When you start a business, you’re not just starting a business; you’re also starting a deep journey to self-discovery.
In my experience as a business start-up coach – both with my own business and through my clients’ – I’ve seen it over and over again. Being a business owner can bring up a lot of messy, emotional, personal stuff that you might not immediately associate with the traditional vision of staid and boring business. This is especially true when the business in question involves your lifelong passions.
Starting your own business, whether full-time or on the side, can dredge up loads of limiting beliefs, reawaken old fears and anxieties, and push the limits of what you believe you can do. But the good news is that starting a business is also one of the best (and fastest) ways I know to help you work through it all.
Here are just five examples of what I mean.
1. Understanding and Exploring Your Passions
Generally, people who start a business do so because it’s something they are passionate about. And I always advise my clients that it should be this way! Making the leap from “hobby” to “business” can have a huge impact on the way you approach your passion. That mindset shift might encourage you take yourself and your passion more seriously, explore it more deeply, or seek out more education and a higher level of expertise.
2. Developing Healthy Detachment
The flipside is that, because you are now being paid for your passion, you also need to learn to develop detachment. In development terms, detachment is “freedom from self-interest or bias.” Practically, you have to learn to put your ego aside to put your work up for sale. Separating your work from yourself and your ego is a big self-development challenge! It might mean putting a price on your work, accepting criticism or rejection, or even dealing with a few “haters” or “trolls” on your website. There’s all sorts of fear that can pop up when we correlate deeply personal work with our personal worth, but turning those passions into a business requires that you cultivate that separation.
3. Overcoming Fear of Being Seen
Do you cringe when someone says the words “marketing” or “sales?” When you start a passion-based business, not only do you need to put your work up for sale, you actually also need to shout from the rooftops about it. Business is always a mixture of what you do and telling people about what you do – no matter what field you’re in. Learning to put yourself out there can be very uncomfortable, especially for creative types, but it is an essential part of business. I find a good first step is focusing on how what you do helps others. And, once you start changing people’s lives, you may find that you love talking about it!
4. Improving Time Management & Productivity
Being your own boss means you need to develop ninja time management skills to make sure all the wheels keep turning. There’s nothing like having to make it work to actually nail this. But perhaps the more important skill is not figuring out how to squeeze more hours out of the day, or more work into the hours you have, but rather learning to manage your energy instead of your time. Research has shown that taking better care of yourself can increase energy levels, making the time you do work more focused and productive. That’s excellent for your business and all other aspects of your life.
5. Expanding Your Skills Set
Being in business, often bootstrapping yourself, means learning a ton of new skills, not just time management: you must learn copywriting, blogging, web development etc. Learning and applying these new skills works all different parts of your brain, keeping you fit and healthy. From my own experiences, I can tell you that some of it is exhilarating, and some is downright frustrating. When you get to the frustrating level, though, don’t despair: studies have shown that pushing through a complicated challenge can actually increase the amount of willpower you have for the other areas of your life.
While all this is challenging and a absolutely a master class in personal development, the rewards are tremendous – getting paid for your passion, genuinely helping people, working your own hours and deciding your own direction. I believe it’s worth every second of discomfort to reap the benefits you’ll receive.
Cat LeBlanc is a Business Strategist & Venture Catalyst. Which means she has an uncanny talent for turning your brilliance into a profitable (& liberating) business. When Cat’s not guiding emerging entrepreneurs to their new business breakthrough, she’s in the spa with her partner, sipping cider, surrounded by ferns, soaking in the sweet freedom she’s created for herself (and wants for you). Find out more at catleblanc.com and pick up your FREE Business Idea Starter Kit here.