I love Instagram, like, I reeeally love Instagram, but god damn it puts some crazy expectations into our heads right?! How cool do those business chicks look and how the f&*^ do they find the time to keep their gram so glam?! Pssst… Welcome to business fantasy.
Not long after I left my International Modeling job (not glam at all) I had zero idea of what I wanted to do. So, as any 19 year old would, I jumped in a van and travelled the South Island of New Zealand for a month. It opened my eyes to a lot of beautiful life changing moments and it also helped me dream up the idea of my business… Because my life would be glam right?
Hahaha no gf, no.
Fast forward a couple of years and here are my top realisations that I have learnt along the way…
1) Owning a Business is Hard Work
You will put in a LOT of time, energy and money. That means, if you’re looking for freedom right now, look elsewhere. Depending on what kind of business you’re running, you’ll be working on weekends, nights and holidays — at least in the beginning. On the plus side, you will learn that working 80 hours for yourself is way freakin better than working 40 hours for someone else.
It’s up to you how you manage your time and build your business. BUT, if you’re looking to work a few hours a week and have your sales funnel or ‘bot do all the heavy lifting — think again.
You’ll have to understand sales and marketing and branding (among a lot of other things). Even though you might hate numbers, you need to come to grips with accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes. Or at least know enough to hire the right people (or get the best tools) to help you do it.
It doesn’t matter how many books you read or webinars or live events you attend — the real learning will come from actually doing the things… or failing and then doing them again and again… (lol totally me, heeeellooo business reality)
2) Overnight Success is Bullshit
You might not have heard of that person or brand until they hit it big, but they WERE working in the trenches the whole time. Believe that. ‘They’ say it takes a sole trader 4-5 years of hustle and fails before they actually get there 5 seconds of fame. Stick it out sugar, you’ll get there with persistence and consistency.
3) Origin Stories are Condensed. FACT.
I’m sure you have read a few handful of stories that usually go like this: “I left my job/marriage/was fired/had a tragic life event happen then there i was with $2.00 in my account, I was living out of my car, sleeping on my friend’s couch…”
“I hit it big and now effortlessly bring in 6 figures a year, a month, a week”.
I have nothing but respect for the person who worked their way out of a terrible situation, heck, even my story goes like that… BUT, please tell me what you did from living in the box/car/shelter to getting your life back on track and making money.
That “in the meantime” part is always missing. Tell us that story. Show us the business reality, inspire us with your journey so that we know that the dark nights won’t last forever. You’re successful now, we get it. But don’t leave out the gritty parts. We want to see it, show us the damn reality that is coffee 5 times a day, walking around in pajamas with greasy hair cause how the heck do you find time to shower between all the creativity and determination.
Without all that, you would not be sipping on that dam cocktail in Bali posting photos of you in a kini on your laptop (guilty)
4) It’s easy to fall into the Six-Figure Trap
Starting a blog, podcast, video series, etc. will not automatically lead to six figures (see my note about overnight successes above). That’s a cool goal to work towards, but that’s just another version of the “quick success in X number of steps” meme.
I’ll happily call out my own bullshit because I believed this too! I started my business and within 2 months I was making videos of “how I did it”. The fantasy idea of where I wanted to be wore off, and Business Reality hit – I didn’t do anything. I made my website, designed products, but… I had sold under 10 items.
We want to believe that our effort will create immediate (and predictable) results. But usually, that’s not how it works. It takes testing, tweaking, building relationships, promoting, networking, etc.. just like anything else.
The one thing that gets left out is that if you achieve success quickly, you have to have an infrastructure in place to maintain it. Quick success doesn’t give you time to build that.
I’m sure you’ve seen emails along the lines of… “I made $100k last month using the proven steps that are included in my new online course” That’s great and I’m happy for your success, I kinda want to take your course so I can have that… BUT, show me how you did it, not just the overall outcome….How many hours did you actually spend designing, revising, tweaking and testing for your success to come to life.
You cannot make the same kind of decisions with a six-figure business that you made with $6.00. Or $600.00, or $6000.00. It’s not the same world or mindset. You have to be ready to play bigger before you can be bigger.
5) Business is not predictable
Having a business is not like having a predictable weekly source income from a job…You might even lose your money weekly rather than it streamlining in. Say you have wild, wonderful success or your big idea might fizzle. Surveys might tell you people want your service, but when it launches, you only hear crickets. That’s how it is in business reality.
By the time you get to market, the thing you created might be out of date, or someone else got there first with something that makes your product obsolete (how f’n annoying is this, been there, done that)
6) Know your Worth and your Why.
How do YOU define Success?
Forget what the instagram babes tell you success should be or what it should look like in the business fantasy world. Take some time to think about yourself and what you want out of it.
Have you asked yourself;
– Is it Money, Love, Peace of mind?
– Am I afraid ti charge what my products/services are really worth?
– Do I hate putting myself out there?
– Am I hesitant to talk to people about what I sell?
It could be that the biggest block to your success, is you. Successful people have coaches and mentors. Get involved, get proactive, guidance is what most of us need, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, your business won’t lose anything from it.
7) The Business Reality
There’s nothing wrong with having big dreams. In fact, I think they’re essential. But don’t be distracted by the fluff and the airbrushed Instagram lifestyles. Understand that your faves are working hard for their money. And they’ll have to continue to do so if they want to keep it coming in through all the changes and upheavals that happen in the real world.
This entire business process will push you out of your comfort zone and force you to grow and evolve. That’s really the best (and toughest) part.
Be willing to do what it takes and understand that there are no easy, effortless shortcuts to anyplace worth going. You’ll have to put in the work. The reward can be everything you desire.