Not All That Glitters is Gold: Choose Your Own Path to Success

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I have been self-employed since October 2013, and being in business for myself has taught me a lot of things. The biggest lesson, however, has been that it is absolutely critical to trust yourself… to go with your instincts… to be authentic.

When I first started out, I was in a government-run program for entrepreneurs (here in Ontario, Canada). As such, I was obligated to meet certain requirements, and to provide monthly updates — meaning I had to track a lot of details, and report on these every month. Much as that went against my personality, and I found myself having to grit my teeth against it often, I also see how very beneficial it was, and how it definitely helped me to survive my first year in business. The added accountability, support, and financial backing were what pushed me, and kept me moving forward.

Also in my first year or two, I soaked up every bit of advice and piece of information I could get my hands on. I participated in countless webinars, signed up for a plethora of business/entrepreneurial e-Newsletters, and followed the “gurus” on Facebook and Twitter (eg. Marie Forleo, Danielle Laporte, Christine Caine, Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, Michael Hyatt, Gina Devee, etc. ).

But at some point, I reached my limit. I got overwhelmed, and experienced information-overload, to say the least. I got frustrated, thinking that I’d never make it as an entrepreneur if I couldn’t ever do all of the things these “experts” suggested was necessary for running your own business. I didn’t feel capable of ever growing my business into the 7-figure “empire” that these gurus promised was possible.

Not to mention, I changed my business model a couple of times, too, which only made me feel even more incapable of achieving “success”! If I can’t stick with one thing, how will I ever manage  to grow my company into a 7-figure business?

Here’s the thing, though: I don’t need a 7-figure business. Sure, it’d be wonderful to have that kind of income! Absolutely! But, do I need it? Nope.

Pablo Picasso wisely said:

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…And I agree! Was all of my time spent learning from these “experts”, wasted? Not at all! I am a big believer that you should “take what you love, and leave the rest“. In other words, learn stuff, apply what’s true for you, and then don’t worry about everything else. Just let it go.

I am slowly learning that, while it’s still very necessary to learn from others who have gone before you, it’s also equally –if not more– important to do what feels right for you, personally. Success doesn’t have to look like it does for everyone else. If you just try to copy someone else’s business model, or make one up from a mix of others’ methods, you are going to fail. Why? Because you aren’t being true to yourself, and you aren’t giving your customers what they truly want/need most: YOU!

There are far too many ideas, out there, of what a business (or, entrepreneur, or self-employment ) “should” look like. What’s better is to take some time out to sit down and ask yourself:

  • What do I really love to do?
  • What does my ideal business | job look like?
  • Is there a market for this? (Will people pay me for it?)
  • What are the different ways I could make money doing what I love? (Think out of the box!)
  • Why do I want this particular job | business?
  • How much income do I (or, does my family) really need?  What income level would help me create the lifestyle I desire to have?

Once you know what you’d love to do, why you’d want to do that, the ideal lifestyle you want to create for yourself, and how much you and/or your family truly needs you to make from your job, you can start getting into the finer details of what sort of job would be right for you, and what it would look like, realistically, when incorporated into your lifestyle. {Shameless plug: If you are seriously considering self-employment, I offer business mentoring! Visit my shop to find out more! 

Your business should look like what you want it to look like. If that means it ends up looking different than than what everyone, or the “gurus”, say it “should”, that’s completely okay. It’s good, even! People are drawn far more to authenticity than to conformity (whether they realize it or not ). Choose your own path to success! Ignore the critics.

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