Can you see the wood for the trees?
My vision was to create a “Freedom” lifestyle. Instead I ended up feeling more chained than I was in my 8 – 6 job.
Blindfolded in a forest. With no light and no path. No clarity and really, no idea where my next step was going to land.
Starting a business is fun, at the beginning you believe that the whole world you live in will change, you dream about the clients you will serve, the money you’ll make and the fun and adventures you’ll go on. But, at the beginning no-one tells you just how lonely, scary and absolutely overwhelming and stressful it can be.
When I first started out, I had very little in terms of cash to build my business. So, I did the hard-yards in researching, building and creating everything on my own. I made very good friends with Google and because of my geeky knowledge of advanced search, I was able to build myself an online business. It wasn’t easy though.
I was so excited at first, I had a super-clear VISION of what I wanted to create. And I did it. Go me, right? Then, things started to get even more complicated. Why? Because I started to get clients… which is the whole point of being in business. This is where you make the money you need to survive & pay your bills and every now and again (especially in start-up mode) feed yourself.
As my business grew, so did the multiple directions that my clients wanted to take me down too. To the point where I didn’t put in boundaries, or systems to make sure that they were getting what they wanted and needed and that I too, was doing work I love and am aligned with. However, being a super-passionate, multi-creative I figured I could do all of these things (and more) and busted my little ass getting the work done and managing to pull it all off too. To the point of literal exhaustion. The irony here is, I tell ALL of my clients to make sure that they focus on their zone of genius. Uh, duh.
The problem: I was no longer aligned to my own vision, instead I had become “a worker” in someone else’s vision. And when I look back at what this means, I may as well have gone back into employment.
The solution: To take time out to realise what it is that I truly want. Not as easy as it sounds. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’ve been in this place many times too, when you are not fulfilled, but just know that you are meant to be doing something bigger, better, brighter.
Nurturing strengths: Is the only way forward. Again, for a multi-passionate creative, this can become very confusing. Where you really can’t see the woods for the trees. Particularly because I’m actually BRILLIANT at a lot of things. So here’s what I did:
- Created a list of all the things I LOVE to do
- Created a list of all the things I LOATHE to do
- Worked out from these lists the things that I can outsource
- Worked out from these lists the things that ONLY I CAN DO (my super-innate-genius)
- Made a smaller list of things that I can actually get PAID for (that people are willing to pay for)
- Chose ONE THING to focus on building for the rest of this year
True focus: We are our most productive (and happy) when we focus on only one thing. And yes, I know there are a myriad of things to focus on in business, though, I’ve learned YOU DO NOT and quite frankly, SHOULD NOT do them all yourself once you are in year 2 – 3 of business. (If you are boot-strapping reading this, keep your pennies for a mentor or coach that will get you results and don’t invest in tech too early, you can get almost everything you need to begin with on the super-cheap or free).
Creating boundaries: This is a big one. Know when to say NO and when to say YES. You will only do yourself and others a dis-service if you spread yourself too thinly. In fact, if you truly focus on your area of specialty and get so damn good at what you do, it doesn’t feel like work and it just gets better. Some people ask me “doesn’t it get boring doing the same thing“… well, no. Because that same thing also evolves and grows as you do. You take more steps and leaps of faith as you get better, more knowledgeable and you also have more to give back as your expertise develops. You become the Go-to Thought Leader in your niche or industry.
Create a system: That works for you, your niche and what they need that includes on-boarding and off-boarding. Thankfully, I’ve only ever had to provide ONE refund, this was due to my own system fault where a true boundary hadn’t been implemented. As your business grows, the process that you first started with could truly fuck you over, so make sure that as you grow, your system can grown and scale with you, and also, make sure there are no “leaky holes”.
When it doesn’t feel right: Don’t do it. Sometimes our heads get in the way because we want to be liked, contribute, be in control, in fact, whenever we aim to do something that isn’t right, it’s purely ego and control. Let that shit go and don’t do it. In my experience, when you say YES to something that isn’t right, it always goes wrong. Back yourself enough to say NO when you need to.
Take action: The only way to figure anything out is by taking action. Even when you make a mistake, you’ll know if you are on track or not. Paying attention to how you FEEL. Not getting bogged down in the detail or trying to make things perfect. Trusting that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, in this very minute.
Allowing: My word for the year. Not stressing about being so visible online, allowing myself the time-out to respond to what calls me, instead of pushing and hustling hard. Allowing the things I want to come to me (and they do) by being in flow. Allowing myself the grace to look after myself and to fill my cup, instead of continually filling up the cups of others who are needy and want my attention. Making sure that my needs are met FIRST before I try to help anyone else. Because being selfish like this, is actually being kind to yourself. When you give to yourself, you are then free to give to others.
Freedom: Understanding what this really means for me. And re-assessing MY values, my vision, my mission, my message so that what I do next in my business is congruent and consistent with ME. Having boundaries does mean freedom, because it allows you the chance to breathe and let others do the work that’s not meant for you. Co-operation, collaboration, connection all bring freedom.
Removing the mask: By letting-go of what no longer serves, completing unfinished projects, or removing them completely from the never ending to-do list has given me a new sense of clarity, abundance and freedom than ever before. Almost like doing a spring-clean of your home, a massive spring-clean of your business works wonders for the soul and has truly given me a new direction and feeling of well-being.
After all, if we are not well in our being, then we cannot truly serve at our highest potential. And when you are in business, you MUST make sure that you are serving from a space of wellness, kindness and love.
Has your business gone through a transformation recently? Share your story in the comments below, I’d love to hear what’s going on for you.
Love Susan xx
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