I received an email from an ex-client at the weekend. I could see it was sent at a difficult moment in her business journey.
In it she said:
“I keep coming back to things we discussed [when we worked together]. But I feel even more a failure than before.
I’ve enrolled in [another] business course now to give it one more chance.
I just don’t know if starting my own business was the right decision.”
This is obviously a tough email to receive. Particularly as a mentor who works hard with each of her clients to help them feel they are capable and do have the tools to succeed. I hate to think anyone feels this way.
And of course, it must have been an unenjoyable email to write for the practitioner too. From someone who, perhaps just like you, is highly trained, skilled at what they do, but for whom business just isn’t feeling easy and in flow, but instead feels tough and unrewarding.
This got me thinking: how much do other people in my audience, wellness practitioners at the start of their journeys, ask the same sort of question?
I gave four options:
Every day, I really don’t think this is for me
I think this a lot and it gets me down
Occasionally it crossed my mind but not for long
No never! I know I’m made to do this
That means over 50% agreed that either daily or regularly they ponder on this question, and it makes them feel bad.
This is of course completely unscientific and not representative of the entire start-up wellness business community. But I reckon it’s indicative of the way many of our minds work when you’re just getting set up.
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The truth is if you’re asking yourself this question you’re totally normal.
This is what the majority of us think at various stages along the way to getting started. Quite frequently in fact in the early days. I know it was certainly daily for me in my first year (or variations on it like “I should just get a proper job” or “this will never work”).
What it’s actually a sign of if you’re thinking this is that you’re doing the work.
You’re getting your hands dirty. You’re giving it a go. You’re learning and discovering what it takes. And you’re realising that it’s not as simple as some might have led you to believe.
The question is how you deal now with the aftermath of that realisation:
Entrepreneurship is primarily filled with people who commit to the former: the people who have the ability (and the mindset, more on that coming…) to keep pushing through and showing up, every day, making progress little by little. Even when they understand the task is big and can feel daunting at many points along the way.
Honestly, I think most people can learn the ‘how’ of running a successful business.
You can learn all the practical skills and the tools you need. There are loads of people teaching it out there. Or you can always hire someone to help you with these things if you’d prefer not to learn yourself.
Let’s have a look at a few of the biggest business-owner crushing mindset blocks:
I just listened to a podcast with a business owner who claimed that she “guaranteed success” when she sells her products and “insulated herself from rejection.”
Sorry but I call bullsh*t.
I don’t think it’s possible in the life-time of a business owner to never fail. I’m a full subscriber to Brené Brown’s philosophy that being vulnerable and acknowledging things can and will go wrong, is the best way to tackle life, and certainly self-employment.
Running your own business involves learning a lot of new skills. And you will not be good at all of them. This is so important to remember.
It’s about how you choose to think about those learning experiences and those flops and falls. It’s how your mind works. It’s a mindset.
Running your own business is a roller-coaster ride. Even when you think you’ve got it all sorted and you understand how it all works, something will change and shift. A lot like having a new baby I’m discovering!
Just when you think you’ve sussed the pattern to make everything tick happily, the goal posts move.
That is the reality of running your own business. Don’t let anyone sugar coat it.
It’s about how you choose to think about those highs and lows. It’s how your mind works. It’s a mindset.
One of the central pillars to my business building framework is selling. And quite often with wellness practitioners, it’s the one bit that makes the skin crawl and the toes curl more than anything.
But getting comfortable and mastering the art of talking about what you do and converting people into buyers is an essential part of being successful in business.
There is no short-cut for it. Even if you hired a team of sales-people to do the leg work. You are still your brand. You are still what people are buying. So you still have to be visible in the sales process somewhere.
And it’s not just the hard skills: the scripts, the way to write a sales page, the sales funnel (EEK!), the product suite. You can get help with those.
It’s about how you choose to think about promoting and selling yourself and what you do. It’s how your mind works. It’s a mindset.
I sometimes get asked in interviews “what’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started your own business?”
Running your own business is the fastest way I have found to deeply understand who you are; what drives you, what you are scared of and what your worst procrastination and sabotaging habits are.
When you have no boss to turn to and no colleagues to point the finger at, but only yourself to accept responsibility when you are doing well or poorly, you will quickly see what negative stories and limiting beliefs and tired old tropes your inner critic wheels out to keep you small and safe and inside your comfort zone, when you know success is on the other side.
But what stops you being successful is how you choose to think about yourself and what you do. So you must address your thoughts in order to get the results you want. It’s how your mind works. It’s a mindset.
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The long and the short of it, not everyone is cut out to run their own business.
It’s important to look at your strengths and values as a person. If working in this way and being open to the highs and lows just does not feel like something that would make for an enjoyable and happy lifestyle for you, then it’s not for you.
The world needs all kinds of people. It needs you to do your amazing thing. Just perhaps not in this format.
Don’t let anyone glamorise and simplify what it takes to run your own ship. I know from social media it might look like everyone is doing it and they’re all making it look super easy.
But it’s not.
It’s not quick. It’s not ‘easy.’ And not everyone is doing it. There are plenty of people (just not shiny Instagram stars), that make their money and live their life in other ways.
If that’s your preference and feels more aligned do that.
And know you are still worthy to have everything you want in your life.
What do you think? Do you ever wonder ‘am I cut out for this?’
You’ll have all the resources you need to create the core of a thriving wellness business that operates online, without losing yourself and your mind in the process.