5 hard truths no one tells you about pursuing the entrepreneurial path and chasing your dreams

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As introverts, we're well-suited to the life of a solopreneur and running our own business. The perks of being able to work from home and taking ownership of our schedule, while never needing to sit under the glare of fluorescent lights; deal with office politics; dreaded open plan offices and team building activities, ever again - are very attractive.

It makes perfect sense.

Entrepreneurship provides a compelling option, giving us the opportunity to pursue careers that are well-aligned with our strengths and passions - often as coaches and healers, given we crave purpose and meaning in our career and love to help people; and creative pursuits like graphic design, writing, photography, art and illustration.

This is exactly what attracted me to venturing down the entrepreneurial path - it was extremely important for me to do work in the world that I found rewarding; was meaningful and left me deeply fulfilled {and also meant that I never had to step foot in another corporate ladder-climbing job again!}.

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All of that being said, running any kind of successful business, online businesses included - is damn hard work. So, without wanting to burst your bubble and talk you out of pursuing this path {that is not my intention at all} I want to have a moment of #realtalk and share a few truths about what it really looks like to run a profitable and sustainable business.

I’m sure you already know this, but did you know there are literally thousands of hashtags on Instagram dedicated to #girlboss life and glamorizing the definition of what it means to be a modern entrepreneur and biz owner?

When we’re scrolling through Instagram and constantly being bombarded with messages about the so-called glamorous side of running your own business - coffee dates at the hottest places in town; catching up with your biz besties in the middle of the day; being a digital nomad and working from exotic locations where all you need is a dream and a wi-fi connection - it is suuuuper easy to get caught up in the highlight reel; hey I’m guilty of this too!

But I think it’s important to present a balanced view of what being an entrepreneur is really like because, the truth is that not everyone is cut out for this life.

As introverts, our innate personality traits of being able to focus for long periods and do deep work, mean we can thrive and be highly successful entrepreneurs - we just need to be aware of the areas that can trip us up and hold us back from making our dream a reality.

Ok, let’s dive in!

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#1. It’s going to get uncomfortable.

When I first started out as a new biz owner I assumed, thanks to my 10 year corporate career in digital marketing and advertising, that I’d have all of this marketing stuff down pat. How wrong I was!

Working with a team of people, doing the marketing for a big brand is worlds apart from marketing yourself!

To effectively market yourself as a solopreneur means getting very visible in your business and showing up in places where your dream clients will be. This alone can be super daunting - especially for us introverts, where our natural inclination is to avoid the spotlight at all costs.

As a newbie business owner, I quickly realized that in order to attract the right kind of clients, I needed to show up and let them get to know me.

Offline, this means going to events and conferences where your dream clients are likely to be; and online it means things like getting on video; podcasting, blogging and email newsletters - on a regular, consistent basis.

Think about it - one of the basic tenets of building a strong brand is building the like, know and trust factor with your dream clients. The quickest and easiest way to do this is letting them get to know the real YOU through all of the channels you have available to communicate with them.

As an introvert, this is completely terrifying!

Hiding behind your computer screen or worse; expecting that ‘your work will speak for itself’ {I used this excuse all the time!}; mean you’re ultimately holding yourself back and blocking yourself from the abundance and success you desire.

Here’s the thing: courage takes bravery.

I guarantee that getting visible in your business is going to be extremely uncomfortable in the beginning, but it will get easier!

The truth is that if you want something you’ve never had before - a successful and profitable business where you get the luxury to work from home and make your own hours - you need to do things you’ve never done before to make this your reality. And this means getting uncomfortable!

The real question is: how badly do you want it?

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#2. You are going to fail.

After my first few failures in business I felt extremely defeated and wanted to give up, and almost did, on numerous occasions. This was until I shifted my perception on what the true meaning of failure is - an important part of the journey to success and an opportunity learn lessons that help propel us forward.

Think about it - if success came so easily and was handed to us on a silver platter, would we value it just as much if we’d if we worked so goddamn hard; overcoming obstacles; coming face to face with our fears and pouring our time, energy as well as our heart and soul into making it something epic?

Nope, didn’t think so.

Failure is part of the process. And the more often we fail, the more lessons we can take with us and apply to our future success. Learn to be ok with failure and not see it as being final.

Above all, allow it to be a stepping stone for you to create something even more amazing!

#3. You will lose friends.

Here’s a major #truthbomb for you - my circle of friends looks entirely different now from when I was working in the corporate world.

As a new biz owner, the only thing you will find yourself *really* wanting to talk about is your business! Problem is, your corporate friends won’t understand or be able to relate to the enormous stress and pressure you’re under to make your biz work. In fact they’ll probably say unhelpful things like “why don’t you just go back and get a job?”.

Adding fuel to the fire is that you’ll likely have limited time available to catch up, and limited finances given you’ve probably left your corporate gig and living off savings until your biz makes money.

The reality is the only people who will be able to relate to what you’re going through are other solopreneurs and business owners! So make it your mission to seek out these relationships and  start building your network.

Joining a mastermind {online is great, but in-person is even better!}; attending events in your industry; and reaching out to people you vibe with on Instagram {yes, I’ve done this and have made some really amazing friends!} are great ways to help you feel supported on this journey and make it waaaay less lonely than trying to do it all on your own.

Even though we’re introverts and love being alone; we still crave some level of social connection.

So yes, this will involve feeling awkward and getting uncomfortable to build these relationships in the beginning, but I promise, the reward of having your biz bestie and entrepreneurial tribe to support you and cheer you on will be so worth it!

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#4. It will be hard before it gets easy.

Building a business is a very steep learning curve. Unless you are from a family of entrepreneurs or have had experience building other people’s businesses before - everything on this journey will be completely new to you and oftentimes, extremely overwhelming. But that’s ok!

Please go easy on yourself and don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself as this will only add more stress to your plate.

Instead, choose to accept you don’t know everything and adopt a beginner’s mind where you show up with an attitude of openness, eagerness and zero preconceptions - just as a beginner would on this journey.

This way, you can actually start to have fun on your journey and view it as an exciting opportunity for your personal growth - which it absolutely is!

#5. You will want to quit.

As I’m sure you’ve now gathered - the entrepreneurial path is not a walk in the park and certainly isn’t for everyone.

Chances are, when it gets really hard and you have no idea what your next best step is, you’ll feel like quitting, again and again. Many people give up too soon on this journey and go back to the safety of a full time job. And that’s ok too.

The thing worth remembering is that nothing worth having ever comes easily.

Chances are, if you ventured down this path in the first place, you have big dreams - and they are worth going after!

So when you feel like you want to quit, it helps to remember why you started and why building your business and dream lifestyle is so important to you.

Here are 3 simple ways you can get the support you need instead of giving up on your dream:

  • Take a part time job to relieve some of the financial pressure. Starting a business is stressful enough and worrying about money amplifies this even further. Take some of the pressure off and look for a part time job or some freelancing work that will support you while you’re building your dream.

  • Get support. Hire a coach; find a mentor or join a mastermind! Although it might feel scary to invest in these things, the value of having someone in your court; helping you shift your mindset around the challenges you’ll come up against and providing you an entirely new perspective based on their business experience - is worth its weight in gold!

  • Surround yourself with positive and like minded people. As I mentioned earlier, finding your tribe is key to making this journey a whole lot more fun! Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in you and your big dreams. There’s nothing worse than naysayers who will try and talk you out of your dream, calling it ‘unrealistic’ and nothing but a ‘pipe dream’. Don’t buy into this and learn to ignore these kinds of people. My rule of thumb is not taking advice or opinions from anyone who hasn’t already achieved what I’m going after - because the truth is they have zero clue!

So lovely, would you add anything else to this list? I’d love to know some hard truths you’ve discovered on your entrepreneurial path!

Love,
Rachel


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