At the start of 2018, I had one mission: to go from 9 to 5 to full-time entrepreneur. I would finally build my marketing business, reflecting the authenticity and integrity I struggled to maintain working for The Man™. This year, I would finally use my marketing skills to help those I believe need it most. And all that other larger than life, change the world stuff you tell yourself as th champagne buzz carries you into the new year. I knew I had the ability to do anything I put my mind to, with limitless possibilities. And honestly, that was my first mistake.
Limits Are Necessary
The trouble with believing you can do whatever you put your mind to is that you may try to, all at once. And when you are trying to build a business, limits at necessary. Otherwise, you end up unfocused, bouncing from idea to idea, with little to no forward motion. For me, that looked like starting a creative support group (that’s pretty quiet at the moment), trying to build websites to support my different interests, starting and ending a couple of video series, starting and ending a couple of book ideas, developing and abandoning different marketing packages, and creating several barely impactful social media campaigns. While there were small successes, such as my Branding For Artists workshop, I spent most of 2018 struggling to find anything that stuck. What I needed was a clear understanding of what I was capable of at the present time. This required one of my least favorite activities: assessing my strengths and weaknesses.
Weaknesses Must Be Included
In 2017, I spent a year doing the deep, soul-searching work to become a stronger and more balanced individual. I worked hard to manage my depression and anxiety while developing important skills like organization and time management. I also worked hard to overcome my weaknesses which frankly, involved me trying to destroy or ignore them. Embracing them was admitting defeat. If I accepted there were certain things that I was not good at, how could I be a successful entrepreneur? But that’s just it. Creating a business (or anything of importance) requires understanding your weaknesses. Or else, they become your undoing. My weaknesses, such as not being detailed-oriented and wanting immediate results (more on that later), limited the effectiveness of each of my projects. I needed to make plans that played on my strengths without working directly against my weaknesses. This meant taking a step back to re-evaluate me and my business. It meant allowing for more time than I had initially anticipated. And patience has never been my virtue.
Patience Is Not Just For Waiting Rooms
Becoming an LLC in June brought me so much pride, joy, and expectation. It was something I believed was necessary to legitimize myself and my business. And of course, I needed to be able to properly manage all that money that was about to roll in. I also wasn’t just going to sit back and let it happen. I was going to make moves, big ones, to get results, fast. I read every book, attended every webinar, took every training that told me how to accelerate my business and get paid. And I executed their advice, trying a variety of strategies all at once, hoping something would stick. And the pressure of wanting to succeed, to meet all my deadlines, to make the three months to six figures claims true, made it nearly impossible to actually get anything significant done. I was living a life with little space to breath. I was running on fumes and not achieving the results I expected. It was because there were holes in my foundation. I had jumped into action without covering the basics, creating traps for myself. As much as I hoped 2018 would be the year my business took off, it
Managing Expectations: 2019 and Beyond
Now it is December, and I am still far from my initial mission. However, instead of replaying my worst hits while gobbling slices of cheesecake (which still may happen because I mean, well, cheesecake), I am using this month to get a head start on 2019. I am taking this time to build my foundation. I am allowing myself to think long game instead of instant gratification. While it is possible to achieve phenomenal results in a short period of time, it isn’t a race. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. Whether it be building a business, advancing your career, or simply getting healthier, change should be a continuous activity. It should be rooted in new habits, new ways of thinking, new skills that make sure the shift is a permanent one. The reason many of us become overwhelmed and give up or muddle through is that we buy into the idea that if you want it bad enough and just try hard enough, it will happen. So we burn ourselves out, unprepared for the changes we so desperately want.
So let’s escape the trap of desperation. Let’s move towards our dreams with managed expectations and a solid foundation. I invite you to join me on a journey to change December from a month of regret to a month of preparation. I will share more posts like this, along with videos, checklists, merchandise and more under #Bonus13. Even if you decide not to join, hopefully, this post was helpful, if only to remind you that you are not failing. You are just discovering what is presently possible. It took a lifetime to develop your dream; doesn’t it make sense it may take a while to fully realize it?