It’s no secret, and there’s no two ways about it:
To expand, you have to s t r e t c h your comfort zone.
Starting December 27, I will spend seven days writing about how to take your business … and your LIFE … to the next level. I’ll ask you to release outdated ideas and allow new inspiration. But before we dive into effective goal-setting, I want to cover these common pitfalls to avoid.
A Few Things NOT to Worry About
Last month, I launched an e-program and later mentioned the results of that launch (short version: they were absolutely stellar). Here are a few things I learned not to worry about when planning big career moves:
Having too many ideas and not knowing where to start. Pitfall number one! The key here is to choose one idea and start working with it. What needs to be created will take shape.
You might be surprised to learn that Shop Fundamentals was not part of my original plan at all. My first e-program was to be the one I’m writing now about Advertising and Exposure. As part of my research, I spend a lot of time in the forums discussing marketing with the handmade community, and I realized that the majority of sellers looking for answers are getting advice that is either (1.) generic or (2.) just plain wrong. Shop Fundamentals was born of my fear that I would teach advertising and exposure to sellers who didn’t have an effective online storefront, and all of their money and time would be wasted.
The point here is to start. It’s true: another idea might take priority over the project you started, and that’s okay. It’s all in the spirit of progress. Write your ideas down on paper, pick the one that you feel needs to be done first, and then number the order in which you think the others should follow. Be fluid with that plan, just as I did by letting Shop Fundamentals cut in front of Advertising and Exposure. It’s not how I originally intended it, but ultimately, Shop Fundamentals will make Advertising and Exposure a better product.
What if it doesn’t work? You could dance with potential failure for the rest of your life, and I could pull 8,000 inspirational quotes right here about why going for broke is better than giving up on your dreams. I’ve personally made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve seen a lot of failure. I also have an exceptional lifestyle. I get paid to do what I love to do, and I work from home. I’m able to create flexible business hours around my number one priority, which is my family. The reward always outweighed the risk.
I love the picture to the left (click the photo for source). I’ve cried like this, and it’s such a real and vulnerable moment; it’s sort of gooey sweet. Moments of rejection are an absolute prerequisite to moments of unadulterated triumph and elation.
Successful big leaps are the result of numerous missed attempts. Enjoy every part of your journey, and relish in those gooey sweet, vulnerable fails. Each one of them is making your story that much better: you’re writing the kind of tale that will give the room chills when you tell it.
What if it does work? Some artisans are paralyzed by the idea of opening a shop and being inundated with orders, dealing with the sudden popularity that comes with listing your products online for the world to see. How will they keep up with the demand? The rest of us are smiling at the naivety of that idea, because we’ve all been humbled by it. Let me tell you, dear friend, that’s just not how it works. You’re only given as much as you can handle. I used to wish for thousands of orders … when I had less than 30 items in stock. This year, I’ve done two wholesale orders (100 bracelets each) and it’s just too much for me to handle while I’m running an online store and blogging. If there’s space in your schedule (and there will be in the beginning), it’s there for a reason. Use it to grow into the success you wish to become.
Keep Doing Solid Work
I am no stranger to the idea that real success takes time. Your ideas need to be planted, nurtured, and watered. And all the while, you need to show up and love the seed as much as you plan to love the fruit. This is not always easy to do, especially for creative businesses. It’s not easy to create when you’ve been creating for a long time for very little money. It gets hard to justify the time and energy you give to something that doesn’t always give back.
I love this quote from Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter,
Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you like like an overnight success.
But it’s easy to forget when the routine demands of your daily life keep dragging you down while offering little to no reward. I’d like to leave you with this speech given by Neil Gaiman about a creative career; I think you’ll be able to relate:
If that video doesn’t load for you, refresh the window or click here to view it. My favorite part of Neil Gaiman’s speech is when he relates a freelance life in the arts to putting messages into bottles, “on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love.”
And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back.
I’m going to spend 2013 sending out bottles. Care to join me?
New You for a New Year: 7-Days of Reflection and Resolution starts here on December 27