So if you’re anything like me, you may be feeling one of these right now…
…you feel a bit unhappy with your business. You’re not sure why but something just doesn’t feel quite right.
…you’ve lost the motivation, inspiration, persistence and determination to keep on going. Out of all the words ending in ‘tion’ you’re mostly feeling frustration and desperation.
…you’re not really getting clients you love working with. You fear you’ve made a terrible mistake. Is it always going to be this hard?
…you’re thinking crazy hard about this business thing but you just can’t seem to get started. Which idea are you supposed to pursue? Is it worth it?
…you’re worried you’re going to end up hating what you love doing if you turn it into a real tangible job.
Yeah I feel you. I’ve been there. I still go there. We’re all human and my god are we trying hard. And running a business – and even thinking about the mountain you’re facing to start one or change one – is damn difficult work. Yes you may love it (I hope, or you’re setting your heart on the wrong thing) but there’s going to be parts you hate. And things you think you’re missing out on. And other things you love doing that you’re not getting to. And you’re going to get tired. And one day you’ll get up, throw your hands in the air and wonder if this is all worth it.
Because you may be making plenty of money but your insides are broken. Your head hurts. Or you’re broke and just want some money to make life easier but you don’t want to sell out. And your heart needs a bit of feeding. A bit more soul. And that’s coming from someone who isn’t into the chakra, crystal healing woo-ness.
Oh those feelings can really get to you can’t they?
When I first started this thing I tried to do a million things at once. Literally. I also tried to please every single person on the planet. Which is odd, because in reality I don’t sit on the fence on many topics but online? I didn’t voice my opinion, I was creative but I wasn’t feeling it…I was becoming bland. I lost my voice. And then I didn’t know what the hell I was supposed to be doing.
Finance and Law degrees, a so-called career spanning across both, volunteering, consulting, spending years studying behavioral economics, nutrition and international development, exams, researching, analyzing, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes scary and often eye opening travelling, breaking free, camping, craving massages and day spas, relationships, singledom, having beautiful friends, feeling utterly alone in foreign lands, savings and relative poorness…and then throwing an online world, a business and a thousand blogs in the mix and I was suffering an identity crisis of sorts.
What was I supposed to be doing? Who the hell was I?
The last year has been a huge refinement for me in business life. I now know what it is I’m doing and although it will change and evolve in the future or a million different things may happen I know where my path is right now.
My branding + design business – this very site – is my biggie. I have been focusing a lot on it this year. This is currently my main income and although it isn’t sustainable in it’s current model forever it’s got a lot happening in the background and I’m really excited about it. I cleared all the other blogs, the other design sites and writing sites (remember how I said I was trying to please all different kinds of people? yep, that doesn’t work and is exhausting). It was relieving.
I narrowed down my niche. I focused my packages and services (which will be getting another trim and makeover in the coming months). I upped my prices to better reflect the value. And now they’re all on a pretty page nicely laid out. Crystal clear. Delicious. And it makes me much happier. And it also makes it much easier for all the beautiful people that come to this site (just like you).
But like I said I’m what they call a multi-passionate person. There’s not just one thing I want to do in life. In my perfect life with no 24 hour daily time limits I would be doing this ::
- Studying behavioral economics, conducting studies and applying it to politics, business and personal development
- Consulting and creating with small businesses on branding, social media, website design and development and product design
- Scrap booking, crafting, sewing pretty patterned skirts and lots of graphic design
- Becoming a typography master
- Helping people insane amounts with their diets and nutrition to get back to natural products of the earth and give them the joy, shine, health, radiant skin and life they want
- Set up a small charity and help with a number of ideas close to my heart
- Help other non profit organizations get started, learn the ropes, structure and prioritize
- Speak at conferences and events on international development, the soul strangling corporate world (and how we can fix it), entrepreneurship, business, health and languages
- Listen to far more intelligent people for solutions and balance on capitalism and industrialization
- Hold workshops on materialism and consumerism and how you can always live life amazingly by living just one step below your means (and making your money stretch insanely far with a few tips up my sleeve)
- Dig archaeological sites and use my years of studying Ancient History
- Help businesses set up all their finance systems and show everyone that admin doesn’t have to be hard with all these amazing tools around us
- Work with businesses churning over anywhere from 50k to 250 million per year with their legalities…like their contracts, benchmarking and renegotiations
- Somehow help the thousands of incredible not for profits working for the environment. Every little bit of it.
- Create superbly creative and much more interesting resumes for everyone because how the hell else will we know you’re that good from the thousands of others?
- Work at a law firm (preferably with the guys from Suits) and get excited on some world changing cases
- Play a part in debates about our current political landscape in Australia and America
- Complete a post grad in EU Law because it’s fascinating and such a changing landscape. And then work in the EU.
- Explore every single corner of this globe & show people exactly how they can do it too
- Do all the adventurous things that scare me
- Write a book. Well dictate a book. I’m not enthused about holing myself up in a room for a year!
- Start a recycling, up cycling, rustic furniture filled cafe with delectable, delicious and nutritious goods I’ve spent the morning baking whilst listing to LPs of Leonard Cohen and Sting…
And I’ll stop now because there are 500 million other things I want to be doing. Clearly I can’t do that all at once amongst living life, maintaining relationships and friendships, running businesses and you know…doing the grocery runs and other crap (although I’m trying my best!).
So for the first time in my life I had to really learn how to focus on a couple of things and how to be patient so I wouldn’t end up in the asylum. Something which has alluded me most of my life (the patience bit…hopefully I won’t find myself in a strait jacket bouncing off pillowed walls…yet). So I focused in on just one business. This one. And it’s helped me more than imaginable. I have wonderful people to speak to (what they call a market). I’ve met incredible friends online. I have focused messages. I know who it is I’m talking to. I’m not writing 100 blogs. I’ve picked a few platforms to dance on.
Once I’d culled my own things, I had to do something that’s really hard for me and start saying no to others. To certain little odds and ends. To projects that weren’t a good fit. Even to some of the volunteering work I was doing that was stressing me and wasn’t making efficient use of my time or skills. I set limits. I could better affect the world in a shorter amount of time and not be stressed out doing things I didn’t like and worrying as it was detracting a lot of time away from paying clients which is what we need to live life. It’s a juggling act…a balance that’s never equal. And that’s totally ok.
And now I’m in a place where I can also focus on other things. Where I can begin outsourcing items off my agenda or for other projects. Where I can begin experimenting. Where in December (as I have a beautifully hectic client schedule currently) I’ve blocked time to create. Create a workshop. And a few small products that I’m finally happy with (not just another thing that’s out there). Super helpful, supportive things. Calmly. Purposefully.
And that’s it for now in the business field. That’s a lot. My calendar is packed and I need to breathe. The rest will slowly come. Pole pole (pronounced polay polay) as they say in Swahili.
Things will change. Businesses will grow, evolve or stop. Doors will open and others will close. You’ve got to go with the flow but when you’re not sure what the hell you’re doing with all the things you love you’ve got to take stock.
So how do you know what the hell to do?
Accept that you are an amazing, wonderful person with so much passion, enthusiasm and love to give. How lucky are we that we want to do so much? How fortunate that we can never be bored if we don’t wish to be. How beautiful that we have all these wonderful things to share with a world that’s desperately in need of light?
Write a list of all the things you want to do right at this moment.
Decide what fills your heart the most and what you most want to do right now (i.e I’m ok with not sitting in the stifling Egyptian heat digging up tombs right at this minute).
Prioritize what’s likely going to bring in the money you desire.
Can you combine a few passions into one unique offering that you’ll love doing and that other people will love doing with you?
Pick one thing to do right now. The one business you will focus on and give all your love and attention. Schedule 10-20% of your time to other projects.
Hone into one niche. Find your perfect client. Solve their problems with what you love doing. You want to be talking to one specific group of people not attempting to capture the attention of everyone. This will take a lot off your plate.
Outsource. Even if you feel broke right now try and set aside a teeny bit of money each week to outsource even the smallest of processes. Figure out what your time is worth and get to a point where you’re outsourcing everything except what is most worth your time and what you most love doing. Get that website designed, leave your social media marketing to the experts, find an awesome virtual assistant to do all your blog post editing, styling, video chopping etc and hand over your finances and admin. You most likely just have 1 head and 2 arms. You can’t do it all without getting in a terrible tangle.
Understand that there are only 24 hours in the day. That you can only do so much. That in time you can build a team of people to help you do everything you wish but that right at this very moment you’ve got to take it one step at a time (even if your steps are baby sized or giant leaps). You’re doing incredible.
Start. If you can’t pick between anything you love but you need to make money then pick one and start. You won’t know if it’s your sweet spot or not without trying it. And when you start and throw yourself into it, hundreds of of other doors will open up. And you’ll realize you’re on the right path or wrong path and you’ll pivot to a new direction or something else entirely.
Make quick decisions. 98% of all decisions can be reversed. It’s not permanent. You don’t need 6 months to launch a new product (and really put it off for fear of failure). If you choose one passion it doesn’t mean you can’t do the others later or in the free time you allow yourself. Decisions should be simple, so deconstruct them from their complexity and just make ’em sweet and fast.
Learn. If you discover this isn’t what you wanted or it’s not going to go well or whatever it might be just be ridiculously grateful all the same. You will have learned a hundred things you’d never have known by not doing it. And now you can apply those lessons to your next venture. And the one after that.
Tweak & Play. So you’re doing something you like but it’s not quite what you love. Or you’ve lost that spark a little. Play with your offerings. Create a stop doing list. Change it up. Don’t be afraid to do so. Can you help your clients better? Can you let them evolve with you? Have you found your passion lies in the management of a team rather than the design? You don’t have to leave your field entirely just switch it up.
Schedule. I’m still trying to master this baby. In between life, businesses, charities, travel, study/exams and the likes life can get pretty full on. But if you schedule it out you can see where you can spend time. 24 hours a day. Minus 7 for sleep leaves you with 17. Get up at 6.30, exercise, drink green juice, shower, get dressed it’s 8. Ok now you have about 10 hours until you need to do dinner. And then you’ve got about 4 after dinner. So what’chya going to do with your time? Write it down and block it out. 1 hour every second day on emails. 30 mins on social media stuff. 2 hours on blog posts today. 5 hours client work etc etc etc. It doesn’t always have to be this way, and it can change every week but if you need to focus, set a schedule and stick to it. Then notice how much you get done.
Down time. Take it. Sleep. And then do the other things you’re passionate about even if it earns you no money whatsoever. Ancient History and Behavioral Economics earn me zilch. So does scrap-booking. Nutrition. Or eating pancakes (can this be a passion…and should this be said after nutrition?). But I love it. I can’t get enough of it and I understand how they entwine in my daily life, in businesses and in the world as a whole. It’s brilliant to still have hobbies. Yes this word still exists!
Breathe. Take a big deep breath. It’s ok not to do everything at once. You don’t have to live up to the illusion of expectations you’ve created in your head. It is ok. I promise. You’re doing brilliantly. Just keep on going and slowly you can add things to the table. Just remember to keep taking things off.
And remember. Doing just one thing you’re passionate about is a helluva lot better than doing nothing you’re passionate about because you can’t choose. So start, breathe, re-frame and keep going. You’ve got this.
Still don’t know which path to start on? Leave a comment or email me. Let’s get this fixed right now.