This week, I’m participating in a blog tour for One Woman Shop’s Road to Solopreneur Success. For my part in the blog tour, they asked …
What area of your business do you struggle with most and what do you plan on changing?
I really love this question, and it turned the writer in me on right away! On my blog, I share a lot of creative business issues I’ve already worked out, and I can always relate to your struggles because I’ve been through them myself.
I rarely share my current struggles in business, but trust me, I’m always facing a few. A creative business is demanding. You make it all up as you go along! You don’t know where next month’s paycheck is going to come from; you’ll figure it out next month. You don’t know what’s going to sell or what’s going to fail. You don’t know if you’ll get paid for the forty hours you’ve already invested into your products. It could be all for naught.
Every once and a blue moon, I’ll share something that’s really bothering me on the blog, but again, it’s very rare. I love that this prompt came at a time when I’m struggling with something I wasn’t ready to share.
I love the quote above because my biggest struggle behind-the-scenes is taking risks that I need to take in order to grow. That may sound funny coming from a person who gives speeches on all that I would do “If I knew I could not fail,” but bare with me, this story runs a little deeper.
For about a year now, I’ve been acutely aware that I am bottlenecking my business by being the person who does all the writing, designing, production, marketing and customer support.
Sometimes, People Insist on Keeping Their Problems
Did you ever have a friend who was going through a hard time, and you supported her, listened to her and tried to help her work it out? But the next day, she called back with the exact same problem still unresolved. She repeated the same questions and needed you to give her the same advice all over again.
Suddenly, you realize your friend is on a continuous loop with her problem because she doesn’t mind keeping it. We sometimes get very comfortable with our obstacles, for one reason or another:
- We like the nurturing attention it brings from the outside world;
- We’re addicted to the dramatics an unsolved problem adds to our life; or (most likely)
- We feel overwhelmed, uncertain and too scared to take the first step in the right direction.
Nothing upsets me more than when I catch myself keeping problems.
Still, Something’s Holding Me Back
While I can physically do things (with my time and energy) that scare me and feel like risks, I still battle my fear of investing large amounts of money (anything over $500). For instance, I was deathly afraid of launching the Movers & Makers retreat which required a hefty investment up front.
Long before the Energy Shop and Marketing Creativity (both opened 2010), I was trying my hand at blogging (but I didn’t really know what blogging was), and I created a lifestyle website (but I didn’t know what that meant yet). I’d never heard of WordPress or Blogger, so I used a website builder to create a place where I could talk about recipes, raising children and building a happy home; all of the things I love about being a stay-at-home mom.
I had maybe 2 readers, and they were both members of my family. About five articles in, I decided I wanted to host a private retreat (much like the Movers & Makers Summit). I had no readership, let alone an email list. Still to this day, I wonder: Who did I think was going to come?
It was on the delusional side of the above “Start before you think you’re ready” advice. I was following the “If you build it, they will come” mentality that I now heavily advise against. To kick off my plan, I booked a conference room and blocked 10 suites at a 5-star resort on the waterfront of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland with a non-refundable $1,000 deposit.
It didn’t take long for me to realize the mistake I’d made. I lost $1,000 of my family’s personal finances on that grand idea. It was an error that taught me a lot about online business, humbled me greatly, and (subconsciously) still holds me back.
Even though I’ve learned so much about business in the last decade – even though I’ve since brought a lot of money home from my work – I’m still scared of taking big risks that could potentially cost my family’s finances anything at all.
There I said it. I’m scared.
However, keeping your problems is the equivalent to chasing your tail or running on a hamster wheel. If you don’t use your complaints to learn what needs to change in your life, then you’re getting nowhere fast.
We’re worth so much more than our problems
I’m telling you, it’s the secret to your success. Just start solving your own problems. Alleviate your own complaints. You don’t know how? Learn. Somebody’s done it before, and you can do it too.
I look around at my peers, my partners and my affiliates, and I realize that the one thing we all have in common is this: we stuck with it. We kept building. When we were faced with an issue, we too complained, but then we examined the obstacle and hurdled it.
Proclamation: I will post a want ad for my first employee by December 7, 2015.
Creating your own business is not easy. You have to do A LOT of things that you’ve never done before. And for many, as soon as the paved road ends, they stop traveling toward the destination. You have to want your destination SO HARD that you’re willing to carve your own path.
And for whatever obstacle you’re tackling right now, thank you for sharing your journey with me. I’m honored! Until next time,
There are so many things you have said here that I can relate to. Growing means taking risks, certainly, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t terrifying at times. Uncertainty (and lost deposits) can lead to discouragement, but those who bounce back are the ones who inspire me to continue what I am doing, the ones I want to follow and learn from along the way. Like you. Thank you for the post.
Thank you, Carrie. This comment is the best thing I could ask for when sharing a vulnerable post like this one. I appreciated every word!
Wow, Lisa. Thank you SO much for sharing this story. You share so many relatable truths here and I can’t help but wonder what problems I’m “keeping” that can be alleviated through learning, acting, and asking. Thank you!
Thank you, Sara. Appreciated everything you do for creatives!
Thanks for sharing your story! It does a lot of courage to share thinks like that and the fact that you’ve learned from it as well. Growth and change is scary but a necessary evil to grow your business! Ps – keep me in mind for bookkeeping services!
Will do, Heather! Thank you.
This hit home for me. I’ve been working on it the last month or two, but it’s time for me to take another step. Thank you for being so transparent and letting us know you have the same struggles as us!
Thanks for addingt, Kristine – this path actually surprises me; how it forces you to keep pushing through those struggles and scary steps! I guess I’d imagined it would all be so easy 😉