Why Plan B May Be the Best Plan A - the happy solopreneur

planaplanb

Is it just us, or do things never seem to go as planned?

If you do a soft Google on when your best plan falls through, you’ll find approximately 14,287(ish) inspirational quotes about seeing it through when things don’t turn out as we hoped, dreamed, or even planned for. It can be incredibly frustrating for a new business owner to see that once-golden nugget of inspiration fall through the cracks, never taking flight as your million-dollar idea. We totally get that, but part of why we’re seasoned entrepreneurs is because we’ve had a lot of plans fall through. And we’ve lived to tell the story.

But really, as fate would have it, sometimes Plan B – your backup plan, that other thing you considered, an alternate route, a less vetted idea – hasn’t really been the safety net to catch you. Instead, sometimes, Plan B turns out to be your best Plan A.

Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan. John C. Maxwell

Really. We’re not trying to use word play to be confusing here. It’s that simple – what you once thought was a backup plan may really be the best plan you have. Version 2.0, upgraded, next level – you get the idea. Here’s why you shouldn’t get down on yourself if Plan A falls through and you’re looking to Plan B:

We have to test ideas
Although we’d like to think our first ideas will work flawlessly, that’s rarely the case. Planning is great, but there’s nothing like the experience you get when your first idea comes to life and you get to see its actual performance. As such, we should always look at ideas as continuously evolving. It’s not a linear concept; instead, it’s a cycle of testing the idea, analyzing the results, refining the next steps, putting it back into the world, rinse, repeat. As your idea evolves, it may start to take on the figure of Plan B 😉

We jump at obvious ideas without thinking through all the contingencies
Ah, the lazy brain affliction. It’s okay, we all do it. It’s part of our brain’s evolutionary function, actually, to use shortcuts, thinking tricks, and whatever is comfortable so that it doesn’t waste unnecessary energy. But unless we’re mindful of that and really work through the ideation process, we may just end up with the product of a brain that’s overtaxed and in no mood to really think through whether or not this thing will work. It doesn’t work out as you expected and here you are, wondering whether you should give Plan B a chance.

Plan A might be too “safe”
Okay, so maybe you’ve got a top-notch idea, but it’s one that totally makes sense and imposes absolutely no risk to your situation. You probably know by now that entrepreneurship requires flexibility and risk, and it’s not for the faint of heart. If you’re divvying up safe ideas, then you may be missing out on opportunities to innovate or really do something unique. One of my solopreneur friends always uses the hashtag #FaithMovesNotSafeMoves because she knows the importance of taking the next step, even if you don’t see the proverbial staircase. We’re not suggesting your drain your bank account or anything drastic, but find the shared ground of risk and measure. You may run in to Plan B there 😉

success
image credit: Demetri Martin 

Plan B is out of your comfort zone
This piggybacks on #3 above. Growth doesn’t happen in your comfort zone and as humans, we have a natural urge to push away anything that’s uncomfortable (another evolutionary function that groomed our species to survive!). I’ve had to learn time and time again that my success usually depends on how willing to be uncomfortable I am. And admittedly, I’ve made some huge business mistakes by following what I knew and felt comfortable. Like most inspirational stories of business ownership, the courage to get out of my comfort zone is what led me to my greatest successes. And almost always, Plan B is out of your comfort zone.

You get better with more experience
I can’t emphasize this enough. Many people who venture into solopreneurship already have a fair amount of personal success and confidence. Sometimes those successful experiences turn into really humbling moments as you venture into being a business owner. It’s only fair – we can’t expect to be amazingperfectawesomefantastic at our first attempt at something! So as you keep pushing through the hard spots, learning more, and refining your business, you may find that Plan B wasn’t something you could have/would have taken on in your initial phase of solopreneurship. You needed to get more experience to launch brilliant Plan B out into the world. Go for it!

Do any of you have experience with Plan A falling through and finding out Plan B was the answer all along? Share it in the comments! We love dots of solopreneurial inspiration (and knowing we’re not the only ones to have found out Plan B was our best Plan A!)