Stephanie St. Claire, a self described "Intuitive guidance counselor and law of attraction expert" wrote a great blog post called 11 Things I Wish I knew When I Started My Business. The blog post is great! Here are my responses to Stephanie's 11 things.
Running the business is your first priority. Your success (and financial stability) will come from expertly running your business — not teaching yoga, life coaching, writing copy, or making jewelry. In other words, you will spend 15% of the time doing what you love (your gift..in my case coaching and writing) and 85% of the time marketing, administrating, selling, strategizing your business, and answering a shitload of email. Survival will totally hinge on how quickly you adopt this role of Business Owner first, creator of pretty things, second.
I completely 100% agree!!! Especially, on the email! I don't do enough of all the other stuff to make my business succeed and often feel overwhelmed when I need to be the do-it-all person, but really that is what I need to be. I didn't realize how much I would need to do all the behind-the-scenes stuff when I started my business.
Ready to meet your soul mate? It’s you. Entrepreneurship is the most life changing relationship (like marriage or parenthood) that a person can have. You will be confronted overandoverandover with your fears, your insecurities, your crappy excuses, your limitations, your justifications, your shitty integrity, and your inefficient time management. The standard you held yourself to in the work-a-day world was good enough then, but it won’t be good enough to run your own business.
How true is this!!! I have so many ups and downs with myself, with my business, with everything in my life, ever since I decided to become an entrepreneur. The successes keep running into the failures to the point where I don't appreciate the successes because they are never good enough. I am never good enough at running my business. The other overwhelming part is that there is always more to do. It is a never ending list and worst of all, I create that list myself!
Your trajectory for success will take as long as everyone else’s, even though you’re special and brilliant. I heard the “two-year rule” when I started my biz, but I was confident I could do it in 6 months. I believed with every fiber of my glittery, go-gettin’ heart that my work ethic (15-hour days/7 days a week), along with my talent, skills, and personal magic, I could rip a path to accelerated success because also, this was A Leap of Faith and I was Living in My Divine Authenticity and that was worth some express lane juju points from Heaven.
OMG - how true is that! I am special and brilliant and I know tones of people and I have a really good heart, but still I am not achieving success any faster than anyone else! It is taking forever! When I started my business, I thought about how I always tried hard and succeeded at things because I was determined and put my whole heart behind it, while 3 years later I am just as determined (most of the time) but only because giving up seems worse that continuing on. I'm lucky that I have the support of a few good friends to boost up my self-esteem on the especially bad days. I hope that one day I can prove to myself that I can do it and that I am really special and brilliant, like I thought I once was.
Running out of money is a common part of the journey. You won’t expect it, because you prepared for the long haul. You secured a business loan, or got some investors, or sold your house (cough, cough), or have one year’s worth of savings and you have planned accordingly.
But then all of the sudden, midst the puffy clouds and blue skies, your little twin engine Entreprenairplane will sputter, the needle on the gas gauge unexpectedly plummeting to zero, and you will have only one choice… land your plane on the wild, abandoned air strip called Bank Balance: Fourteen Dollars. And this will be the LAST PLACE you ever thought you’d crash land, cuz didn’t you pass this test on No More Sephora Island?
Build a hybrid stream of income. Take a second job if it will give you peace of mind. Please don’t be a jackass like I was and make it mean that you’re failing at your business. I was so resistant to “dividing my focus” or taking any action which I interpreted as undermining my commitment to being a successful writer and coach. Do you see the hellish mousetrap that was? I really thought that by making a Plan B I was telling the Universe I wasn’t 100% serious about my success.
An awesome business coach once told me that "if I have a Plan B, Plan A will surely fail." Well, I can't see myself quitting my "real" job until I am 100% sure that my business will replace that income for years and years into the future. It doesn't really feel like a Plan B, but rather just taking a very long time for Plan A to succeed. I often see myself as failing because I can't give up that income and it has been 3 years since I started my business. I often think about all the time that I could be working on my business, rather than working for someone else, but then I think about the guaranteed pay cheque every couple of weeks and about how much I love my job and can't ever imagine not going into work. My work provides excitement and renewed energy on bad days. It is spiritually fulfilling and inspiring and filled with so many things I love. If things are going to hell at Giving Gifts, I can count on something turning out great at work. It is funny that my real job, the one that I used to find draining and stressful, etc... is actually very easy and fun and often more rewarding than Giving Gifts!
I find this point to be especially relevant to my life and after reading this, I felt way better about the past 3 years of my life. Instead of feeling resentful that I have a real job that takes a lot of my time, I am feeling pretty thankful to have it.
Read Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work. The biggest challenge you will deal with in running a business is your own resistance. Period, end of story. Before you study anything about marketing, social media, money, or time management, read this book.Okay! Got to read the book! Actually, I really should be reading more books about business. Of course, being Lisa, I thought I was so special and brilliant and awesome that I could succeed at business without any knowledge of business. Perhaps that is why I have been struggling so hard over the past 3 years!
Spend less time researching, more time doing. Researching/studying/ reading other people’s blogs is a form of resistance. In order to get clarity, you must act. Clarity does not come by learning more, it comes by jumping in with your instincts and putting yourself out there, even if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
Block out the distractions (turn off the phone, Facebook, and Gmail) and take inspired action that feels fun, easy, and exciting.
Okay - got to do this too! I spend way too much time seeing what everyone else is up to on Facebook. I actually try not to pay too much attention to what everyone else is doing business-wise because I don't have the time and really all it does is make me miserable about what I am doing. So, I'm going to keep to the plan and stay focused on jumping in!
Only say yes to clients/collaborative projects that are HELL YESES. Scrutinize any joint project carefully and qualify the person you are doing the project with (even if they are your friend and you LOVE them).
This one doesn't apply to me that much but I completely understand the point. Everything in my business at this point is a HELL YES!!!
You must devote time to becoming a brilliant marketer. MUST. I know you just want to spend all your days making hipster sarsaparilla-scented mustache wax, or needle pointing edgy throw pillows for Etsy, or writing your YA zombie novel, or life coaching women to stratospheric success, but if you don’t spend time marketing you will not make money.
This was my biggest weakness when I started because I thought marketing = slimy sales letters with big arrows and opt-in boxes and I couldn’t! I wouldn’t! So I put my head in magical fairyland sand, stubbornly insisting that my customers would be tractor-beamed into my budding practice by the pulsating, heavenly light that radiated from my vision boards and 4 blog posts.
And then I ate canned food and spaghetti for a long, long time.
But this rescued me — knowing what category I fell into: a guru-star, wisdom guide (ding ding), or connector/supporter. Beth Grant explains this expertly and you can watch a free webinar here which will help you figure out which one you are. And once you have that figured out, marketing to your customers will be a thousand times easier because you will be working within your natural vibe. I am not an affiliate for this, I just really love her work.
Learn what way you like to market and stick to that and do it consistently and often. Even if you hire a pro, you will be doing some marketing yourself. Keeping your website fresh and current is essential in your marketing, so learn how to work WordPress and learn some HTML code. You will be in the guts of your website A LOT.
I need to work on my website! With the opening of the store, I've been so focused on making that work out okay - it is never okay, but it is good enough at the moment, that I've completely neglected my online store. I am so appreciative of my online customers, but really my website sucks! I also suck at marketing. I always feel like I am trying to sell people things (while I am!) but things they don't need or don't want, etc.. I don't want to encourage consumption, I don't want to be the friend that is constantly selling things, telling people why they need to buy from me, etc.. I just want people to find me! Of course, it doesn't work like that and I've tried my best to get comfortable with some marketing and I've put myself out there on too many occasions to count and been upset with the results way too many times, but the only way to succeed at this is to keep trying. So as much as I wish I had blinking lights that said "buy from me, I'm a great person, selling great items", I don't have them and never will!
Email will be your new best frenemy. Your inbox will explode. You care about everyone, but you can’t help everyone. Read: Not everyone is your customer. Your inbox will be a jumble of people who want to say thank you, people who want free stuff, and people who want your services.
Definitely agree! I hate opening my email. There is way too much in there. Most of the time I don't even know where to start and what I've dealt with and what I've forgotten about responding to. Email is ruining my life - there is way too much of it. From now on, I will do my best to call when I need to call and stop emailing people.
Number eleven is a hodge-podge: Do not work your business 7 days a week. From time to time, forget everything you know about the “right way” to run a business and run it like a neighborhood lemonade stand. Do not price your offerings around your personal ability to pay for it — you are not your ideal customer. Work out perplexing issues in your business and it will resolve problems in other areas of your life. Breathe, play, laugh. Remember how lucky you are to be an entrepreneur. If you want to be smarter in business, read everything these two people write: James Altucher and Penelope Trunk.
Okay, will do! Breath, play, laugh and enjoy this crazy roller coaster I put myself on. Perhaps one day, the highs will be higher, and the lows, won't be quite so low and I'll be able to sit back and enjoy the ride!