Small business entrepreneurs don’t want to share their struggles for fear of looking weak or unsuccessful. It’s hard to admit that starting your own business isn’t all sunshine and six figures. That passion misconception can cause us to only share part of the story online: the part where we get to travel when we want, stay home in our pajamas or “hustle” in the park for the day.
Why don’t we want to share the darker side? Because it’s SCARY to feel like you are failing, or unsure, or overwhelmed. We are afraid that all those “together” entrepreneurs will laugh at us if we show any sign of what’s REALLY going on under the surface. I got to thinking about my own wild journey starting my business, and I wish somebody had told me how it was actually going to play out.
So why doesn’t anybody tells us the realities of what pursuing our passion looks like??? The craziness of your schedule, the emotional ups & downs, all the loads of procrastination laundry you will be doing… It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are sitting on now (Oh, hey! The grass looks greener over there!) I am going to take it upon myself to educate you now on the three holy truths of starting out with your passion business, so you are better prepared than I was to make your own leap:
You will be lonely.
I talk to people all day long on the phone about their deepest fears, their hopes and dreams, and their ambitious goals. And still, I feel alone in my work. Some people write copy, design websites, or trade currency. The thing we all have in common is that these are solitary activities – work done without the help of others. When I had my big dream to start a coaching practice, nobody cared about it as much as I did – and that was incredibly lonely.
Whether you are self-employed or not, people are the loneliest they’ve ever been at work, and staying home all day in your pajamas seems great until you find yourself talking to your cat, peering through the shades at the outside world with fear. I am literally sitting in a coffee shop now because this morning I thought to myself “If I stay inside this house one more day I will have talked to nobody but my fiancé for the last three days in a row.” Plus…you know…the cat. Does she count?
Passion and other people
So what to do about this loneliness? You can do a few things right away that will help you on this isolated journey. First thing is to join a community or co-working place where you can network with others who are building their own businesses. Be discerning and find the space that feels right for you: a techie hub, a local spot with beer on tap, or a chic downtown place where you feel like a boss. If that’s not going to work, you can find an accountability buddy who you talk with once per week about your goals and setbacks, or join a mastermind group to share stories and grow together. You can even find internet friends if you are not near a city center or in a small town, building a community for yourself without borders.
You will panic.
You will literally feel like you are going crazy. There is no way to sugar coat this. You will likely have lots of experience doing the actual thing you are good at, but lack skills in one important business area or another. You will feel overwhelmed at all the hundreds of tasks you have to take on, and concerned about getting clients, making money, and juggling projects while not neglecting your home life. YAY, WHERE DO I SIGN UP.
The panic of taking on this huge new goal is paralyzing, but it doesn’t have to be. The first few months will feel like one big panic as you sort out this new way of living, and that’s totally normal. You will mess up, make wrong turns, waste time, focus on the wrong stuff, and probably cry or whimper at some point about how freaking tough it is to make this dream work.
How do I get out of passion panic mode?
One way around this panic mode is to think of your life divided up as chapters in a book and name this time in your life something memorable so you can look back on it when it’s over. Then, think of your 90-year-old self, reading this chapter – what’s your perspective now? Do you have some distance between your feelings and the overall bigger picture of what this means for your life? There is a deep “why” to what you are doing, and thinking of yours can help stop that feeling of doom. Find others who are on the same path, people who understand you & what you are trying to build, and bypass the psychological price of starting your biz.
It will be worth it.
Now that you’ve heard about the impact that this journey can have, I want to give you the truth that guides my way and helps to light my path. Every dollar you make will be the sweetest dollar you have ever earned. Your sense of pride and accomplishment will double with every small victory, every happy client, every sweet interaction you share with your community. You will enter a world of wonder & grit, and find hardworking soul mates along the way. And it might not hit you until you are in deep. That “Oh, crap, I made it!” feeling. When your bank account is a sexy number or your suitcase is packed and you are out the door, or you can finally tell your boss “I’m out.”
What is your passion? At what point will you know it’s worth it for you? Connecting to what you are striving for can give you the energy you need to power through the darker moments and emerge victoriously into your truth. You made it. All of that passion, ambition, fervor, joy, and longing. Feeling the goodness of getting that first client, seeing your biz grow, and getting your truth out into the world.
Pay the price of passion
Having what it takes to make your business succeed is in large part built on your mental toughness. Building up your resilience and your resolve will help you design the life you are dreaming of. If you want to keep designing a life that YOU love, on your terms, then it will be worth it for you too. Just do me a favor and be real along your journey, with both your failures and successes. We are all made better by hearing your truth.
If you need help, register for the “Design a Life You Love” Webinar on July 20th @ 12 Noon EST. Learn what it really takes to make conscious, focused decisions that put you on the path to your unique way of living. Don’t do what anyone else does. Do you. Join me and learn how you can use design principles and apply them to your passion-filled life, too.