So You Want To Start A Business? Lessons for My Younger Entrepreneur Self
I don’t blame them. By then, I had not only left a lucrative corporate career, but had already experienced one failed venture* (*I am aware that there is no such thing as failure. Humor me). Their resistance, though valiant, was futile. I didn’t want to return to the fluorescent lights or the set schedule. I wanted to try and make a massive difference in people’s lives doing what I actually love. So, I set out where thousands had gone before, waving my flag and declaring: “I am an entrepreneur!” Though the business took off immediately, it has been far from easy. Today, I am here to tell you about why it wasn’t easy, how I have made it easier, and how you can learn from my experience to make it easier for you, too.
As an enlightened person, I view the struggles, the lessons, and the setbacks as all part of a bigger plan. However, as actual human me, I also know full well that when we are in it, the struggle can feel unbearable. You struggle, you strive, you go broke five times a year, you don’t see the next steps, you get rejected, you stay up late – you name it, the entrepreneur has experienced it. But in my case, the first two years of my business have not been easy because of these actual hardships –but because I made them hard – with my expectations and attachments to how things should look. From day one, I was always trying to get to the next level: the bigger book deal, more followers and subscribers, more clients, and more sales, and more accreditations, believing success was tied to these. It was like I had something to prove.
Last month, TED rejected my second pitch for a talk, Forbes was unable to run a story they wanted to do about me because my luxury clients declined to participate, and a light bulb went off in my head. At long last, something shifted. I experienced a radical breakthrough that changed everything for me. I took the following days off, and instead of looking outside of myself for the solution, I shifted inward. I thought: “If I want my business to work smoothly, I have to make sure I am working smoothly.” As a result, I put myself on a new diet: a diet of health, down time, and being easy on myself. A diet of taking this one step at a time. A diet of absolutely nothing non-essential, and everything in its time. A diet that strictly forbad me to interact with difficult companies I did not need on my resume any more just because of their brand name, a diet that limited my intake of the news (Trump isn’t conducive to happiness), and a diet that focused on my appreciation for coaching, for my wonderful clients, and for the great work I get to do.
Within weeks, my business flourished to new heights. After a period of stagnation, the business once again hit six figures, and I finally made strides with the book I have been pitching, and I created my first retreat – which sold out within days- making my business independent and allowing me to work and scale with greater ease than ever before. If I could go back to my original hustler self — the one who was always striving; the one who was always working around the clock – I’d tell her to drop the oars and remind her that she is doing a great job.
The lesson of this story is simple: your business won’t work unless you do. Don’t worry about getting “there”; the journey really is the reward, and if you disconnect from that, you will miss the whole point. Focus on your mission over money, on service over acclaim. Prioritize self-care; it’s connected to your abundance. And from there, keep showing up. You’re going to be just fine, superstar.
What would you tell your younger entrepreneur self?