If Success = Experimentation + Persistence, then my first year in business was a smash hit! I tried a lot of things (that didn’t always work out), I didn’t make much money, AND I haven’t given up. Over the next 4 weeks, I’m sharing my biggest takeaways as a new entrepreneur and the important truths that kept me standing.
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I Like To Do Things The Hard Way
Near the beginning of my business journey, I briefly worked with a coach who specializes in helping new coaches get their first client(s). I was encouraged every time we spoke, but one conversation particularly stands out to me.
She was counseling me on the steps I could take toward finding my next clients. And, I was resisting her ideas (as I usually do). I could tell she was feeling frustrated with me, so I explained to her that her advice was totally sound. I could see the logic in it. I knew that if I followed her plan, it would work. But something in me just didn’t feel right about it. And I told her how I wanted to do it instead.
She replied, “Nicole, maybe your plan will work. I honestly don’t know. But even if it does, it will take longer. It will probably be harder. And there’s a chance it won’t work. So my concern for you is that if you do it your way, you’ll get discouraged because it will require more perseverance and resilience, and you’ll be more likely to give up.”
Her words, which were truthful and kind, were probably meant to convince me to follow her advice. But instead, they reinforced my resolve. I could finally identify the source of my resistance.
I like taking risks and failing, because then I learn.
I like believing in myself and being willing to be wrong, because then I find out who I really am and what I’m capable of.
I like trusting my instincts and resisting popular opinion because then I can create something that truly reflects ME, not someone else.
If my way is harder, slower, and unknown, then that’s a risk I’m willing to take exactly because it would require endurance. I’m not sprinting toward some business finish line where I can raise my hands and declare, “I’ve made it!”
Instead, I’m building a life that supports my family, that reflects my values, and that I can sustain over the long haul. That kind of building requires patience and faith, and if I meet those requirements, then I develop a proven character and an enduring hope.
I only want to coach people who inspire me. In order to do that, I have to be a coach who inspires. Taking the easier route won’t make me that person.
100 Reasons To Give Up
Even though I was committed to building a business my way, that coach was still right: I had a hundred reasons to give up over the year. Among them:
- I started my business with no money in the bank
- My mom gave me a small loan, which I invested (in hiring coaches) and made no return on
- I felt totally alone when I couldn’t find anyone who seemed to understand me or who was doing what I wanted to be doing
- ‘Every’ coach I researched seemed to have it together, made 6-figures their first year, had found the perfect 5-step plan to success
- I made some bad pitches
- I started projects I didn’t finish
- I was overwhelmed by the popular wisdom to be in Facebook groups and all over social media - something that completely drained me
- I didn’t have a brand message
- I didn’t know how to tell people what I actually did as a coach
- I didn’t know if I was actually doing anything of value
- My husband was unemployed, I wasn’t making any money, and we had kids to feed
There were many, many times in the last 12 months that I was tempted to walk away from this crazy idea.
I Still Accomplished Something
The thing about giving up is that it springs from the idea that I’m not good enough. When I look at the list above, I only see the ways that I'm not measuring up.
But what is my measurement standard? Who's to say that what I DID do isn't enough?
In my first year in business,
- I only worked with clients who inspired me! What a privilege.
- I successfully launched and ran my first group program.
- I didn't go into debt.
- I wrote a book.
- I made some business friendships - peers who 'get' me and encourage me.
- I won a scholarship for a 6-month advanced coach training in an area I'm obsessed with!
- I published an article.
- I had a client publish an article.
- I didn't sacrifice my family to build my business.
- I joined two communities and found my tribes!
I'm Still Here
My first year in business was marked by exploring and experimenting. It was hard. REALLY HARD. I felt lost most of the time. I doubted myself.
But I didn't give up, and I don't intend to.
What has your last year been like? Where did you fail and what are you proud of accomplishing? What’s your wildest dream for your future? Share in the comments below or get me on the phone to chat more!
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