But Do You Like It?
I get that you're good at it. I get that no one else is doing it exactly how you are. I get that it's become "your thing" and you're not exactly sure what else you would do. I get alll of that. I even get that there are certain things about it that you would miss if you let it go.
Having said all of that: Do you love what you're doing for a living right now? Do you even LIKE it?
I know that seems like a really overly obvious question with an equally obvious answer, but that is, sadly, not the case. The more I meet with business owners, the more I am beginning to understand that people start and continue businesses for loads of reasons that don't have anything to do with loving it.
Here are some of the reasons I've heard:
- I saw the need for it and no one was filling that need so I figured, "Why not me?"
- God/my family/my friends/my boss/a dream told me they thought I should.
- It's what I went to school for.
- I always sort of assumed I would do this.
- I'm REALLY good at it.
- It's all I know how to do.
- I like doing certain aspects of it, but loathe many others. I guess I'll take the good with the bad and call it a day.
- I'm too far along to start something new.
- People are relying on me to keep doing this.
- I'm not making enough yet to quit.
- I'm making too much now to quit.
Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, then you, my dear friend, have a case of the "shoulds".
Dropping all shoulds, what would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? What would you go after with passion and joy if you knew it would be a success and everyone would support you?
THAT is the scenario you want to sit with and daydream about and begin to elaborate on whenever you have a spare minute or two. And here's the other thing: if you were doing what you wanted to be doing (and are good at doing as well) then WHO would you be? WHO would you be as a person who was spending the majority of their time doing things they love and getting paid for it?
Before I started my business I used to spend a lot of time thinking "Meh. Running my own business would be too much responsibility." I never stopped to think WHY that may or may not be true. I just made an assumption and allowed that to be my excuse. I also used to spend a lot of time thinking, "If I DID run my own business, then I would do it much later in life when I have nothing to lose and it's more for fun." Again, no facts to back this up. Just a thought I attached to and turned into truth.
These thoughts kept me unhappy in my career for years and years. I did many things I loved but I did many more that I didn't love. I worked with incredible people, but I often found myself working for bosses who didn't recognize my value to the organization and didn't pay me what I was worth or respect my leadership. Over time I began to feel resentful. I wanted to fly! I was sick of being tied to someone's else's nest.
The idea for my business started small about two years ago. I began to talk openly with my partner, Charlie, about what I would do if I could do anything. What would that look like? What would my business be? It started off with me being able to identify the things I knew I didn't want more than the thing I DID. For instance, I knew I didn't want to open a yoga studio (even though I had worked for yoga studios for many years). I knew I didn't want to be a full-time photographer (even though I am a photographer and I love to take and edit photos). I knew I didn't want a retail shop (again, even though I have TONS of retail experience and LOVE boutiques). None of those things felt like they encompassed "me" fully. They were pieces of the puzzle but they weren't all of it. Sometimes you have to start with the "meh" before you get to the "YES".
Charlie helped me list all of the things I'm good at and love and we created a bit of a brand filter and the start of what would become The Upspeak Collective. I remember when I felt really impatient in a job that I had about a year and a half ago and I began to feel like I had something inside of me that needed to express itself. It was like a deep well inside of me that was ready to explode - a creativity that I almost couldn't stop if I tried. I was still convinced, however, that I wasn't ready, so I left that job and took ANOTHER one - EVEN as the owner sat down with me and said, "You don't want to work for me. You're going to start your own business."
I didn't believe her. In fact, I tried to convince her otherwise. I basically created my own job description and told her why she should hire me. A few short weeks later I started working for her full-time and I was basically just putting off the inevitable. A couple of months into that new job I made my business dream a reality by becoming an LLC and launching my website. I defined my products, chose a business name, began posting on my business IG and FB pages, and started to market my services. I did this part-time for about 4 months before I took the leap and left. Enough with the excuses. It was time.
And here's the thing: my business would not be a success if I was doing something I didn't like. I can promise you that. The fuel that runs my business is my LOVE.
It's my love for my clients, my services, my branding... all of it. I'm good at it, yes. I believe it's a business that really encompasses me. I do photography. I do brand support. I do social media and websites. I do budgeting and contract help and team building. I help business owners with inventory and pricing and product ideas. I do all of the things I've always done for other business owners but now I do them on my own terms with the people I choose to work with each and every day and it feels so.damn.good.
There's no cap on how much money I can make for myself. There are many things that go into that number, but one of the biggies is, "How much time and energy do I want to put in this month?" I don't receive paychecks from my boss anymore so I have to create them myself. If I meet my goal for the month and want to relax a bit, then I can do that. If I want to up my game and push a little harder to grow and challenge myself, then I can do that too. The sky's the limit when you are working for yourself and connecting your talents with your passion. Talent is not enough. Passion is not enough. You have to marry the two for a true flow to occur.
So what do you love? What are you good at? How can you make money doing those things? The days of excuses are over. It's time to begin. And if you've already begun but aren't feeling the love - let's talk about that too. It's never too late to make a shift. Your dream job is waiting.