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.
Work some more. Or not.
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.
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.
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.