I know its been a long time since I wrote a really personal note but the truth is, I was busy being “successful”. Yes, there is a hint of sarcasm there. Let me explain. (It’s long but worth the read!)
I want to talk about a few success truths that no one shines a light on. You get the emails just like I do. So and so is singing the praises of a freedom biz with a stock image of a laptop propped up on someone’s legs as they lounge at the beach.
But here’s the truth:
My business has TRIPLED in the last six months and my ass is no where near the beach!
I am beyond grateful that I get to do what I love and do it on my own schedule, and the whole “laptop lifestyle” is DEFINITELY my thing. But I found that as I expanded, a whole new set of challenges presented itself. I’ve been quiet, because you’ve gotta watch what you complain about! But now I realize that it’s important to speak up about some of this. I want to share a bullet pointed list of things no one talks about and truths I have learned over the last few months:
- Big business isn’t for everyone. You are bombarded with emails about how to get your business to 6 or 7 figures. And while I do have clients that have reached those marks, those numbers by no means define success. And as I start to see six figures on the horizon, I also see the massively longer to-do list that will come with it. Success is defined by how happy and balanced and aligned you feel on a day to day basis. If you make an extra $2 grand a month and you’re happy with that, you’re successful. (Bonus truth- you can find out who your real friends by changing your life and finding success. The ones that are happy, rather than threatened or envious, are the ones you should keep.)
- Business, period, isn’t for everyone. The media has done a great job of making us feel like we are “less than”if we aren’t embarking on an Eat, Pray, Love pilgrimage and creating some kind of purpose that either makes us millions or inspires a documentary. Entrepreneurship is definitely for me. But if it’s not for you, that’s ok. If you can show up at your BEST by working for someone else and coming home and being fully present for your loved ones, that is EXTRAORDINARY. Your purpose is not something you go out and find, it is something you DECIDE. And if you decide that your purpose is to be a source of light and a kind smile for everyone you walk by, you WILL change the world, one passing pedestrian at a time.
I learned that I am a bit of a commitment phobic. I’m lucky. I don’t advertise, I don’t even have a new site up yet and my client list is at overflow just from referrals. But as each new unsolicited inquiry came in, rather than feeling celebratory, I felt a little panic. “Oh my gosh. I am becoming KNOWN for a certain thing.” My chest felt a little tight. I felt the box being built up around me. Am I OK only doing this one type of work forever? I took a breath, of course, and got over it, but consider this: the very thing you are striving to build may in fact work out tremendously well. It is at that point that you have to decide if it still aligns with your values and vision. For me it did, but I had to get through that panic mode first. I had to get through the whole cereal box to get to the prize at the bottom and then I had to decide if that prize was worth keeping. It is of course, but I will probably take that prize and customize it a bit. Paint it. bedazzle it, and make it my own. After all, I can only be boxed in if I stand still. =)
4. With expansion comes the need for a whole new set of boundaries. I LOVE my clients. And I totally get that their businesses are their babies. And I get SO involved with them (mentally) that I don’t just want to work on their projects, I want to move into their houses with them and help them take care of their babies. Their success means that much to me and I LOVE what I do. But I also love sitting on my couch with a kid under each arm and one at my feet while Spongebob plays non stop on the DVR. I love BOTH of those things. And I am big believer that there shouldn’t be a separation of work and life. They should blend seamlessly together as they are both integral parts of what my friend and colleague Cindia Carrere calls our “abundance pie.” The trick is, making sure that one piece of your pie doesn’t start getting all of the attention.
With business expansion, comes a whole lot more that needs you. And because I care SO much, I have to be really careful about my boundaries or I WILL be up at 3am answering client emails and my kids WILL pay for it when 7am comes and I am the grouchy mom who doesn’t feel like making breakfast. I sat with my team and we worked it out and going forward, we will not be doing private life coaching and will be focusing on business, brand alignment and copy only. And rather than having a ton of clients that are with us indefinitely, we will be focusing on the Biz in a Box VIP Experience. You, me, your dream biz, all worked out, built out and packaged up all pretty over the span of just one month. (Details coming soon!) So basically, we are going against the grain in terms of what most people do. My goal isn’t to leverage my time by serving 500 people on group calls. My goal is to serve WAY less than that, but do it in the most value packed, customized, warm and fuzzy way.
In the Miracle Project, I teach a lot about non-negotiables. Defining how you want to feel and how you want to live and then ONLY saying yes to things that support those non-negotiable values. Some of the things that are really important to me, like chatting with you by email, got lost on the climb up the mountain. Last summer was my summer of bliss. I did a whole LOT of lounging with my kids and drinking wine by the fire with my friends. This summer, with the surge of expansion, I spent most of it indoors on my computer. (Because truthfully you can’t really see the laptop screen on the beach.) So we will be re-working some things here to make sure that the summer of 2016 is as it should be – a hot, blissful three months of nothing pressing to do! Your work should blend in with your life. The pieces of your abundance pie should not fight for your attention.
- Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I have been blessed with amazing opportunities over the last few months. In addition to running my own biz, I’ve joined the coaching team of Rich German and Milana Leshinsky to help people in their JV Insider Circle group. I have had the pleasure of working with people I respect tremendously like Bret Gregory, Tera Maxwell and Shanda Sumpter just to name a few. But I also realized that just because an opportunity is awesome, doesn’t mean it belongs in my pie. It’s ok to say no. You don’t have to feel like you’re missing out on anything. If the “no” comes from an effort to balance, and not from a place of fear, you’re ok. If you end up not opening a door, odds are, it wasn’t your door. (Click to tweet that. 😉
Don’t let what you don’t have hold you back. I currently don’t really have a website. (I have one, but it’s ANCIENT and doesn’t all speak about the work that makes up 95% of my income). So I am living proof that you don’t NEED a fancy site to make money. You just need to do what you love and do it well enough that people talk about it. So if you are WAITING to start your biz because you don’t think you have everything you need, let me tell you the truth. All you need is passion, commitment and consistency to get started.
So there you have it. Go at your own pace. Stop listening to 6 and 7 figure bullshit. If that’s your goal, great, but if it isn’t that’s great too. And if it takes you more than three years to get there, also fine. And if you want to offer things that most of the marketers say you can’t, do it anyway. At the end of the day, the goal should be a life and business that feels aligned with your heart. When you get to a point, where all of the pieces of your life – your kids, your work, your partner, your health – are all shouting “Me! Me! Look over here! Look at me. No look at ME! I asked first!” you need to take a breath, re-visit your non-negotiables and come back to center.
I’m getting there. I realize that it might take me some time to catch up with expansion and find the flow, but for now, I’m good and just sharing this with you has removed my momentary desire to erase all traces of myself from the internet and just go make sea-shell jewelry in Bali. I do this work for a reason. Because I see the brilliance in you. I see the value in your ideas. And I don’t want you to just live life on auto-pilot. Don’t just go through life. Jump on it’s back. Tackle it to the ground. Make it love you. (Click to tweet that 😉
If you’ve got a dream that won’t stop tapping you on the shoulder I’d love to hear about it. And if you can wait three weeks til my kids go back to school, I’ll help you make it happen.
To expansion, balance, truth and dreams.