The joys of being self-employed, freelance, your own boss, an entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, a fempreneur (forgive me also for taking on this seriously over-pampered title)… but is it a joy? Really? I love scrolling past all those posts on Instagram that give off the image of a well groomed, relaxed, happy, smiling, holiday-ing entrepreneur with bags of cash, the perfect partner, too many cars and what our materialistic society would deem ‘a perfect life’ (sarcasm intended). Even more entertaining are the Facebook adverts promising you all the tools and tricks you need to make cash from home in order to be your own boss. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
Let me tell you now, business is NOT a joy. It is a stress, a pain in the back side, an error of judgement, an ill thought plan, the source of most arguments with significant others and the unfulfilling, misunderstood answer to that uncomfortable question from the in-laws at Christmas – “what is it you do then exactly?’. Eurgh. Give me strength!!
All things considered though, I wouldn’t swop my entrepreneurial lifestyle for the world!! And I still hold onto those perfect Instagram images in my head and plaster them all over my vision board in fervent belief that I will one day get there!! And to be honest, 8 years in I’m not doing badly at all. I have a life a lot of people would kill for.
The point of this blog isn’t to make a list of the pros and cons of being an entrepreneur, or to compare the lifestyles of the rich, famous and successful. Actually, I wanted to pass on a very important lesson I’ve learned over the years in the acquisition, rise, and fall, of my 6-company empire.
That lesson, is PASSION.
And let me tell you, without that, all the money in the world won’t give you what I’ll now refer to as the ‘Instagram Lifestyle’. Money breeds money it’s true, but unless you have a bucket load of the stuff to start off with and the wisdom to know what to do with it, then the only thing that’s going to make you successful is, Passion.
Let’s just look at that word ‘successful’ before we move on any further. The word ‘success’ was first recorded in 1580 and was defined as the “accomplishment of a desired end”. A little over 400 years later and a quick search on Google will tell you to be successful means to have achieved wealth, fame, or social status. Oh how times do change. But for me, the metamorphosis of this definition is more than alarming. How is one supposed to acquire success, or even build towards success when the definition has become so obscured? It’s surely therefore impossible to ascertain what success really is? Is success measured by popular consensus? Or is it relative to our own beliefs and goals? Food for thought indeed.
Which brings me back to passion. Success can never be obtained if the only measure is comparison. The only comparison you can confidently make is the old cliche of who you were yesterday and who you are today. Have you developed as a person/intellectual/spirit? If yes then this is undoubtedly a form of success. Perhaps not the kind of success one would like as depicted by the ‘Instagram Lifestyle’, but success none the less.
If one is to FEEL truly successful, the journey towards success can only be driven by passion, and passion, statistically, is the missing ingredient in most failed entrepreneurs and businesses. If the end goal is desired for the sake of our Google definition, one would surely fail and let me tell you why.
Starting a business is hard. Going freelance is hard. There’s so much more to running a business and a growing a business than one might think. There’s more than just finance, operations, HR, PR, marketing, advertising, cash flow forecasting, customer acquisition, upselling, customer life time value and on and on and on. You might think you have all these skills (serious congrats if you do), but in order to establish and grow a business, you have to BE the business. You have to be so impassioned and inspired by what it is you’re doing that the love of it alone sends you hurtling down the path towards ‘success’.
I’ve heard guru’s preach it time and time again, but unfortunately when it comes out the mouth of a billionaire, one is inclined to dismiss it as antsy fancy marketing crap. “I just love what I do, I love giving to people, I love getting up at 5am to work”… and we all think, yeah sure, you also love hanging around on your yacht and going to film premieres in ten thousand pound suits (or ball gowns, all hail the fempreneurs out there!).
Truth is, when you are genuinely passionate about what you’re doing, nothing will stop you and success is inevitable. It might take forever and a day, but if you never give up, you WILL get there. I’m a huge fan of the Law of Attraction (check out the life category if this is your bag) and whilst I won’t preach about the physics of energy here, even the biggest cynic has to admit that failure is only failure to try, and in never giving up, one can only ever reach an end result (even if we don’t reach the Instagram rank). I attribute this inevitability to the LOA. Some would say God/Allah/Buddha. Others would say self-belief. Either way, if passion is the vehicle, the journey will be a blessing, and that in itself is success.
Thinking about starting your own business or going freelance? Learn this lesson before your bank balance is in the red, your hair is falling out, and you’re longing for the security of your 9 to 5…
If the idea of BEING the business has you jumping around like a loon and consuming all of your sleep like a kid on Christmas Eve, then go for it!!
If, however, you have a half-hearted idea of what it might be like, but you’re MORE excited by the prospect that whatever it is (and you’ll figure that bit out later) will have you earning the mega bucks and living the ‘Instagram Lifestyle’, heed caution. The end result should not be the goal. The goal is to be PASSIONATE about the JOURNEY.
Need help on your business journey? Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,
Bon Voyage sailors, meet you on the horizon