What I've learnt in 10 years of running my business
Updated: a day ago
This week see's the 10th anniversary of running my own business, a life long passion achieved, but as I look back I realise that it has been anything but easy. I know running your own business is hard and it involves some real commitment but I have learnt that hard is not the same thing as effort and that's why I am writing this blog. Success really does only come from simply never giving up but I discovered that reframing it helps too.
Having set up my consultancy 14 years ago when I left lecturing I took baby steps into actually working for myself - which was my real dream. It took 4 more years for me to get there as I played around with contract work and in-house consulting (and running a wine tasting business on the side). Still it was a step in the right direction. I have a business degree and a Masters in personnel development and have always been passionate about helping people and companies thrive, so as long as I was able to do this every day I was okay.
The first year was a combination of excitement, amazement, gratefulness and passion as I finally launched into working for myself at home. This was mainly because I had also just given birth to my first child and could no longer work in-house as a consultant. I love consulting but still hadn't worked out a way to do it from home (or hadn't managed to convince a company to let me anyway) so I tried out a few things. I had studied nutritional therapy whilst I was pregnant with my son and tried out nutritional coaching but it didn't feel like a good fit. I also worked part time for a wine company doing their social media and writing their content (I'm a qualified wine lecturer from my wine trade days). I learnt a lot about customer engagement, sales and marketing which I duly passed onto others as I have always loved sharing knowledge.
I saw the death of my MIL, gave birth to my second child, and saw the death of my own mother so it was a difficult time. On top of that we moved overseas for a fresh start and I went back into consulting but once again realised my children were too young to leave. We were also now living in a country where trained and qualified childcare was lacking so I went back to the drawing board on my career. Using my nutritionist skills I started creating healthy food products which I sold and marketed to other women, but once again, it didn't feel right and I knew I needed more. I learnt a lot about marketing your own small business though and was still giving away free business advice to everyone I met.
I began taking courses in digital marketing, SEO, google analytics and social media and learnt how to use website builders. Then took on a few SEO and digital marketing projects helping other women, but it wasn't long before I could see that this wasn't right either. I had been a business lecturer before I started working as a consultant and had taught business planning, marketing, people development and financial management so my mind had been trained to look at business holistically. It soon dawned on me that helping someone maintain a good online ranking was pretty pointless if they weren't doing other important things in their business too. I have always detested working on something that I felt was wasted time, and this felt like wasted time to me. I came to the realisation that I needed to work on the whole business, not part of it.
Going back to the drawing board on my business I relaunched myself as a business coach - or at least started charging for it - but at the same time was still taking on consulting projects with larger companies to make enough money to fund my coaching business. I was working long hours (although it was a part time job) with corporate companies that didn't seem to mind sending out emails at 11pm at night and I found it hard to keep up. I was still hanging onto my dream of running my own business and trying to bring up children whilst my husband worked long hours. And I was beginning to crack. We didn't have childcare and my husband and I started to fight....big time. He wanted me to stay at home and play with the kids but I didn't want to give up on my dreams. So, I did what everyone else does and started researching the answers online; believing everything I read, buying into other people's opinions and following the guru's and experts who shouted the loudest. I lost my way, developed anxiety and started the journey towards burn out. Of course I was still grieving for my mothers and I had young children to care for but I truly couldn't see that back then. I was simply driven to succeed like most determined business owners.
Continuing in the same vein as year 4 I carried on my journey of looking to the outside for answers, buying into this and that, becoming more insecure and seriously losing trust in myself. I knew I was a good business coach because I got good testimonials but I didn't know how to convince people to buy from me; something I later found out is a common occurrence in the coaching world. I set up a free Facebook Group but with my anxiety and poor mental health, it didn't work. Believe me when I say that I truly did want to be there for other women and help them with their business but I was exhausted.
Still continuing in the same vein as years 2, 3, 4 and 5 I was running myself into an early grave. I had so many health problems due to stress and fatigue that I could only manage one client meeting a day AND I had to have days off in between. Of course this isn't scalable so I had to reconsider my business model. I have always been a determined person and hate giving up on things. My dreams are the meaning of my life - as indeed they should be for all of us - but I began to discover that most people don't even know what their true dreams are, or are ignoring them. I started to work with business owners on their big vision, purpose, talents and passions and not only understood that I really enjoyed doing this but I was good at it. Diving down deep into their psyche was my genius. However this wasn't what the business owners I was attracting wanted. They wanted technical support, marketing answers, someone to do things for them and accountability to push them along on their goals. I later discovered that if you need accountability on your goals they are probably not the right goals and once again felt this was wasted time. What's the point of helping people to reach goals that they don't really want? I reconnected again with my own vision remembering that I wanted to help people and companies thrive and reach their full potential. I wanted everyone to live amazing lives. In fact I would say that one of my core belief's is that everyone should have the right to reach their full potential in life and I truly hate to see wasted talent.
Unfortunately, I was still giving customers what they wanted rather than doing what I wanted. My customer service ethics have always been strong and I was such a people pleaser that I didn't want to let them down or disappoint them. But it meant that I was working in a business that I didn't enjoy. I had also built up huge amounts of negativity and it dawned on me that I had become a 'half glass empty' person whilst struggling to keep myself mentally afloat. My husband and I were arguing so much that our marriage was nearly over and we were already talking about custody rights. I was still obsessed with searching for answers on the internet, mainly because as an expat, working from home mum, the internet was my lifeline, but I felt lost, overwhelmed and at the end of my tether. I hated my life but didn't know how to change it. Then one day I saw a paid Ad pop up in front of me. It was talking about NLP and mindset which reminded me that I had actually read a book about NLP years ago. I swapped marketing research for mindset research and began to take courses on this instead. I began to remember who I was again and my business and life started to shift. I calmed down, started to see the positive around me and developed my positive feeling visualization technique. It's not like this was a new area for me, I have an MA in personnel development but I needed reminding of it. I had got so caught up in desperation, struggle, negative thinking and lack that I wasn't seeing straight anymore.
My newfound positive mindset pushed me into running some business strategy and marketing workshops which were hugely successful because I put all my positive energy behind them. But then I freaked out. Suddenly I could see the elephant in the room which I hadn't been able to see for the whole of my life. I was sabotaging myself and had been for decades. I later discovered that we are all sabotaging ourselves regardless of where we are in our business and learnt that at every level we have a 'new devil' to deal with (which made me feel a lot better). Amazingly though, seeing the absolute truth of the situation spurred me on because I could finally see a way forward and knew what I needed to do. I worked more and more on my mindset, started meditating and tapping (EFT) but it didn't feel like work, it felt like fun, and I drank it all in. I worked with other coaches, which was hugely helpful, but then realised that this wasn't my path either. I was still buying into other people's opinions, which was taking me down the wrong road, and I knew I needed to find my own answers. Along with learning how to set boundaries and manage other people, I saw that this had been a life long learning for me. I began to see that it was only once I had learnt to trust my own truth and listen to my own wisdom that I would be free to move on. Success wasn't about stuff, it was about positive mindset, abundant living and being true to myself.
I reframed my success, accepting that I was already successful, as I had realised my dream of having my own business, which is more than most people achieve. Most people never even leave the full time job that they hate. I began to work my business around my life, instead of my life around my business, and settled into accepting my business success as a journey, not an end goal. I had spent years telling myself that I was just going to do this one last thing or pull one more all nighter then success would come: That my children could wait and success was just around the corner, never appreciating that this isn't how it works. Business success simply comes from never giving up, trying out different things that give you joy and having an inner knowing that this is the right direction for you. Never seeing anything as a failure, only a learning and a step in the right direction (even if it's the wrong direction). Understanding that other people's opinions are just other people's opinions and finally giving up on perfection (not pretending to give up) because there truly is no such thing. There is no definitive answer or formula to growing your business, it's just about trying things out, trusting your intuition and developing some patience.
Then one morning I woke up knowing that I wanted to write a book. I wanted to share all of this learning with the planet. I felt like Forrest Gump when he couldn't stop running around the world as I just wrote and wrote and wrote. A whole lifetime of learning, inner wisdom and knowledge poured out of me. Researching quantum physics, new neuroscience, metaphysics, new biology, energy psychology, cosmology and lots more - I learnt that we are all energetic beings made from energy and knew that I was hooked. I learnt that journalling which I had been using for years in my coaching practice is energy work too and every time we shift our awareness, we literally pop stagnating energy leaving it free to flow (and become more abundant). I even renamed my podcast, Popping Bubbles, but then changed it back to Energetic Business & Life.
I learnt about the energy field and how we are all part of it and it began to make so much sense. Working on our mindset facilitates a higher level of consciousness and it is this higher level of consciousness that allows us to receive more abundance and prosperity. I realised that not only had I finally found the answers to my own success but I had also found my ultimate passion. My mind returned back to my childhood where my passion had been to help people be the best version of themselves, believe in themselves and see their full potential and talents, and suddenly I could see that their energetic self was their full potential.
We are all super beings and it's only by exploring the true potential of our minds and energy that we can comprehend this. You have an innate set of supernatural gifts, skills and talents that far surpass anything you could have ever imagined and even if you only acknowledged half of these super skills, your life could transform. Realising that I had come full circle on my own passions and vision I am now back to my core belief that everyone deserves to reach their full potential and live an amazing life. Now I was no longer a business coach helping business owners with websites, sales funnels, balance sheets and new content. I was now an intuitive coach helping them to become the best version of themselves - their energetic and authentic selves - whilst tapping into their real vision in life. I help people to find their true vision, passions, mission and talents, whilst connecting to their inner voice, and my forte is seeing what you can't. Connecting to your higher self (8th Chakra) for deeper wisdom about you, your purpose and your life path, I have many tools and techniques to help you find more information about you. I am also a certified energy reader and healer.
Over the past 10 years I've learnt that achieving real success in your business is the same as becoming the best version of you and it's only by going inwards that we can do this. Stepping into our amazing energetic and supernatural selves is the key and helping people to see their talents, reach their potential and live happier and more prosperous lives is how I want to make a positive difference in the world. However, like everyone, I am still learning, reading and taking courses so where I will be in 3 years time who knows, but now I can see that this is how it should be. Our lives are about change and as we shift our own awareness we change our path or timeline. I always used to think that changing my path was a sign of failure but I was so wrong. Changing, twisting and turning through life is the real journey and as we learn we evolve, so it makes sense that our business evolves too.
Try not to hang onto the past so much and embrace the future, whatever it may bring. Be open minded and never stop learning. Don't be so hard on yourself and keep your plans and strategies as flexible as you can, knowing that change is the only constant. And always trust in yourself. By all means read blogs, listen to others wisdom and pay attention to what people are saying but always remember that the answers about you are not out there. They are in you. The more you find out about yourself, the more successful you will become, because we are all sabotaging ourselves - even millionaires - it's part of being human. But this isn't something to be ashamed of it's something to embrace and work through.
Any work you do on yourself shifts your level of consciousness, which in turn gets you back to a more synchronistic and abundant state, so just factor in an hour a day for now. Journaling and Tapping (EFT) work the best. I have learnt some amazing tools and techniques along the way that I share in my upcoming book, podcast and even social media posts because I love sharing information and paying it forward. Shift your mindset now and start to see yourself as successful because if you are running your own business, making some money and have some customers, then you are already doing better than most people on the planet: So pat yourself on the back.
The latest neuroscience and quantum physics is showing us that it's all about our mind and energy, so feel grateful for what you have, allow yourself to receive more, forgive yourself for everything and set firm intentions. These are all super strategies not waffly fluff as we once thought. You are doing just fine so keep going and be open to what comes next. And try and enjoy your life, because the more high vibrational you can keep your energy, the better your life (and thus business) will be.
For now, best of luck and keep on moving forward.