One year ago today I gave birth to my little girl, Quinn. I also gave birth to a business. I left my much loved, salaried career as a Psychotherapist for a University in order to pursue entrepreneurship. I had spent many years working and going to graduate school when my two boys were younger and I decided that I wanted to be a more mindful, present mother with the flexibility that entrepreneurship would provide.
As new parents we often have very shiny (and unrealistic) expectations. Did anyone else think that the house would be lemony fresh and your baby would sleep while you shopped at Target and sipped a Latte? Me too. Alas, society similarly portrays entrepreneurship. Four Hour Workweek, Anyone?
I am here to shine light on these societal expectations and bring you an honest, messy and perfectly imperfect recap from the top ten lessons I learned my first year as an entrepreneur.
1. Action Cures Fear.
You don't need to buy 44 courses and read 12 more books before you take the big leap. Start before you feel ready and once you take inspired action the confidence will come. Fear will try to masquerade as a huge excuse telling you that you need more to begin. You are complete right now.
2. Your Passion leads to Profit.
The word entrepreneurship is often thought of as being synonymous with dollar signs and pictures of people throwing money out the door of their private jet. Those things are absolutely wonderful and they are every reason you should not become an entrepreneur. When you follow your passion instead of profit and concern yourself with relationships instead of numbers, the revenue comes and in a big way.
3. Remember Your WHY
Entrepreneurship can be really exhausting if you spend your day needing everything to be perfect. Too often we can get so bogged down in details that we forget why we even began and we try to control how it will happen. This is your sign to surrender. When you stay focused on the WHY, the how's come. The people you need show up and the clients you dream of email you.
4. Every client is not a right fit for you either.
When first beginning a new business we can be so eager for clients that we give off the energy of a middle schooler on a dodgeball team. Pick me! Pick me! Relax, not everyone is going to love you and it's ok; Not everyone is meant to. You wont be the right fit for everyone and not every client is the right fit for you either. You can trust that when you surrender a client that is not right for you, the Universe will send two more who are.
5. There is no Shame in Self Promotion.
I have grown to abhor the term "shameless self promotion" because that inherently implies that there is shame involved in sales. There is never shame when you are sharing your passion from a heart centered place. My mentor, Gabby Bernstein, taught me to share instead of sell. When people feel your passion they can't help but want to work with you. The world needs what you have to offer.
6. Working from home is not always sexy.
Working from home means space for yoga and folded laundry, right? Nope. I do, however, stare at the laundry as I work. It's not sexy, friends. I have learned on any given day that you do what you can and let go of the rest.
7. Comparing Leads to Despairing.
There is always someone else that will be cheaper, have a perceived better website and the perfect tagline. When you focus on others and compare your beginning to their middle, it leads to despair and can tank your energy. Focus on your strengths and gifts. No one else is you and that is your superpower.
8. Don't Listen to the Naysayers.
People may tell you you're crazy to follow your passion and leave the stability of a 9-5 job. When someone tells you that you can't do something, what they are saying is "I Can't Do Something" and they are projecting their own fears onto you. When you encounter a naysayer, take a deep breath, say thank you (or as we say in the south, "Bless Your Heart") forgive them and move on.
9. It is ok to go slow as long as you don't quit.
This applies to all of life. As an Aries, I have a tendency to want to achieve 100 things on any given day. However, there is no race or competition. Go as slow as you need to as long as you are present, mindful and never quit. There is power in Focus and it is true; where your focus goes, so does your energy and potential success.
10. Attitude is Everything.
If you think you can you're right. If you think you can't you're right. Good things take time, patience and perseverance. Focus on what you do want, not on what you don't. Celebrate every small success and you will have more success. Focus on everything that has gone right and find gratitude each day for every new accomplishment. It may take time but it is on the way.
Throughout all of the ups and downs of this past year there isn't one thing I would change. The trials, when perceived as opportunities for growth, became just that and ultimately each overcome obstacle has led to beautiful success.
If you are an entrepreneur, or considering taking the leap, stay positive. Learn to love the messy imperfection of the entrepreneurial journey and know that having it all together is never a prerequisite for your success.