Building an online business is easy.
I just wish someone had told me that sooner...
These last 12 months have proved to be a magnificent period of change, flex, and eventually growth, in my coaching business. But, before I tell you about those 3 most crucial lessons I've learned, I'd like to share a little bit of background with you.
It's only two short years since I decided to pursue entrepreneurship and build a coaching business, although in reality it feels like ten times as long. Of course, I'd been coaching for years in my management career, but going it alone is a completely different ballgame.
Since launching my business, I invested heavily, to the tune of more than £12,000 and thousands of hours, learning what it takes to build a successful, international business in the online world.
I learned from many of the most respected and successful entrepreneurial minds out there. And yet, I didn't build a successful business.
In fact, I barely even made a dent, as I watched my £40k/year management salary and savings dwindle away to next to nothing. And, it wasn't because I wasn't applying my knowledge; because I was. And, it wasn't because I didn't know enough; because I did. And, it wasn't even because building a successful career as an online coach is difficult; because, surprisingly, it really isn't.
But there was a problem. A big fat problem.
That problem led me to end up more than £35,000 in debt and unable to pay my mortgage and credit card bills for months on end. As a single mother with no outside financial support and no more credit available, it put me in very real danger of losing our home. It had me desperately panicking about how I would even put food on the table, let alone pay for school uniforms, outings and other unexpected expenses. It even brought me to the verge of folding my business and going back to a "proper job".
So, what was that problem?
It seems silly really. You always hear people say that successful people feel the fear and do it anyway. And I was sure that was what I was doing. I was completely convinced of it, in fact. After all, I had pushed out of my comfort zone tonnes of times, and conquered so many of the things I used to be afraid of.
But, at a much deeper level, I was still hanging onto fear, without even realising it, because I was confusing my fear with being realistic.
I was refusing to set massively ambitious goals, and get really focused and committed in my business, because I believed I simply wasn't capable of create that level of success.
I was refusing to charge my worth, because I believed people wouldn't see my value and that they wouldn't be able to afford me anyway.
I was refusing to get really visible and consistent with my message, because I was believed that no one was listening, that I was wasting my time, and that I was setting myself up for more disappointment.
And so on. But, once I finally realised what was going on, and got really fricking serious about my success, that's when I began to learn these incredibly valuable lessons.
Lesson #1: Fear will kill your business dreams
I honestly believed that if I knew all of the online technical wizadry, and built my mailing list, and produced great content, and effectively used social media, then clients would simply find their way to me. But that simply isn't the way that it works, and constantly trying to learn more and more "stuff" from others, was actually just the manifestation of my fear of taking responsibility for my own success.
For far too long, all that learning kept me from the important, value-adding activities that would ultimately transform my business.
Because, it doesn't matter how much you know, if you are not applying it loudly and proudly in your business, every single day.
If you're targeting less than £5k a month in your business, then don't be surprised about never making it to five or six figures.
If you're afraid of talking money, or of charging your worth, then don't be surprised when every prospect you speak to thinks you're too expensive.
If you're afraid to invest in yourself, and your success, then don't be surprised when clients find themselves afraid to invest in their success, with you.
And, if you find yourself procrastinating (fear), struggling to create and innovate (fear), and afraid of getting out there online, on camera, on Periscope, on stage, and so on, then don't be surprised when you can't drive enough new people to your business, to seriously up-level and push your business into the major league.
Lesson #2: Failure is not the worst possible outcome
I remember thinking that failing was the worst case scenario of launching my own business. I remember worrying about what people would think if I didn't succeed. My family. My friends. My enemies. The neighbours. Even strangers.
But, it was this year that I really came to appreciate that none of those things mattered. That actually, the only really important opinion, was my opinion of myself. And that, for me, the worst possible outcome would be to give up on my business and return to the rat-race hell that I had escaped from.
In the end, the fear of having to go back to that was far more terrifying than people laughing at me for screwing up, and that's when I learned to own my story, and to admit the mistakes and near catastrophes in my journey, so that I could use it to help other women struggling along their own entrepreneurial path, to realise that they are not alone, and that they can make it work if only they are prepared to push past their own fears.
Lesson #3: It is possible to create miracles
I should say from the get-go that I don't believe in the law of attraction. Nor am I of any religious faith. Although, if you do, then that's great and I'm genuinely happy for you.
What I'm saying though, is that I use the term "miracles" loosely. In that, I now believe that it is entirely possible to take yourself from struggling to make anything at all, to earning 5 figures in just a month. And that seems pretty miraculous to me.
You see, for me, I resisted believing in my ability to create what I didn't already have, for so long, that I wound up screwing up my ability to create what I wanted.
Because, beliefs inform choices. And choices guide actions. And I knew it. I knew it so well. But I didn't see what I was doing, and I'm willing to bet that, very often, you don't see it either.
In other words, if you don't believe you can create massive success, on an absolute gut level, then you never will. Because you won't take the right actions, you won't invest in your success, and you will chase bright shiny objects instead of developing yourself as an entrepreneur.
Even if, by some fluke, you do manage to luck your way into success, you will quickly sabotage it as your same old beliefs inform your choices, your choices guide your actions, and your actions destroy the progress you've made.
So, what am I saying exactly? Well, by finally getting a grip of the fearful crap that was going around my head, and cultivating a mindset of mind-blowing success, I was finally able to stop struggling, get the support I needed, and explode my business results.
And, if you're ready to make your success a non-negotiable priority, then I'm going to help you to do exactly the same.
2016 is my "Year of Living Fearlessly", and that starts with my Exclusive Group Coaching Programme for Women Entrepreneurs: "From Struggling-2-Sensational". Launching in January, this programme is absolute gold, and will be a complete game changer for the women that get involved.
In it, I'll be giving you all of my very best stuff, in live weekly sessions, sharing every crucial thing you need to know about building a thriving business in the online space - so you get to benefit from my huge investments, experiences (positive and negative), and knowledge; allowing you to shortcut the process and avoid the pitfalls. And, much more importantly, I'll be sharing everything you need to know about identifying your fears and self-sabotage, so that you can flip fear the finger and start easily adding between £2,000 and £20,000 income, in your business, month after month after month! Click here to learn more, and benefit from the huge early-bird savings and bonuses on offer.
Jo Davidson is a Coach, Author, Columnist and Motivational Speaker, who has forged a successful career supporting women to create mind-blowing success, by casting off fear, abandoning limitations, and taking massive action to achieve their goals. Connect with Jo today at The Fearless Women's Circle.