Last week I had a few setbacks in my business with some projects not panning out as planned and others being cancelled at the last minute. After the initial disappointment I knew I could either allow it to consume me or be proactive and try to make the most of the way things had turned out.

Setbacks can develop in a number of ways. Maybe your sales are disappointing or you haven’t been able to get your products stocked in your first boutique. Whatever the setback, don’t let it get you down for long, instead use it to fuel your next steps.

Here are my top five tips on how to handle business setbacks.

1) Don’t do anything rash.

Suffering a business disappointment can make you question why you are doing what you do. When your hard work doesn’t seem like enough, it can be tempting to quit or change things drastically but don’t do anything rash! Any decisions made too soon will be based on your emotional reaction which is not usually the best way to make business decisions. Instead take time to think over what happened and why, then consider the next steps to take. Often after a couple of days your head will be clear enough to make any decisions you feel might be necessary.

2) View it objectively.

Focus on the facts of what happened. When you work for yourself, business setbacks can seem personal but most of the time they’re not! Try to keep the emotion out of any decisions you choose to make and instead focus on what actually happened and what you could have done differently. If you find it hard to view the situation objectively, think about how you would advise a friend in the same situation.

3) Accept it as part of your journey.

You need to accept what has happened so you can move on and grow in other areas. View setbacks as challenges to overcome rather than problems you can’t beat and you will be mentally prepared to find a solution. I often work with coaching clients who can’t let go of past disappointments. Business knock backs can hold you back but only if you let them. Don’t let your setbacks define you and instead accept what happened as a part of the journey you are meant to take. You get to decide how you move forward from this moment on.

4) Use the disappointment to fuel future success.

There are thousands of successful business owners who have suffered knock back after knock back before they reached their version of success. The key is the use the disappointment you feel right now, to fuel your future success. Learn from what happened, tweak your product or service, get feedback from others, monitor the market, adjust your process or pricing and keep trying. Failure can make you more determined to succeed so use it as a positive.

5) Stay optimistic.

Don’t let business setbacks stop you from taking risks in the future. No-one can predict how things will turn out but often the greatest successes can come from taking the biggest risks. Stay optimistic, work hard and keep blazing your own trail. You will get there eventually.

Have you ever suffered business setbacks? How did you tackle them?


Isa Maria Seminega –– Noisette Marketing
Isa Maria Seminega has been working with creative business owners since 2009 when she launched her communications agency, Noisette Marketing. Since then she has helped countless creatives grow their business using authentic marketing, PR and branding. Isa’s work and business advice has been featured on popular sites such as Design*Sponge and and she also spoke on PR at Etsy’s first ever business conference held in Berlin, Germany in 2011.

Isa recently founded Noisette Academy a learning community providing e-courses and mentoring services. Noisette Academy aims to empower creative business owners by teaching the skills they need to market, brand and develop their passion into a profitable business.


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