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Thursday
Jul172014

9 Stupid Myths About Being an Entrepreneur

 

I started my journey to entrepreneurship sitting in my bed in a rooftop “apartment” in Paris with a Stella Artois in one hand and my MacBook on my lap. Florence + the Machine blared out of the speakers. The Eiffel Tower was twinkling out my window.

 

No really. That was my life.

 

I’d bought my now infamous one-way ticket to Paris and in the midst of my “now what?” summer, I’d found a new way to earn money: online entrepreneurship.

 

To me, entrepreneurship meant freedom.

 

It meant that I could live like this-- a wandering Francophile with a great work ethic but a hatred for the status quo.

 

It meant that I could live in Paris. PARIS of all places. Because I felt like it.

 

I was broker than broke, but the words “online entrepreneur” lit up in my mind like Hollywood lights. I’d finally found my ticket to success

 

It’s been a few years since then.

 

I still love Florence + the Machine and Stella Artois. And I’m more obsessed with entrepreneurship than ever.

 

But I’m not nearly as naive or wide-eyed.

 

The past three years have been what I like to call “life Jedi training”.

 

So when I see entrepreneurs (whether they’re 18 or 55) making the same mistakes I’ve made, I want to say, “NO! STOP IT!”.

 

It makes me want to yell “stop!” when I see entrepreneurs thinking...

 

1. That a certain amount of revenue will make everything ok.

 

 

We all start this road to entrepreneurship with a big, big, big dream.

 

Often, there’s a number attached to that dream.

 

At first you just want to make some money on the side. You’re not even thinking about quitting your job yet.

 

Then you wonder, “Wait...could this be my real job?”.

 

Finally, after you replace your job’s income with your business, you ask, “Could I hit 6 figures?”

 

And when 6 figures comes around, your eyes notice a convenient space for another zero.



You’re hungry, and that’s a good thing. You’ll never stop being hungry.

 

But you need to balance your hunger with an equally important capability: happiness and pleasure in the present moment.

 

Take it from a girl who knows first-hand what it’s like to think, “Once I start making $X, everything will be ok.”

 

Do you know what happens when you earn $X? You get all the baggage that comes with $X. (It doesn’t matter if $X is $2,000 per month or $2,000 per hour).

 

You’ll always want more. Be satisfied now.

2. That if you prepare enough, you can avoid failure.

 

If only you had an entire year to prep your launch it’d be perfect. If only you had time to read that one book, your blog articles would go viral. If only you could take that online course, you’d make 6 figures this week.

 

Preparation is crazy important. (I’m getting better and better at it). But most of the time, it’s best to give yourself a deadline and when the alarm sounds, jump into the pool.

 

3. That if you declare an income goal, it’s as good as having the money in your pocket.

 

I’ve seen more than a fair share of inspired business owners get wood by promises of The Law of Attraction only to find themselves up debt creek without a paddle. (Oh wait, was that me?)

 

I’m outing myself as a firm believer and embracer of the Law of Attraction. And yes, it “works”.

 

But it’s a whole hell of a lot more complex than writing down your income goal on a page in your journal every morning and imagining yourself traveling in first class to Tokyo when you drift off to sleep.

 

There’s Jedi training involved. Lifelong Jedi training.

 

Go ahead, write down your income goal. Then get to work.

 

You don’t have the money until you have the money. Got it?

 

(If you’re a spendaholic like me and/or have debt, I suggest a Total Money Makeover with a side of Get Rich Lucky Bitch- or here’s a free chapter).

 

4. That one day, you’ll figure out the perfect daily routine.

 

Humph. I still haven’t totally given up on this one (I’m obsessed with famous people’s routines, offices, schedules, lifestyles, for example).

 

But I’m a rebel. I hate restrictions. I hate rules. Hence, routines are a struggle.

 

Instead of finding that clockwork-like arrangement of habits, I’ve decided that my perfect routine is a bit more...anti-routine.

 

It’s a general framework in which I roam about untethered on a very long leash.

 

Wake up around 8.

Do whatever I want for an hour.

Work until noon.

Eat.

Work some more. Or not.

Dinner.

Sleep.

Rinse, repeat.


Huh - I guess I have a routine after all. Except when I throw this entire thing to the curb and play hooky for the day or stay up until midnight writing blog posts.

 

5. That if you only buy one more course, product, software, life will fall into place.

 

I know you don’t really think that a 6-week course is going to magically rewire your entire life into the life of your dreams.

 

But subconsciously you actually do. (So do I).

 

A teacher, entrepreneur, trainer can only do so much for you.

 

She can give you the best tools, the best guidance, the best of the best of the best lessons.

 

But you’ve still got to do so much friggin’ work.

 

How about-- instead of breathing a sigh of endorphin-aroused relief when you buy your next eCourse, why not tell yourself this:

 

“I better clear out my schedule for the next six weeks. This program is going to take everything I’ve got and I want to be focused.”

 


And before you buy your next eCourse, why don’t you take that same mentality and use it towards the courses you’ve already acquired. Insta-metamorphosis!

 

6. That you can become a millionaire selling an eCourse by the end of the year (aka Marie Forleo Syndrome).

 

I cannot tell you how many clients have told me, “I want to leverage my income with an online program...like B-School”.

 

Guys. Darlings. Sweet rule breakers.

 

Please listen:

 

There is so freaking much behind the scenes of (a) Marie Forleo’s business and (b) the success of B-School that no one but Marie Forleo knows about.

 

She spent years and years and years as a life coach hustling her badonkadonk off.

 

She hustled herself into some pretty important relationships and deals and took a shit ton of calculated risks.

 

She spent who knows how long building B-School itself. We just see the final product.

 

Lesson: This shit takes tiiiiime. Be patient. Enjoy where you are right now and focus on getting to the next step.

 

By all means, LAUNCH YOUR COURSE. (You can use Kathryn Hocking’s Amazing Program to do so).

 

And by all means, DREAM MILLION DOLLAR DREAMS.


But then look at your situation and be realistic about how much money you can rake in with your course.

 

7. That you know the full picture of big-shot entrepreneurs’ behind-the-scenes lives and businesses.

 

Think of the most transparent entrepreneur you know-- someone who shares everything with his/her audience.

 

Truth: You only know 0.001% of it.

 

It’s not that they’re liars (they’re not!) or manipulative (they’re not!)

 

First of all, it’s not physically possible for them to share everything with you. They’d have to be on a Big Brother-esque reality show (and even then, you don’t know everything).

 

Second of all, there are ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS strategic parts of business that people just don’t share with their audiences. It’s not out of spite. And it’s not even always done consciously. (It’s strategy, bro).

 

You can only get a tiiiiiny fraction of a picture of someone’s life / biz from being a fan (even an avid, semi-stalkerish one).

 

Even then, there are SO MANY gaps to your understanding of this person. Your brain automatically fills in these gaps (natural autocorrect). And just like iPhone Autocorrect, you’re image of this person isn’t always accurate.

 

Use this lesson to your advantage!


Imagine your favorite entrepreneurs waking up grumpy, getting in spats with their spouses, and heaven forbid...pooping. It’ll reel those pedestaled icons right back into the realm of reality.

 

8. That daily life is filled with beaches, cocktails, and non-stop adventure.

 

This one is for the location-independent warriors out there.

 

But it could just as easily be for anyone who thinks that successful entrepreneurs have idyllic daily routines including a delicious breakfast, yoga, working in a gorgeous office (with a clean desk, ha!) and meeting friends for lunch on a sunny terrace.

 

Sure, they might do some of these things some of the time.

 

But I bet their routine is a bit messier and less romantic than you imagine.

 

My desk gets really freaking messy...especially when I’m in the middle of a creative project.

 

I eat the same thing for lunch every day.

 

I drink instant coffee (yep) because, well...we always have. We just can’t be bothered to buy a coffee maker.

 


And I’m more of  an unshowered, legging-wearing gremlin than a chicly dressed go-getter while I work.

 

9. That this entrepreneurship thing is easier for some people.

 

Nope.

 

Nope.

 

And nope.

 

Entrepreneurship is the most fun game / self-improvement tool ever. But it’s also extremely hard. Exhausting. Trying. FOR EVERYONE.

 

These people who you admire? They’ve been through the trenches. You’ll get through them too.

 

You just have to remember this one thing, the ONLY truth about entrepreneurship:


DON’T GIVE UP. DO NOT EVER EVER EVER GIVE UP.

 


Thursday
Jul102014

What to do first when you start an online business

 

I remember very vividly where I was when I “started my business”.

 

Unlike most businesses, The Rule Breaker’s Club doesn’t have a clear date of conception. I was fumbling around blogging and writing online for a couple of years before this particular website came about.

 

But I can very vividly remember sitting on my bed in my tiny-ass rooftop room in Paris (with a view of the Eiffel Tower!), eating sushi and drinking beer  thinking…

 

“I wish someone would just tell me what to do!” 

 

Starting a business is overwhelming. That’s never going to end. Never. Ever. 

 

There’s never going to be a day that you wake up and think, “Oh my God! Life is suddenly so easy! Sweet!”

 

At the beginning, though, there’s a particular kind of self-doubt, overwhelm, and torture that won’t end until you gain some traction, get some clients, and start bringing in some money.

 

I’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into this business (more tears than sweat and more sweat than blood).

 

I’ve made sacrifices like living at home with my mom when I really didn’t want to, taking on part-time jobs to relieve the financial pressure on my business to succeed right away, and saying no to more than a few invites from friends for weekend trips, etc. (I also had to go 6 months without seeing my boyfriend because I took B-School instead of buying a plane ticket).

 

And now, two years later, I’m on the other side of the “starting a business” hurdle, here to help those of you who are going crazy.

 

There’s 3 things that I recommend doing when you’re first starting out in business. If you do any of these things you’ll be in good shape: 

 

1. Do not quit your day job or put too much pressure on your business to perform before you have the revenue to prove it. 

 

Guilty as charged of ignoring this rule, and I probably could have grown my business a hell of a lot faster if I hadn’t made it my be-all-and-end-all so early on. But I couldn’t help buying that one-way ticket to Paris, damnit!

 

Here’s my advice for those of you who are in full-time jobs or who are in part-time jobs doing your business part-time: keep working.

 

It’s so easy to become mesmerized by a rush of inspiration when you read about how so-and-so entrepreneur is earning six or seven figures in just six months after quitting their job! You hear these stories and you just want to punch the person in the face, don’t you?

 

(Obviously I’d never do that. I’m not violent (have you seen me?) and I’d never punch anyone in the face-- and I’m honestly genuinely happy for these people. Seriously! It’s just that I know reading their stories doesn’t always help or inspire. Sometimes it just makes you feel worthless).

 

There’s more to so-and-so’s story. I promise that it’s being romanticised.

 

There are always consequences to getting to the next level of success, even though they’re totally worth it! There’s no such thing as overnight success.

This person has likely been working on this business for years, had contacts, knew exactly what they were doing based on experience, or took a lucky risk (which can be analyzed for strategy but never copied).

 

Your business can pass the 6-figure mark. Your business can even pass the 7 figure mark (even if that seems a bit too greedy for you right now). And as you’ve read in forty bajillion articles already: YOU CAN LIVE WHATEVER LIFESTYLE YOU WANT. It’s all true.

 

But trust me when I say that you need to see proof (and lots of it) that your business can succeed before you submit your two-week’s notice and go rogue.

 

Enjoy life now. Work towards your future. Don’t make rash decisions on unfounded optimism under the guise of “spontaneity”.  

 

Again, guilty as charged.

When you do quit your side job / day job, you should be able to project with some confidence where your next business will come from and not feel like you’re free falling. If you quit too soon, you’ll have too much financial stress and won’t have time to grow your business because you’ll be too busy hustling your buns off for the next month’s rent money. (Not fun. Not fun at all).

 

2. Figure out these three things:

 

  • WHY you’re in business (what inspires you deep down to take this leap into entrepreneurship and start a movement. Entrepreneurship is always a movement and WHY you’re in business is actually more important than what you do).

 

  • What your brand feels like. Is it fun? Serious? Cheeky? Minimalist? You don’t need to over-analyze this, but you do need to be clear on what interacting with your business will feel like. In other words: What’s your personality?

 

  • What results do you produce in people’s lives and why should they care? Speak their language. It’s much less important for you to state how you get people to those results or what you do while you work. People care about results. What’s in it for me, bro? Think very seriously about why anyone should care about why anyone should care about buying a piece of what you do and write it down because you’ll need to communicate it in your copy.

 

3. Start working with people, talking to people, and being of service ASAP. Like, yesterday.

 

You don’t need to craft the most perfect-est service offer that the world has ever seen. You just need to start getting out there and being helpful. NOW.

 

When I first started as an entrepreneur, I was offering résumé writing services to my friends, family, high school and college students, and then eventually to clients who I found through my website and social media.

 

I did résumés for free for a handful of people until I got the hang of it and realized I was pretty damn talented. (Go me!)

 

If I’d quit my job and put too much pressure on myself to make money with résumé writing, however, I would have gotten stuck.

 

After several months, I realized that I didn’t want to work with job-seekers or write their stupid résumés. I wanted to work with entrepreneurs and write their kick ass copy.

 

I had a few side-jobs (i.e. I wasn’t totally broke), so I plopped $2K on Marie Forleo’s B-School. I changed my offerings and started copywriting by doing the same things I did when I first started offering résumé writing services: work for free, get some paid clients, then start raising your prices. The rest is history. And future.

 

4. Focus on sales. Sales = business. Ignore this at your own peril. 

 

The sooner you start focusing on sales as the heart of your business, the less time you will waste and the sooner you’ll hit four, five, and six figures or more.

 

Sales -- talking to people about what they desire and telling them how you’re going to help them get just that-- is the lifeblood of every business.

 

Stop tweaking your website (so much).

Stop freaking out about your logo or business cards (you don’t need an effing logo OR business cards!).

Stop messing around getting your desktop organized just perfectly.

Stop reading so many self-help books (instead of creating + working).

 

It’s so easy for us to convince ourselves that these things are worth spending our time on because they are important. They are worth spending time on! But they become a crutch when you start doing these things instead of selling.

 

A beautiful website will help your business grow. (A logo, however, is utterly unnecessary and I cannot believe how many entrepreneurs who haven’t even made their first $100 yet are obsessed with the fact that they can’t get clients until they pick the right font/shape/color/photo composition!)

 

Having an organized office will make you feel more confident and may increase productivity.

 

But it all comes down to sales.

 

That’s when you have to be confident and tell someone that your skills, strengths, and passions have made you the perfect person to deliver the exact result that this person is looking for.

 

That’s all it is. And it’s all you should be focusing on when you start your business. S-A-L-E-S. SALES.

 

Learn how to do sales. Invest in your sales education. It is the thing that will make you enough money so that you can do everything else.

 

To do it any other way is just procrastination. This sales stuff is the bottleneck of your business and will come back to bite you in the ass. 100% guaranteed.

 

Alright, dearest entrepreneur: Go forth and conquer! The world is your oyster, or something.

 

xo,


Courtney

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