Kick In The Ass
Titles | Full
I’m nervous writing this post. It’s going to offend some people. It’s probably going to hurt some people 9I’m sorry!). But it has to be said. And the ones who are ready to hear it, will listen. If you’ve been trying this coaching business for a while and it just doesn’t seem to be working – pay attention.
Because there are things they don’t tell you in coaching school about starting a life coaching business (or any business really, but let’s focus on the life coaches, because you are often the ones who have such big hearts — and dreams — and who are often most defeated by the reality of running a coaching business).
To preface all this, let it be known that I really believe in the power of life coaching. There’s a reason I spent over $8000 getting trained in several different modalities. Coaches do good work and change lives.
Life coaching is a really, really tough sell as a business. In fact, I’m gonna go so far as to say that ‘life coaching’ is NOT actually a business.
Coaching is a SKILL that you learn. Like graphic design. Or organization. Or teaching.
It is not a business in and of itself.
I see SO many people quitting perfectly good jobs and ditching perfectly good skills because they have decided they want to start a life coaching business to help other people realize their dreams and become their most authentic, powerful selves.
And then they struggle to get clients because no one knows what the fuck they are talking about when they explain to people what they do as a life coach, because all of a sudden they’re talking in higher level concepts when most of us down here are just trying to figure out how to get our damn problems solved.
And then they come to me asking me how they can make it work. How they can generate a full time income in 3-6 months (because that’s all they’ve left themselves for savings). How they can become overnight successes like so-and-so.
And it drives me up the wall.
Not the fact that they are coming to me asking for help. I LOVE that my clients are so passionate about building businesses and doing awesome work in the world. What drives me up the wall is that somewhere out there, someone is feeding us all lies about how if you’re passionate about something, you can turn it into a business. That if you just BELIEVE in it enough, you can do anything you want to do.
And I’m calling bullshit.
Passion does not = profit.
And, I totally understand where all the life coaches are coming from, and why they believe that it should be pretty easy to build their new coaching business.
Life coaches – don’t lie. We ALL sat in our coaching school classes with our calculators when we first heard how much we’d be able to charge as life coaches.
$300-500/month for one client? (Does some quick math). You mean I’d only need 9 or 10 clients a month to make some pretty good money? Sweet! I’ll be able to reel those in within the next few months for sure! Bring it on entrepreneurship!
When I first starting coaching at The Uncaged Life, I was stoked to have 4 clients. I remember thinking “5 more, and I’ll be smooooth sailing.”
And then one of them dropped off.
And then one of them kept cancelling and pushing back her sessions, so our one month fee was spread over 2 months.
And then another had to put her sessions on hold indefinitely.
And where the hell were the other 5 clients that I’d thought it would be so easy to get?
All of a sudden, the idea of getting and KEEPING 10 clients felt impossible. Especially if I was going to have 10 clients all the time, forever. It felt like a hustle that I just didn’t want to be a part of.
What they don’t tell you in coaching school? Is that “life coaching” is a really, really hard sell.
I know some excellent life coaches – they’ve written best-selling books, they’ve got 75k+ likes on Facebook, they’ve done everything right, business-wise – they have more of a reach than I will ever have in my business – and they still struggle to get clients. They are still living month to month. And they have to hustle every damn day to find new ways to make coaching a viable gig.
Why? Because they are generalized “life coaches”. And life coaching isn’t something that people really “get”.
The most important thing that life coaches need to understand is that coaching is NOT a business – it’s a skill that you will use, combined with your other expertise, to help solve a particular problem.
If you’re a new coach and starting to feel defeated, keep reading – it gets better and there IS hope for you as a coach!!
If you don’t have a niche, and you’re offering really vague, intangible results, you’ll be hard pressed finding and keeping enough clients to pay the bills. (If that sounds like you, I can help with that).
I’ve seen it too many times – from the time I was in coaching school, to the clients I work with now – highly skilled, intelligent people, feeling inspired by the transformation that comes when you learn new coaching skills (because learning coaching is like a whole personal development course on it’s own!), who decide that they just MUST leave their jobs and become life coaches, so that they can help other people realize the power of coaching.
Do not – I repeat DO NOT – ignore all your past experience and knowledge. And don’t quit your day job just yet.
The other (hard) truth is that any tangible skill is about 10000x easier to market than coaching is, so for the love of buddha, don’t give those up completely to become a life coach.
If you want to make coaching work as a business, you need to bring in all your other expertise, experience, and skill, and use THAT to drive your business. And DEFINITELY being your PERSONALITY and strengths to your business.
If you have tons of experience going speaking gigs – focus your business around coaching other people through their speaking gigs.
If you’re a marketing and branding genius, combine your focus with that to be a badass branding ninja who helps people develop brands from the inside out.
If you were in charge of hiring for a major organization and have experience writing and reviewing resumes that get you hired – use your coaching to help people find their dream jobs.
If your life experience has been unique – you’ve lost a child, you’ve mastered the art of negotiating for a higher position or salary, you were a successful musician – bring that expertise into your business and use it to carve out your niche.
The truth is that people will be coming to you because of YOU and what you have accomplished. Your story is important. Your skills and expertise are just as important. And while coaching isn’t about telling people what to do – sometimes people will need guidance, advice, and hand holding. And you are 100% allowed to be their coach, their mentor, their teacher, and their advisor.
And yes – you might be veering away from what you learned in coaching school, but you will also be fast-tracking your business success by playing to your strengths and personality.
Let’s call out the elephant in the room: The majority of coaches who are killing it in business are doing one of several things:
1. They coach and/or mentor other coaches
2. They coach small businesses
3. They coach executives within organizations
In other words, they are coaching people who value coaching, and are willing to pay for it. This is not your average person. $500/month for open-ended, undefined results is a hard, hard sell for the average person.
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with coaching coaches, businesses, or execs. The only problem is that we can’t ALL be doing it, nor do we all have to do it to make coaching work.
There are definitely other coaches out there who are working with ‘regular’ people and making it work. It IS possible.
And those coaches who are doing it – they have realized that their OTHER skills are just as important as their coaching skills, and they’ve been willing to step away from the traditional “coaching rules” (i.e. never giving advice, the client has all the answers, etc etc). and have combined their unique expertise with their coaching skills to help their clients in a whole new (and very specific) way.
I also guarantee that those coaches who are making it work have paid their dues, niched the hell in, created custom packages, and worked their asses off learning everything they could about how to run a business – and then they stuck with it through the ups and downs, made sacrifices and let go of some of their idealistic visions of what it would look like, and gave themselves permission to show up fully as themselves – even if that meant breaking some of the coaching rules.
As my friend Kira (who has had her relationship/singles coaching biz for 6 years, and just went full-time with it within the past 1.5-2 years of that) said to me when I was discussing this blog post with her:
“This is hard as fuck. You have to be willing to throw tons of love, energy, money, blood, sweat, and tears into this before anything actually happens. Give it at least 3-5 years, and in that time, you’d better get to know about business. And don’t even talk to me if you you’re not willing to pick a niche”
^^ Spoken like a true hustler! And someone who doesn’t coach other coaches, or businesses, and has chosen to niche in and has made it work amazingly for herself.
You do NOT have to coach other coaches or coach businesses to make it work. But you DO need to realize that life coaching in and of itself is not your business, and be willing to take some time to excavate what your true expertise really is.
Here’s what you can do to make the life coaching business easier on yourself:
- Get specific about who you work with and what problem you solve for them.
- Learn to talk about coaching in everyday language – drop the jargon STAT.
- Stop doing open ended, ongoing coaching. It’s hard to sell and doesn’t get you known for anything. Learn the common mistakes people make in creating packages, and then don’t make them.
- Create ONE specific package for a specific market (based on your unique expertise) and get really, really good at it. Build a solid client base, and THEN you can expand.
- Work with someone who knows the industry and can help you fast track your success – you don’t have to spend year struggling to figure it out.
And in the meantime, keep your day job.
Or, do as I did when I started my business, and go GET a job. The hustle is SO much more fun and easy when you don’t have the pressure of making a full-time income on your shoulders. Especially if you have a family, or bills, or other financial responsibilities that you can’t just drop out of. I beg you – don’t stop doing what pays the bills just yet.
You CAN and WILL build a business that sustains you. But it will take time.
So here’s to celebrating coaches everywhere.
Celebrating life coaches who are ready to take coaching from hobby to business.
Celebrating creating a community of coaches who are changing the world with their coaching businesses in big ways.
Celebrating not having to do it alone.
Because I’m goddamn serious about life coaches turning their skills into a viable business.
Because passion and enthusiasm, despite what you have read, is NOT enough to turn a profit. Especially in the coaching world.
Here’s to amazing coaches everywhere, doing what needs to be done to make their business work, and changing the world one business at a time.
PS. If you’re a coach struggling to get clients, check out my program Uncage Your Business, where I help you get clear on your niche, message, packages, and online content that will help you get noticed in the coaching industry and get clients sooner. Click here for more info.
So DUH – sometimes when you’re in launch mode you can’t see the forest for the trees and you realize after the fact that you kinda left out some key information.After each Uncage Your Business launch, I always send out an email asking people why they didn’t buy. This is SO helpful to me to understand whether my messaging for the course is coming across clearly, or whether anything was miscommunicated about what the course is or what’s included (and just to stay current with what the Uncaged folks want and need)
I HIGHLY recommend doing this, no matter how big your audience is. If you’re selling something, it’s always a good idea to ask why people didn’t buy to learn how you can better serve your people and to help you better communicate the value of your services. I just use a simple Google form to ask. Then you can easily address those misconceptions in an email (like this one!) or in your general marketing (sales page and emails, or during your launch) to make sure that your message is being heard loud and clear by the people who need you!
So anyway, I was scrolling through the answers (which typically include a lot about no time/ no money), and noticed that there were a few other common misconceptions that people had about the course, so I wanted to touch on those here since I clearly didn’t communicate well somewhere in my marketing!
Because of these misconceptions, I am opening the cart again for Uncage Your Business just for today for anyone who wants to jump in last minute. Click here to join.
Here are some of the reasons you might not have signed up:
NOT FAR ENOUGH ALONG IN BUSINESS
This stood out to me on the feedback because UYB is specifically created for people who aren’t far along in their business!
Specifically people were worried that they didn’t have a website up yet, they didn’t know their niche yet, and they weren’t actually BUSINESS yet, more like a hobby.
And in my mind I was screaming “But that’s exactly who this is for!”
We had a great launch and exceeded our goals, but I know that there are so many more people who need this that I could have helped, who are missing out because I didn’t communicate well enough!
So instead of feel sad that I missed the mark somehow, I decided to write this email and do something I haven’t done before – open the cart again.
I want to make sure that if you are one of the people who was interested in UYB but worried that you weren’t far enough along, or that you would be behind because you don’t have a niche yet, that you knew that you’d fit right in in the course. MOST of our participants are still narrowing down their niche, most don’t have a website yet, almost all are still working another job or have only been working on their business part time, and NONE have it all figured out yet.
UYB was made specifically to help you! If you WANT to figure it all out and get further along and start running a business instead of a hobby, join us – it’s not too late!
IT’S JUST FOR LIFE COACHES
I will admit that I talk a lot about life coaches, because they tend to have the hardest time nailing down the foundations that we work on in UYB. But the course is NOT just for them! It’s for ANY service-based business that you can run at home from your computer with no pants on!
Here are some examples of businesses that I have worked with and that we have in this round of UYB:
– health coaches
– career coaches
– energy healers
– marketing consultants
– business strategists
– web designers
– yoga teachers
– professional organizers
+ so many more cool and unique solopreneurs!
If you’re one of these and you know you need help, but you thought UYB was only for life coaches, you can still join us! It’s not too late! Get in here.
I DON’T NEED MINDSET COACHING
Sweet – because that’s not what UYB is! UYB is all about actionable marketing and business help – not mindset. In fact I’m pretty clear with my participants that I don’t want to get into all the feelings and fears and self doubt that comes up. My approach is to acknowledge that it’s there, and then operate as if it’s not – what would you do if this wasn’t in the way?
I teach marketing and how to get clients in UYB. I don’t do mindset coaching.
If you thought it was all woo, it’s not, and it’s not too late to join us! Hop in here.
I blame this one on mercury retrograde (and having a hosting company that dropped the ball during the crucial last day of the cart being open!). We had to do a mad dash to change hosting companies mid-launch, because our site wouldn’t even load. Nothing worse than doing a live webinar and having people jonesing to sign up, and having a site that won’t load. Ugh.
If you tried to sign up and the site was broken – we apologize! It is back to normal and you can get in here.
We started yesterday and the group is ROCKING so far. Everyone is astounded at how great the feedback has been already and newfound business messages are already starting to take shape for people who have struggled with it for YEARS (and we’re only on day 2).
I’ll be closing the cart back up again tonight at midnight EST so I can focus on the group, so this is your last last chance to join.
Click here to register for Uncage Your Business tonight before midnight EST.
PS. Even if you don’t join, I would HIGHLY encourage you to copy what I have done here – find out right away why people aren’t buying from you, and then address those concerns or objections or misconceptions in an email. Instead of just feeling sad for yourself that no one wants what you have, be proactive and be willing to listen and learn from the people who aren’t purchasing. It can go a long way into bettering your marketing and helping you do better in the future!
I know – you were told you needed to blog. And if you want to build your business online and reach people from all over the world – blog you should! But, as with most things in online business, if you’re not doing it strategically, it could be a giant waste of your time. Which is no good, because one of the beauties of having a business is that you should have lots of free time to do fun things with – you don’t want to spend it blogging and not seeing any results.
What usually happens when you’re starting your business is you get super excited about ALL the things you want to share with your audience. You write epic posts that go into superb detail about your topic and what you think your people need to know. Or you write personal stories about what’s going on in in your life and then try to tie them back into lessons for your audience. Or you stare a blank screen forever and just have no idea what to write, thus wasting time AND still not coming out with a blog post.
None of these are great options. Your blog has multiple purposes, one of which is NOT to write endlessly about the things you are interested in.
Your job on your blog is to write about what your audience is interested in, to help them with a problem they have, or to show them what solutions you can offer – in a effort to have them start to like you and trust you and want to buy from you.
All of your content should be strategically walking people towards a buying decision.
Sure, it’s great to entertain your readers as well — but if you’re running a business and want people to buy things from you, that will happen a whole lot quicker if you’re strategic with how you put content out into the world.
So how do you write content that will help people make buying decisions?
You 1) know who your clients are 2) know what they are struggling with and 3) produce content that directly helps the solve those problems.
It is for sure not rocket science, yet somehow we all seem to mess it up (myself included). I blame this on being to passionate about ALL THE THINGS about your topic that you want to write about everything and you lose sight of what will actually help your clients right here and now, and not having a clear understanding of what will get them to BUY from you.
Not only does this strategy help your clients better, but it helps you plan your content so much more easily. If you have a launch coming up or are releasing a new service or course, you can strategize all your content to be specifically about that topic, so you warm up your audience before you actually sell them anything. This is how all good launches are run, and without even a complicated launch plan you can still be priming your audience to buy from you.
All with just understanding how to blog and how to create the right content for your people, launches can feel easy, and business starts to be a whole lot more fun when you’re making money :)
If you’ve been blogging and not seeing any results, I’d strongly encourage you to come back to what your clients are struggling with and start writing content that is specifically answering the main questions they have. You’ll notice more engagement from your readers, more emails saying “It’s like you were reading my mind!” and more clients coming in the door.
Blogging is great and helps you learn about your voice and get you used to putting it out into the world, but it’s when you start blogging with strategy that you start actually seeing the results of all your work sitting in front of your laptop!
I teach content strategy in Uncage Your Business, which starts Sept 12 – we put a hard focus on getting clear on who your clients are and what they need, and then learning how to create content and get it out there in front of the right people to get more clients in your virtual door (and more money in your real bank account!).
Click here to learn more about Uncage Your Business.
I hate seeing clients waste time and energy on business-y things that don’t get them anywhere, so please please please remember the PURPOSE of your blogs when you’re writing!
PS. If you’ve been blogging (or staring at a blank screen) with no results and need a swift kick of strategy + accountability, make sure to sign up here!
You may not know this – but I just got a new car and remembered how to drive (I got my license in high school but have driven only a handful of times since then – and have been terrified of it for the past few years). So recently I decided it was time to kick this fear to the curb and (but not actually hit the curb), and learn. So in true Becca style, I went out that week, bought a car in a day, and drove myself to my hometown for my dad’s birthday. Freedom! It felt great and turns out I’d built it up to be WAY scarier than it was (sound familiar?).
I have to say, I am a pretty good driver – I am careful, I don’t speed more than the flow of traffic, and I’m extra cautious in the city (I live in Toronto and there are bikes and shit everywhere – it’s REALLY easy to kill someone!).
So it was a shock to me when I woke up and got my mail the other day and had a red light camera ticket waiting for me! From the looks of the photos they took (which is super creepy but also kind of made me feel like a movie star), I was making a right hand turn, and was probably starting to go into the intersection when it was juuuuust turning red. I don’t remember this at all and if I did it (which I guess I did, since they have photo evidence) I definitely wasn’t doing anything that felt dangerous. Just really bad timing with when the yellow changed to red, and I shouldn’t have jumped the gun and tried to make the turn.
The fine is $325. That’s pretty significant. And while I could just pay it and be done with it, or try to go fight it and waste multiple days of my precious time, I found myself wanting a solution that would make me feel good instead of crummy. How can I turn this shitty circumstance into something more positive? How can I use my entrepreneurial spirit here to make the best of a bad situation?
When it comes to money, I like to think of it as a game.
How can I create more of it by having fun and benefitting other people? How can I challenge myself? How can I turn something with so much weight and emotion around it, into something light and fun? This is how I run my business and how I deal with pretty much all money situations in my life.
So for this ticket I was thinking, how can I create the money to pay this, rather than feel like this has to take away from the money I already have. I’ve done this before in my life – how can I create the money to re-decorate my home, rather than dip into savings? How can I help my clients create the money to come on my retreats, rather than have them listen to their money blocks and never get out of that cycle?
How can I pay for this ticket and feel good about it?
And the answer seemed simple. It seems easy. In fact it seemed so easy that I hesitated for a hot second before actually doing it. More on that in sec.
Here’s what I decided to do. I created discount code for Hey Nice Package. 50% off. 2 uses only. Those 2 purchases will pay for the ticket AND give 2 people who otherwise may not have been able to afford the program, a chance to buy it at a significant discount.
Win-win if you ask me.
I hesitated to do this because a (very small) part of me worried that someone reading this would think that I was cheap or lazy, or not wanting to take responsibility for my actions. Think that I was just trying to selfishly get out of paying my ticket.
I got over that feeling REAL quick and what I realized was that, actually, it wouldn’t matter if anyone DID think that. Because I kind of am trying to get out of paying it! I don’t want to fork over $325 that I might have already allocated to something else (rent, bills, travel, booze, whatever).
There are 3 truths here that I see as important:
- It doesn’t matter what I want to spend my money on. And it doesn’t matter what you want to spend your money on. This was a shitty traffic ticket. It could have been a new pair of shoes. Or a veterinary treatment for my dog. Or a last minute flight to go see a friend across the country. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to feel ashamed about how you spend YOUR money.
- As business owners, we have the unique ability to generate our own income. Unlike many people, how much money we make is not fixed. We can earn as much or as little as we want, really. And as business owners, it’s part of our job to think creatively about how we can do that.
- If we can do all of that without hurting anyone, perfect – that’s the goal. But if we can do it all while HELPING someone – more fucking power to us.
So that’s what I did. I got my ticket paid and HAPPILY mailed in my cheque, and 2 people who might not have been able to afford my programs got to buy them. It’s a simple creative solution to an everyday problem.
And that’s what business is all about.
I hope this inspires you to see where you might be able to create possibilities and options and opportunities where they otherwise didn’t exist. To create win-wins. And to have more fun with the process of making and spending money (in your life and business)
PS. If you know someone who needs a creative dose of money inspiration, I’d love for you to send this over to them!
The whole “multipassionate” thing? I’m over it.
Yeah, I said it.
Saying you have so many interests that you couldn’t possibly choose just ONE to start a business about? I’m done with that nonsense.
I should clarify — It’s not being multipassionate that I am over. It’s using it as an excuse to not move forward with your business that I am just SO sick of hearing. It is so shitty to see so many people holding themselves back because of this excuse.
This post is a battle cry. To everyone out there in Online Business Land who is shouting from the rooftops that you absolutely CAN and MUST create a business that is 100% in line with your passions and interests and strengths and hobbies and loves and your life purpose.
To the coaches touting that you absolutely MUST NOT SETTLE for a business that you don’t LOVE and telling you that you shouldn’t have to choose just one thing to focus on – that you can have it all!
And to anyone calling themselves multipotential, multipassionate, or a scanner, and believing that you shouldn’t have to choose something – because ugh – how could you possibly settle on one thing? You love so many things and your life and business should represent that! You are special and the good ol’ regular advice on choosing a business idea and a niche simply doesn’t apply to you.
Can we please stop these insane bullshit excuses right now? Please? It makes me SO sad to hear talented, smart people who have BIG dreams, procrastinating SO hard because they are waiting to find the PERFECT business idea.
If you’re a human, there is a 99.9% chance that you are interested in MORE than just one thing. We ALL are. No one is single-minded enough that they have ZERO interests or hobbies or causes they care about.
Having so many passions that you couldn’t possibly choose one to start a business about is an excuse (likely being created out of fear). And it’s holding you back. BIG TIME.
And if you ever want to grow your business, you are going to have to suck it up buttercup, and choose ONE thing to focus on in your business, and get a move on. In fact, Focus is my new favorite F-word.
Because here’s the thing – it’s a fucking business. It’s work. It’s a career. It’s not all puppy dogs and ice cream and rainbows. It’s not going to feel warm and fuzzy all the time. And honestly, I get SO disheartened seeing SO many crazy amazing ambitious people going in circles for months because they refuse to focus in. Waiting to find something that will fulfill every single need they have ever had. Waiting for an idea that they won’t get bored of in a month, only to have to scrap everything and start again (again).
Your business is DEFINITELY not going to go anywhere if you keep waiting to find the perfect blend of EVERYTHING you love and try to smoosh everything into one, because 1) that’s likely not possible, and 2) if it is, you will confuse the crap out of everyone when you try to market it. And, if I may add #3 – your interests and passions will change as your grow, so what are you doing to do – keep trying for the rest of your life to integrate them into your business? And remove the old ones? Constantly changing your services and your tagline and your niche because your interests are changing. Smells like flake to me. And not the best business move.
It’s time we stop being so precious about our businesses, and time we start focusing in on finding something we do well, that we like to do, that people will pay us for, and let that be enough for now.
DISCLAIMER: I should take a minute here to note that I absolutely believe in creating a business that is close to home for you – something you give a shit about. A BIG shit. With a core message that you can stand by, even when things feel hard.
I strive for that in my own business and I advocate for that with my clients. It’s why I put such a big emphasis on Messaging. There’s no sense in creating something that will just be another job that you hate. What’s the point?
But does it have to be perfect, and will you love it every minute of everyday, and it will never feel like work and will only feel like warm and fuzzy feelings all the time? HAHAHAHAHA. No. Whoever told you that wants your money and wants to try to sell you the impossible dream. Because the truth is that your business will ebb and flow, and sometimes you will love it and sometimes you will hate it.
And no matter what you choose to focus on, there are no guarantees that you won’t get bored of it a few months down the line. It’s a risk you take. Actually, scratch that – it’s a DECISION you make – to stick with it, through the ups and downs. To not just quit when you start to feel drawn to something else. To keep your ADD in check and FOCUS so you can build the life you want for yourself through your business.
It doesn’t have to be a be-all-end-all business idea when you first start out. You’ll drive yourself mad trying to create that right off the bat.
It just has to be something you don’t want to kill yourself doing everyday, with a solid enough foundation that as you change and grow as a person, there is some wiggle room for your business to expand and grow with you (while still staying true to your core message), AND, most importantly, that affords you the Uncaged lifestyle that you are craving.
The endless search for the PERFECT business idea that will incorporate all your values and passions and strengths and quirks and that will line up with the moon and the planets and be in perfect alignment with your numerology charts – it’s wasting time.
And business is all about making decisions. Quick decisions. Decisions will move you forward. Indecision will keep you going in circles and never get you anywhere.
So this post? It’s about calling you out if you’ve been hiding under the veil of being multi-passionate and not actually making concrete decisions about your business and what it is (and isn’t).
I am taking a stand for STARTING. Before it’s perfect. Before it feels in line with the moon and the stars and your tarot. Before you feel like it’s THE idea.
I am taking a stand for separating business from hobbies. For taking the preciousness out of business. For letting yourself have interests OUTSIDE of your business, and not trying to smash them altogether like a potpourri of shit that just shouldn’t go together.
And I am taking a stand for creating a business that affords you the time to enjoy all those other hobbies and passions, outside of business hours – that’s what this is all about, right?
Because trust me – it’s WAY more fun when you don’t mix business and pleasure all the time.
PS. I have opened up a few spots for my Foundations sessions over the next few weeks. Want to finally be able to have a message that people understand (and that you can articulate clearly) and get rid of any niggling uncertainty about your niche, what makes you different, or how to put all of this together into something cohesive? This is for you. I don’t offer these sessions all the time, and once these remaining spots are gone, they are gone. Click here for more.
WHAT IS REAL LIFE?
I am off to Belize and Guatemala for the next 3 weeks to run two business retreats, and I have been thinking about what we always tell the retreat participants on the last day of the retreat.
You know the last days of a vacation, when everyone starts saying they have to go “back to reality” or “face real life again” when they get home?
We always make a point to tell the retreat participants to remember that this IS real life. They are there, with us in the jungle, working on business, planning the work they will do when they get home. It’s real. It’s ALL real.
And yes, when they get home they will have to maybe go back to their other job, or get back to taking care of their kids, or to their relationship that isn’t feeling so hot right now, or any other number of “real life” duties.
But the jungle? The work we are doing? And the laptop-based business? And the freedom that comes with bring your own boss? These are not just pipedreams.
This is my real life. And my retreat co-leaders real lives. And past retreat participants real lives. And my clients’ real lives.
It might take you a short amount of time or a long amount of time to get there. It might feel easy or it might feel hard. But it’s ALL possible. It’s within your reach. It is NOT just a dream reserved only for “those other people who have it all together”. It’s for you, if you want it to be.
One retreat participant left her two 18mo old TWINS at home to focus JUST on herself and her dream for the week with us in Belize. One took her only week vacation from her full time job to join us. Everyone made a sacrifice, and everyone made it happen. Because they are committed to changing what their real life looks like. Because they know it’s not just a dream.
And while it’s not always easy, it is always possible. And that’s what you need to remember. If this shit was easy, everyone and their mom would be an online business owner, working 4 hour work weeks while sipping mojitos and posting amazing pictures of their amazing lives on Instagram.
But it’s not easy. There are sacrifices. There are long days. I think I’ve spent a total of 60 hours/week at my desk for the past month (or more). I’ve started and ended relationships since my business started. I’ve moved houses (multiple times). I’ve been sick. I’ve been stressed. I’ve lost touch with some of the other things I love in my life (and then found them… and then lost them again). I’ve been an emotional wreck. I’ve questioned whether it was worth it. Whether I could do it. Whether I was worthy enough, or capable enough, or strong enough, or wanted it enough. And I’ve been the exact opposite – high on life, in love with my work, travelling the world, staying in at home watching Netflix on a Wednesday afternoon with no pants on JUST BECAUSE I CAN.
And all of this – it’s real life, whether you have a business or not. There are shitty times and there are great times. You feel on top of the world and then you are crying on the bathroom floor, unsure of your next move.
And the thing to realize if you want this life is that if this business is real life, it’s not immune to those bumps in the roads. The rest of your life affects your business. And vice versa. Your business is a part of your life and you will need to learn how to sustain it during the ups and downs.
It’s not easy, but it’s possible. It takes work, but it’s possible.
So remember. When it’s feeling like it’s never going to happen, or you’re not sure if it’s just some crazy dream, and no one else around you understands what you’re working towards, and it all feels really hard – it’s real life, and it’s possible, and you will get there, if you want it badly enough.
Here’s to uncaged folks everywhere working hard for their dreams – we’ve got each other’s backs,
One of my favorite things recently is checking out websites on WayBack machine. You can look up the web archives of ANY site out there, and see every iteration that was ever online. It’s very awesome and very eye-opening, especially if you are someone who is comparing yourself to someone like Marie Forleo, who has been in business for over 15 years (seriously – go check out her first ever site and see how far she’s come!).
And some of my all-time favorite sites to check out are those of newfound 6-figure business coaches who I see around the internet.
What a recent search showed me
This week I was looking at coach’s new site (someone who’s been popping up in groups lately) and I was remembering how much she was struggling not that long ago. So I hopped onto Wayback Machine to check out her archives. Here is what I found: back in the first version of her website (sometime around 2013) she’s saying that she’s rocking her business doing what she loves (life coaching, I presume) and that she helps women do the same so they can make 6 figures. just like she did!
But now, on her current site (about 2 years after she said she was rocking it in business), I’m reading about how for the first two years of her business no one knew who she was and nothing was working, that in 2014 she was broke and she had no clients and she hit rock bottom …And now, magically! she’s pulling in multiple 5 figures a month by helping others do the same!
Do we all smell the same thing here? This is happening a LOT, I see it, you see it – we all see it.
Let’s just be clear that I have no problems with people switching direction in business, going through lulls (it happens), changing course, teaching things they are good at, and I love a good rags to riches story — when it’s authentic. But when someone is saying they are rocking it in business, and then later reveal that they were actually NOT rocking it (that was just a lie haha! but they don’t actually tell you that), and that they were really flat broke and business wasn’t working… and THEN do a full 180 and use the old “I was broke and now I am making 6 figures (by showing other people how to make 6 figures too)” … it’s just so blatantly sleazy and gross that, as they say, I. can’t. even.
Of course, this rubs me the wrong way. As a business coach who actually grew a business that has been more and more profitable every year, with no bouts of hitting rock bottom and no bouts of insane leaps in income, just slow and steady building, I wonder about what it means for this industry that more and more of the fake “I was broke and now I make 6 figures!” coaches are appearing – and actually getting clients!
It makes my blood boil to see people falling into the glamour of it all – how easy it must be to make a shit ton of of money overnight, because look she did it, and she’s just like me! My hesitation when I hear of people paying for these “coaches” is that they are buying into a good marketing story, rather than someone will skill, integrity, and know-how. Because they made their fortune by saying “I’ll help you make a fortune!”, without ever actually doing anything well in their business before helping people make a fortune…
I’m wary, to say the least. We have all seen this pyramid-scheme-style shit, and some coaches out there even TEACH it (the worst form of all of this) — they turn health coaches, life coaches, yoga teachers, you name it – into business coaches on purpose, because the only model they know is how to help people make money by helping people make money.
All of this is just to say that we all need to do our research before we hire a coach or a mentor. At the end of the day, you get to choose who you give your money to, and if they can get you results, that’s really what matters… but be wary of the “I was broke and now I’m suddenly rich and I’ll show you how” coaches… they may not always be able to get you results in a way that actually feels good for you. Some are legit and have inspiring stories, and some, well, are not.
How to know if your coach is legit or not:
There’s no one way to know if your coach actually knows what they are talking about and can actually help you grow your business, but there are a few things you can do to try to make sure you’re not hiring someone who is just blowing smoke up your ass by way of good marketing:
1. Check Wayback Machine
You’ll get a good idea of where they came from by looking at their past website revisions. Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t be too hard on them! But have a look at their evolution and you’ll get a gut feeling of whether it feels legit to you or not.
2. Search for them in business groups you’re in.
You may find that just 6 months ago they were posting about how they have no clients and don’t know how to make any money, but now you see them selling 6-figure business secrets (interestingggg). Also – GOOGLE. When Reese Ben-Yaacov stole my programs and sold them I wrote a blog post about what happened, and now people still email me almost a year later saying that they are grateful that they found my post before they decided to give her any money!
3. See if they work with people other than business coaches.
Often, these kinds of coaches will turn all their clients into B2B, and if you’re a passionate health coach who wants to help people cure their digestive disorders, you likely don’t want to be told that you need to start helping health coaches start businesses if you want to make any money. If your coach has worked with other people in your industry and gotten results, that’s a good sign.
4. Listen objectively to their story.
When someone says they were flat broke and then they started making all kinds of money — did they do that via the pyramid scheme method of making money by teaching people how to make money? If yes, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t help — there are many coaches who are legit and smart as hell whose businesses center around helping other businesses… but if it’s a “I was broke and had no idea how to make business work” and then all of a sudden they “figured it out” and are raking it in – just be careful.
5. Ask to hop on the phone with them for a consult.
Talk with them about how they see you growing your business, what they’d want to work on with you, and make sure they have solid, clear answers that instill confidence. If it sounds fluffy on a consult, it’s not going to get much better when you hire them.
6. Ask to talk with their past clients in the same industry as you.
Any good coach will be happy to send over the names of people they have worked with, and ask around in groups too to see if anyone has worked with them and ask if you can chat with them to get a sense of their experience (but make sure to have the conversations in private – you don’t want to start shit talking anyone in a public forum if that client wasn’t happy with their coaching!)
7. Are they promising things that are too good to be true?
There are very few legit coaches I know who can guarantee that you will make more money in your business if you work with them. Most good coaches and consultants know that there is no magic guarantee – so they might say they will help you grow your social media following, or create your packages and courses, or build a marketing strategy that will help your business grow, but very few legit coaches will actually say straight up that they will help you make more money, and very, very few would ever put an actual dollar amount on it (because they know that there is a lot that goes into that equation. I tell my clients I will help them create packages that sell, but I would never say I’ll help you create a package that will pull in 10k/month. It might, it might not – a lot goes into that that is out of my control in our work together). The coaches who are saying they will absolutely make you more money (100k), might not actually be able to deliver that – so make sure to get a guarantee if you do see promises of specific numbers.
8. Pay attention to what results they are actually selling you.
Are they selling you a fabulous, first-class lifestyle, where you get to live your passions and escape the 9-5 and do work you love and make a killing doing it? Or are they selling you tangible business building tools and strategies, and coaching to help you find a way to do it that works for all your unique strengths and talents? Because I tell you, I see a LOT of people out there selling a lifestyle with no actually strategy to back up how the hell they plan on getting you there (and believe me, I am acutely aware of this because I have to be careful how I message this in my own business, what with it being named after the idea of a lifestyle “The Uncaged Life“).
One of my clients just last week told me she hired one of these millionaire coaches, and her coach told her to put more pictures of her in first class on her website, and get a professional photoshoot done every time she travels, to make people want what she has. Basically, she was told to lure them in with lifestyle photos and promises, and then teach them how to do the same with their clients. Um, no thanks.
There is a lot of awesome business help out there, and unfortunately, a lot of garbage. And I know we are all sick of seeing “make 6 figures in 3 months” bullshit. And while I have zero problem with anyone wanting to make 6 figures (or more – it’s your life, you get to decide what will make you happy), I know that you are too smart to actually believe that it can happen overnight, or even in 6months, or a year…
And I am hoping that you know that you CAN make your business work, and that you don’t need to buy into the FOMO that’s created when you see these glamorous, time-sensitive programs run by struggling-life-coaches-turned-6-figure-business-coaches-once-they-learned-the-secrets-of-success.
There are other options, and your business will thank you for choosing them in the end.
PS. Are you thinking HELL YES Becca, this shit need to stop!!? If yes, I’d love if you could share this post on your own business page or with someone you know who needs to hear it. Thank you!
Being in the business of coaching coaches and coaching a lot of woo woo types (woo woo’s, I love you, and I say that term with endearment), I hear a loooot of reasons why they don’t want to do this or that in their business. Or conversely, why they DO want to do things a certain way. When you’re a sensitive, feelings kind of person, it makes sense that you’d want to run your business that way too. The crappy part about this is, there are “business coaches” out there egging it on.
I blame the fact that there is whole sea of life-coaches coaching people on their businesses, who don’t have any actual business experience themselves, who are telling people to do what feels good, to leap and the net will appear, to feel the fear and do it anyway… instead of teaching them tried and true business strategies.
And I’m all for people running businesses that feel good for them (that’s kind of the point right?), but all too often, this advice is being taken as gospel and it almost turns into a rally cry of sorts, shouting out to the world about how you are living life and doing business YOUR way, with other new coaches jumping on the bandwagon, so that you have a whole band of coaches who are touting the same message, with very few of them actually achieving much success in business.
A few of the rally cries include things like:
I’m doing business on MY terms.
I only do it if it’s a HELL YEAH.
I’m following passion and I know that will get me where I want to go.
And sure all of that is great and to a degree, these strategies can work for you and help you make some of the intricate decisions involved in the day to day running of a business. Things like trusting your intuition and finding your own unique way of bringing more of yourself to your business are essential skills in business.
But as blanket advice that applies to every part of your business (and especially to STARTING a business)? Are you kidding me? No. Just, no.
Here are the top 5 pieces of cliché advice out there that I do NOT recommend taking, and what you should do instead.
Bad advice #1: Follow your passions
This one needs to stop. The reason this advice doesn’t work is because as humans, we have MANY passions (note: the word ‘passions’ can be replaced with ‘interests’ here too). How are you possibly supposed to follow all of them? This is what leads to a business that doesn’t make any sense (or any money). We’ve all seen it – the life coach who also sells scarves and who teaches cooking classes and who loves animals and talks about how your pets can teach you about branding. No. The other reason this advice sucks is that we’re talking business here, not hobbies. And as much as I wish they could, not all of your passions are gonna get you paid. It’s amazing that you love working with underprivileged teens to help them with body confidence, or that you have a lust for travelling to far away places… is there someone willing and able to pay you for these things?
What to do instead:
Choose one area of interest that provides an intersection between something you love, something you are GOOD at, and something people will pay you for. Sometimes this means leaving some of our passions as hobbies – and that’s ok. In fact that’s GREAT! We all need more than just our business to maintain our sanity. If the passion that you absolutely MUST turn into your career won’t get you paid directly with clients, you may need to bite the bullet and find a job that lets you do it. Working with an organization that already offers the services you want to offer is a great way to do work you love without having to worry about how you’ll pay your rent.
Stuck turning what you’re good at into a biz? Our FREE 3-month business plan checklist will tell you where to start.
Bad advice #2: If it’s not a HELL YEAH, don’t do it.
Again, I understand the basis of this advice, but if you run your business this way, not much is going to get done. When you’re starting a business, you need to learn a million and a half different skills. All of a sudden you’re a marketer, and a web designer, and a writer, and a social media strategist, and a bookeeper. Unless you can afford to hire it all out right away (more power to you if you can – do it!), you are going to be doing a LOT of stuff that is the exact opposite of HELL YEAH. And the advice of “don’t do it unless it feels good” usually keeps people stuck, because not a whole lot is feeling good… which means not a whole lot is getting done. As much as we all want business to be fun and give us the good feels all the time, that’s not how it works.
What to do instead:
Get over it, and get used to it. Really, that’s some of the best advice I can give you. Sometimes business is just business. It’s WORK. And while it’s still awesome work that lets you help a lot of people and do something you enjoy, it’s still work. Find ways to make the crap work FUN. Play your favorite album and see if you can get all your social media scheduled before it ends. Do sets of 50 jumping jacks in between lines of bookeeping. Make it fun. And if all else fails, hire it out. Eventually you will want to get to a point where you are hiring out anything that you a) don’t want to know or b) don’t know how to do, and I understand that we don’t all start with that kind of money to invest. But even early on in your business, if you find a task wearing on you and sucking all your energy and time, it’s MORE than worth it to pay someone else to take it off your plate. And for everything else, get used to the fact that there will always be parts of your business that you don’t love. Let go of the expectation that everything needs to feel good.
Bad advice #3: You need to be different
I wrote a whole post about this a while ago, but I’ll sum it up here again – trying SO hard to stand out and do something different takes you further away from what you actually want to be doing. Not to mention that if you’re doing something entirely different that no one has ever done before, you should be worried about the viability of your idea.
What do to instead:
Just be YOU. Stop worrying about whether it’s been done and how it’s been done. Start to worry more about how YOU want to do it. Bring more of your personality to your work, bring all your ideas and beliefs and opinions, and let your business be fully YOU. It will, by nature, end up different than what’s out there… without you having to try so hard.
Being YOU is easier with a plan. Good thing we’ve got one for you. Enter your email to tell us where to send it.
Bad advice #4: Your marketing techniques need to be innovative and new and exciting
This is a hard one to disagree with but I’m gonna go ahead and do it. I hear this all the time from clients, “I don’t want to do ___ to market my business. That doesn’t work for me. I want to do something else”, to which I ask whether they have TRIED doing ____… to which I get blank stares and excuses as to why they haven’t tried it.
And I get it. We all want to be beacons of light in an oversaturated online space, we want to be noticed, and we want it to always feel like a hell yeah (see point #2). The truth is, some of these “old, boring” techniques are done over and over again for a reason – they work. Things like blogging, guest posting, getting promoted on other people’s sites, being interviewed as an expert, creating a freebie to get when they sign up for your site – this shit works. And unless you’re a huge company with an equally huge advertising and marketing budget, it’s unlikely that you will be able to actually pull off a new and innovative way of marketing.
Sure, you don’t HAVE to do every list building technique under the sun (let’s all promise to cut tele-summits off that list right now, shall we?), but you do at least need to do a baseline of online marketing in order to get anywhere. Not to mention that all of this is FREE, which is every new business owner’s BFF word.
What to do instead:
Keep it simple. Keep it boring. And be consistent. Pitch a new guest post every week to a publication bigger than yours and see how your numbers grow. Get yourself interviewed on 5 podcasts this month. Make an amazing free thing to give to people and then promote it to everyone you meet. These methods are tried and true and don’t cost you a thing. The businesses that end up successful aren’t the ones that are the best at what they do or have crazy marketing techniques – they are the ones who are consistent, who show up, and who do the boring work that others aren’t wiling to do… and they do it until it starts to work. Be one of those people.
Bad advice #5: You don’t need a niche
I’m gonna keep this one simple – if you want your business to get off the ground at faster than a snail’s pace, then yes, you do. It’s just SO much easier when you know who you’re talking to and can be specific about how you help them. And I don’t know about you, but life and business can be hard enough already, I’m all for taking the easy approach so I can actually make money to live and buy overpriced superfoods and pay my ridiculous Toronto rent. Wanting to make a good living isn’t selfish, and it doesn’t have to be so hard. We’ve all seen businesses out there that seem to have no niche – they focus on a broad topic like love, or personal development. All well and good, but go check how long they have been in business, how they started, and how long it took them to make any money. You’ll see that those businesses took a long time to get to the point where they were generating income. If you have years to spare and want to experiment with your business as a hobby then staying broad is a-ok, but if you want to be able to afford to live off your business, niche in.
What to do instead:
Niche doesn’t have to mean a specific demographic, and niche doesn’t mean that you need to know exactly what kinds of shoes your ideal client wears and whether she drinks red wine or beer (we all know the kind of exercise I am talking about right?). Niche just means that you are clear about what problems you solve for your clients, and you know who generally has those problems. If you can nail down your specific problems and the specific results you get for people, you’re golden. Stop worrying about picking an arbitrary age range, and challenge yourself to get super clear about what problem your business helps people with, and all your marketing will become to much easier.
Tired of bad advice? Get the FREE 3-month business checklist that tells you exactly what to focus on.
There’s something going on in the online business world that is really fucking annoying, but I can almost guarantee that you don’t even realize that it’s happening because you are so immersed in this world and it’s all around you.
Let me paint you a picture of what this phenomenon is, using a real world, non-business example (so you can see just how ridiculous it really is).
You go to the doctor for let’s say, some kind of funky rash (you name the body part). You tell the doctor all about it, and he takes a minute to decide what to do about it. He knows very well that it’s just a standard run of the mill heat rash and there is some cortisone cream can get rid of it. But for the love of god, everyone is using cortisone these days. It’s SO overused, he says to himself. SO last year. He’s sick of hearing about it, because he isn’t just any old doctor. He’s different, he’s special. He doesn’t want to use what all the other MDs are using. So even though he knows it will do the job and heal you right up, he decides that he should give you something different, something new, something unique.
But you don’t know the damnedest thing about the different creams and treatments and all the crazy options out there. You’re not a fucking doctor. All YOU care about is getting rid of the damn rash in the quickest way possible, with a treatment that’s tried and true and WORKS.
Do you really give a shit whether your doctor is offering something different than what everyone else is offering?
No, because you don’t know the difference.
You have a problem, your doctor has a perfect solution. So he should give it to you.
So then, why is it in your businesses you run around trying so hard to be different, to not talk like anyone else, to not offer solutions that others are offering?
Rhetorical question. I’ll tell you why:
Because someone somewhere told you that you had to stand out. So you got your panties all in a knot and took it to the extreme.
But you are forgetting one (very, very important) fact:
You are fully immersed in your own industry, as well as the online business industry as a whole. You are in it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You are part of a thousand Facebook groups and email lists and courses that are full of other people JUST LIKE YOU.
You see what every single other goddamn person in your field is offering. You hear the same language again and again. You see the same programs. You read the same blog posts.
But your client is not like you. They have no bloody idea that any of this world even exists. They aren’t coaches, or nutritionists, or copywriters, or designers.
They are just a person with a problem that needs fixing.
When they find you, you are likely the most unique damn thing on the planet.
They never knew that someone understood them like you do! They’re amazed at how much your website speaks directly to them (even if you use the words juicy, or awesomesauce, or authentic, or any other “annoying” online business words that we might be sick of hearing). And how all your programs are exactly what they need (even if they aren’t the most obscurely unique thing out there)
In fact, they probably LOVE that you use those words. Because before now, all they have had to turn to is boring career counselors, or MDs, or their family and friends – and none of them really GET IT.
But you! You get it! They love you, you are their new idol and they want to be a part of everything you do because they have a problem and overuse of internet business words isn’t one of them.
You have the magic potion that will fix their lives.
We tend to forget that we are in this super weird, slightly incestuous, overly obsessed with different industry, and that our clients are just regular people.
And I am ALL FOR being yourself in your business, letting yourself create all the wacky and unique stuff that YOU want to create. But when we become so obsessed with being different, we lose sight of what we wanted to create in the first place.
Your job is not to worry about being different than anyone else, it’s to worry about being more of YOU.
So please, get your stuff out there, in all its juicy, awesomesauce, authentic glory, and remember that your clients love it.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? I know the whole “be different” thing is a hot topic, and I want to know your thoughts. Let’s get the discussion going in the comments.
It happens to everyone.
You’re psyched about your business and/or life. You’re getting shit done and making waves.
And then… you’re not. Things start to feel hard. Nothing is working. Where the fuck are all the clients? And the money?
And you want to quit.
And when this happens, you are at a very very critical point in your business.
It’s basically the point where you need to make a very important decision about whether you actually want a business in the first place. And it’s up to you. You can call it quits now, or you can trudge forward.
But how are you supposed to know which path to take? Where’s the goddamn roadmap for when to quit and when to keep going?
Here’s the truth: There isn’t one.
But I know that answer sucks, so I’m gonna create the only roadmap you will ever need. Use it over and over and over again.
Here it is:
1. Do you want a business? Really?
Think hard about this one – the answer isn’t always as obvious as it first appears.
If you answered no: Quitting is probably a good idea. You can stop reading here, and go unsubscribe to every business blog you read, and get on with your life. Ahhhh. Probably feels really good.
If you answered yes: Then don’t quit. Do whatever task you had set out to do today, even if you’re not inspired. Because the truth is, successful business owners don’t only work when they are inspired and when they feel passionate. They get up and do the damn work every day.
I bet you’re thinking “But Becca – it’s not that simple!”
Actually, it is. Either you want it and you work for it, or you don’t, and you don’t.
Of course, if you’re not having fun, and are feeling uninspired on the regular, but you DO still want a business, then something in your business probably just needs to change.
Here are some other questions you can consider to help you decide what’s amiss:
1. Does what I’m working on feel totally in line with my core business purpose/message and what I’m all about? If not – ditch it and work on something else.
2. Are the clients that I’m working with totally and utterly amazing? If not, ditch em.
3. Does the way I am working with people feel good and is it letting me use all my strengths and skillz and personality? If not – well, you probably know what to do. And if you don’t, click here.
4. What do I wish I had permission to do right now in my business? #fullpermissiongranted
5. Will this thing I’m working on make me money or have a significant impact on my business, or am I just distracting myself from the real work? If no, then scrap it and get to what’s actually important.
6. Am I doing this MY way, or am I trying to copy someone else’s template and it’s not feeling like it’s working? If no, scrap it and find YOUR way.
7. If I was making money with this right now, would this be more fun? If yes, then good – keep at it. If not, scrap it and do what WOULD feel like more fun. Sometimes the only difference between something feeling terrible and feeling great is whether or not it’s getting you paid. #truestory
The key is to make sure that you’re always taking action to do SOMETHING that will move your business forward, even (and especially) when you don’t feel inspired.
And on the days when you really, really can’t bring yourself to do anything? Grab a tub of your most favorite chilled treat (Coconut Bliss is my new current fave – it’s been a 4-tubs-a-week kind of month) – turn on Netflix, and totally disconnect from your life and your business.
Then tomorrow, wake up and get back to work.
It’s that time again (again? I don’t even know if I have ever done this before) where I write a big ass list.
I was thinking today about what a crazy year it has been in my business and how much I have learned and grown (awwwww, insert sentimental music and photos of babies and puppies and shit here).
This time last year, I moved to the Dominican. That was right around the time that I was scheming Coaching Business Jumpstart with my girl Ellen. In fact, I just searched my email and found the exact email where we connected for the first time about it dated March 24, 2013 (only a week after we had connected for the first time EVER). I was all like “We totally need to teach coaches how to market because they suck at it”, and she was all like “Cool. I’m in”. WILD. We ran the first live version while I was in the DR, sketchy internet and all. And just this past month, we just CBJ into a proper online course and couldn’t be more proud of it.
A few months later, summer 2013, I moved back to Toronto, revamped all my services, and sometime around July connected with Kate, my client-turned-business-partner. We loved working together so much that we decided it would probably be in our best interests to partner up and take a bunch of people to the jungle. We ran the inaugural Catalyze Retreat Belize in January of this year. And we’ll be running our second retreat in July. And have already laid down a deposit for our third for 2015.
Around the same time I was scheming with Kate, I also connected with Lis. She emailed me to pitch me her design services and I jumped right on board. Three months later, I flew to Holland to visit her in person, because when you’re Uncaged you can just pick up and do that shit. We took a spontaneous trip to Morocco, drank a lot of mint tea, shot the shit about business and life, and became the best of friends.
And over the course of the rest of the past year, I’ve launched and then pulled the plug on programs. I’ve launched and in 6 hours sold out programs. I had my first real big money months. And I spent a lot of that money on my business. And a lot of other stuff happened.
I did some things really, really well, and I did some thing just plain AWFUL.
It’s pretty amazing what can happen when you give something a consistent, honest effort for a full year, and I am reaping the rewards of that now with sold out sessions and more importantly, finally having the most fun EVER with my work.
And I’ve learned a lot of truths along the way.
Here are 36 things that are true about business:
(Just highlight any of these sentences to tweet them!)
- Your business will never ever be the same as it is today, so get used to changes and stop worrying so much that it’s not perfect.
- Investing back into your business is one of the best (/only?) ways to grow.
- Running a retreat is way easier than people say it is.
- Launching an online course is way more complicated than people say it is.
- Working with sketchy internet is almost as frustrating as getting hung up on after waiting on hold for 45mins with the bank.
- Not showering or leaving the house for 3 days is a luxury.
- Now showering or leaving the house for 3 days makes you smell kind of bad which makes you not want to leave the house even more. It’s a vicious cycle that no one talks about because they secretly love it.
- Online friends are no longer a weird thing… until you tell your real life friends about them.
- If you’re looking for the magic secret on how to grow a business here it is: Patience.
- Even when you’re the worst at being patient, you STILL have to be patient. No one gets a get out of jail free card on this one.
- No one is an overnight success. It takes years to build a successful business. Those people who say they are? Are lying.
- Eggs do NOT make a good meal if you eat them three times a day. Even if you cook them in different ways to fool yourself into thinking you’re actually eating a whole different meal.
- You have to do the fucking work. You can’t just expect things to happen on their own.
- It IS possible to create and sell out a new program overnight, when you know exactly to a tee what your clients want and need. But that takes time to learn.
- Running a new course or program is ALWAYS more fun with someone else. So much less pressure. So much less stress. And yes, so much less money. It’s still worth it.
- Hearing negative feedback about your work is always hard, whether the person telling you is your coach or a totally random douchebag. But every piece of feedback will teach you something about yourself and/or your business. It’s worthwhile to pay attention.
- Getting clear and specific about what you actually DO for people is your golden ticket to faster business success.
- Web design does matter.
- Writing your about page is one the hardest things you will ever have to do (other than all that actual hard life stuff).
- Nothing you do really matters all that much in the grand scheme of things.
- It’s up to you to know your ideal client and do the research to find out what they need. No business coach can tell you exactly what your specific market needs.
- Having your financial shit in order takes a massive weight off your shoulders, and ignoring it is only going to screw you over harder at tax time.
- Ditto with your legal shit.
- Some clients will just never be happy, no matter what you do. It’s ok.
- Running an uncaged business likely means working more than you have ever worked in your life. Funny how that happens. But being able to work those overtime hours in Belize, or Holland, or Morocco, or the Dominican makes it totally worth it.
- You can’t do everything alone. Hiring someone to do the stuff you absolutely hate doing is 100% worth it. You’ll make that money back because you’ll actually have time to market and promote your business, instead of getting stuck in WordPress glitches, Mailchimp woes, and technical stuff that you shouldn’t be messing with anyway.
- It’s hard to find a great VA because a lot of them are creating their own business on the side and being a VA is just a filler job.
- Working from coffee shops is overrated. I prefer to have my fridge nearby and be able to take off my pants whenever I want.
- You have no choice but to be confident. The alternative means you won’t have a business.
- Your old blog posts will embarrass you in a year’s time, and you are totally allowed to go in and delete them.
- People pay attention to what you say, and you have more of a responsibility than you realize to stand by what you put out there.
- Some people close to you will just never get what you do, and they don’t need to.
- Creating a business literally is like having a baby… and I don’t know how people who have ACTUAL babies do both #supermoms #howdotheydoit #nothanks #sexyghost
- Things will feel like they aren’t working for a long time before they actually work. It’s part of the process, and if you crap out too early you’ll never get to the part where it works (which is obviously the fun part).
- You have all the time in the world to create your business, and the more you rush it, the worse it will be.
- More often then you’d imagine, you’ll worry that your webcam is accidentally turned on and that you’re secretly being broadcast all over YouTube as you smash down that greasy burrito down while typing with the other hand. Don’t worry, its almost never actually on.
What lessons have you learned in your business? Share your besties in the comments!
You know those times when you’re stressing the fuck out about your business, and you think the world is ending because no one signed up for your webinar, or your client session just bombed? Here’s the truth about all of that:
Nothing you do really matters that much.
Because someday, Yellowstone is going to explode and kill us all.
Just think about that for a second. At any moment (and yes, we’re way overdue), what we now know as Yellowstone could spew its guts up, not only covering the world in ashes and killing everything in its path, but also rendering your little online business totally insignificant. Because well, there are bigger fish to fry. Even though all the fish would have already been fried, what with the molten lava that would have cooked them on impact, as well as you.
All of a sudden, all that time you spent obsessing about your tagline, the sleepless nights you spent worrying about whether you should use your name as your URL, or not. All the money you didn’t spend on business courses, gone to waste. All the energy you used stressing about what, exactly, to create for your opt-in, or your first ebook. Should you make the cover pink, or green? Should the word be underlined, or not?
At the end of the day, all the things you stress about in your business don’t really matter all that much.
YES your work is meaningful and makes a difference. YES you help a lot of people and that has a ripple effect. YES I want you to take your business seriously.
But at the end of the day, when the world blows up, will you be happy with the choices you made? With how you spent your time? With the risks you took? With the chances you gambled on?
Despite how ridiculous this post may sound (even though IMO the terrifying reality of Yellowstone is anything but ridiculous), I’m serious.
There are a lot of times in my business when I find myself stressing about the stupidest things. Even big things like “What if I put down this deposit of several thousand dollars, and no one comes to the retreat?” pale in comparison when I think about the world’s REAL problems.
As my partner and I were driving home from a family dinner last weekend, we passed a young mother and her kid, all bundled up at 10:30pm on a Sunday night, waiting for a local bus in the suburbs. And I immediately felt guilty for being so stressed out about all the little things that stress me out about my business. That poor kid and his mom have to sit in the -25C degree weather, late at night.
“We’re really lucky to be able to afford a car. A lot of people can’t”, he said. And then we drove home in silence, both feeling like the free-est, luckiest people alive. But also the biggest jerks, because we take SO much for granted.
And that woman at the bus stop in Toronto? She’s living in luxury compared to a good chunk of the world. Even the rural folks our bus drove by in Belize still have it pretty good – I mean, they have walls, and materials to build with. They have schools. They’re not doing so bad.
The point being – there are WAY bigger problems in the world than your logo color and your website fonts. There are people starving while you (and I) stress about exactly how our sales pages should sound. And there is a massive National Park just waiting to blow our entire world upside down.
In the grand scheme of things, your day to day decisions in your business are nothing compared to what the world has on its shoulders right now.
And while this may seem harsh, it’s exactly what I use to keep on moving with things every single day in my business. There isn’t a day that goes by where something pops in my head that has me remember that “Oh yeah, this is just a business, and I am just a human, and it really doesn’t matter all that much”. And then I make whatever decision I am agonizing about, and move on, because I’d rather LIVE my life to the max before that damn volcano explodes, than get stuck stressing about things that won’t matter 10 years from now. Perspective. It’s how I’ve gotten as far as I have.
As as a PS for anyone I have potentially offended, anyone who is reading this saying “But I DO matter, and my work DOES make a difference” – you are absolutely right.
Which is why I want you to get on with creating it instead of stressing about it.
What business decision are you stressing about right now that, in the grand scheme of LIFE, doesn’t really matter all that much? Tell us in the comments!
Now, I’ll preface this post by saying that I know NOTHING about being in an arranged marriage. I’m not in one, nor do I actually know anyone personally who is. I guess we could always use the analogy of marrying for money. Something I also don’t know about, but that doesn’t sound half bad (I’M KIDDING!! Sort of).
So I turn to the almighty Wikipedia to start this post off with a quote:
Scholars ask whether love and respect in marital life is greater in arranged marriages than autonomous marriages. Epstein suggests that in many arranged marriages, love emerges over time. Willoughby suggests arranged marriages in many cases start cold, warm up and then boil over time as the couple grows. Autonomous marriages, in contrast he claims, start out boiling hot but many eventually find that this heat dissipates and is left with a relationship that’s cold.
This is exactly how I feel about business.
There is so much crap out there about building a business based on your passions. Which usually ends up leading people to believe they have to find THE ONE. It’s the same shit that happens with relationships – people going around waiting, praying, that THE ONE will fall into their lap. Having too many options, too many possibilities, that it feels hard to settle on just one.
Well here’s a different perspective.
What if ‘the one’ doesn’t exist. What if the real way to build a business (or I guess a relationship for that matter) is to find the one that feels about 75% right, and DO THE WORK to make it 100%.
I didn’t love my work when I started. I was committed. I was determined to make it work. I was open to the possibilities. I loved the lifestyle it would give me. And I loved learning all the new skills I needed to learn to figure out how to make it work. I loved the game of starting a business and the opportunity it provided me to challenge myself while creating something that people need.
But I wasn’t in love with the work itself, the way I was doing it when I started. I fell in love over time. Slowly, it started to become a part of me. I started to get to know it better, and to get to know myself better in the process. I stopped worrying about other opportunities I was missing out on, and started bringing everything that was ME into my business. And it shaped itself along the way into what Uncaged is now.
Maybe it’s time to take some of the hot and heavy passion out of your business and look at it with a more pragmatic eye, one that sees beyond the selfish passion and instead looks at what might be more marketable in the long term, and where that passion, the marketing, and the money making combine – this is the sweet spot of business, and you can’t have too much emphasis on one over the others.
I’d much rather see you start a business with a solid foundation but that’s maybe not PERFECT for you, but that has the potential to grow into a loving relationship, than fall sloppily head over heels with an idea and burn out within 3 months because it was just a rebound and you were lonely and that last vodka+soda probably wasn’t the best idea. Or was that just me?
Start with what you have, and fall in love with along the way.
I’m starting to be convinced that this is the ONLY way.
PS. If you need helping taking that inkling of an idea and learning how to make it uber specific, clear, and marketable, and then learn how to actually start to get clients, you should check out Uncage Your Business. It starts in September but I’ll be offering a super early bird registration period in the next few weeks. Click here to make sure you are on the list to get notified.
BUT BEFORE WE BEGIN… A hilarious photo. This is what happens when you do a photoshoot in a back alley in a city like Toronto. Asian tourists want to get their photos taken with you.
It was 2011. I was working for an online wellness company that was paying me $12/hour to manage ALL of their social media (which, if you know anything about what it should REALLY cost for someone to run your entire social media strategy – was a total joke). I worked 5 hours a week for them (which, if you do the math, means I was broke).
I was just winding down from a year of FUN-employment. I got fired from a job at a restaurant because I sprained my foot in a climbing accident and couldn’t work (YES I took it to the labor board, and YES I fought with them for over a year to get my money because I am THAT GIRL).
I was also kinda sorta starting my business as a holistic nutritionist (meaning I ran a few workshops and tried my hand at a client or two), but I wasn’t really into it. I saw the other rockstar nutritionists in Toronto KILLING IT, and it all just looked like so much work. And I hate hard work.
So I spent the better part of the year hanging out. Literally. I went to the park everyday with a book and a blanket and sometimes a slackline. I climbed 4 days a week. I did yoga 5 days a week. I cooked myself lavish and labour intensive healthy dinners. I travelled within Canada and overseas to do that thing where I climb up the path of most resistance on a cliff, when I could easily just walk around the other side and get to the top without all the struggle.
In essence, I lived the lifestyle I wanted, without worrying about work. I knew the work would come when it was time (meaning – I trusted my ability to hustle if it got to the point where I couldn’t pay my rent).
I stopped doing nutrition work altogether, and started to have visions of the business I REALLY wanted. I didn’t know exactly what it would look like, but I had a feeling of what I wanted it to be. And that was about all I knew.
During this time I met a boy (Hi Mike!!), I fell in love, and we bought a van (down by the riverrrr. har har. But actually). We decided it was probably a good idea to hit the road on a 7 month climbing trip, because WHY NOT.
I KNEW that I couldn’t let half a year go by without doing anything about my business. I had to get things started. Mostly because I knew it was lame to keep talking it without actually doing anything about it. Because I always hated those people, and now I was one of them. NOT A CHANCE!
Buying a van = GAME ON.
I had already read and learned a ton about starting a business online, It was time to make it happen.
I DIY’d my website (with lots of tears and hair pulling and late night google searches to fix whatever it was I had broken). Mike would come over to make sure that I was eating (and showering. Shut up. You know exactly what I’m talking about).
And slowly, I started to
take over the world build my business.
It was SLOW GOING. I’m not gonna lie and tell you I crushed it my first year. Yeah, I had clients, and people started finding me online really early on (within a month of having my website, I had my first REAL client. As in, not one of my friends, or someone I had to beg to let me coach them). I attribute this to having a clear message and staying consistent with putting my blog posts out there (as in, having a clue what the fuck I was talking about).
No SEO, no gimmicks – I just wrote consistently, and I interviewed people I admire on my site (and left it up to them whether they wanted to share it with their community or not).
You wanna know how much money I made in my first year? Around $15000. And to me, that felt SWEET. I was stoked!
I mean, I had created something out of nothing, and people paid me for it. That was INCREDIBLE. I didn’t care what anyone else was making and I didn’t care that I wouldn’t have been able to live off $15k if it wasn’t for living in a van.
It was just amazing to be making money from a business that didn’t even exist a year ago.
But while it felt GREAT to be getting paid to be my own boss (something I had always dreamed about but never in a gajillion years thought would happen) – I was still freaked out. What would happen when I went home? Would my business EVER get to where I wanted it to be? Did I even KNOW where I wanted it to be? Sooo many questions. And zero answers.
Because here’s the thing with business. NOTHING is a guarantee. There is no possible way to know where you will end up in your business.
All you can do it make a decision about what you want, and hustle your ass off to get there.
Learn everything you can.
Hire the best coaches (ahem).
Don’t stop creating.
Which is what I did. I KNEW that in order to grow my business more, I’d have to focus in. No more taking on clients who weren’t a perfect fit. Tightening up my message. Revamping my packages to be more in line with how i LOVE wot work. It was time to get serious.
I niched in like a madwoman, I continued to hire new business coaches to push me to the next level, and I kept experimenting my brains out. I wrote guest posts anywhere that would accept them. I did free calls to promote my work. I asked for referrals. I slowly but surely built a community of Uncaged Lifers.
I stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing, and I focused on MY business.
And – fancy that – it worked.
My goal this year (my second year of business) was to triple my income from last year. Low expectations. And I just had my first $10k month. I way exceeded my expectations (which feels way better than not meeting our expectations, right!?).
But the rule still applies – nothing is guaranteed. Just because you create something great once, doesn’t mean people will keep coming back. Just because you had one successful day or week or month, doesn’t mean that it will stay consistent.
Your business is alive like you are alive. You have to work for it, and with it, and in it, all the time. There is no such thing as passive income.
My business grew slowly, and it grew in line with where I was at in my life, with how much I was willing to give to it. As I became more clear and confident, my business growth came right along with me.
People are always saying to raise your expectations. I say lower them. Being hard on yourself, looking at what everyone else is doing and expecting to be where they are – it doesn’t serve you. All it does is have you raise your expectations to levels that are completely ridiculous and unsustainable.
We all need to just give ourselves a damn break.
It’s like watching someone run an ultramarathon (those crazies!), and then getting frustrated when you get tired after 5k (that’s 3mi for you American folks. And yes, that’s about as far as I can run without having the wind knocked out of me and my rusty joints screaming at me to stop).
I’m not meant to be running an ultra. At least not yet. So WHY ON EARTH would I compare myself to those insane people who run for days on end!? I’d need to train for months or years to get there. It just doesn’t make sense to even think I should be doing what they are doing.
And neither does you comparing yourself to ANYONE else in your business. THEY don’t matter.
You are exactly where you need to be.
You are exactly where you need to be.
You are exactly where you need to be.
Hunker down. Get clear on your message. Get the word out. Tell people what you’re up to. Write blog posts. Consistently. Pitch yourself. Expand your reach.
Lower your expectations.
And do the work. And keep doing it. And keep doing it.
This is how you will grow your business.
Where do you need to lower your expectations in your business? Where have you been pushing too hard, comparing yourself to someone who is WAY ahead of you? Feeling bad about not “getting there” yet? Tell us in the comments!
Once upon a time, there was a little princess who lived far away in a beautiful castle.
Ok let’s cut the crap. The girl was me, and I didn’t like in a faraway land. I lived in Ottawa, Ontario, with divorced parents and a really smelly hamster named Nipper (she used to bite me to the point of drawing blood… a LOT).
I was no princess, and from an early age I learned to be independent (here’s why).
As a kid, I always reveled at how easy it was to make money… and how easy it was to spend it. When I had my eye on something, I made sure I got it (with my own money, of course).
At the tender age of 7, I remember begging my dad to let me run a carwash in the driveway (and being turned down because the cost of the water would be more than the cost of the 50cents I was charging for the wash).
So I ran a lemonade stand instead (much cheaper it turns out).
And then I went bigtime and started my own magazine. It was about the New Kids On The Block, and was handmade in my bedroom. Each edition had a weekly crossword and featured member each. I sold it to kids in my neighborhood for $1.
Clearly it didn’t make me rich.
But somehow, spending money? Came just as easily.
In my grade 4 class we had a system in place where if we were good, we’d earn a fake dollar. And at the end of the year, we had a big class auction and got to spend all our money like a bunch of hooligans. The kids all brought stuff in to sell off, auction style. It was like ebay, only we were 10 and mostly you could just buy pencils and scented erasers.
And then I saw it – the almighty Giant Toblerone. You know the one. The one that should take a family of 5 a month to get through. I would demolish that sucker in a day, tops.
I had to have it.
I decided to save my dollars and not buy ANYTHING else until the Toblerone went up for auction. Then I spend all 100 of my dollars on it (I must have been a pretty good girl that year).
But the thing was, because this was a highly coveted prize, the teacher wanted to make it “fair”. So what happened was that every dollar spent got you a ticket in a raffle. So essentially, I had 100 tickets.
It was a sure bet, I thought.
Sure, everyone was making fun of me because they thought it was ridiculous to spend all my money on this one thing. But I wanted it. I WANTED IT.
And I didn’t care what they thought. I wanted the damn chocolate (so, clearly nothing has changed).
Anyway, I didn’t win, and you better believe I seethed about it for days/years/I’m still pissed.
From there I went to work at a few random jobs, and I was always attracted to jobs where the more I worked, the more money I made. And then when I wanted to go away and travel, I’d do it with no strings attached, no job waiting for me when I came home (which was a good thing, because there was more than one occasion where I didn’t come home).
I’ve always been the type to decide I want something, and to make it happen ASAP.
Anyway, moral of the story is, that even back then, I loved what money could buy me. Which is weird, since I didn’t grow up with a lot of money and until recently, on paper, my money situation looked…dire. But it never stopped me. I worked hard when I had to and I always seemed to pull it off. Paying off massive debts extraordinarily quickly, somehow having enough to continuously travel without going totally broke.
I’ve always been the type to be able to come up with money very quickly (partly by setting my mind to it, and partly by using that mindset to spin me into action).
And I didn’t actually know where I was going with this blog post when I started, but now I see that it’s all about being a HUSTLER.
It’s about making the choice that something will happen, and then making it so.
I do this in my life, and I do this with my clients.
And I want to do it with you in your business. I KNOW that you can have whatever you want in your business. And I KNOW that you don’t need another course that teaches you the same old stuff you already know. What you need is to get clear on what the hell YOU are doing, OWN it, and get a serious kick in the pants.
So get on that, will ya?
And if you want me to kick your ass in person, let me take you away to Belize on The Catalyze Retreat. You want a mega boost of clarity, confidence, and getting shit DONE (all the while drinking cheap rum and hanging with a bunch of cool chicks?). Apply here.
Get out there and commit to what you want. Set the date. Book the ticket. Put down the deposit (hint hint). It’s step one of getting everything you want in life.
What are YOU hustling for right now? Publicly commit to it in the comments!
I asked a question recently in my private Uncaged Lifers Facebook group about whether you’d choose perfect fulfilling work, or freedom and lifestyle, if you had to choose.
Would you rather have a job that was kind of “meh”, where the work wasn’t particularly fulfilling, if it gave you tons of freedom to work from anywhere with lots of time off OR would you rather have a super rigid job that works on someone else’s schedule, but be doing work that absolutely fulfilled you?
(FYI – Most people said lifestyle).
I asked this question because it comes up a lot for me when I see people trying to come up with THE perfect all encompassing business idea – the one that is perfectly in line with their values and their message and their lifestyle and their wants and needs.
And while I DO believe you can have both – work you love and lifestyle you love (and actually being able to make money) – I often see people making the work part of it SO precious that they will never feel satisfied. They think they have to come up with THE perfect business idea before they can move on (which leads, as you might imagine, to procrastination, self doubt, and basically getting nowhere). Which means they are unwilling to let go of their ideals (and ideas) and actually create something marketable. Just because you love you idea and think it’s great, doesn’t mean people will buy it.
Not everything is precious.
I first heard this line from a client of mine last year who is an artist. One of her art teachers once said this to their art class, indicating that if you put SO much stock in making the work you do perfect, holding it so near to your heart that it will never be good enough, you will suffer and your art will suffer.
And I believe that the same goes for business. Not everything you create is precious. Come up with an idea that feels pretty good, and get out there and make it happen.
Yeah, sure, I think we all have something about us that is special, and that we can create a business that is in line with who we are and what we’re all about. But if you’re waiting for your business to perfectly incorporate every single bit of your personality+quirks+passions+lifestyle+interests+hobbies+beliefs+values, if you’re not willing to move forward until you feel totally 100% clear that this is THE perfect business for you for the rest of your life – you’re fooling yourself.
I have yet to met anyone who has come up with an idea and stuck with it. No one. Not even me.
Things shift and change. Ideas mould and form and expand. And where you start will never be the same as where you end. Ever. Once you dig in, you might find that what you are trying to sell is way too vague, broad, or confusing for the people you are trying to market to.
Not every idea is precious. Not every idea will actually be something people want to buy. And you need to be willing to change what you’re doing to fit your market’s wants and needs. You need to be flexible about your offers and your ideas. If you cling to them too tightly, you may just find yourself climbing for dear life to business ideas that are not working. And the longer you cling, the harder it is to let go.
Sometimes, just making money doing something that feels pretty easy and fun to you, is enough. Not everything has to a manifestation of your life purpose, defined.
You don’t have to come up with a world shattering idea that only YOU can deliver. (In fact, I highly recommend you don’t try to do that. No need to reinvent the wheel, and it’s likely if you’re creating something totally new that no one has ever heard of or experienced, you’re going to have a hella hard time selling it).
Think about it. You could be slugging it out in an office, working for someone you loathe doing work you cold care less about. Or you could be working for yourself, on your own terms, doing work that you do actually kinda care about.
Which are you going to choose?
Dumb question right? Clearly, doing something you actually care about, for people you care about is WAY better than chumping it out at the job you couldn’t give a crap about. Even if the work you care about isn’t your ideal perfect dream job, it’s still a step in the right direction.
I think part of the problem comes from all the stuff that gets spewed out on the internet about creating work that fuels your PASSIONS. We are led to believe that we always beed to be striving for perfection, that we shouldn’t settle for anything less. And this puts a ton of pressure on us to figure out THE perfect thing. And when we can’t figure that out, we feel stuck and we don’t get anywhere.
We need to stop making everything so precious.
I certainly don’t feel like Uncaged is the PERFECT business for me. It’s getting there, and it’s always a work in progress. And when I started, I DEFINITELY didn’t have a crystal clear idea of what I wanted to do or where it was going to lead me. I just knew I needed to start something.
Please. I beg you. Take the pressure off yourself for everything to be perfect. If you want to do work you care about and have the lifestyle you want, you have to start somewhere and possibly sacrifice some of the pieces at first. You will continue to create a better and better version of your business as you go along.
And think about this: What if it will never be perfect? What if you will always be striving to refine something, to change something, to make something a better fit? If that’s the case, and there is no perfect endpoint, wouldn’t you rather get started now rather than waiting indefinitely for things to feel “just right”?
Think about it. And tell me what you think in the comments below.
And if you like this post, share it using the social media buttons below. I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there who need to hear this message.
Sometimes, I’m convinced that I can take over the world.
Other times, I’m not even sure I can help a single person.
Once in a while, I wonder how long I can really do this for. Is it sustainable? Will I consistently make a good income, forever? Will I get bored, and want to drop it all?
But then other times, I’m so sure of myself. So sure that what I’m doing is right. That it’s perfect.
Some days, I’m so psyched about my work that I forget to eat, to get dressed, and leave the house. Hours and days fly by as I work and I barely notice, I’m so engulfed in what I’m doing.
Other times, I feel like I’d rather make a pillow fort and hole up in it all day, hiding from everything for a little while.
These are the ups and downs of running your own online business. It’s par for the course, and I’d bet you money that you can’t find a single solopreneur who hasn’t experienced these ups and downs. I challenge you to find even one who hasn’t had days where they wonder what on earth they have gotten themselves into, where they feel they simply can’t do it, where they are terrified of being called out as a fake, a fraud.
When you’re putting yourself out there to the world, it’s really fucking scary. It’s vulnerable to be creating something you care about. It’s terrifying to be going against the norm and doing things your way. And let’s face it, there is no guarantee that it is all going to work out, and the unknown is what breaks a lot of people.
So how on earth are you supposed to get anywhere with this rollercoaster ride of head trash going on?
The only answer I really have is that you have to believe in what you are doing enough to hear all the drama in your head, and keep going anyway.
Feeling like no one wants what you have to offer? Feel bad about yourself for a minute, then move on and start testing out your ideas.
Not sure if you can actually go through with it (whatever it is)? Great. Sit with that feeling during a yoga class, then go home and do it anyway.
These feelings happen to everyone, and the difference between the people who quit and the ones who keep at it is their recovery time after listening to the gremlins. The more you keep moving forward, the more resilient you become, the quicker you are able to dig yourself out of your pillow fort and get back to work.
Running your own show isn’t easy, and knowing that everyone feels like this at one time or another is comforting, right? Sharing your struggles and getting support from other people who “get it” (not like your dad, who still thinks you should get a real job) will be a huge help along the way.
If you don’t have anyone in your real-life life that understands what you’re going through, hop on over to the Uncaged Lifers Facebook group and hop in on the discussions. Having these big dreams of starting your own business, working from anywhere, and leading your version of an Uncaged life doesn’t have to feel so isolating.
What has been responsible for your biggest ups and downs as you navigate this whole solopreneur thing? Share your story in the comments below!
Figure It Out Friday’ is a
new weekly blog series where you submit your questions and struggles about designing your Uncaged life and business – and I give you my straight up advice. Because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do.
I’m turning 23 in one month. I’m smart, make friends easily, and am working my way through college. Problem is, I don’t know what to do with my life! Oh, I know what I ENJOY, but I don’t know how to make money doing it. I want to travel, own my own cottage in the mountains, and write novels. I don’t want to work for anyone (unless some dream job pops up that makes it worth it). I want stability with the opportunity to shake things up by flying across the world.
But most of all, I want to have a purpose. A goal I’m excited to work for. I’ve forgotten what passion feels like. Help!
I’m going to keep this so mega simple that it might frustrate some of you. My advice might piss you off. But I’ll take that chance, because it’s what I really believe. It’s what I take a stand for in my business, and in my life.
I have been exactly where this reader is. I was 24, finished University, and when everyone else was busy applying for jobs, I was buying a plane ticket to Australia to hang out for a year. Everyone asked me “What about work?”
“I’ll work when I’m there” I said. Which I did.
But more importantly – who the fuck cares about work!? I’m 24, I just finished 4 brutal years of University, and I want to have some fun. Work can wait.
And it did. For about 7 years.
Sure, I worked odd jobs in the meantime – waiting tables, teaching English overseas, and other jobs that gave me the flexibility and adventure I wanted in my lifestyle. But none of them were “career jobs”, at least not for me. (I thought they might be. Like that time I became a travel agent. Turns out selling trips to other people is not NEARLY as exciting as taking them myself)
And if I learned anything during that time, it’s that you can’t try so hard to figure it out. The number of people that come to me saying they have been to career counsellors and still haven’t figured it out, is striking.
People come to me all the time saying they want to travel and explore the world, and if only they could figure out a job that would let them do that. And what that says to me is “You’re not ready to figure it out.”
You have to be ready to want to work. You have to be ready to commit to something (even if that commitment changes).
Until then – be free. Play. Travel. Make just enough money to buy your plane ticket, and work small jobs abroad.
Those life experiences aren’t taking away from you figuring it out – they are a critical part of it.
The more you can stop trying so hard to come up with an answer, the more likely it is that the answer will just come to you. Because let me tell you – the WORST thing in the world is working when all you want to be doing is travelling. It sucks. Bigtime
And if you’re someone who IS ready to commit, ready to figure out how you can create the lifestyle you want while working for yourself, someone who is ready to put the hard work into making that a reality, click here to get my free training on how to figure out WTF business you should start.
And as a final piece of homework for the person asking this question – it sounds like you’re asking for help figuring out your “passions”. And even just with the small amount of info I have in your question, I can see that you already know what they are. You are passionate about travel, about writing (or maybe creative expression in general), about being in nature, about exploration.
So do those things, and see where they lead you! They don’t have to be a job just yet. There is life after college that doesn’t involve heading right into the workforce.
Giving yourself the time to explore those things you love doing – that’s how you will figure out what the hell to do with your life. And it sounds like WAY more fun than taking any of those crazy career tests, right?
What do you think? What has been your experience in “figuring it out”? Post your comments below!
I don’t speak spanish.
And I’m quite annoyed at myself because of this fact. I spent a few weeks in the Dominican Republic several years ago, camping and climbing on the beach. And as the only foreigner around, it started to feel really lonely really fast. While a lot of my friends here speak pretty good English, the communication barrier was huge. I felt it especially when sitting around the campfire at night, everyone laughing and telling jokes, and me working my ass off to try to understand even a small fraction of what they were saying. What was a pretty amazing experience could have been ten times so if I’d been able to communicate with everyone.
I vowed not to come back til I spoke the language.
But here I sit again, in the airport waiting for my flight home, after another pretty amazing week in the Dominican that could have been more amazing had I been able to communicate. Or at least order my own food. Or ask which bus stop to get off at. Or tell the creepy man on the bus to please stop talking to me.
I’m kinda pissed at myself because I had TWO whole years to learn, and I didn’t. You know how much 2 whole years of Spanish lessons can learn you? A LOT. And it wouldn’t have been that hard. One class a week, a few skype conversations with my friends to practice. I could be fluent by now. But I’m not, because I didn’t make it a priority.
And it IS a priority for me. I love to travel, and god knows how much time I’ve spent in Spanish speaking countries. It’d be nice to have a small idea what the hell is going on around me when I’m there. Not to mention it feels irresponsible and slightly embarrassing to not speak the language when I travel somewhere.
So now it’s a priority. And this time, I’m not letting myself slack.
Know how I know I won’t let myself slack? I’ve set a deadline…. wait for it….
I’m moving to the Dominican Republic in 3 weeks.
Not a joke. I keep saying I want to learn, so I figured why not take the bull by the horns and put myself in a situation where I have no choice.
We do this a lot don’t we? We say we want a change but we put it off and put it off, or we start and don’t stick with it. But with small, consistent action, we’d see huge results. But sometimes the goal feels SO big that we don’t even let ourselves try.
Whether it’s going to the gym more, or reaching a goal in a sport (like climbing, or running, or knitting), or learning a new language, the formula for success is the EXACT same:
Do the work, do it consistently, and don’t stop doing it, and you will see results.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Move to Santo Domingo. Go to Spanish school. Make it my mission to learn to speak fluently(ish). So that when I take people climbing, camping, and hiking next year in the Dominican for the Adventure Retreat, I won’t feel like such a dork again.
Oops- I guess I just revealed the top secret location of the Adventure Retreat next year! I hope you’ll join me, it’s going to be a seriously amazing trip.
So the moral of the story is this:
That thing you keep saying you want to do. Start it now. Don’t let years go by without taking action and making progress on it. You’ll get there sooner than you think, but you MUST start.
In the comments below, tell us what you have been putting off that it’s time to re-commit to.
Everything runs its course.
You lose interest.
Businesses close up shop.
Friends lose touch.
But instead of honoring the process and coming out the other side having learned something we can carry with us, we tend to come out bitter, confused, sad, lost, and resentful.
But just because something comes to an end, doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable.
It’s like going to get a massage, and then being so pissed off when it ends that you don’t even let yourself enjoy the way your previously tense muscles now feel like soft jello under your skin, or the way the oil has made your body glow, or the fact that your massage therapist was a total babe.
You would never leave a massage feeling resentful, like it was all for nothing.
So why would you leave a career, a relationship, an academic program, or anything else in your life, and look back on it negatively?
Nothing in life should be a regret. NOTHING.
When you dismiss the experiences you’ve had just because they didn’t turn out the way you had planned, you’re missing out on a whole lot of room for this thing they call “personal growth”.
Let your past help inform your future, instead of hold you back from it.
Now, to practice.
Pick 5 really shitty experiences you’ve had. List them out. And next to each one, write ONE thing you learned from this that has been/will be valuable to you going forward in your life.
1. My mom lived a really crappy life, and then she died. And growing up with(out) a mom changed the way I see the world and the way I chose to live my life. It’s partly responsible for me starting The Uncaged Life in the first place.
2. I got fired from my job for taking too much time off, at a time when I had no backup plan and no idea what else to do. Obviously my employers were trying to tell me something, because it forced me to see that all I really wanted was time off – to travel, so nap in the park, to explore my city. And it gave me what I needed – namely, the time – to do that.
3. I crushed my foot and ankle when I fell rock climbing. I had to learn to just be ok with where I was at. I couldn’t walk and climb and do yoga the way I wanted to. I had to learn to scale it back. And to this day my foot gets tweaked, and reminds me that the best I can do, is whatever my best is on any given day. That I can’t force myself to be something I’m not.
4. I spent years dating someone I wasn’t happy with. I learned what I want and need in a partner, and now I get to be picky.
5. I spent tens of thousands of dollars and 7 years in academic programs that I ended up “not using” for my career. But they were still valuable in helping me get more clear on what I DIDN’T want to be doing. Also, what I learned in school about my resilience and resourcefulness, my preferred methods of learning, and all the other little life lessons (like don’t sign up for Saturday morning biology labs), has shaped the course of everything I’ve done since.
Your turn. Comment below and tell us one shitty thing that happened to you that you can flip into something positive. You might be surprised to find that you wouldn’t change it for the world.
If you’re one of those people that uses money as an excuse as to why you don’t have what you want, listen up – I may be about to blow your mind.
Money is ONE form of currency, but it’s not the only one.
And that’s just to name a few of the top contenders.
The reality is that your core values are your primary forms of currency
Me? Freedom + Adventure rule my world. If I don’t have ’em in my life, I get seriously depressed. I often trade in my time, money, and resources just to get more freedom + adventure.
But not everyone works this way. Often, money gets seen as the only form of currency.
Check in with yourself here – Do you believe MONEY is the most important currency, and that the others are luxuries? Things you can focus on only once the money part is handled?
Do you use the excuse “I can’t afford it” over and over again, even when what you really want is more important to you than money?
That thinking is all wrong, and here’s why.
Using money as your main currency comes at a cost.
Yes, living is expensive. There’s rent, and food, and cars, and kids, and school, and courses, and all the little shit that you don’t think about that adds up, like memberships, and lightbulbs, and shampoo, and tampons.
But not living is equally as (/more?) expensive.
What’s it costing you to NOT be living the life you want?
How’s your health? Your energy level? Your stress?
Do you have the relationships you crave? The fun you know you deserve? The time to do the things you really want to be doing?
I KNOW you have money issues – don’t we all? There’s so much fear wrapped up in our money stories, that I’m sure you could be here all day telling me all the reasons why money HAS to be your priority.
And I don’t buy it.
When you let yourself be held back by money, you sacrifice getting all the other things you want in your life.
I actually believe that money CAN buy you happiness.
It can buy you that sweet pair of jeans that makes your ass look so good, your confidence skyrockets the second you squeeze your fine little booty into them.
It can buy you the vacation you’ve so desperately been needing, to clear your head after the man of your dreams crushed your heart into a million little pieces.
It can buy you the business training to make your dream of working from a campervan a reality, so you don’t spend another day crying because it all feels so hard.
It can buy you the yoga classes, the massage sessions, the reiki healing, and the coaching that will fuel you with energy, and give you much needed space and time to finally chill the fuck out and get your priorities in order.
So I ask you again – what is it costing you in your life to keep putting off your dreams?
Because I guarantee what it’s costing is way, way more important to you than the money.
And this much I know – the return on investment in choosing another form of currency to run your life will come back to you tenfold, in more ways than just cash.
What is it currently costing you to continue to use money as an excuse? Tell us in the comments!
I talk with a lot of people who want big things out of life. Whether it’s my own clients, or my own coaches, or my peers. I also follow a lot of people online through various Facebook groups, websites, blogs, and twitters. Travellers. Entrepreneurs. Adventurers. They run the gamut of successful, and not-so-much.
And it’s become really, insanely clear to me exactly what the difference is between those who make their big dreams happen, and those who don’t.
The difference between the guy who keeps saying he wants to sell his house and buy a round the world plane ticket, and the guy who actually does it.
The difference between the coach who is still struggling to get clients, and the one who makes 6-figures from her business.
The girl who complains about her soul sucking job every single day but doesn’t do a thing to change it, and the girl who quits jobs left and right, never settling on anything that doesn’t make her happy.
What’s the difference between people who “make it” and those who sit back, watching those people in total envy? What’s their dirty little secret?
People who make their dreams happen BELIEVE that what they want is possible. Sure, they feel fear, and self-doubt, and uncertainty, but somewhere deep inside, they KNOW that they can make it happen. So they don’t get sucked into believing all the crap that the voices in their heads throw their way.
And sure, there’s a little more that goes into it than just confidence.
If you’re building a business, you MUST learn sales and marketing. But the people who believe it’s possible, they don’t mind investing in their business.
And if you wanna travel the world with nothing but a backpack, you’re going to need to do some planning. But the people who eventually get there don’t mind going through the nitty gritty steps, because they KNOW it’s going to pay off.
I know this sounds like hullhonkey. You might be thinking I’ve gone all woo-woo on your ass. Kinda like this.
For the record – that’s not what I’m saying. It’s not about the law of attraction or simply thinking really hard about what you want and having it magically appear at your doostep. What I’m saying is that the very first step, the Most Important Thing, is believing that it’s possible (and if thinking really hard about what you want, or using the law of attraction helps you do that, cool, have at it).
Because when you believe that it’s possible, you put in the effort and take the steps to get there.
Simple as that. Mindset leads to consistent action, which leads to you doing whatever you need to do to get “there”
Ask yourself, right now, “Do I really believe that I can have whatever I want?”
And if the answer is no (or a head scratching schmaybe?), you might wanna check in on what you believe, and get really super clear about why, exactly, you don’t think you can have it.
Need help sorting it out and boosting your confidence? Here’s where to start:
1. Surround yourself with people who “get it”. Immerse yourself in blogs and websites of people who are doing what you want to do. Talk to people who have done it. Research your brains out, and create a support structure that actually helps you see that what you want IS possible.
2. Get really clear about the voices in your head that tell you it’s not possible. Take note of exactly what they are saying, and when. Start to learn to pay attention to the voice, and think of it as a separate part of you, one that you can shoo away by will when it starts bringing you down. Even just recognizing that this voice is there and what it’s saying is a great step to help you learn to NOT listen to it.
3. Work with me for 3 months. My clients leave feeling like they can do it, like their dreams are easy, and often, they leave having accomplished in 3 months what they’ve wanted to do their entire lives. My clients write the books they’ve wanted to write since they were 10 (and get it done in 8 weeks… I’m not joking). They quit the jobs they’ve hated for years. They start their websites. They get their first clients. They book the plane tickets. They get shit DONE.
You’ve totally got this. I promise. I was exactly where you were, wishing I could build an online business, but procrastinating on getting started because I didn’t have the right mindset about it. I see this ALL the time with my clients, and people who email me through Uncaged, and watching other business owners, and working with my own coaches.
It’s ALL about mindset. Everything.
So breathe a sigh of relief. You’re not missing out on some secret that will help you get there.
This is the only magic success formula out there that works.
I don’t know what she was like as a little girl. Was she playful? Silly? Wild like me?
I have no idea who she was as a young woman, or what her wildest hopes and dreams were.
Did she want to work at the bank? Or did she have bigger things in store for her life?
Did she ever dream of things that felt impossible? And if she’d had the chance, would she have taken the chance on those dreams?
I don’t know if she was a good cook. A good wife. A good daughter.
Did she like to travel like I do? Did she ever have the urge to leave the country on a whim, to see what else was out there for her in the wide open world? What would she have done with her life, if she’d known her story ahead of time?
I’ll never know how she felt when she found out she was pregnant with me, her first child. Or how it changed her life when she saw my face for the first time. Was she excited? Was she scared?
She never taught me how to cook. Or clean. Or how I was supposed to deal with heartbreak. And we never went for tea and talked about boys, or chatted into the wee hours of the night about what it really meant to be a woman.
We never talked about the idea of getting married. Whether she thought it was a good decision she’d made at the young age of 23. Did she believe in love? In the idea of a soulmate? Did she even think about these things?
I have no idea how she felt about all the demons from her childhood. The ones I never learned about until way too late in life.
And I have absolutely no idea how she felt when she went to see her first therapist. Did she know it was the beginning of the end?
And when she and dad divorced, and she took me to therapy every week to talk about who I wanted to live with, did she know that this was too much for a child to take on? Could she see that deep down, I knew that she couldn’t take care of me? Did she know that I never once said this out loud?
I’m not even really sure when her illness started. I’m guessing it was within her from very early on. But we never can be sure about these things, can we?
I often wonder whether she was as aware as I was, that the fact that she never ate anything couldn’t be good for her. Watching her be fed through tubes on the psychiatric ward – the most aggressive treatment at the time, the doctor told me years later. Why didn’t she just eat normal food, like everybody else?
And why did I have to go visit my mom in a hospital anyway? Surely this wasn’t how most kids spent their Saturday afternoons. My 7-year old self couldn’t quite process it all.
But then how could I have been expected to understand the complexities of such a disease.
And when it got to the point when she actually lived in the hospital, did she realize how sad it made me to not have a mother?
I’ll never know if she ever had the urge to talk about her illness with me. Maybe she didn’t want to bother me with it. Or maybe she just didn’t even recognize she was ill. Maybe her anorexia distorted any kind of self-perception that she had. Does that happen? I don’t know.
Maybe she had no idea who she was anymore.
And when it got really bad, when all the other shit started to get worse – I wonder how she felt about being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD? Was she told that these were now the labels she was to live with? Did she notice how the meds made her act?
And when I was away and travelling and doing anything I could to NOT have to deal with my “crazy” mother, did she miss me? Did she blame me? Did she still love me?
I wonder if she ever wanted to reach out. To ask for help. To have a heart-to-heart, as I’ve heard mothers and daughters sometimes do.
And I wonder if she had, if I’d have had the courage to say yes.
I’ll never know.
Those years I lived away in Australia, and Korea, and Thailand, and Vancouver, if I’d known they’d mean not seeing my mom again, would I still have stayed away? And all the times I worried about being embarrassed about her at my future wedding (if I ever decided to have one) – would I have changed the way I felt if it meant I could bring her back?
I don’t know. I don’t know.
I wonder if that last phone call I made to her house, out of the blue on a Friday night before we went out to the bar, was my intuition telling me that I had better call my mom. It’s really too bad she didn’t pick up.
And when she moved out of her apartment just the month before, packed up all her boxes, stored everything away, and moved onto my uncle’s couch because she had too much pride to go to the women’s shelter, I wonder if she knew she was packing up for good. If it was her way of cleaning up years of clutter. Years of reminders of a life unfulfilled. Her way of helping make the whole thing just a little bit easier on us.
Hell – I sometimes wonder how she really died. Sure, the coroner explained that her heart just stopped – one of the not so pleasant side-effects of many years of not feeding her body, combined with a combination of cigarettes, wine, and god knows how many prescription pills.
But I mean – how did she really die? Was she in pain? Did she know she was dying? Did she want to go? Was she as ready as I think she was?
And when we could only afford to get her the most basic of boxes, the one that’s pretty much only meant for the eyes of close family before they burn you in it, did she know that we had always wanted better for her?
And today, on what would have been her 55th birthday, does she have any worldly idea how much I wished her life had been different? Does she know that all those times I was harsh to her, that I got frustrated with her, that I hurried through our visits and rushed off to hang out with my friends, does she know that it was simply because I didn’t know what else to do?
And my god… Does she know how much she changed my life? Not in the regular motherly love kind of way. More in the “my life is the outcome of some really unfortunate circumstances” kind of way.
Does she know how much her life (or rather, lack thereof) has influenced who I am, and what I do, and what I want for myself moving forward?
My mother is responsible for you reading this today. She is responsible for anything you ever read on this site.
She is the reason I do what I do, and the reason I believe in what I believe in.
If it weren’t for my chronically anorexic, depressed, anxious, dead mother, The Uncaged Life would not exist.
I don’t tell you this to make you feel uncomfortable. Or feel pity. Or feel whatever other things you might be feeling right now.
I tell you this because I want you to know that no matter what happens in your life, no matter how shitty things get, you almost always have the choice to turn things around.
My mom? She didn’t have that choice. Her illness was beyond choice. Her fate was her fate (if you want to believe in that kind of thing).
But in your case? I’m guessing you DO have a choice. It may be a hard choice. It may require strength and courage and the willingness to step outside of what you even believe is possible for yourself, and trust that in fact yes, it is.
But you DO have the choice.
It’s my mom’s birthday today. And since she’s not here to ask for a gift, I’ll do the asking.
Use your life for all you’ve got.
Use the chances you’ve got, while you’ve still got them. Because you really never know what will happen. I doubt my mom knew when she was 20 that her life would turn out to have a seriously sad ending.
And I wonder how she would have lived differently if she had known.
It’s the holidays. Which means you’ve likely been spending more money than usual on gifts that people don’t really need. So a post about spending more money is probably the last thing you want to read right now.
But hear me out. This night just convince you to trade in all your prezzies for cash and buy yourself something that would actually make your life better ;)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about spending money on my business (in particular, how much money I have spent so far, and what I plan to spend in 2013)
And I’m guessing it’s about time for you to spend some money on your business.
I know, I get it. You’re just getting started, and money is tight. You’ve got billz to pay, and you started this new business to make more money, not spend more.
So did I. So does everyone. But it shouldn’t stop you from investing in your biz.
I work with a lot of people who are hesitant to spend money on their businesses. They want the cheapest website possible. They don’t want to pay to learn to market themselves. They won’t hire out, and they won’t take the risk.
And I’m here to tell you straight up – spend the money.
Do what you need to do to get to where you want to be.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars (more on that in a sec) on different programs, designers, and coaches to help with my business, and I’m still willing to pay more. Because I’ve witnessed the results of investing.
Instead of being hesitant to show my website to people, I proudly pimp it out everywhere I go now, thanks so my flashy new design ($1200).
I’m a better coach because of the excellent training I did ($5000)
Instead of getting all my clients by asking friends if I can coach them, my clients come to me, thanks to several awesome marketing courses I’ve taken ($2300).
And ultimately, I have more confidence in my business because of hours of coaching to help work through crap ($1700)
I also make more money.
But it’s more than just about the money. It’s about operating your business as a professional. If you were the BEST at what you do, how would your website look? How would you market yourself? How would you conduct your transactions with clients? What kind of training would you make sure you have?
This is not to say that you can’t get started right now, without spending a dime. Start getting really good at what you do. Practice. Learn. Read. Grow.
But when it comes time to get serious about it, get serious about it.
No one can do it alone, and you’re no exception. It take an incredible amount of time, dedication, tenacity, and strength to keep going. Make it as easy as possible on yourself.
Hire a designer.
Hire a coach.
Take a marketing course.
Pay for the convenience of having people on your team.
I wrote last time about assumptions, and how (especially in the online world) we make all kinds them about how well people are doing in business, how much they make, what they must spend, how much work they must do, yadda yadda yadda.
I sometimes have friends who knew me before I started Uncaged that say to me “You’re so lucky! Look how well you’ve done! I wish I could get there, but I’m struggling, it’s really hard….” But you know what? They’re not really serious about it. How can I tell? They’re not willing to invest.
It ain’t luck, people. It’s hard work, the willingness to invest, and lots of risk that have gotten me to this point.
Now I feel strongly that I need to clarify a little bit here. Not being ready, not being serious – these aren’t bad things. It takes a while to get to the place where you’re confident in your business ideas; a place where you KNOW what it is you want to do, and you have some time actually DOING it under your belt. Investing before you’re fully ready to jump in is a serious waste of money, because there is no doubt that your business will change once you start actually doing it, and you want to be really sure before you start spending money all willy nilly.
I actually highly recommend that you don’t spend a cent til you’re clear on what, exactly your business IS, what your greater purpose or mission is, and have worked through a lot of the initial fears and doubts – because your biz success will hinge on you on doing the prep work – emotionally, physically, energetically. If you’re in this boat, the just getting started boat, the ONLY thing I recommend you spend money on is working with a coach to figure out your shizzle.
So without further ado, here’s a comprehensive list of everything I’ve spent money on to help grow my business this year (in no particular order, and not including my coaching training, which I took over a year ago)
Uncaged Business Expenses
1. Headway WordPress Premium Theme $70
2. Website hosting at Bluehost $75
3. Website Design $1200
4. Marie Forleo’s BSchool $2000
5. Clients + Cash marketing course $197
6. Products + Cash marketing course $97
7. Coaching $1700
8. Copywriting $1000
9. Advertising $70
10. Natalie Sisson’s Online business course $37
TOTAL = $6446
I’m sure there are other small expenses in there that I’ve forgotten about, but you get the jist – I’ve invested.
Why have I spent SO much money? Because I believe in what I do, I want to be the best at what I do, and I want to make money doing it. I’m still learning, and there will always be places to improve.
Could I have gotten to where I am without spending this money? Maybe. Eventually.
Did investing in my business speed up the process? Absolutely.
What did my money really buy me?
- The convenience of not having to learn a skill that I have no interest in learning.
- Support, accountability, motivation, and sometimes, asskicking
- A network of awesome, likeminded people
- Time. A whole hell of a lot of time.
Am I saying that you should get a second job, take out a business loan, or rob a bank to be able to grow your business? It all depends on you, and how much you want it.
What are you willing to do to create the job of your dreams?
Might be time to invest in yourself this Christmas :)
Where have you been hesitant to spend in your business? Tell in the comments below!
I’ve been working on getting my new digital course Stop Whining + Start Living up and out there, and have been thinking a lot about why I chose such a weird title.
Other than the fact that I found it kind of funny, why do I feel compelled to tell people to stop whining?
Oh right – it’s because I can’t stand whiners.
Whining is a cop-out. It’s a way of not dealing with your shit and not taking control of your life.
If you want something badly enough, what are you gonna do to get it?
It’s time for us all (myself included) to step it up a few notches. Start living like you mean it. And making choices like they matter (because they do).
When you’re dead serious about creating a life, a relationship, a business, an adventure for yourself, you make it your top priority, plain and simple.
When you’re serious about changing your life, every choice matters. What you spend your time doing. Who you spend your time with. Where you dedicate your energy and where you slack off.
If you want to start a successful business that gets clients and makes money, put the time in. Do the work. Stop spending all your money on new shoes, nights out with the girls, and trips to the Caribbean. Use it instead for that business course you know you need, but can’t afford.
If you want to meet a quality man, stop going to the same trashy bars, getting wasted, and taking home losers.
If you want to travel the world, quit your job and get your ass on a plane.
It’s all about geography, choices, and deciding to prioritize this thing that you want so badly.
Because I guarantee, if you want it badly enough, and you put the time, energy, money, and love into what it is you’re going for, there’s no way you won’t get it.
What have you been whining about in your life, and what will you do to step it up and start prioritizing your dreams? Share in the comments below.
You know how sometimes, even though you love them, the people in your life who have it more “together” than you can make you feel like a real piece of shit?
Yeah. That happened to me recently.
I was at a coach friend’s house the other day, and her walls were full of these post it notes. I’m taking probably 100 post-its, all arranged in perfect asymmetrical rows, that were splattered with little inspirational affirmations and thoughts and other coachy type things.
And one whole chunk of wall was dedicated to celebrating the past – one note for each thing she had accomplished.
Think reverse bucket list – a backwards look at everything she’d done, all with a neat little checkmark through them.
Now before I go any further, I should say that this girl, she is absolutely adorable. She’s the kindest sweetest chica I know, and my feeling shitty because of her awesome accomplishments and creative post-it note haven has NOTHING to do with her. It’s ALL me. And my own bullshit insecurities. So don’t go thinking I’m a bitch – it’s my own stuff (everyone is entitled to their stuff, right?!)
K, so anyway, I see this list and I immediately get jealous of all the amazing things she’s accomplished. And the fact that she has a gorgeous condo in which to display such amazingness. And the fact that her list of future goals is about 1000x more ambitious than mine.
And all I have is a dirty van and a few scrappy notes in my moleskin about what I wanna get done, eventually, someday, when I’m done being a total hobo and actually feel driven to do something more with my life.
Except, I do have more. I just haven’t quite structured it into a fancy little art project… yet.
The more is all those totally cool things I’ve done before I lived in a van.
Funny how quick we are to write off what we’ve done in the past and only focus on all the things we want for the future.
But when the future seems far away, and we’re feeling anxious about our BIG dreams (and the pressure that can come along with them), celebrating your past is a quick and easy way to reconnect to how amazing you are already, regardless of what the future holds.
So without further ado, I present to you my Reverse Bucket List – a list of all the things I’ve accomplished that I’m super proud of. Some big, others subtle. All which have played a part in crafting me into the super goddess (haha… but seriously) that I am today.
Read. Be inspired. And go create your own list of at lest 50 things. I dare you.
Becca’s Reverse Bucket List
1. Pay my own way through University
2. Go on a solo backpacking trip through Thailand
3. Teach English in another country
4. Bungee jump
5. Jump out of a plane
6. Swim with dolfins
7. Get straight As for a full year
8. Travel to a 3rd world country
9. Experience depression
11. Be in love
12. Be in love with myself
13. Manifest $10,000 (no kidding… should write a post on this soon methinks)
14. Become my own boss
15. Be location independent in my work
16. Ride an elephant
17. Take a 7 month road trip
18. Become a holistic nutritionist
19. Get accepted into a Masters program
20. Save a life
21. Sail with a Swiss polygamist
22. Learn to rock climb
23. Take a 30ft rock climbing fall
24. Lead climb a 12+
25. Make a difference in the world
26. Take a year off to travel
27. Pay off my 14 year student loan in less than 2 years
a guy a shitload of guys out
29. Experience total heartbreak
30. Be a total heartbreaker
31. Work on a farm
32. Work in a stripclub
33. Work at Hooters (stop judging me)
34. Go on a yoga retreat
35. Go on a solo rock climbing adventure
36. Live in a van
37. Make passive income
38. Get paid over $100/hour
39. Cultivate a regular yoga practice
40. Move to another country… alone
41. Travel around Central America for 2 months
42. Hike up an active volcano
42. Lead a workshop for 20+ people
43. Kiss a stranger
44. Learn to tell the hard truth
45. Start an online business
46. Walk my talk
47. Change someone’s life who I’ve never met
48. Pull an all-nighter on the beach and watch the sun come up
49. Get paid to write
50. Take a homeless person shopping
… and the list goes on, and will continue to go on as I continue to take control of my life and live from the place in me that KNOWS I deserve the best damn life I can create.
Now. your turn. Create your own list of 50 accomplishments (nothing is insignificant), and post it here in the comments. Celebrate your past, and get ready to rock your world when you see just how awesome you already ARE.
Flashback to 08/08/08.
I’m mid-move from Vancouver to Toronto, spending some time at my then-boyfriend’s parents place in Winnipeg before we headed to Ottawa to visit my family.
Life is a bit of a mess – everything I own is in boxes being shipped to Toronto. I’m (once again) leaving the place I’ve lived for the past few years and going to start a while new life in a whole new city. I’m scheduled to start a Masters in Counselling program a few weeks from now (the whole reason for the move).
Except that a few weeks ago, I decided I didn’t want to do the program anymore and another passion pulled me in a totally different direction. So a last minute change of school plans had me flustered to get into a Holistic Nutrition Program (also in Toronto).
Things are a little chaotic, and are about to get more chaotic when I get to Toronto and have to crash on a friend’s couch until I find a place to live, a job, and get myself ready to be a student again (after at least 5 years of not being one).
So I’m in Winnipeg, getting ready for a night out with friends, planning my last few days of fun before real life sets in. I try to keep in touch with family, letting them know my plans and when I’ll be home to see them. I call my mom, but there’s no answer. I try my brother, and no answer.
Meh – I’ll try again tomorrow.
We leave to walk to the bar, laughing with friends, talking about the big move and about how looking forward we are to what life in Toronto is going to offer. It was an average night out on all accounts – silly drunkeness, funny stories, one too many shooters and a feeling of carefreeness as we let the stresses of the rest of our lives go for just a few hours.
It was an average night.
Except that across the country, in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, my mom is dying.
It was an average night.
Except that after over 25 years of struggling with anorexia and emotional disorders, my mom’s heart, wonky from all the prescription meds, cigarettes, and lack of nutrition, started beating erratically, and eventually stopped.
It was an average night.
Except that my mom, a mere 50 years old, is falling down on the bathroom floor in her friend’s house while watching the Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
It was an average night.
Except that that night, on 08/08/08, I wish I had called earlier. I wish I had called more often. I wish I has known what to do to help her. I wish I had been anywhere else but drinking in a bar.
It was an average night.
Except that it changed the course of the rest of my life.
It changed the way I saw my past.
It changed the way I lived my present.
It changed the way I wanted my future.
It was an average night for most people.
Except for me. And my poor momma.
They say 08/08/08 is a lucky number. And I actually kind of believe them.
Was a sudden death a blessing for a woman who was slowly deteriorating, killing herself with every bite of food that she pushed to the side of her plate and eventually threw in the garbage?
Was a sudden death a secret gift for a woman who probably wanted to die when she was a teenager, after her older brother molested her and her family blamed her for it?
Was a sudden death a sigh of relief for a daughter who wasn’t ever quite sure there was anything she could do to help her mother?
This August 8 will mark 4 years since my mom’s body finally gave out on her.
And it will mark 4 years since I decided it was time to take control of my life. Time to stop blaming my circumstances, and my shitty childhood, and my sick mother, for all the reasons why I felt like a bit of a screw up.
My mom lost her life, and I reclaimed mine.
You know how people are always saying that you that you have to find balance in your life? That living in perfect harmony will be the answer to lifelong fulfillment and happiness?
Oh come on. What a load of crap.
Let me tell you – if I had spent the last year plugging away at my business and still living a life of balance, I’d have built an extremely inauthentic, generic, run-of-the-mill nutritionist website where I was trying to be just like ever other nutritionist on the block. I didn’t know what set me apart, so I tried to be like everyone else. I’d actually started creating that business, but only half-assed it and eventually stopped altogether (thank goodness). Amen to all the wonderful nutritionists out there who are rocking their businesses, but that is not me, and it would not have served you, the reader, if I had taken the nice balanced road.
Instead, what I did was went to extremes. I took an entire year off from working, (save for some really part time side projects), and conducted a bit of an experiment whereby I lived for the sake of living. I travelled to Dominican and camped on the beach and went rock climbing (twice in 4 months), I spent time playing up in Northern Ontario, I drove across Canada, I spent a month in BC camping and climbing, I played in parks in Toronto with friends and napped and read books and ate foods. I did zero nutrition related work. I did zero for my website. I did zero, nothing, zilch to further my career in any specific direction.
And I had a WICKED year. And it gave me the space to get out of my head and understand what it was I really wanted to do.
What I REALLY wanted.
And then, when I was ready, I dove headfirst into it and started my coaching business. I have been working my ass off since, putting other life stuff on the back-burner in favor of getting my site out there, creating content, and coaching new clients.
Trying to stay in balance means always keeping an equal focus on every area of your life – your work, your family, your social life, your health. Sounds like a good idea in theory. But when trying to balance all things, nothing gets done.
Everything stays at a nice comfy homeostasis, but nothing. gets. done.
When you’re in this nice comfy balanced zone, there’s no immediate need to put overtime into any one project or area of your life (this fact is built right into the model – keep all areas equal). When you’re dividing your energy equally between all these things, the output is at about 20% each.
It’s impossible to give 100% of what you have, all the time, to every area of your life.
We all know that it’s not til you really hit rock bottom, or shit hits the fan, or the discomfort of being too comfortable sets in, that change really happens. It’s not til you feel so MOVED to put your energy into a certain area that you actually get any forward momentum.
Start thinking of life in cycles, and know that once the work cycle winds down, you will have more time to devote to the family cycle, and when your health starts to need more of your attention, you will send your time focused on that cycle. Etc etc etc.
Think of your energy as finite rather than infinite, and consciously choose where you are going to focus it at any given time.
Stop half-assing your attempts. If you want some time to relax, relax FULLY. And if you say you’re determined to build your biz – then by golly, pour your heart into that baby.
Because every area in your life deserves 100% of your love at some point of another, and you simply can’t give it all, all the time.
Stop short-changing yourself, and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the person who stays in balance.