“So you want to be an entrepreneur?” my mom and dad asked, questioning me at the dinner table. A little worried for my sanity and both entrepreneurs themselves, they warned me of the extremely hard work ahead of me.
I had just left my cushy advertising corporate career. I was lost, lonely and confused. I didn’t want to return to the fluorescent lights or the set schedule. I wanted freedom to make my own hours and make a massive difference doing what I love.
I carved out a new niche for myself and declared, “I am an entrepreneur.” As a life coach, writer, self-help author and speaker, I now view my journey as making sense: the struggles, the lessons, the setbacks. They were all part of a bigger plan. But when we are in it, the struggle can become unbearable.
The first three years of my business were the hardest, not because they were particularly hard -- but because I made them hard with my expectations and attachments to how things should look. I was always trying to get to the next level: the bigger book deal, more followers and subscribers, more clients, and more sales, believing success was tied to these. I had something to prove . . . until I realized I didn’t.
Something shifted, a radical breakthrough that changed everything for me. Instead of looking outside of myself, I shifted inward. I thought, “If I want my business to work, I have to make sure I am working.” I put myself on a self-love practice, dedicating myself to healing and health. What’s self-love have to do with your business? Oh, everything.
As entrepreneurs, we are our business; we put our heart and soul into our work. So, if you don’t work, it's safe to say your business won’t work as well as it could, either.
When I focused on caring for myself, within weeks my business grew. I hit six figures, landed a book deal with the largest publisher in the world and truly made my business independent, allowing me to work and play anywhere in the world.
If I could go back to my younger self -- the one who was always striving; the one who was always naïve, uncomfortable, lost and apt to feel like a failure -- I’d remind her she is doing a great job. That she should keep going and remember these simple lessons:
- Fall in love with all the hard work. It pays off.
- Your business won’t work unless you do.
- The more you that you show, the more your business will grow.
- Act on your inspiration sooner. Much sooner.
- Don’t worry about getting "there"; the journey is the reward.
- Find a mentor sooner than later. This person will help you learn the way on the way.
- Focus on your mission, over money.
- You can’t be envious and grow your business at the same time.
- Prioritize self-care; it’s connected to your abundance.
- You are always exactly where you are supposed to be.
- You’ll get that opportunity when the time is right; you are still becoming who you need to be to receive it.
- Don’t take things personally; it’s not about you.
- You have to believe it before you see it.
- What you focus on grows, so focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want.
- Take action before you are ready. Confidence comes in the doing and showing up.
What would you tell your younger entrepreneur self?