Empowering yourself to create your dream business is easier than you think.
We always! always! always! get to create a business we want and love.
So why is that always harder to do than we think?
… the reason that I say that is I have generally tried to do things that I want to do when it comes to my business. But there have certainly been times in my business, like last year (2019), where I was doing things that I didn't enjoy. And I was not really aware of that until it got to a tipping point…
What It Looks Like When You Don't Create an Empowering Business You Love
If you don't know the story, last year I went through quite a few changes in both my business and personal life. We were trying to move back to Australia (in hindsight it would have been amazing if we had decided to go before COVID hit, but that didn’t happen). All sorts of other major life decisions were going on that really impacted how I approached my business.
In the stress of it all, I allowed myself to be influenced to change my business to be a certain way. I didn’t stop and do a gut check (which I know I should do from my Human Design personality profile) and that’s what often happens if you don't know what you want or where you're heading.
And because of this, I allowed myself to be led by a coach in a direction that was off-course and it ultimately cost me $9,000.
I'm not saying that she was a bad coach or anything like that. It was just more that I didn't stop and question if the course of action she was telling me to take was best for my business. I didn’t check in to ask myself if it was in alignment with what I wanted to actually do.
Just because she said it's a good way to run a business doesn't necessarily mean that it was… for me.
I ignored the tell-tale signs too… thinking that those butterflies in my tummy were excitement vs. a sign to pause and reflect.
Take that to heart and know that for yourself, too. Anything that you hear from me or any other coach, you always want to make sure you're filtering through your own wants and needs.
So what ended up happening? This coach recommended that I approach my business a certain way and I went all in. Which meant a complete change in my business model.
If I'm committing to something, I normally commit to it full-on. But three months in, I realized the mistake I had made. I remember thinking I can't believe that I've done this! I've actually created a business I don't like, that I don't enjoy… that I don't love.
I didn't like it. I wasn't enjoying it. It just didn't align with my vision at all.
Turning the ship around
The key to the turnaround was when I actually stopped everything.
It was during my birthday in November 2019 that we travelled to Australia for a holiday and I spent a lot of time doing JST (just sitting there) and journaling. I really sat with what it was that I actually wanted my business to look like.
I asked myself questions like:
- What did I want to do?
- Who did I want to be helping and serving?
- What kind of things did I want to create and deliver?
That led me down a completely different path, like a full 360 to what I was doing.
The stuff that I had been doing in my business was not in alignment with the things I wanted to do at all.
Making Empowering Business Decisions
When I realized that I had made the wrong decisions, it was actually empowering. I realized that I was able to make different decisions and choices and move in that direction instead.
Then in December, I was introduced to an amazing coach, Sara Dann. She was doing something right and I loved the way that she ran her business. I thought; I would love to do what she's doing, so I spent a lot of time in her Facebook community and watched her Facebook lives. I just really resonated with what she was saying.
That led me down the path of figuring out how I could replicate that in my own business. I eventually decided to get involved in her programs and coaching, and that really allowed me to figure out what I wanted my business to look like.
Filters are not just for coffee
Now, even though I loved the way that she runs her business, I still filter it through my own lens. Just because it looks like a great business model and Sara is doing amazing with it, I need to still make sure that I filter it through what it is that I actually want to do.
So I make tweaks. I do things that make more sense for me. And what I love most about what she does is that she has a process.
A New Process for my Business
Sara’s sitting down at the beginning of every month and asking herself:
- What do I feel equipped to deliver to people?
- What do I feel aligned with actually doing?
- Where's my energy?
This is the process that I do as well. Sitting down and asking myself those questions has made the biggest difference in my happiness… in my business.
There are lots of things that can mess with our energy, and instead of fighting against it I’m looking to move with it.
For me, there are certain times of the month when I know that my energy is not good. I can be grumpy and I don't want to be showing up and transferring that energy onto my audience or trying to launch a new program when that stuff is happening.
So I’m all about being really aligned with my energy.
And I also just want to do what I’m actually excited about.
For me to be able to do that, it means that I need to have lots of different options and programs and ways to deliver those programs.
So that's what I do.
You’ve probably noticed that over the last eight or nine months I have offered my audience a lot of different things. From courses and self-study programs to group coaching, to printables and templates. There are lots of different things that I’m interested in delivering and I tune in to what I feel equipped to do.
But I also create with the mindset of trying to help my audience get results in their own business.
Empower Yourself — Is it easy and fun?
My whole philosophy or my guiding filter question is:
Is this easy and is this fun?
So whenever I'm presented with an opportunity or whenever I start to think about a new idea, I run it through that filter so that I’m not going down the wrong track.
Recently, I had a comment from a reader that she had a huge failure that set her back six months. And you know, it happens. We just have to learn. That's why I keep saying constantly that you have to check in with yourself and be really clear about what it is you want.
I feel a little evangelical about this because we actually get to decide that! We do not need to have a business that we don't enjoy. Or that's complicated.
There have certainly been times in my business when I have gone off and done something because someone told me that that was the thing to do.
Or I heard about a new strategy, or someone well-known says X is the way to do it. And I went off and did it without filtering.
But here’s what I know: any strategy or tactic will work if it is aligned with you and what you're working towards. But you gotta stop and ask yourself if it actually is BEFORE you start implementing or taking action.
That's why I'm always saying pick one strategy.
We can do so many different things when we have an online business. That is both the blessing and the curse.
My own business has changed and morphed over the years. I started out as a freelance writer, then I transitioned into being a full-time author. Then I transitioned into being a coach.
Now I classify myself as a creative entrepreneur and a creative business coach because I love creating. That's one of my passions so that's why I always want to be creating.
And then I run every idea, every action, every strategy through is it easy and fun?
If it's not, what's the point, right?
If you're gonna start an online business, why do something that's hard and complicated?
I'm not saying that everything that I do is easy and fun to do in my business. What I'm really trying to emphasize here is that what is easy and fun for me, isn't necessarily easy and fun for you. But YOU need to know what IS easy and fun for you.
Create Your Own Empowering Filters
Here is an exercise I’d love for you to do if you haven't done it before. Actually, if you have done it before I want you to recheck it.
I am checking in with myself at least once every month when I sit down to map out the month ahead.
I am looking at what my ideal day is and really seeing if I am actually getting to that point.
At the time of writing this, I am literally weeks away from my ideal day. I can't even tell you how excited I am about that! When that happens, I'm going to share all of that and share what I've done to get there. I cannot wait!
Now, this is what I’d love for you to do: JST. If you have not done the practice of just sitting there then I highly recommended it with this modification.
Step 1: You need 30 minutes minimum. 60 minutes would be even better. But if this is the first time you're doing any kind of mindfulness practice, 30 minutes is generally enough.
Step 2: You need to find a quiet place where you’re alone. If you've got kids, that might mean locking yourself in the bathroom (I have friends that do this!). Ideally leave your phone out of the equation, depending on how disciplined you are.
Step 3: Set a timer for 30 minutes. Now I do that on my phone, but I put my phone on the other side of the room on airplane mode. The point is that if it's away from me, I'm not tempted to look at it.
Step 4: Next, have a way to take notes. I always take my journal and a pen with me but maybe a pen and paper makes more sense to you. DO NOT make it digital! Don't take your iPad and pencil in there to write on it because you can still access the internet and get messages on your iPad. But hey, you're an adult! You can decide what that looks like for you. But generally pen and paper is best.
Step 5: Quiet, no music, and suitable lighting — not so bright that you can’t close your eyes and not so dark that you can’t see what you’re writing.
This is not meditation. This is mindfulness.
Step 6: Then you're just going to sit for 30 minutes and wait for stuff to come to you.
Now, I’m not going to lie. The first five to 10 minutes are hard if it’s the first time that you’re doing this.
What I mean is it's not that it's hard but a little uncomfortable because your brain starts to chatter.
Mine often goes into to-do list mode, Hey, Lise we could be doing this… We could be doing that… Let's go! What about that thing that we need to do? And, Oh, we've got to go get some groceries. We've got to do the washing… I've got to go and apply for that car loan, right?
Your brain is just going to switch into busy mode, but that will pass if you stick with it.
(You can get some extra help calming your inner voice in my book Mind the Chatter: Master Your Inner Voice, Gain a Positive Mindset and Get Your Power Back!)
You don't have to do anything at this point, you don't even need to write anything down.
When you get to the point where that chatter starts to ease off — and it will — that is when you can ask yourself a question. I wouldn't recommend trying to ask yourself a whole bunch of questions. I really recommend just asking yourself one question.
And that question would be, What do I want my ideal day to look like? What does it look like when I wake up? What time is that? And what am I doing during the day? And just let whatever comes to your mind, come to your mind and then write that down.
Create and Design a Business You Actually Want
Honestly, at the end of that 60 minutes you will have a very good starting point to start creating and designing a business that you actually want.
And not just in business… In life.
When you run an online business, it intertwines with you and what you do in your life, right? It's not just individual from you. Certainly, it can be an entity that you are living and breathing in.
So what do you want to do? Like really? What do you want to do?
And if you say, “I don't know”, that's a crap answer! You DO know. You're just not prepared to really be honest with yourself. At this point in time, the only person you're hurting by not answering honestly is YOU. You get to decide this. And that's why I'm always saying you always get to decide because you do. You honestly do.
And when you do decide, it’s absolutely empowering! You’re no longer a victim. You’re dodging and weaving through life’s obstacles and making it all work to create a business you LOVE.
We are the ones that make the choices. Where you are right now in your life is a direct result of the decisions and choices you have made. Right or wrong.
And that's okay because you can change direction. You can pivot when you realize you don’t want to do something anymore. Do something completely different. You get to decide.
It's impossible to get what you want unless you know what you want, right? Like how is that going to happen?
A lot of this comes back to also believing that you get to have what you want. That’s where mindset work comes in. A lot of success online and as an entrepreneur comes down to mindset. It’s like 80% mindset and 20% what you sell.
Because if you don't believe that you will be successful, then you won't. That's just how things work.
An Empowered Business = Map Out What You Want
So take the time to map it out or write down what it is that you actually want.
And if you're not really sure, then that's what JST is really good for. Just ask the question and see what comes to mind. You don't have to come up with all the answers. Let the universe give you some prompts and some ideas. Your job is to simply sit, listen, and wait and see what happens.
When I sat in JST recently, I kept getting the idea to start a printables shop. So over the last three to six months, I've really started to focus on creating printables. I'm launching an entire printables shop in 2021 and I cannot wait to show you how I did it!
It's time to make empowering decisions for your business and that starts by making sure that your business is what you want it to be… easy and fun. Something you love.
Take the time to really map out what you want your business to look like. And if you already have an idea, check in with yourself and make sure that what you're currently doing is getting you closer to that end goal.
And if you want some support, hand-holding, and an online community full of people going after their own version of an easy and fun business, then I'd love to invite you to check out the Digital Business Lab, my $9/m online coaching membership.