Whether you've been in business for yourself for a day or a decade, you remember that sweet feeling of freedom when you first thought, "I'm going to do this on my own. I'm going to go into business for myself."
The heady exhilaration of that moment was followed by other, not necessarily good, feelings. After the initial dream, you found out you had to learn about things like tax codes and office equipment, outsourcing and expenses. The result was often less than inspiring.
So how do you keep that burst of enthusiasm alive past the honeymoon stage of self employment? First, you can learn all the information necessary to make sure you're approaching self-employment from an informed and ready state. This can help you break free of the isolation, frustration and overwhelm that being self employed can generate.
But that's not all you need. Information alone is not the answer. If it was, we'd all be thin, Zen-master millionaires. We are flooded in information. We're drowning in it. What we need is the right information, sense in the chaos. AND we need to know what to do about it once we have it.
There are concrete, logical steps you need to learn to be successfully self-employed or to coach self-employed people. That's the easy part, the "info-dump" we've come to rely on to solve our problems. But in addition to that, and perhaps more powerfully, it is based also on the idea that having the right information will not guarantee success. Have you ever known what to do and still not done it?
The fact is that there are powerful forces within you tugging you away from the success you want. They're at work every time you organize your desk when you're supposed to be making follow-up calls. They're there when you rewrite the text to your website a hundred times instead of unleashing it on the world. They are your constant companion, causing the fluttery feeling in your stomach when you think of getting up to speak or think of contacting that influential person in your field with whom you'd love to do some work.
So how do you combat the dream-killers of frustration, isolation and overwhelm, plus the paralyzing conflicting intentions that keep you from being your highest self?
It starts with being very present to your body. In the West, we are taught that the body is a thing that carts around our brains, not the sentient, integral part of out being that it truly is. So instead of listening carefully to its messages, we mask them, medicate them and deny them. It's one of the causes of the epidemics of illness we see in our society.
Your body doesn't lie to you, and if you listen to it, it will guide you, even in business. Business IS personal, after all, and never more than when you are in business for yourself. Your body will give you all sorts of valuable business information in the form of intuition and guidance. Use it.
Secondly, you can learn the valuable lesson that fear does not equal "don't proceed." Being in business for yourself can be confronting in a big way. You will need to address issues like, "Am I good enough?" "Who am I to be doing this work?" "What if I fail?" Much of the conflict and inaction in self employment comes from trying to avoid these questions. Instead, feel the fear, listen to it, understand it, thank it for coming. Be with it. This is a process and not a gap-stop solution, so at first you may find that it's difficult to do. Stick with it. The key to freedom from overwhelm and paralyzing fear is to feel things fully, to allow "I'm not good enough," to live alongside, "Yes I am." You are both. After you accept the yin and yang of it, only then are you truly free to move on.
Thirdly, frustration arises from trying to force outcomes and seeking validation outside yourself, navigating via others' approval. The quickest way to business failure is to not know exactly what you offer and the value that it holds for others. Many businesses have failed trying to figure out "what people are buying" rather than what they offer that's unique. Of course, a key component of success in solo business is offering services that are appealing and topical, but done well this is a process that starts from within and not outside yourself.
The third dream killer, isolation, comes from the illusion that we're separate from others. In self employment it can particularly feel that way since we are alone so much of the time. You can combat isolation in a variety of ways, like finding communities of like-minded people, reaching out to collaborate with others and being very open to the experience of others' influence on you, such as by R&Ding your ideas, collaborating and finding strategic partners to leverage your efforts.
Self employment is a big idea and a big task. It requires gathering up a lot of knowledge that you don't necessarily intuitively have. But more than a series of great big projects, self employment is truly a road to self transformation, the process by which you learn to dream bigger, own that you have deep mastery of your experience and profoundly impact the world. Through self employment, you can uniquely express what you've been put on this Earth to say.
About The Author
Maria E. Andreu, speaker, writer and success coach, heads up the Self Employment System, a thriving community with resources, forums, learning clubs and mentor groups to help the self employed learn all the information they need to thrive and combat the dream-killers of isolation, frustration and overwhelm. To learn more and find free resources, articles and information, visit www.theselfemploymentsystem.com