In seven years, Interact has had three separate months of negative growth.
It hurts every time.
I have trouble sleeping, get anxious, cold sweats.
It feels like everything is on the line and all the work we’ve done is for nothing.
We’re just going to slowly wither away into nothingness.
My energy dips and it feels hard to do anything.
Each item on the agenda is twice as hard during a down month.
Side story: One time I went on a backpacking trip in the snow.
Walking in tennis shoes through a foot of powder.
For six miles.
There were mountain lion tracks all around.
And it was just me and two friends.
So that was terrifying.
But it has nothing to do with this story.
My point is, normally, six miles is not so bad.
But in fresh snow, it took all day and was so monotonous.
Slow, boring, and extra difficult.
That’s what a slow month feels like.
Feeling like this when growth slows is totally normal.
According to every single one of the founders I’ve talked to.
We all feel this way when things aren’t going how we want them to.
So, when things aren’t going as you’d like, if you feel like you’re walking through snow with mountain lions, welcome to the club.
I took a different approach each time this happened at Interact.
There is the “try to make growth happen because this is terrible” approach.
Which involves sending promotions, discounts, and taking more customer calls.
That is exhausting and hasn’t worked yet.
Well, it sort of works, but then I have to keep putting out that level of effort, which I can’t.
So I get overwhelmed.
There is the “disconnect and act like it’s not happening” approach.
Been there, too, only focusing on stuff outside of work, like hiking and cooking.
This helps with the mental aspect, but it leads to slower growth in the long run.
Because it means not working on the business.
Okay, dude, you’ve been going on for two minutes and still haven’t said anything about creating content.
Right you are.
Let’s define creating real quick.
How I see it: The place where your greatest level of expertise intersects with people’s wants.
Let’s say you’re an expert in propagating houseplants.
(propagate = turn plants into more plants, it’s a whole thing, and really cool)
And people really want to know how to propagate houseplants.
And you really enjoy talking about how to propagate houseplants.
Then your greatest level of knowledge (how to propagate houseplants) matches up with people’s wants (which is how to propagate houseplants).
Whenever you talk about how to propagate houseplants, it feels good.
Because you know it will benefit other people.
And it will grow your brand.
Assuming you have a company that’s about taking care of houseplants.
Which you totally can. Many such companies use Interact.
So it’s a win-win.
The anchoring element of any creator’s schedule is creating (duh, or not so duh?)
And when things get tough, because they will, that anchor keeps you (me) grounded.
Knowing that at a minimum I can wake up every day and provide value to other people.
That they will benefit from, and it will slowly grow, my company.
Gives me something steady through the storm.
It’s not going to turn a slow month around.
But if you stick with it long enough, it will yield steady growth in the long run.
And there is a calming effect in creating.
It also reminds me that what I’m doing is meaningful.
Beyond just the growth number.
And making money.
What you create is the mountain; this month’s growth is the weather.
Focusing on building the mountain has a positive impact on me when the weather is bad.
Businesses are like mountains, not like weather.