This is a question that creatives wrestle with throughout their business journey – whether you’ve got a fledgling idea or are debating a big new step, the idea of growth can be a scary one. Of course it’s natural to be trepidatious when approaching the unknown, especially an unknown that will change your life; which is why we search for articles and posts like this one for comfort.
Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is: you’re never ready. Or at least, you’ll never feel ready. It might be that you look back in a few month’s time and wonder why you ever worried, or you’ll realise that you needed to make the leap in order to develop and learn.
People will sometimes say to me ‘I really want to blog but it’s not right yet/I’m not ready/I need to take a course first’, and I tell them all the same thing: the only way the blog will be ready is if you put it live and do it. A blog is not a book – it doesn’t need to be perfect and typo-free before going online. The same principle is true of any online business.
The beauty of the internet is that it’s constantly changing, you can make edits and improvements months or years later. The only way to learn and improve is to do the thing – and if you don’t believe me, look back at some of the early posts on this blog!
Really, the question isn’t are you ready to build or grow your business. The question is: do you want it enough? If you’re far enough along the journey to be reading this, then I think it’s safe to assume that yes, you do.
So what now? You’ve still got that nagging doubt and worry in your head and still feel hopelessly unready. Below I’ve laid out some of the excuses and reasons we tell ourselves not to go for something, with all the tips you need to turn that voice off and get started on soulful growth.
I’ve just got a general idea – I’m not specific enough
All the business advice out there says you need to get really specific really quickly if you’re going to make a success of an idea. But, I say, what’s the rush? The more time you spend rolling the idea over in your head, brainstorming around it, just living with it, the more well-rounded and wholesome the business will be at the end.
When I first had the idea for my business 5 months ago, it was nothing like what it’s turned out to be today. Back then, all I knew was that I wanted to help creative people, like my online friends, grow their businesses, and I thought that looked like freelance marketing work. If I’d got specific and launched then, it would have been a half-baked and, probably, unsuccessful venture.
Taking the time to write list after list, to talk to people and to think it through on long dog walks meant that I was able to narrow and change it naturally. I realised that people (myself included), start businesses because they want to have control and do things their way – so if wanted to help them, I was better off showing them how to do it for themselves. So the idea of coaching was born.
Specification will come naturally with the time spent mulling over and developing your idea – when you know your idea really well, getting specific will just happen. Rather than thinking of ways to narrow down your idea, get really clear on the idea itself, and your business purpose, instead.
I haven’t got time
This, I’m afraid, comes back to ‘do you want it enough?’. There’s no nice way to say it, but if you want this, you have to make time – there’s no magic bullet.
This might mean arranging your current activities a bit better. Can you take all your photos in a batch at the weekend, can you spend one day a month writing all your blog posts, can you make all your meals for the week on a Sunday and freeze them?
Get organised about what you’re doing each day and cut out the decision-making time. What do you take time deciding about each day? What to wear, what to eat, what do first thing in the morning, where to start on the to do list? Cut out as many decisions a day as you can and you’ll start to recoup time, as well as mental energy and productivity.
But these are really just marginal gains – to carve out a big chunk you have to sacrifice some things. Maybe you sacrifice some sleep and get up an hour earlier to work on the new project. Maybe you get some childcare for an extra hour a day. Maybe you need to sacrifice eating as gourmet as you’d like and have jacket potatoes for a while (within reason though – see Health, Happiness and Hustle).
The biggest, and easiest, sacrifice, however, is TV. It’s so easy to switch it on ‘as background noise’ but it never stops at that. The clue is in the name, television – the TV demands your eyes, and while you’re looking at the screen you can’t look at what you’re doing. Once the TV is on, it tends to be on for the night, so I’ve stopped turning it on. If I want background noise, I’ll listen to a podcast , but by cutting out TV I’ve gained about 3 productive hours per evening.
I don’t know what I want the future to look like
My friend Janice at Gathered Threads mentioned this in a comment on Instagram when talking about coaching. Her worry was that “I struggle with the fear that I’ll have nothing to bring to the table in coaching…I’ll be void of all ideas for my future.” I think we all get a little bit like that, whether we’re going into a coaching session or not.
It’s hard to imagine, let alone plan for, a life that looks completely different.
This loops back round to focusing on the idea, and making it the best it can be. You don’t need to worry yet who will pick the kids up from school in three years time, or where you’ll find space to put a desk. Focus this beginning time on making the idea all it can be.
But if you’re the type that likes something to work towards, but haven’t wrapped your head around what goals you’re going to set yourself yet, here’s some advice I was given. Make your goal how you want to feel, and start from there. For me, I wanted to feel free. And while I began to narrow my idea, and set specific goals about my future, I kept that in the back of my mind. That’s all you need to come to the coaching session, or the future, with.
What kind of growth are you feeling trepidatious about? Or what particular excuses are you telling yourself not to start? Email me and I’ll add it in – and we can talk about why you shouldn’t be worried 😊.
If you’re considering a big leap at the moment, and need some support, accountability or direction, you can explore my shiny new coaching packages here.
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