One of the current Better Branding Course students said something in our Slack channel yesterday that stuck out to me and it inspired me to write today’s post.
“I am equal parts excited about my business and terrified that I’m not doing it right.”
That one sentence brought me right back to those first few months three years ago when I made the decision to strike out on my own and give this whole “entrepreneur” thing a go. (Even though I definitely didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur at the time.)
I vividly remember the same inner battle this student described between the all-consuming EXCITEMENT infiltrating my every thought — what will this business become?! what will I create?! who will I help?! — and the paralyzing FEAR that I might screw it all up.
Not that I might screw it up in terms of some magnificent failure; No, my fear was of a much quieter demise.
It was a fear that I might say the wrong thing. Or charge too much. Or target the wrong people. Or name choose the wrong name. Or back myself into a corner. Or choose the wrong path.
There seemed to be SO many qualified people out there telling me they had gone first, figured it out, and now they could show me the way. I was scared that if I didn’t follow all of their advice to a tee, that I’d never get anywhere and ultimately I’d be forced to shelve my dreams.
The problem is that while all of this looked a lot like advice, it felt a lot like constriction. Like this universal list of rules I had to follow unless I wanted to fail.
I’m sure I would get a big chuckle out of all those early Google searches, though even those searches couldn’t fully capture my debilitating self-doubt:
- “What’s a normal hourly rate for a designer” (…a designer that doesn’t know what she’s doing and is only calling herself a designer because she taught herself how to create blog headers in Photoshop.)
- “What’s the right way to package your online services” (…services that you think you might be able to provide but don’t have a ton of experience doing yet.)
- “How often should you send emails to your list?” (…that is assuming anyone will want to subscribe to my list anyway…)
Those fear whispers were nasty little suckers!
And the more concerned I became with “playing by the rules,” the more fearful I became of being exposed as a fraud.
Until the day I realized the RULES were strangling me.
I was so TIRED of second guessing myself, of wondering if I was headed down the right path. So tired of Google searching and blog post reading and free e-book downloading…
So I trusted my gut and said, “Screw the rules, the new plan is just to worry about this one thing and one thing only…”
I’ll do whatever I FEEL makes my light shine as brightly as possible, and I’ll trust people will be attracted to that flame.
Yep, that was literally my business plan: SHINE and welcome anyone else who wants to shine with you with open arms.
I didn’t “growth hack” my email list. I didn’t do loop giveaways for more followers on Instagram. I didn’t write dozens of guest posts to expand my reach. I stopped listening to ALL OF IT and instead I just focused on being ME.
Now, even I have to admit, a course sales email that is based on the premise that we shouldn’t listen to how everyone is telling us to run our businesses? Hah, maybe that’s one rule I shouldn’t have broken.
But I don’t care, because it’s important to me to share this belief I hold so dear —
Achieving the dreams you have for your life does not depend on you GETTING IT RIGHT.
It only depends on whether you stick to a path that feels right and true to your heart, and that you don’t give up.
When I was starting out, I wish someone would have told me it was okay to do things differently. I wish someone would have been there to give me raw materials instead of rules and to say, “Here, now go make whatever the heck you want with this.”
That’s what I hope my branding course can be for some of you.
Not a rule book; just a toolbox.
A toolbox that offers you thoughtful, guiding questions and exercises that will lead you not to what IS right because I say so, but to what FEELS right because YOU say so.
I hope you guys know by now that I’m not interested in “selling you the dream.” The dream, after all, is different for everyone.
But I will say that I’ve finally arrived at a place in my life where MY dream has become my reality because I created it. And I did it my way. According to my own rules that I made up as I went along.
I really do feel I was put here to share that possibility with anyone that’s open to believing their dream life is achievable to.
This course I’m offering is about so much more than branding to me; it’s about confidence. It’s about vision. And ultimately it’s about the FREEDOM there is to discover when you stop listening to the fear in your head telling you there’s a right or wrong way to chase down your dream.
If you’re ready to break the rules together, I hope you’ll join me inside the course.