Saturday, 7 June 2014

the journey towards being your own boss

Do you long to do a job you really care about and be your own boss (and hero) in the process? Do you feel stuck in your current place of work, unable to subsist on the income from your business or even too scared to start it? 

Here's my purest and warmest advice for you (in ten delicious slices).

Introducing your dream to your bank account is tough. Sometimes it feels like you'll never get there - you'll be washed up in a corporate nightmare forever, spending precious energy making someone else's dream come true. You suffer resentment. You seethe. You despair. You incubate your vision each night before sleep and in the morning it's hovering at the ceiling, refusing to come down. I get it. Please read on..

1. Don't put your ambition under glass
Harness your ambition every day. Don't convince yourself that it's a wild animal which can only be let off the leash once you have enough energy/time/money.. Don't see ambition as something which waits to be summoned by the perfect circumstances. It is yours and it is alive. You can do at least one small thing every single day which aligns you with your dream and puts you into closer contact with it. If you tend to deny that this is possible, then you're not ready for the magnitude of what you want.

2. Look around, but only to admire the view
It's likely that you can list businesses which inspire you. How's that going? Be honest. If you glean positive energy and mighty motivation from watching other people's success, that's the ticket! But if you look at others and use their progress as an excuse to avoid making your own, it's time for sincere self-assessment. Do you ever think, 'She probably had opportunities which aren't available to me and that's why she's succeeding'? Or, 'He's done what I wanted to do so there's clearly no point in me doing it'? That's the rotten side of comparison - the place where dreams go to die.

3. Your day job is a means to an end
'A means to an end' is defined as 'any action which is carried out for the sole purpose of achieving something else.' When you see your current employment situation as part of the path towards your dream, you instantly cut out a lot of the associated baggage. Before you walk into the workplace, shake out the tension, delete the unhelpful programs from your brainbox and think of what you're about to do as an integral part of the desired plot. Here's how I used to do it..

'I can purchase more Tarot cards with my next pay check.'
'If I didn't work I wouldn't be able to pay for the internet and that would screw my business.'
'This job is a chance to learn more about social dynamics and how to cope with stress in the workplace - both useful for my clients.' (That's right - 'it's just research'. That angle can be very calming!)

4. Choose a way to measure your progress
Constantly staring at the end goal will make you feel as though it's an impossible place which is very far away. This will lead to low moods, self-doubt and cynicism. Instead, work out ways to mark off small victories and manageable tasks along the way. This is your chance to implement times for regular celebration - and celebration is undeniably good for the soul. Figure out what works for you in terms of seeing how far you've come and noticing when you're making tracks. Tangible results of any nature are delicious - savour them.

5. Become the master of your own energy
Your energy is a fuel. You get to decide how to use it. Take a look at where you're spending your energy in an average week. Which situations, relationships, habits, thoughts, worries and obligations are taking the most from the tank? Are they all imperative? Do they all serve you? My guess is that the answer to both questions is 'no'. This means that you can afford to have a reshuffle. If you want to be your own boss, the first thing you've got to do is be the boss of your own life. Don't let your time run away from you. Maximize it and get clear on where energy is essentially being wasted and could be better used.

(If you're thinking, 'My day job takes up all my energy', it's time for a rethink. I can't count the amount of people who've written a book, done a master's degree or trained for a marathon whilst maintaining a full-time job.)

6. Your brain is a big fancy computer
Sometimes a computer has old, useless files and programs on it which are taking up masses of memory and slowing the machine down. They need to be deleted. Your brain is no different. Your thoughts are like files and programs. It's time to go through the big fancy computer and identity anything that's taking up space and slowing you down. Don't forget that your thoughts are a choice. You can go through your 'programs' and choose to run those which are productive and helpful. You can make a selection in accordance with your needs. You can literally identify a yucky limiting belief virus, put up a firewall and install something far more useful. Keep practicing.

7. Keep raising your commitment up to the sky
Continue to reaffirm your commitment to yourself and your vision. Do it in front of a mirror - watch the words forming on your lips. Weave words of empowerment into each new day, reminding yourself that your dream is beautiful, shining, worthy..

8. Advice is like a buffet - try a little of everything
Every path towards running a successful business is personal. The variables are different in each case, so are the available tools and the personality of the business owner. Learning about someone else's trajectory towards business autonomy is nurturing provided that it's not taken as gospel. Remember that your story is going to be unique. Enjoy a little of what everyone has to say but stay firmly plugged into your intuition so that you discover what works for you. Instigate some business advice and then look at the results a few weeks later to assess its usefulness. If it wasn't useful, that's ok - you tried it - move on. There's plenty more on offer!

9. Check the way you talk about it 
It's great to get your business ideas and concerns off your chest and out into the world. Talk to fellow ambition addicts, talk to your partner, talk to your friends.. Expressing your thoughts and feelings about your desire to run a successful business can help you to define your objectives and notice what your priorities are. There's nothing like catching yourself saying something out loud and thinking, 'Woah, so that's what I really think!' When you talk about your plans and desires, notice what the narrative looks like. Is it mostly worries, doubts and naysaying? Do you need to talk more about action plans, ideas and inspirations? Remember, the more you reinforce negatives, the longer they stick around. Sure, there are obstacles in your path and of course you harbour fears, but do you really want to give them all the airtime? Try starting sentences like..

'This is what I'm going to try next week..'
'I'm hatching a new business plan..'
'I'd love to get your opinion on my new branding..'
'I was really excited by this article I read about entrepreneurship..'

10. Think creatively
Go really and truly out of the box. Start by asking yourself questions like, 'What really inspires me about this?', 'Why do I want to achieve this particular goal?' and, 'How would someone describe my business in a blurb/article?' The next step is to stop scrolling through the same old marketing and branding advice. Notice when you're bored! Start relating your business to random things like different industries, colours, literary genres, locations, adjectives, personality types and so on. Notice what happens when you try to incorporate fresh energies and concepts into the way you define your business. How can you connect your business with your other passions or bring them into your thought process?

Most of all, keep going. Those people at the top of their game were once in your place. That's the only clue you need to help you realise that your dream is possible.


A video for those who want to thrive and fly as a spiritual solopreneur..