Building a business from scratch is extremely hard. AND it’s profoundly rewarding. There’s truth in the expectation that entrepreneurs will invest about two years of solid hustle before their business is profitable. I’m proof to support that.
It’s like planting a seed. It takes time, tender care, the proper environment and resources (sun, water, nutrients) to grow. You may not even see the sprout break ground until it’s time, and yet so much is happening under the surface to get there.
For the first two years of my business, I admit that I didn’t want anyone to know that I only had a half-dozen clients. I didn’t lie about it; I just danced around the answer without giving one. Like somehow not being an instant, rolling-in-the-dough success meant that I was failing.
I knew my clients were glowingly happy with our sessions and offering unsolicited referrals and testimonials. I was learning, growing and building expertise in a completely new industry for me. And yet, I had attributed my value as a coach to how much money I was making…to what was showing on the surface.
I feared that if my clients (or potential clients) knew they were only one of a handful that they’d assume I must not be good at what I do and go find a better coach. (Talk about limiting belief!)
Then I explored Acuity (a scheduling SaaS) and saw the feature “Make me look busy” with the customized option to block any percentage of time available. I realized that I’m not the only one pretending to have more clients than I do. To be a feature, this must be an in-demand need of small businesses. Make me look busier than I really am.
So I started having blunt conversations with my peers. Even the excellent coaches that I greatly admired weren’t as busy as I’d assumed or they let on. They were relieved to know I wasn’t either. Well, imagine that.
Anyone who sells overnight success with a simple and glitzy, new fandangle process is preying upon our desire for instant gratification. Like the old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Yes, manifesting is real. It’s not all work. Resting and playing as forms of self-care is an important part, too. And yes, overnight demand explosions happen…but it’s the exception, not the rule.
The Hero’s Journey is real. It requires persistence, patience and passion. If you are passionate about it, it makes all the patience and persistent effort worth it. Coaching, to me, is absolutely worth it. I love what I do. I even love the planning, marketing and learning how to run my business better. I would start at the beginning and do it all again if I needed to because I love being a coach. It’s one of the best feelings in the world when my clients have insights and breakthroughs.
The sooner we own up to the fact that starting a new business takes time and a whole lot of effort, the sooner we can all be more successful because we stop comparing ourselves to others who are also pretending to be wildly successful. We can stop believing that we must be doing something wrong because our peers have more clients than we do. Or thinking the coaches who are charging more must be better coaches. When we release those limiting beliefs, we actually do better and accomplish more.
I’m breathing easier knowing that it’s supposed to be hard and take time. I can relax into the process and allow it to unfold as it is intended to. For all you entrepreneurs out there with a vision, keep going! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t worry about your speed, you’ll break the earth’s surface when it’s time; and when you do, we’ll all admire the sprouting beauty.