Imagine a day like this: I feel jangly and unsteady. I feel confused. I feel like I am going around and around in a circle. A hamster wheel, a merry go round, or maybe even a ferris wheel, but stuck either way and not actually getting anywhere despite all the movement.
Really. Some days really did feel like this.
I felt like I had all these great ideas, hanging heavy on the tree like overripe fruit, and me unable to cut them free and share them around because I couldn’t pay anyone to get the help I needed (mindset help, tech help, marketing help).
Sure, I could do lots of things. Sure those things were busy and colourful and fun.
Sure I could write my blog and lots of facebook posts BUT WHERE WERE MY CUSTOMERS?
Meanwhile I had this sense that I couldn’t tell people how I felt because who wants to be stuck with the sinking ship? Like who would EVER hire me as a coach or art therapist if I so clearly was having a hard time myself?
Starting a health and wellbeing business can be especially tough in this regard – because there is an expectation that we are those few steps ahead of our potential customers in every aspect of health and wellbeing and in business. We can create this unrealistic expectation that we skip through all aspects of life with flower crowns in our hair and glitter pouring from our flouncy white skirts. That successful business just sprouts from us as we sit crossleggedly on our beds eating dry toast and kale smoothies and tapping on our silver laptops. Or in my case perhaps that my every day is a colourful dance with crayons (well, some days are).
How could I offer my services as a coach if I didn’t already have a thriving full schedule – what did I possibly have to offer them? But. But then again. Then again I don’t believe that you have to be perfect to help someone else. I don’t believe that being successful means never ever having shit days. I don’t believe that I know NOTHING just because when faced with Mailchimp and a few free hours my skin felt creepy and I wanted to run away.
What I wanted was a VA. What I wanted was a marketing strategy go to helper. What I wanted was a book keeper. And while I’m at it lets be honest, a housekeeper and a personal stylist – if we are making a Christmas wish list here. What I wanted was help designing my first online program, and legal advice and people WHO HAD ACTUALLY DONE IT BEFORE. And I wanted it RIGHT NOW. But all of those people – and I actually knew who I would ask – charge money for their time. Extra money I didn’t have and didn’t feel like I make anytime soon get without their help.
I felt helpless and hopeless, and overwhelmed.
So of course now I wish this wasn’t true and I could tell you that starting my own business WAS all cake and unicorns and Instagram sunsets, but truly it wasn’t. So out of honesty, and out of integrity, I share it here as part of the picture of what the first year of business looked like for me at times. Alongside the wins. Alongside the meaningful work with clients. Alongside those moments of feeling like you’ve walked with someone on their path. Alongside blissful quiet time at my desk and not being in an open plan office. Alongside flexibility to work my own hours and follow my own ideas and being able to work outside in park if I felt like it (only – ants). Alongside the helpful breakthroughs in mindset and the joy in community and excitement of new learning. Alongside the having fun with photos and writing copy and subscribing to WAY too many helpful looking email lists and then promptly forgetting who the hell any of them even were.
So if your first year of business feels a bit like that too, don’t worry. I’m here to tell you it’s normal. It doesn’t make you a failure, it doesn’t mean you’re no good at what you have to offer. It just means it’s hard working without a compass and doing your inner and outer work at the same time. It’s hard making a map while also trying to use one. It’s hard building all the infrastructure of a business at the same time that you are trying to work in it. I so totally get it.
And what to do about that?
What is my reflection on how not to get stuck in the desperate days? Very good question. I’ll share my thoughts on that tomorrow.