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I’ve said before on many podcast episodes, that entrepreneurship is one of the most self refining journeys you can go on. Thus it’s full of opportunities to learn, and that means lots of lessons along the way. I don’t claim to know at all. Half the time I don’t even feel like I’m a real entrepreneur. But I figure if I’ve learned anything over the last 5 to 7 years, it might be of use to you. So it’s worth sharing.
Some of these are going to sound very cliché. But they are true nonetheless. Let’s go ahead and just dive right in.
Fear of failure and success
I have been afraid of success and failure many times in my life throughout different seasons. It wasn’t until I became an entrepreneur that I was truly forced to face both of things.
I know you’ve heard people say that the faster you can accept failure as a part of the process, the more progress you will make. People say that because it’s true. Successful people say that because it’s true. There is always going to be something to be afraid of if you are growing. Comfort zones are often bordered by fear. Which makes sense, because fear and comfort normally don’t go together.
Fact is, your biggest fears are probably not that realistic, and not that big when you truly think about how you would face that fear, or come back from that situation. That’s one of my favorite lessons from the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.
So I will ask you what you are ultimately afraid of, and to look at the opposite. What if it does work out? What if worst-case scenario doesn’t happen? Is it worth it then?
Again, there is always going to be something to be afraid of. And you won’t necessarily get less afraid of certain things, but you will learn to trust yourself and your abilities the more that you take what you consider to be scary steps.
So whatever that is for you right now in your state of entrepreneurship, I just really encourage you to push forward with the fear and see what happens. It can be something as small as talking face to camera in your Instagram stories, or starting a podcast, or reaching out to network with someone. Fear will continue to be a barrier if you let it, in any situation. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it does tend to be a matter of fact.
Beyond fear of failure and fear of success, entrepreneurship will also rear the ugly head of comparison. Especially, I believe, in the online space. It’s so easy to think that everyone else is running seamless businesses with full client rosters, and doing it with ease. But I promise you that is not the case.
And even if it was the truth, you comparing your journey to theirs is not going to serve you. I am 100% for looking to people that you aspire to be like. People who maybe you want to emulate the way that they run their business. Or people who align with your philosophy. I absolutely love all of that. And I didn’t figure out what I really wanted to do with my business for 2 1/2 years because I didn’t see that what I wanted to do was even an option. That’s in large part why I am very much so for people looking at and taking in information from people they look up to in one way shape or form.
But that is, of course, different than comparison. Comparison is going to happen. It’s silly to think that it’s not. One way that we can minimize it is to attempt to keep our blinders on. More often than not we tend to let our gaze veer right and left when we lack clarity and focus in what it is that we are doing within our own businesses. Or I certainly know that that is the truth for me. When I am most focused on my work, my clients, and growing my own business, I am the least distracted or interested in what anyone else is doing.
In fact, for that reason I know that myself and other colleagues have muted friends and colleagues on social media because it’s just not helpful in all seasons to be seeing what other people are doing. And to be clear that is 0% a THEM thing, and 100% a ME thing. Which is also why I am not at all offended if someone needs to mute my content for a period of time, or forever. We have to protect our headspace in general, but especially in entrepreneurship.
Whatever needs to happen for you to put your imaginary blinders on, I encourage you to do that. I would start wherever it is that you tend to compare. It’s easy to look at Instagram. That’s where I tend to both put out and consume content. If that happens to be true for you as well, maybe explore some boundaries that you can put in place to help yourself out. Because regardless of where someone else is in their journey, that has no bearing on where you are in your journey. It’s just going to breed a “woe is me” state of mind and keep you stuck rather than looking for solutions and clarity within your own business.
See platforms as employees
Thinking about paying $100 a month for something when you’re just starting out can be a massive mental battle. Paying for a website platform, or a programming and training platform. These things can feel very stressful and so I want to offer a mindset shift but might be helpful.
I remember when I had $300 in my business bank account and I was debating whether or not to pay for a platform. And for me, it came down to thinking of that platform as an employee. Or as something that was saving me time so that I could work to generate more revenue. It’s kind of that first step of automation even if it’s not an automation. It’s the first step in creating more space for you to work on your business.
And I always like to look at the alternative in any situation. So if you don’t pay for the thing, whatever that is, what is the plan? And how long is that plan going to be sustainable for and allow your business to grow?
The other thing is, typically, you can cancel those things at any time. So unless you are paying annually, normally you’re not locked in. We still have freedom to escape if need be.
Client retention and circulation
There seem to be two main concerns in my book in the early stages of business as an online coach. Those two things are getting clients in the door, and keeping those clients.
Ideally, this is a continual process. You have some kind of system that is continuing to get people to apply to work with you, and a full proof offer that keeps people re-enrolling with you. But only if that is the goal of your program. Because that is not everyone’s business model.
Regardless if you want clients to re-enroll in the same program or not, eventually I want people to think about the fact that it is easier to sell to current customers then it is to acquire new customers. New client acquisition is always going to be needed. So that’s not off the table. But if possible, once you have multiple offers, it’s important to think about how you can keep current clients purchasing multiple offers from you.
This is something that happens organically. Or it should. So the more you work with your clients, the more gaps that you see. The more needs that you see of your clients at different stages of their journey. That’s where your different offerings will come from if you plan on ever having multiple offers.
You can look at my business as an example. I might have two different sides of my business. One being business and one being fitness. But there is mass amount of overlap between those two sides of my business. Because a lot of my clients happen to be in the health and fitness industry. So many of the people inside Built by Annie have also purchased FitsPRO Foundations many people in FitsPRO Foundations I have also purchased pure PROgramming.
I didn’t necessarily plan this from the beginning. Which is why I say it happened organically for me. And also why I am so huge on knowing, understanding, and interacting with your ideal client.
So again, this only applies if you’re going to have multiple offers in your business. But definitely something to keep in mind if you do plan to expand your offer suite beyond one on one coaching.
I could share 17 different things that I want entrepreneurs to know. But I will end with this one for today.
Please refrain from rolling your eyes at that. Because it is so simple and so true. And I seriously think from the bottom of my heart and to the depths of my soul that those who find success in entrepreneurship or in literally anything, are the ones that are willing to just keep going. One step at a time, on a daily basis.
I’ve been in the online space for nearly 7 years now. And I have observed many other entrepreneurs outside of myself. And the common theme is to keep going. And not only to keep going, but to go consistently. To always be creating and refining and in the process.
That’s also why I say that if you don’t love actually being an entrepreneur I think that it will be difficult to stick with it. Because it is not a fun process. It requires you to be resilient, somewhat tough skinned, and to care about the process.
So if you do believe that entrepreneurship, and working for yourself is ultimately what you want to do, then I encourage you to commit to the process. The long-term process. Of learning your message, honing in on your philosophy, learning 12 things that you never thought you would have to learn just in order to run an online business. You will be the social media manager, the email marketer, the customer service, the coach, the web designer. But hopefully only for a few years or even one year before you’re able to ask for some help in someway shape or form. And it is worth it. You will learn so much about yourself, and what you are capable of through entrepreneurship.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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