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Troubleshooting Guide: Why Hasn't Your Dream Of Starting A Business Come To Fruition?

Troubleshooting Guide: Why Hasn't Your Dream Of Starting A Business Come To Fruition?

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm talking to all the people out there who've tried to start a business (or have been really thoughtful about starting one) but just can't seem to get it off the ground. If you're pretty intelligent and have studied how to start a website, design a brand, etc but there still seems to be a roadblock holding you back, your issue might not be technical. I see so many people focused on the nitty gritty technical details of the business they aspire to launch when they really need to be spending time on their mindset. Their own thoughts are holding them back and they don't even know it. 

I'm going to paint a picture for you of two women. Chances are you know two people like this, and perhaps you identify strongly as one yourself. The first one always talks about starting her own business someday and has even thought about and planned many of the small details. However, she takes no action. She talks about this business idea quite often but each time you ask her if she's taken any baby steps towards that goal, she says no. The other woman has taken action and started her business, but she plays the "starving artist" role. She constantly talks about how hard it is to make money in her business. She constantly talks about how expensive it is to run a business. She's constantly looking for ways to cut corners to save money on the things her business needs to get going. She does everything herself and refuses to hire someone or invest in an online course to learn how to do the more technical things her business needs to thrive. In other words, she plays the victim role - "oh it's so hard to be an entrepreneur," "oh it's so hard to be a small business owner," "I'm just hoping to break even this year," and on and on she goes. {P.S. - if you've ever networked with other small business owners, beware of these folks - they are everywhere. I learned this early on in my small business journey and removed myself from groups like that - many of the "small business groups" out there consist of people like this and all they want to do is talk about how hard it is to run a small business. You don't need that negativity in your life, it'll bring you down!}

Can you identify with one of these types? Is your best friend, significant other, or sibling one of these types? I bet you know the type of person I'm referring to because everyone wants to start a business these days. Sure, these two types of folks might genuinely need some technical help getting their business off the ground - perhaps they just don't have an artistic eye and they need some help designing their branding and color scheme, or perhaps they lack marketing skills and they need to invest in a course on how to market their products on social media. But more often than not, the root of the issue lies beneath the surface. How do I know this? If they truly believed they were worthy of a successful business, they'd do what it takes to hire the branding expert or invest in a marketing class. They simply wouldn't be using their energy to whine about these things. So what's happening here? It's mental! There is a mental roadblock or two (or three or four or twenty...) that's simply manifesting as "I can't figure out this branding stuff" or "I can't figure out my marketing plan."

I've said it before in prior journal entries and I'll say it again here. If you want to start a business, a successful business, you need to work on your mindset more than your website. Starting a business is honestly the most challenging mental exercise I've ever experienced... and I say that as someone who went to an Ivy League college, a top 25 law school, and practiced as a lawyer for 11 years. I don't say that to be boastful (because lord knows I have no good things to say about the legal profession and I also question some of the viewpoints I was "educated" to have at an Ivy League school) but I say that because I know what it's like to be extremely mentally challenged. But you know what? All of that was book smarts. It takes almost no mental willpower to be good at that. But starting a business? That requires you to search the depths of your soul for all the issues and triggers and "old stories" as I like to call them that are holding you back. That might sound dramatic but it is. This is not easy work. Everything from "my mom and dad pinched pennies and now I hold onto every dollar as if it were my last and I just can't mentally invest in my dream when the outcome is uncertain" (in other words, scarcity mindset) to "who am I to be successful and happy and deeply fulfilled in my work, when almost all of humanity dislikes their day to day job or at best feels so-so about it?" Oh there are SO many stories holding us back and unless you call them out and change them, I don't care how great your website is, it's never going to take off.

I already shared a step-by-step process you can use to start calling out these stories and changing them. You can read that journal entry here. I have done so much work on the stories holding me back, it truly has been the hallmark of my business journey. Yes, I've managed to grow a business but more than that, I've grown myself. I have grown so much as a person and I just can't put a price tag on the ways I've developed - it's been absolutely priceless. I never knew how much of an investment I was making in myself when I started my business. I thought I was just investing in a business idea. Here are just some of the old stories I've uncovered lurking in my brain, worked on (some with the help of a therapist), and changed so that they no longer hold me back:

  1. Work isn't supposed to be fun.
  2. The purpose of work is to earn a paycheck.
  3. I could never earn a lot of money doing something I love. The things I love are reserved for hobbies on the weekend.
  4. Everyone hates their job, or at best feels so-so about it, so who am I to think differently? Who am I to wake up each day feeling happy, excited, and fulfilled with the work I get to do in the world?
  5. I'm supposed to work until age 65 and then I can retire and start enjoying my life. At best, I can aspire to retire early and start enjoying my life before 65!
  6. The right thing to do after college is to get a job with good income potential.
  7. I work an office job because I need health insurance.
  8. I stay at my corporate job because I need the benefits.
  9. Having a regular paycheck makes me secure.
  10. I could never earn a lot of money doing something I love. Either I can make a good income or I can do work I love, not both.
  11. My value and worth is tied to my job title. If I have a prestigious job at a good company, people will think more of me. It proves my worth to the world.
  12. I'll never make as much money doing jewelry as I did as a lawyer.

And those are just some of the stories I worked on, not all! So have no shame if your list is just as long or longer. The amazing thing is, we can change our perception of our world. We can change what we choose to believe about work, money, and all the other things in our lives. So if you feel stuck about that business dream you have, I highly suggest you look within. I highly suggest you spend time working on the thoughts and patterns and automatic triggers you have because, if you're human, you're going to have quite a few that need to be worked on and turned around. And don't be ashamed if you can't figure it out on your own or with a few self-help books. I used the help of a therapist for some of these deep-rooted issues that touched on self-worth, confidence, and self-esteem.

I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own experiences. My wish is for everyone to know the feeling of doing work that brings them joy. It truly is an unbelievable gift to not dread Mondays and hope for Friday's fast arrival. If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. 

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I have a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!


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