by Makeness Contributor Rebecca Tracey
So you’ve started a business. Dear god, do you have ANY idea what you’ve gotten yourself into?
Sure, it’s gonna be great. Freedom! Working from home! Sitting in your PJs all day scouring Facebook between afternoon naps! Woooo, entrepreneurship!
They forgot to mention the sleepless nights when you’ll fuck up your DIY web design and have to spend til the wee hours in the morning fixing it. And the days you’ll be devastated because you put so much love into your new offer, and no one is biting. And the tears because you just wanted to have more time to spend with your family, but this is way harder than anyone told you it would be.
The frustration, the fear, the doubt. It’s all part of the game.
When I started my business a long year ago, I was so pumped up. I was going to change the world! I’d bring happiness and fun and freedom and adventure back into people’s otherwise mundane lives. And I’d do it by living my life on my own terms. (Yes, this was about as solid as my business plan got).
I was excited, and I started working my ass off. I couldn’t wait to wake up to work on my fun new business. But it didn’t take long before something strange started happening. After a matter of weeks, I went from being a fun-loving, adventurous, active girl, into what can best be described as a zombie.
I remember streaks of days where I wouldn’t leave my house (let alone have a shower). Days where I’d lock myself in my dark bedroom at my desk and stare for hours at my computer screen. Days where my dear sweet boyfriend would come home from work and have to ask me if I have even gotten up to use the bathroom that day.
“No. I forgot.” I’d say.
What the hell was I doing to myself? Was this the freedom I had promised myself and my clients? Me, the girl who used to hit up 5 yoga classes a week, be in bed by 10pm so she could wake up early and to go the market to get fresh eggs for breakfast. I used to take such good care of myself. And I let it all go.
And for what? Surely learning to code CSS wasn’t what I had been excited about when I started my coaching business. Ditto to spending hours searching for the exact perfect photo to match my blog post.
No. That’s not what I had envisioned. But then again, my vision was kind of fuzzy from staring at Aweber for 4hours trying to make my opt-in form line up with my sidebar content.
But wait – I had wanted this, didn’t I? If only I could remember why…
There are lots of reasons to start your own business that usually boil down to personal happiness and creating a life for yourself that is better than what you had before.
And on the surface, those are great reasons. But this whole working for yourself thing, it’s a shit ton of work. You’ve gotta be really connected to the bigger picture if you’re going to stay in the game.
For me, I knew what it was all about. I just kind of forgot, what with everything there was to do. It was about empowering people to step up in their lives and take their happiness into their own hands. To live like they mean it. And I knew that this message started with me.
I needed a tangible reminder. Something to shake up this horrible zombie routine I’d gotten myself into. Something I could connect with when I started working too hard and living off only grilled cheese sandwiches again. So I bought a van, sold all my stuff, and took off on a 7-month roadtrip. Now, there was no way I could forget why I had started this business. I was living it.
So right here, answer me this:
Why the hell did you start your business in the first place?
We can assume at least in part because of a bigger plan for your own happiness and freedom, but I also assert that there is something bigger that you must want for the world. An impact you want to have, lives you want to change. There sure as hell better be, or else you’ve chosen the wrong career.
Stop for a minute and remind yourself WHY you wanted to do this. Why does the world need what you have to offer?
If you’re a life coach: What’s so important to you about people living their dreams?
If you’re a web designer: Why does great design matter in the grand scheme of the world? Why does it matter to you?
If you’re a jewelry maker: What does wearing jewelry do for people? Why should they wear it? Who cares?
Remember, this is about what you want for yourself and for the bigger world around you.
It’s the underlying why behind everything you do, and it’s what will get you through the tough spots.
It’s what you will turn to when it all becomes too hard and too scary, when you’re still up at 4am cursing the day you ever decided to become an entrepreneur.
Do yourself a favor and create some kind of reminder for yourself. It doesn’t have to be drastic (though living in a van is highly recommended), it just has to be tangible. Something to ensure you don’t forget what all this struggle is for.
Keep it near you.
Look at it everyday.
It’s not for nothing.
Rebecca Tracey of theuncagedlife.com.
As a Life-switch Coach + Professional Adventure Instigator, I help cubicle-phobic crusaders bust out of their self-imposed cages, by taking big risks + bold swings—the kind that pay off, in more than just cash. Let’s tell your excuses to suck it. Together.