You never know how life (or business) will unfold.
That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since I began my journey just over five years ago.
Life is full of people wanting to wanting to predict the unpredictable, namely life.
I never thought I’d be where I am today.
I never thought I could make a living doing something I truly enjoyed.
But I’ve proved myself wrong, simply by taking one small step at a time, even when I doubted myself, and especially when fear came for a friendly visit.
In today’s post, I’ve written about some of the biggest lessons and insights during the last five years.
These include my failures, my successes, and my a-ha moments.
It all started in the beginning, like all stories do…
1. The Beginning
When you start building a lifestyle business, all your excuses and fears will suddenly pop up.
Most people surrender at this point and go back to a comfortable existence.
This is very normal, although unfortunate, because anyone can do this.
The secret is to keep going and know that you’ll come up against mind-ghosts.
Your mind will freak out, and you will want to quit at some point.
When you’re doing something new, like starting a lifestyle business, it’s not always going to be comfortable.
Expect your mind to come up with reasons why you should stop, and then keep going.
That’s what I did.
To get through all this, you need passion.
Passion is the fuel that gets you through the obstacles.
But as you and I both know, sometimes you don’t even know what your passion is, which is a huge problem, and it leads to analysis paralysis.
4. Analysis Paralysis
The problem is getting stuck in analysis paralysis.
And you’re not going to get out of it with more thinking.
The simple, yet scary solution is to take massive action, even if you don’t know what your passion is.
You have to do something, because when you do, you’ll make progress, and inch by inch, things get clearer.
A big part of analysis paralysis is trying to get everything perfect before you start.
It’s not going to happen, so you might as well start now. You only need to know the next step.
Yes, you need a plan, but if you can’t get one, then do what you can. There are no rules to building a lifestyle business.
When I started, I knew I was going to get overwhelmed by too much stuff, so I joined a course, and followed the steps.
6. Stop the Research!
After a while, doing research is a form of procrastination.
You don’t have to know everything before you start. You only have to know enough to take the first step, and sometimes you won’t even know that.
Yes, you will make mistakes.
The only advice I’d give is to make more mistakes and fail more.
What are you afraid of?
7. Facing Fears
A big part of building a business is facing your fears.
Your fears about what others will think, of failing, and of breaking out from the status quo.
Doing what you love isn’t easy.
It’s new, scary, and uncertain, but it will ultimately lead to glory, if you keep moving forward, patiently.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. Not for most people.
It took me several years to learn the ropes, but you don’t have to go through that if you learn from someone who has already done what you want to do.
But it still takes time to build a business.
There are no quick fixes.
9. Quick-Fix Mentality
When I started, I had the get-rich quick disease.
It permeated every cell of my body. I wanted success and money easy and fast.
Then one day something clicked.
I realized I didn’t have to be a slave to that mindset, so I started following my heart, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But first I had to take full responsibility.
When you cure yourself of the get-rich quick disease, you realize that you have to take responsibility for your results.
It’s another scary step, but when you take it, you’ll feel a sense of excitement, because it means you are in control of your life.
If you want to build a lifestyle business, you can, but you have to make it happen.
No one else can do it for you.
11. Take Action
When you reach this stage, it’s time to take massive action.
Take whatever information you have, and take action.
Make as many mistakes as you can, and fail gloriously, because those failures are stepping stones to success.
When I stepped into action-mode, I started seeing massive results, and you will, too.
12. Information Overload
What you’ll quickly notice when you start taking action is all the advice out there.
It hits you like an avalanche and leaves you gasping for breath underneath all that information.
That’s why I like limiting my information diet. The best way to do this is to get a mentor, a coach, or join a course.
It guarantees great information and gives you the support you need.
It’s funny how most people refuse to invest in any course or coaching, but then they expect to build a thriving business.
Sure, you can do it, but why re-invent the wheel?
Even when you aren’t spending money, you’re spending time. Time that you can never get back.
If you want great information, it’s going to cost some money, but it’ll save you plenty of time, and frustration.
But joining a course or program doesn’t make you exempt from making mistakes.
In fact, you don’t want that.
Mistakes are what will help you grow. As humans, we learn from mistakes, and we grow wiser through experimentation.
Throw your theories in the trash and take action.
And blind action isn’t much better.
You need to focus on one single thing if you want success.
Yes, you can blend your passions together, but that doesn’t mean you dilute your time between 17 different projects.
You can only do so much, and if you want speed, you’ll get it by focusing.
You will ALWAYS have excuses, so expect them.
The good news is that you don’t have to listen to every single excuse you have.
This is something I discovered and it has helped me a lot. Excuses pop up all the time, but I keep going.
The excuses are mere alternatives. You say hi to them, and you keep going.
The same holds for when you start comparing yourself to others; you just keep going.
I compared myself to big bloggers and online entrepreneurs before I started, and I still do.
It doesn’t work, because you’re comparing your inner world to someone’s outer world, and it’s distorted.
All you can do is look at the progress you’ve made, and then keep moving forward.
Always keep moving forward.
A certain amount of spirituality is necessary in our lives for us to be happy.
We are not just logical robots moving through life. There’s something more to us than just these bodies.
This doesn’t mean you have to believe in a god, just that you remember to nourish the inner part of you, and focus on what makes you happy.
Building a lifestyle business comes down to happiness.
When you’re living the life you want, doing work you love, and you’re feeling good, you’re happy.
In the end, most people want be happy.
Everything else is a means to an end.
Remember that whatever you do, it has to take you closer to happiness, otherwise it’s useless.
20. Lifestyle Design
What kind of life do you want to live?
I mean really live. Not what others think you should live or what you think would be nice.
What do you REALLY want?
I love my freedom, and I get to spend my days doing what I want, which at the time means hanging out with my newborn son, Vincent, and learning a new language (Dutch).
But you have to be realistic.
When you start your first lifestyle business, you have to do your research.
You can’t throw up a blog about fluffy cats and hope that it makes money.
You need a plan, a blueprint, and a strategy. Don’t fool yourself into anything else.
For a long time I did things “my way,” and it didn’t work.
22. Start NOW
But sometimes you have to be unrealistic, because your priority should be to take action, not getting things perfect.
Even if you don’t know what you want to do, or how you’re going to make it happen, there is ALWAYS something you can do.
There is always a step you can take, even if it means going in the wrong direction and making mistakes.
It’s easy to be enthusiastic for the first three months.
Your determination will shine through when your enthusiasm starts waning, you start getting scared, and things don’t go your way.
This has happened countless times to me, and I’ve found that by just taking one step at a time, one day at a time, I get results.
And I get to do work I love.
Then people tell me that I’m lucky.
It isn’t luck.
I refuse to give up and settle for mediocrity.
When I started, I had no clue about what I was doing, but I learned, and I kept learning until I got the results I wanted.
If an obstacle came up, I didn’t ask why things were hard, I asked how I can keep moving forward.
When I asked how, the answer was often to get feedback; to get someone to help me along the path.
For me this means getting a coach or a mentor.
It’s invaluable to have someone looking over your shoulder and pointing out what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong.
When you’re truly ready to move forward, interesting things happen.
When you take action, it’s almost as if the universe conspires to help you.
It doesn’t happen all at once, and it never seems to happen in the way you expect it to.
Sometimes it takes years to figure out what you want to do, and then something clicks and you wonder how you could’ve missed it.
But life is tricky that way.
27. The Game of Life
Life makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and everything in between.
It can fill you with bliss, and it can feel like someone just crushed your heart with a sledge hammer.
It’s a rollercoaster, and when you take it for what it is, it can be fun, but get too attached to the outcomes, and you suffer.
Because you simply can’t control what will happen, nor can you predict the future.
28. The Unknown
If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I cannot know what will happen tomorrow.
I don’t have a crystal ball.
I could completely fail at what I’m doing and end up homeless, but so what?
All I can do is what I can do.
If I try to figure out how to stop “bad stuff” from happening in my lifestyle business, I’m going to end up in a padded room with a strait-jacket on.
29. Follow Your Heart
What can I do except follow my heart?
Sometimes not even that is easy. It’s easy to get confused, scared, and not know what to do.
In those cases you do your best, and you follow what seems to be your heart.
30. Do Your Best
People worry about doing the right thing, but you can only do your best.
I’ve stopped worrying about being perfect, because I can only do what I do.
I’m not perfect, and I’ll never be, so I write the best article I can, I help my coaching clients as best I can, and I create the best courses and products I can.
We take life and building a business way too seriously, and it sucks the fun out of it.
Relax a bit and have fun.
Don’t worry so much about building the perfect business or about making mistakes.
Or being on the wrong or right path.
Just do your best.
For me, this all comes down to attitude.
Most people complain, whine, and make excuses, but not you.
If you want something, you go for it. When you face obstacles, you blast through them. Sometimes it takes time, and sometimes it doesn’t.
But you don’t stop.
You never stop.
Be relentless about building a lifestyle business so you can live the life you truly want.
You can do this.
Your life is in your hands.
It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you, because if you truly want to build a lifestyle business and reclaim control over your life, you can.
But the decision has to be made by you.
There are no magic pills, quick fixes or step-by-step systems.
All that really matters is how determined you are.
What’s Your Lesson?
Those are my lessons.
What are some of yours?
I’m curious. Leave your answer below.
If you don’t have a business, then share a lesson from your life, because business and life blend together.
It’s all the same.
And if you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends!