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For the first few months after I quit my full-time job to start an online business, everything was going smoothly. I landed a big client. I could travel during the week, and take time off whenever I wanted — I didn’t have to ask permission.
I could do work from home, or head out to my favorite coffee shop. I could even meet friends for lunch in the middle of the day. I was living the dream (0r so I thought)!
Listening to Common Business and Money Rules
When you first plan to make the transition from employee to entrepreneur, you want to do everything right. You hear many of the industry’s rules on finance and business, and start following them.
Even as an accountant, I knew the basic rules that make a business successful, so naturally I followed every rule of business you’re supposed to when you first start out;
- I bought stationery with my new logo on them
- I purchased new business cards with my official title as “Boss Lady”
- I invested in online courses (and bought way too many business books)
- I attended webinars and local networking events
- I bought fancy bookkeeping software
- I poured all my savings and time into my new business
In other words, I was willing to do whatever it took to make my biz a success — even if it meant sacrificing time, money, and my sanity.
Can you relate?
Blindly Following Rules Doesn’t Equal Success
As the year went on, I realized I was becoming more and more unhappy with where my business was headed. I could no longer find the inspiration and excitement I previously had — and I hated most of the projects I was working on.
I was even asking myself why the heck I quit my day job in the first place, since it essentially was a career I loved. I wondered if I should stop freelancing and get a “real job”.
After a couple tough sessions with my coach, all my questions and frustration led me to one answer: business depression. Which was not only evident in my mood but also my $3,000+ credit card statement.
And in case you’re wondering…Yes, business depression is totally a thing. And it was the worst time of my life!
It seemed that even though I followed all of the industry’s financial advice and business rules — that was supposed to get me to a really good place of being my own boss and having financial freedom — instead had landed me in a position of feeling even more stuck than my traditional had.
After struggling through business depression for several months, I found 3 strategies that enabled me to earn money and market my business without feeling like a sell-out.
1. Figure out your true money beliefs.
Do you know what you really believe about money + business? Have you determined what kind of business you’re building and what you truly want?
Do you know what success looks like for you? Is it a lot of money, freedom, time, or experiences? What are you NOT willing to give up in order to reach your goal?
These are the hard questions I finally asked myself. But I was having a difficult time finding the answers (or admitting them to myself). I felt so confused, unhappy, and unsure of myself. Was being a business owner even what I wanted anymore?
To find the answers, I headed out to a cabin in the middle of the woods for 3-4 days. There was no internet access and no communication from my clients, team members, coaches, accountability partners, family, friends and even my husband. During this business retreat I searched out what I really wanted for my business, to find out what I truly believed about money, and what my goals are — industry be damned!
There’s so much noise crashing in on us — from the internet, TV, social media and advertising — that it’s easy to drown out your own voice. I thought I wanted so many things when I started my business, but during my business retreat (in the middle of nowhere), it was hard to ignore the truth in the silence…
I didn’t want any of them.
2. Stop resisting what you love doing.
After outlining my new business goals and figuring out what I was (and wasn’t) willing to sacrifice to reach my goal, the next step involved embracing my true calling. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
You know that thing you are so excited to do but never have the time to dedicate to it? The hobby or service you do for everyone else but never really get paid for it? Or that thing you LOVE doing so much but are afraid to charge money for it because you don’t want to “sell out”?
STOP RESISTING IT! Sorry to yell at you, but I wish someone would have yelled at me a year ago.
If you really want to level up your business, and make money on your terms, you need to embrace the thing you truly love doing. People will pay you for your unique perspective, and in fact, be thrilled that you offer such an awesome service or product.
So stop resisting whatever it is that you’re good at and love doing (you know what I’m talking about), and embrace it head-on!
Once I finally decided that it’s OK to be a professional blogger with an artistic/storytelling edge, and get paid to enjoy my work, I looked forward to each day more and more. I woke up excited and thrilled to start the day.
3. Take inventory of your bank account.
Now that I put these other two steps into action, and was excited about my freelance work again, it was time to take inventory of my bank account. The first thing I implemented was a cash-only spending challenge. I *thought* I knew where my money was going, and how much income I brought in every month, but it was time to do a thorough review.
During my cash challenge I learned two surprising things:
- Most of what I was spending money on were the wrong things, or rather, they didn’t line up to my priorities
- I wasn’t earning enough income to sustain the lifestyle I was trying to create
Because of this, several things had to change. I streamlined my business expenses even more, and took inventory of everything I was spending money on.
I talked with my team and made sure they were spending their time on projects they enjoyed but were also a good fit for them (making sure they weren’t wasting time). I thoroughly evaluated my client list and made some hard cuts, but it was time for my business to grow.
Then I put out feelers to my network letting them know I was looking for more freelance work. I also raised my prices on a few clients I was already working with, and even started offering consulting services to other freelancers and solopreneurs who wanted to amp up their business.
It took about a month to revamp everything and get into a better groove, but I slowly started spending less and earning more.
And now I want to help you do the same!
Level Up Your Biz with AMPLIFY14
Starting October 21-30, 2014 five other female entrepreneurs and I are presenting the AMPLIFY Biz Summit. Each of us will be sharing a different strategy on how to crank up the volume on your business.
And the best news is, it’s totally free! If you’d like to purchase the recordings or view the sessions after the live event, you can do so for $25 or $50. But we’re not keeping the money. The proceeds will all be given to Kiva loans to fund other entrepreneurial adventures across the globe.
We’re not out to make a profit with AMPLIFY, we’re out to make a difference.
My session will be on October 23rd at 7pm EST and I’ll be talking about how to Amplify Your Bank Account: Unlearn Faulty Financial Advice and Make Money on Your Terms. I hope you’ll join me!
AMPLIFY was born out of the lessons learned in our mutual drive to take each of our business endeavors to the next level. Now, we’re looking to help other solopreneurs do the same.