Disclaimer: This post is a little longer than usual, but I’ve written it as part of Racheal Cook’s Blog Tour, so it’s also extra-special 🙂
I’d like to begin by saying I’m SO thrilled to be back on Racheal’s Blog Tour this year – even more so given that the topic is building a business that loves you back. The kind of conversations happening here are ones that reeeeaally need to be had, as if your business doesn’t love you back? There really is no point to the madness.
I’d like to begin with a bit of mathematics and science, if I may.
(Did I just hear a groan??).
For me, being a solopreneur comes down to a very simple equation.
OUTPUT + INPUT = FULFILMENT
Or, put another way…
CONTRIBUTION + COMPENSATION = FULFILMENT
Let me break that down a little.
Output is the contribution I make to the Universe. It’s the way I serve others. It’s getting up every day, and thinking of ways that I can truly make a difference. It’s writing, creating, inspiring, encouraging, supporting and educating. It’s doing whatever I can to be a productive human being.
Input is the compensation I receive from the Universe in response to my contribution. It’s the money I receive for the work that I do. It’s the little blessings I recognise each day. It’s the freedom to be able to work from home, and not miss watching my daughter growing up. It’s the fruition of my goals and desires.
The theory is that the more I contribute, the more I am compensated. Makes sense, right? The more you ‘work’, the more you are paid.
But there have been many, many times where I have considered how much I’m doing on the output side of the scale, and felt like the Universe isn’t quite keeping up its side of the bargain.
There have been times where I have been working and working and working aaaaandd….I haven’t felt like I’ve gotten anywhere. Like the Universe hasn’t noticed that I’ve been doing my part.
But here’s something I have learned about the equation.
We have expectations, and we can be quick to conclude that it doesn’t hold up when our expectations are not met.
Let me explain with a personal example…
I have a dream.
It’s a dream I’ve always had, and one that I’ve never been able to shake.
I dream of owning a house in the country.
A house where the sunlight streams in through the kitchen windows in the morning, and a soft hazy breeze rustles the grass in the meadow outside. A house that smells of lavender, and always has fresh, white cotton sheets on the bed. A house that is light-and-airy, yet warm-and-cozy at the same time. A house where there is enough room for everything, but just being there means you don’t need much at all to feel fulfilled. A house where there are horses just beyond my garden, and there are blossom trees blooming in the spring. A house where it is easy to be still, peaceful and calm…and free to appreciate the smallest of pleasures. A house where the order of the day is family and laughter first, cleaning the muddy boot stains in the hallway second.
In my mind, my dream house looks a little like this. It’s the kind of house that would require the kind of money I’m so very far from having, and so remains a dream that burns so brightly, yet I can never quite feels its warmth.
It’s a dream that always begins with ‘one day’.
As virtuous as I like to think I am, my business hasn’t always been purely about serving others.
I expect the Universe to keep its side of the bargain, and I expect adequate compensation for my efforts.
Although I became a solopreneur for many reasons, one of the bigger reasons was that I believed if I worked hard enough, the Universe would tap into my dreams, and make them a reality for me.
In other words:
I believed that running my own business was the key to owning my dream home.
I figured…if I had any chance of owning the home of my dreams, and living the life that was calling me, it was going to take a fair amount of effort on my side of the equation.
At the time, I had just walked out of a job I hated. I had been in employment since leaving University, and I had no idea to begin. Not only did I have little to no experience of solopreneurialism, we also had bills to pay. A roof to keep over our heads. I was steeped in anxiety and depression.
Oh…and had a newborn to care of.
I began where most people begin – by looking at what others who seemed to be ‘successful’ were doing. I studied other solopreneurs who seemed to be making it, and tried to make sense of how I was going to even make ends meet, let alone move closer towards the life and home I’d been dreaming about.
I have to admit. What I saw didn’t sit too well for me.
I must say at this point – I am so respectful of other people’s journeys, and we all have our own paths to tread. But back then, I believed that if I wanted to be successful, I’d need to…
~ Create a rock-solid, completely standout brand and website
~ Become a ‘6-7 figure business’ solopreneur
~ Shout just a little louder than everyone else
~ Learn how to write those long-format sales pages
~ Get my head around customer psychology
~ Create a sales funnel
~ Build a list of thousands, and use it to market to my ‘tribe’
~ Write a book
~ Become an expert (whatever that meant)
~ Get some big-curl lifestyle shots
There seemed to be an unspoken formula.
And a lot of that formula made me feel…uncomfortable.
But the truth was…I didn’t want big-curl lifestyle shots. I didn’t want to write those sales pages. And I didn’t want to learn how to get into my customer’s mind to persuade them to do ANYTHING.
I wasn’t even sure if I wanted a 6-7 figure business.
And that got me thinking…what DID I want?
It took me a while to be able to answer this question.
After much reflection, I realised that what I REALLY wanted…was peace.
That house of my dreams? What it really symbolised was peace.
I wanted to feel that I could move slowly enough through life to actually get to taste it along the way.
I wanted to feel free to take my time to make decisions, and be creative under my own steam.
I had a MAJOR realisation…
The dream house was a nice-to-have, but the things I REALLY wanted could be mine WITHOUT the dream house.
Suddenly, as if by magic, the game had changed.
What if…I could feel the way I wanted to feel…without forcing myself to be someone I’m not?
What if…I could have the things I wanted to have…with compromising on who I really am?
What if…fulfilment didn’t look like I thought it did? What if it was the essence I was looking for, not the surface wants? And what if the essence was available to me right now? What would that mean for me?
Asking myself – ‘What if I already have everything I ever wanted?’ – was the question that changed everything.
It wasn’t just rhetorical.
It was an invitation to inspect my life through the eyes of gratitude, and recognise all of the ways – both big and small – that the Universe was already granting me my wishes.
Why is this important to business?
It’s important because when you realise you already have what you’re looking for, suddenly the pressure alleviates a little.
Sure…you may not have the life you’re ‘dreaming’ of, but if your perception on the ‘input’ side of the equation is shifted, you realise that maybe? Maybe you don’t need six figures right now. Maybe you don’t need to grow your list to 20,000 to be successful.
Maybe all you need is to make a handful of heartfelt connections.
Maybe all you need is simply to start spending less money on advancement, and more money on bringing more of what you truly want into your life.
Because the irony is?
When you acknowledge and recognise all of the things you ALREADY have in your life that are aligned with where your dreams are calling you to, that’s exactly what the Universe will be bringing more of your way.
More than anything, I hope you finish reading this blog post and spend the next 10 minutes looking around you at everything you have to be grateful for. Chances are…you won’t need to look far.
Switch your mind from focusing on the future, to grounding yourself in the present – because THAT’S where the magic happens.
Do something every day that will add value or beauty to the world…and remember that how the Universe chooses to compensate you may not always look like what you were hoping for, but it will ALWAYS provide you with your deepest desires in one way or another.
Once you’ve had some gratitude time 😉 , why not check out Suzi’s amazing post from yesterday (where she talks all about re-building her business so that it is more aligned with her soul), and don’t forget to visit Kacy tomorrow when her post will be published.
Yesterday: Suzi Istvan | www.socialsuzidesigns.com/
Coming tomorrow: Kacy Paide | www.theinspiredoffice.com