tell yourself that every negative experience will make your memoir a better read once you’ve reached your goal.

Thanks To: Tangela Walker-Craft of Simply Necessary, Incorporated

44. The Sixty Minute Mope

How To Survive The Dark Days: A big challenge entrepreneurs face is the emotional roller coaster of being in business for oneself. Following the last recession post 9/11 when business was at a standstill, I wondered if I’d ever make it through. I created a little trick to help me out of the doldrums. I’d “gift” myself a Sixty Minute Mope allowing myself to feel sad, bad, and depressed. At the end of 60 minutes, I’d clap my hands, stretch, & get right back to work feeling released & ready to meet my next business opportunity.

Thanks To: Nancy Fox of Fox Coaching Associates

45. Be Grateful

How To Survive The Dark Days: Sad about economic events I feel powerless to control,I started keeping a journal.Every night I write down 5 things I am grateful for.This renewed focus on good things is helpful in turning negative thoughts into more positive ones.I learned to lessen the impact of negativity in my life by not giving it weight or focus.Happiness and fulfillment don’t come from external events.We can learn to be catalysts for our own change.Focus on what we can control,try hard to make an impact.Be grateful.

Thanks To: Erica Shames of Susquehanna Life Magazines

46. Your Network Matters

How To Survive The Dark Days: On the rough days of entrepreneurship you need some real friends who you can turn to. This is one more reason why networking matters — if you have established mutually beneficial connections with others who understand and support you, then you never feel alone on those crappy days.

Thanks To: Thom Singer of Author / Professional Speaker

47. Keep The Big Picture In Focus

How To Survive The Dark Days: When times get tough, and they will in nearly all businesses, you must have a strong “why” – why are you doing your business. If you have a why that is BIG, you will do what you have to do, instead of just what you “want” to do. It makes you step out of your comfort zone and push beyond what you thought was possible and move toward success!

Thanks To: Laura Aridgides, Ph.D. of OrganizeNOW

48. Passion Makes Perfect

How To Survive The Dark Days: As an entrepreneur, make sure you have passion for what you do. Never start a company just for the money. If you do, bad times will not only take away your money, but also your happiness. You will attract more customers, partners and/or investors if you do what you love and love what you do. This makes challenges more motivating and will turn bad times into great opportunities. Remember, many entrepreneurs give up during bad times; however, this provides an opportunity to those who hang on.

Thanks To: Chris Perry of Career Rocketeer

49. Think About The Alternatives

How To Survive The Dark Days: When I find myself wondering if running my own business is worth it, I start thinking about the alternatives. Would I rather be working for a big company again with no control over my own workload, income, or flexibility? How would I feel if I couldn’t be home when my kids get home from school or couldn’t volunteer on short notice for a field trip? When I start thinking about what I would be doing if not for my business, I quickly remember why I am doing it.

Thanks To: Tricia Meyer of Sunshine Rewards

50. Think Opportunity

How To Survive The Dark Days: Don’t think of tough times as dark days. Think of tough times as an opportunity to evaluate your business and how you can strengthen it to make it through the tough times. Surround yourself by positive, motivated people who look forward.

Thanks To: Misty Lackie of Go Smart Solutions, LLC

51. If It Ain’t Broke, Break It!

How To Survive The Dark Days: On days when you have doubts about your business direction, your focus or even your abilities, the best thing you can do is to do something outrageous! No ordinary status quo experience, but something so daring it makes your stomach churn! It’s this coming ‘out of your comfort zone’ that will give you the motivation and inspiration to go beyond what you ever thought you could do. Not only will extreme thinking push the envelope and kick start your creativity, it will make you feel ALIVE!!

Thanks To: Deborah Porter of Creativity Made Fresh

52. Dark Is Not The End!

How To Survive The Dark Days: When things look bleak and its as if the world is coming down on me and I feel like a failure in this world, I remember one thing. “This world is not my home. I have a brighter future ahead if I will simply obey”

Thanks To: Gary Unger of Author- How To Be A Creative Genius

53. Keep The Faith

How To Survive The Dark Days: Stay in action with your marketing. Don’t let up. Nothing beats the blues like having a purpose and plan for the day.

Thanks To: Ann Ronan of Authentic Life Institute

54. Concentration

How To Survive The Dark Days: During challenging times its very easy allow yourself to be thrown off course. Things happen that throw you into emotional hijack or other people emotionally blackmail you into honoring their agenda. Never take your mind off of your goals. Concentration and focus are two of the most valuable mental skills that you can possess as entrepreneur. Hold your vision firmly in your mind. Remember that this too shall pass.

Thanks To: Wendy Franklin Muhammad of The Authentic You, LLC

55. Sister Bonding Time

How To Survive The Dark Days: Whenever there’s an emotionally challenging day, whether negative feedback, few orders, or not enough time to do it all, I always call my sister/business partner for some quick bonding time. After a few minutes of venting we usually find the positve twist to the events of the day. Because we know and support each other so well we’ll end up laughing at the rollercoaster ride of being entrepreneurs with six kids in tow. That will definately put life in perspective!

Thanks To: Julie McWherter of prettySMART! LLC

56. Do You Believe In You?

How To Survive The Dark Days: You must consistently believe in you, in your abilities no matter the obstacles you encounter, in your commitment to always move forward no matter what keeps pushing you backward. Consider this adaptation of Henry Ford’s famous quote: If you believe you can or you believe you cannot, either way you are right.

Thanks To: Leanne Hoagland-Smith of ADVANCED SYSTEMS

57. You Gotta Keep Shooting!

How To Survive The Dark Days: There is a quote that pops into my head, both during good times and (especially) bad. When I saw the quote, it was attributed to former hockey great, Wayne Gretzy.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots not taken.”

Keep ‘shooting.’

Thanks To: Harry Rakfeldt of AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants, Dealer

58. Planning Soothes The Soul

How To Survive The Dark Days: Whenever the hunt for success gets me down, I begin to plan for the next stage of growth and how to get there. It is a great time to re-asses, strategize and organize my way to the next plateau and it really cheers me up because I am focusing on the positives and not the negatives.

Thanks To: JR Rodrigues of Job Hunt Express

59. Think Long-term, Use Mentors

How To Survive The Dark Days: Have a plan for your business long-term, and don’t let the temporary distractions or set-backs distract you. Also, use your mentors and other inspirational people around you to stay upbeat and focused. You can do it!

Thanks To: Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing LLC

60. Emote To Promote Your Business

How To Survive The Dark Days: Emotions rule all depressions. Businesses are subject to the same laws of attraction as are individuals. Confidence,clarity,creativity and coherent continuity produce one result: An attraction to success.Calculatedly separating your business from your personal emotions, is hard at first. But once you master the art of emoting, “promoting” business is a breeze. Ensure your business is “emoting” positivity & success.

Thanks To: Aisha Bauer of eSutras Organics

61. Leave Emotions At The Door

How To Survive The Dark Days: As an entrepreneur you have to run your business as a business. You have to be serious minded. it is okay to joke around sometimes, or to show your emotions when something bothers you, but when you are dealing with clients, you do not want to show your emotions. You have to be professional at all times, otherwise, the client may think little of you. So leave your emotions at the door and do your best to act like a professional.

Thanks To: Harry Husted of Heal Your Lungs

62. Remember When You Were A Kid?

How To Survive The Dark Days: Remember when you were a kid, and you thought everything was within your reach? Well it still is.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but we choose this path because we are all passionate about something, whatever it may be. The bottom line is we are all lucky because every morning we get to wake up and pursue something we are passionate about. Something that makes us happy. Very few people can say that…

Thanks To: Jonathan Kay of Grasshopper

63. Run A Marathon

How To Survive The Dark Days: When I have been through a challenge, I’ve often said, “If I can make it through this marathon, then I can make it through this challenge.”

How do you get through a marathon? It’s step-by-step. If you made it through the last step, you will make it through this one.

The night sets; it’s dark; but there are stars and glowing, guiding moon to help you with your way. Find the ‘brights’ in the night you are facing.

Thanks To: Pamela Hawley of UniversalGiving

64. Think Of Others

How To Survive The Dark Days: To effectively navigate the uncertainties, challenges, and hardships that accompany any entrepreneurial journey, you only need to do one thing – think of others. You didn’t start this venture for you; it was really started for the benefit and well-being of others. Sometimes we forget why we’re in business. And, when we remember, our focus and energy are reinvigorated and we can continue to forge ahead with more determination than ever.

Thanks To: Tara Kachaturoff of Michigan Entrepreneur TV

65. Get That Spark Back

How To Survive The Dark Days: It is hard to stay motivated when things aren’t going as well as planned. To get the spark back I do one of the following things:
* review my client’s testimonials or unsolicited blog entries
* review my first business plan that captured the passion I felt about why I wanted to start this company
* talk to another entrepreneur for a pep talk

Seems simple – but it works for me!

Thanks To: Renata Bodon of One Small Step

66. Count Your Blessings!

How To Survive The Dark Days: When pressures and concerns start to get the best of me, I immediately take out a sheet of paper and number it 1-10. I write a list of things I’m grateful for and what life would be like without those things. This instantly puts me in a better mood and helps approach any problem with a better attitude.

Thanks To: Lisa Nicole Bell of Life With Inspiration

67. Keep Your Eye On The Prize

How To Survive The Dark Days: When the going gets rough as you’re starting up your business, remember to focus on the reason you embarked on the journey in the first place. Reconnect with the passion that initially motivated you and stay focused on your big picture vision.

Thanks To: Hilary Harwell of An Inspired Mind LLC

68. Create Emotional Juice

How To Survive The Dark Days: Everyday (or close to it), I talk to myself out loud and go over all my goals and dreams (1, 2, 3 years down the road).

Everything from income level to where I plan on vacation to how I plan on spending my days when I hit certain levels.

It fires me up. It gets my emotional juice flowing. This prevents me from having a dark day…but if I do have one somehow, I go for a walk and do this again…it ALWAYS cheers me up so I can move forward.

Thanks To: Weston Lyon of Weston Lyon’s Secret Society

69. Re-group, Re-focus, Re-align

How To Survive The Dark Days: In the toughest times my partners and I drop what we’re working on and have a “re-focus” meeting. We confess our fears about where we are–no judgments are allowed. We then sit and visualize where we want to be-we re-align ourselves with our passion. The next step is we FEEL what it will feel like to experience that success. We then have an energizing discussion about how it feels to be on the other side of the obstacle. Every time we do this a major shift occurs and we gain huge ground.

Thanks To: Teri Johnson of Little Soul Productions, LLC

70. The Big Why

How To Survive The Dark Days: When times get tough, it’s really important to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Go back to your Prosperity Plan that Mike talks about in the TPE book, especially the part about your Life Mission. Tweak it if necessary. Take a deep breath and recommit to it. Go hang out with some supportive friends (stay away from dreamkillers!)and get a little distance from the business. Opportunity comes disguised as adversity, so be open to seeing the silver lining in the cloud.

Thanks To: Kate Fessler of Inspiration4Success

71. Get Up And Stay Up!

How To Survive The Dark Days: Zig Ziglar teaches that most of us would never drive our car until it’s completely out of gas, konked out on the side of the road. The same goes with being an entrepreneur.

Spend some time each day filling the tank before it gets empty by reading or listening to positive, encouraging material such as Success Magazine, Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, and Jim Rohn. “It’s easier to stay up, than to get up.” Zig ZIglar

Thanks To: Wendy Kenney of 23 Kazoos

72. Dark Weeks? Lighten Up!

How To Survive The Dark Days: When I launched out on my own in 1991 I had no idea how a recession would affect things. What likely could have taken 6 months, took 18 instead. You do what you have to do: my husband and I started a third business between us to get a former corporate income from me flowing in again. With a third business, cash coming in, life was fun again and my real business focus took hold. Emotionally you can move a business forward if you stay focused, do what you have to do, and have fun in the process.

Thanks To: Patricia Weber of Professional Strategies Inc

73. Blues Be Gone!

How To Survive The Dark Days: First, I try to stop and count my blessings. Gratitude is an awesome way to turn gloom into bloom. Next, I get out of the office for a while, outside or lunch with a friend. If I am still having a “day” I call hubby and tell him all about it. He tells me how smart, talented, etc. I am. Lastly, I substitute at the local high school for a day. Hearing that alarm, working for someone else, obeying so many rules–well I get back to thinking my operation is AOK really quickly!

Thanks To: Sandy Wheeler of Sandy Wheeler Travel

74. Build A Dream Team!

How To Survive The Dark Days: I find my best motivation for these dark times is the support network I have with my incredible mastermind buddies. These women come all industries but have my back and support me in my business and my new business opportunities! I couldn’t have developed and made the changes to my business in the last six months without them! No matter how down and dark I feel I know one quick email will bring me back on track! I look forward to my monthly sessions with them all!

Thanks To: Renee Shupe of Renee Shupe Group of Companies

75. Pick Up The Phone!

How To Survive The Dark Days: I find that when I think I’m at the bottom of the dark pit all I have to do is pick up the phone and call a client, a vendor, my coach, mentor or sibling. It is so refreshing to just talk & listen to someone and NOT discuss the economy. For example:

“Hi Mike, it’s Joann. I was thinking about you today and wanted to see how you (and the family) are doing.”

I stay away from business talk, keep it friendly!

Give me a call… I’m here.

Thanks To: Joann Sondy of Creative Aces Corp.

76. Permission To Grieve

How To Survive The Dark Days: My best tip, having traveled through more than a few dark entrepreneurial days myself, is allow yourself to grieve – temporarily – for the loss of a client, a bad mistake, financial dismay, or just the lonely “I’m doing this all my myself” days. We’re human. We feel. Give yourself permission to grieve…then get back up, make a new to-do list and hit the road running.

Thanks To: Michelle Hill of Winning Proof

77. You’re Not Alone …

How To Survive The Dark Days: All business owners have gone through AT LEAST one night where they laid awake, eyes wide open, asking themselves the question, “What the HECK was I thinking when I started this mess???” And then they got up the next day to work at it again.

So you’re in good company. There’s no magic formula, only persistence to see you past tough times. Through it you’ll build the strength of character to prevail.

Thanks To: Jim “Da Coach” Rohrbach of Business Success Skills

78. Re-create!

How To Survive The Dark Days: The root of recreation… take time away from the business. Take time to get back in touch with who you are and what end results you’re trying to achieve. Review your actions thus far, revise or re-use them. Step back and be your own objective eye.

Thanks To: Dale Little of Business Strategist

79. Zo Kom Je Door De Dip

How To Survive The Dark Days: Donkere dagen van het ondernemen? Die zijn er. En je kunt ze doorkomen. Doe twee dingen:

1. Blijf in vorm
Sporten, rennen, wandelen, goede voeding. Zorg ervoor dat je optimaal kunt blijven presteren. Het maakt de donkere dagen een stuk lichter.

2. Draai ‘s avonds favoriete muziek of pak een boek
Zo kom je tot rust en stap je lekker je bed in. Geen gemaal, lekker slapen en fit weer op.

Thanks To: Stan Lenssen of SayEbusiness

80. Be Honest With Yourself

How To Survive The Dark Days: When you are about to throw in the towel ask yourself: “Will I be happier if I go back to my old job?”. And answer honestly. Even though being an entrepreneur is sometimes hard if it makes you happy it’s worth it.
And get a pet. Its love and affection will bring your morale up no matter what.

Thanks To: Slav Ivanov of Socially Apps

81. It Ain’t Over Till…

How To Survive The Dark Days: You may have hit the proverbial entrepreneurial wall. The big deal fell through, you finances are teetering on zero, your big idea hasn’t arrived just yet. Know this, if you study the history of all great brands, even great rock bands, and movie stars for that matter, based on their initial efforts, many seemed to be a total failure. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Slow and steady wins the race. As the great Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over”

Thanks To: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks

82. Don’t Quit

How To Survive The Dark Days: Don’t Ever Quit! There is a great poem called “Don’t Quit” and whenever I get down I just read it again to give me inspiration and motivation. rnrnI have been an entrepreneur for quite awhile and have experienced many ups and downs. Once my ideas and money were also stolen. However, I always choose never to quit. I keep Truckin along and after 5 years I can proudly say I have made some great progress and have accomplished some of my dreams. rnrnI always keep going and work hard!

Thanks To: Sonja Fisher of Keys to Success

83. Sleep Through It

How To Survive The Dark Days: Other than the tendency to want to just sleep through the darkness I wake up everyday and sit down and create opportunity. Talk to people, email people, social network. It is surprising what comes your way when you actually try hard. I’ve met some incredible people and had some amazing opportunities come my way when I figured this strategy out and applied it. Collaborate, help out, be interesting and fun. We need all the levity we can get these days.

Thanks To: Siobhan Shaw of The Broke Wives Club

84. What You Give You Get

How To Survive The Dark Days: When things don’t seem to be going my way, I think of the saying “when you make plans God laughs!” I remember that someone far greater is working on my behalf! Then, I reframe my situation and look outside of myself to see where my time and talent could best be used. Currently I’m working with a group of people who are “between jobs.” It reminds me that it’s not all about me and many others are in tighter spots than what I chose to do…start a business!

Thanks To: Monica Marie Kosiorek of UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL LLC

85. Participate In A Forum

How To Survive The Dark Days: From the moment I even considered becoming an entrepreneur I knew one thing, I could learn from others. I immediatly researched an joined a vibrant forum full of entrepreneurs like myself. What I didn’t expect is how I would come to rely on these virtual friends for support over the years. Not only could I log in and post in a safe place to vent, seek advice, get encouragement…but it was with a group of people that understood exactly where I was coming from. My tip- participate in a forum!

Thanks To: Tori Tait of Mom Entrepreneur Examiner

86. Give Yourself Credit

How To Survive The Dark Days: Every day write down – type, if you want, but you need a written record – three “successes.” (For instance, “I nailed that sales presentation” or “I published my fourth blog entry this week.”)

On those dark days when dusting off the resume looks like an attractive option, take out your success journal, and pat yourself on the back.

Yes, you can do it. You’ve done it before. And once the funk passes, you’ll do it again.

Thanks To: Mistina Picciano of Market It Write

87. Daydream Through Dark Thoughts

How To Survive The Dark Days: When I am feeling frustrated and fed up, I close my eyes and daydream about the long term goal I have for my company. I remind myself of what I want to acomplish and visualize it coming to fruition. I act it out in my head, I dream about the results, I imagine who would benefit, I dream about what how it will feel when I reach the success I am working towards. After about 10 minutes, I have a new burst of energy and enthusiasm and get back at it with great clarity.

Thanks To: Sherri-Lee Pressman of mail4kids

88. It’s The End Result!

How To Survive The Dark Days: I recently started my own copywriting company and I’ve only made $100.
Month after month I have been working day and night writing for free to build my portfolio. It’s especially difficult to shut the computer off everyday knowing that I have not made one cent.
But when I started my company, I knew that it was a long term commitment and although I am not where I want to be, I know where I am going. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize – success!

Thanks To: Michelle Cox of Smoke Signal Marketing

89. Never Give Up

How To Survive The Dark Days: Last year was rough for many of us. I struggled not only with the economy taking a toll on advertising sales, but with health issues as well. I came to a point where I had to really ask myself if I wanted to continue … or if I wanted to set my business aside. In the end, I decided to stick with it and keep at it no matter what.

I also came across this saying which helped me stay the course:
“If you give up when trouble comes, it shows that you are weak.”

Thanks To: Jill Hart of Christian Work at Home Moms

90. Self (and Other) Care

How To Survive The Dark Days: During difficult times, I only discuss concerns with folks I know unconditionally support and believe in me. I make concerted effort to care for myself physically, and limit unnecessary commitments. I listen to uplifting music and audio books that inspire and encourage. (I especially like Buddhist and metaphysical topics.) I consciously remind myself of my accomplishments and what I’ve learned from “failures.” And I look for others to help with my expertise: service is good for the soul!

Thanks To: Dixie Vogel of Good Karma Host

91. Step 1

How To Survive The Dark Days: They say plan your work and then work your plan. On those days when the work is especially difficult or perhaps just feels useless. Concentrate and just put one foot in front of the other. Concentrate on “the checklist” (from the plan) and check off just one more item. Then, maybe, another. This is the acid test – do you really believe. This has to come from you.

Thanks To: Monica Tombers of Just So!

92. Stop Worrying ~ Start Acting

How To Survive The Dark Days: While most people are acting like the sky is falling I REFUSE to buy into that mentality. It’s a waste of time and energy to worry about what you hear on tv. Instead invest in finding creative solutions to your most difficult challenges. Don’t know how? Find a mastermind group of like minded entrepreneurs who can keep you focused and moving forward! With fresh ideas and unlimited support you gain clarity and confidence thereby attracting customers and keeping the cash flow rolling in!

Thanks To: Maureen Campaiola of DARE To Be Phenomenal

93. Get Stuck In A Rut!

How To Survive The Dark Days: Athletes stay focused by having a routine. You can do the same.

Plan each day the night before, and start each day by doing something that focuses you. Whether it’s going for a run or reading the paper over a cup of coffee, build the habit and use it to launch you into your day.

Get enough sleep and eat regularly. Things always look better when you’re well rested and worse when you’re tired and hungry.

Celebrate your successes along the way!

Thanks To: Stephen Balzac of 7 Steps Ahead, LLC

94. Inspirations Speaking

How To Survive The Dark Days: “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.”- Theodore Roosevelt

With a puppy under my feet most of the time these days I do find myself falling way behind schedule. But there are times when I look at our new little Izzy that I realize the gift she is giving this household by her innocence and free spirit.
Laughingly, the other day I also started thinking about how raising a puppy is a lot like growing a business.

Thanks To: Cheri Ruskus of Business Victories, LLC

95. Life Is Like A Main Highway

How To Survive The Dark Days: A great man Henry J Kaiser shared this wisdom with me in an elevator in Hawaii one day, he said “Life is like a main Highway and all main highways have side roads, so when things are not going great, say to yourself I am on that darn side road again, and like magic you will make a u-turn and be back on track.” I have used that for over 52 years and it works, The brilliant man was Henry J Kaiser who at that time owned the Hawaiian Village Hotel in Hawaii where I was the Director of Personnel.

Thanks To: Robbie Motter of Robbie Motter dbacontactsunlimited

96. Darkness Gives Way To Dawn.

How To Survive The Dark Days: Constantly verify that you really have a market, you really have a product, and you are really marketing the right way. And just tough it out. Espresso helps too.

Thanks To: Ted Marcus of Premier Gun Cabinet

97. Every Day Has An Upside

How To Survive The Dark Days: No matter how difficult business may appear, I am always learning something new. For me the secret of working in our current economy has taught me to trust my instincts, not to settle and find a better way to help my clients grow their businesses.

Thanks To: Beth Silver of Doubet Consulting

98. Go Back To The Future!

How To Survive The Dark Days: All successful entrepreneurs are relentless. Once in the past there was a crisis that could have been a failure – but you dug in and dug out. Use your own flux capacitor to move through today’s chaos.

Thanks To: Christine Scioli of Zan Media

99. Picture Faith For The Upside

How To Survive The Dark Days: I know there are the dark days and you feel very alone on this journey.
But, you know the passion inside you that needs to be shared to help others must not die. Picture and visualize what you want as the end result. Have faith and find confidence that there is no one like you. “Ask, Believe and Receive” and “let it go”. Watch what happens.

Thanks To: Carolyn Bartz of LIVING YOUR PASSION

100. Helping Is Natural Even If…

How To Survive The Dark Days: Meghan Wier said, “Helping is natural even if asking is not.” Other people are ready to help us when we’re in a funk…and we need to ask for their help. As entrepreneur, do-it-yourselfer types…we aren’t too good at asking. Ask. Someone is ready to help. Give them the chance.

Thanks To: Meggin McIntosh of Emphasis on Excellence, Inc.

101. Be A Yes! Person

How To Survive The Dark Days: Remember..
You need a big Y – a reason to go on..

Expect Emotional Reactions – don’t get freaked out that you are is normal

Surround yourself with other fun loving YES people! – success comes to those with lots of people around them cheering them on!

Thanks To: Lawrence Polsky of PeopleNRG, Inc.

102. Never Give Up…on Yourself

How To Survive The Dark Days: It really doesn’t matter what anyone says, only you know yourself. What makes you jump for joy and what brings you down. There will be down days if you’re successful in this entrepreneurial thing. So no matter what, never give up on yourself. Even when people say insensitive and silly things. Stick to your mission. NEVER give up on your vision and your abilities.

Thanks To: Roshini Rajkumar of Roshini Multi Media

103. I Refuse To Lose

How To Survive The Dark Days: Here’s what you say to Yourself: ‘I am the Expert. I am the Specialist in my Field & I am the Person that Everybody wants to talk to about what I do.’ Feel the Power.

Thanks To: Marie O’Riordan of

104. Make That U-turn!

How To Survive The Dark Days: On my darkest days, I mentally recall negative comments received of “You’ll never make it!” Those words motivate me to take action.

This January I mentally reviewed all of my streams for income, contemplated the market and pinpointed what was missing. I hired a marketing team to help with online social media, wrote a book that has enormous audience potential and began pursuing corporate business full steam ahead.

In the worst times, I made that U-turn to find more opportunity.

Thanks To: Elinor Stutz of Smooth Sale, LLC

105. Track The Good (and The Bad)

How To Survive The Dark Days: Before my entrepreneur days, I thought business was no place for personal reflection … and certainly not for keeping a journal. I’ve learned that we must document our wins (big and small) challenges. As business owners, we’re wired to think about the next thing. We want the next prospect and sale – even if it means ignoring the smaller achievements along the way. When things are bad, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve accomplished when you thumb through your journal of wins.

Thanks To: Phil Daniels of Tactic Marketing

106. It Can Only Go Up From Here!

How To Survive The Dark Days: If you have a good company and do good things, good things will happen to you. Do what you do, be honest and charitable, and good things will happen for you. Try to remain possitive and look at the glass half full.

When things look to be at their worst, go give a few cans of food to a food pantry and I guarantee it will come back tenfold. Plus, you will feel good. Good Luck.

Thanks To: Michael Jordan of

107. Bubble Baths Not Optional!

How To Survive The Dark Days: Especially when times get hard, treat yourself like royalty. Even if you can’t afford an expensive spa trip, you can probably buy a $4 bottle of Mr. Bubble. Turn off your phone, close the door, and spend time expressing respect and love to yourself. You are the most important person to your business and you have to act like it. Forgive your mistakes, recharge your battery, relax, breathe and renew – let it all wash down the drain. Oh,yeah – one last thing – Bubble bunny ears CAN cure anything!

Thanks To: Vicki Flaugher of

108. Appreciate And Breathe

How To Survive The Dark Days: This is the time to take a deep breath and list all the wonderful little things in your life. The clothes in your closet, the heat in your house, the food in your refrigerator, the beauty of nature, your wounderful relationships, your good health, your connection to source, the foreverness of your spirit, your pets, your mind etc. Relative to our entire planet, HOW GOOD DO WE HAVE IT RIGHT NOW? Take a moment and be appreciative and thankful even in this tough moment.

Thanks To: Andy Feld of

109. Forge Ahead

How To Survive The Dark Days: Take a deep breath or two, then simply find something to DO. There is always something. Clean files, update your mailing list, send a thank-you note to someone, or write down your goals. Read a book by someone who’s been there before – TPE? It all moves you forward.

Thanks To: Barbara Hranilovich of E is for Entrepreneur

110. Light At The End Of The Tunnel

How To Survive The Dark Days: When things go bad as an entrepreneur, they seem so much worse than if you’re an employee, because the fate of the company and others is squarely on your shoulders. When the obstacles seem insurmountable, it helps to put your choices on paper. There are always choices, no matter how unpalatable they may be. When you see them in black and white, it’s easier to decide which path to take. Then make a list of the tasks to be done and cross them off as they’re completed. Keep moving forward!

Thanks To: Robin Siegerman of Sieguzi Interior Designs Inc.

Compiled by Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Category: Money & Equity, Your Belief System
Tags: , , .