Start Today (an Affirmation for Aspiring Entrepreneurs)

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” - Karen Lamb

In my recent post, I shared with you my story about achieving my initial income goal within my first year of working for myself. Have you ever accomplished something that at first seemed impossible? If so, then you know how I’m feeling right now. Hopeful. Motivated. Optimistic for the future. And the best part is that now I have the opportunity to develop new goals for my life and business.

Now, I have the courage to play an even bigger game.

Right after I wrote that post though, I got an email from a reader that I wanted to share with you in case you might be struggling with the same thing. Or you may have some additional advice for our sister in the comments!

Hi Rosetta. I have been following your blog for a while now, and I really enjoy it. You are definitely an inspiration as far as entrepreneurship. I read your post today and I have been wanting to ask you, where did you get your training to be a life coach? I have been looking into several different programs, but I’d love to hear of where you got your training.

I actually get quite a few emails from aspiring coaches asking where I got my coach certification. I always make it clear that I am NOT certified, nor do I plan to be anytime soon. Most people don’t know that you DON’T have to have any type of certification to be a coach. None. It’s not required and the programs are usually quite expensive.

Here’s what I told her:

You are not required to have formal training to be a coach. I have successfully helped my clients for over 2 years without it. I am not certified, nor do I plan to be anytime soon. I will, however be taking my first-ever coach training course later this month in DC with acclaimed coach, speaker and author Valorie Burton.

We had a great follow-up exchange after that as well.

How did you start coaching people? I have been so incredibly hesitant to launch coaching/advice services on my site because of lack of training…I keep feeling that because I have not been actually coached to coach, I may not know enough to truly help people in their personal situations. Is it just my fear that is stopping me? What were the first steps you took and how did you know you’d be able to successfully serve people?

I love questions like this. They are the questions we already know the answer to, but that our lizard brain won’t let us see for ourselves. That’s why sometimes it takes confirmation from someone else.

Yes, it is mostly fear and not fully trusting in your own gifts. Your heart has already shown you that you are ready to serve…now it is up to you to listen and act. To answer your question, I just…started. And then the people showed up. I wish the same for you.

And YOU. Start now. Today.

I know. It seems so easy for me to say, right? Well, that’s honestly the very best thing I can say. Get going. Because the sooner you start serving people, the sooner you’ll be able to start learning along the way – what you need and don’t need. What you’re good at and what you’re not. There is never a “perfect time” to begin. There is no way you can or ever will know everything first.

Also: Don’t fool yourself into thinking more education will automatically make you successful in your business. Action plus results trumps all.

In fact, the best kind of training and validation you can get is by sharing your gifts and then seeing if they truly help people (or not). This, of course, can be terrifying.

You, gifted? Talented? World-changing? Yes. You. Our greatest gift is often the source of our greatest fear.

This is why we procrastinate. This is why we play it safe.

But remember that the only way to honor your gifts is to share them. Offer them up to the world. You never know where they will take you.

Today I wish you the courage to honor your unique gifts by sharing them with the world. Know that you are enough. You do not need anyone’s permission to follow your dreams.

Today’s Assignment

Share your responses to the following questions in the comments:

  1. What do you want your life to look like a year from now?
  2. What limiting belief are you holding onto right now that’s holding you back from taking action?

P.S. If you’d like to be coached by me, I’d be happy to serve you.

 

What Happens When You Take Your Purpose Seriously

“You achieve much once you stop telling yourself you can’t do things.” — Elizabeth Kadetsky

I was just thinking that it’s been one of those weeks (months?) where I realize that if you truly commit to your big dream, it takes sacrifice. No, not sacrifice…I hate that word. It implies a loss or lack of something. More like intense focus. Giving in to flow.

But it’s not always easy to reconcile that with what everyone else is doing around you. Right now, my mom is on vacation having fun in Florida with my uncle and cousins while I’m having yet another working weekend. Right now, several of my friends from high school are meeting up at our old stomping grounds in Honolulu. (Did I tell you I went to high school in Hawaii? Yeah. My mom married a Navy guy when I was 9. We lived on Pearl Harbor.) So, I’m hatin’. Just a little. Okay, a lot.

What am I doing? I’m building the business that I said I wanted for myself. I’m being careful with my money so I can pay for my first coach training later this month and attend a few professional conferences in October. I’m prepping for a big speaking gig in Denver next week. (There’s supposed to be 200 people there. No pressure!)

I am taking my purpose seriously.

Have you ever read personal stories of successful people? Listened to interviews with people you admire? Usually there were years of intense work before the big reward/payoff. We so often only see people when they’re already accomplished, but we rarely see or know the struggle. How could we? The path to fulfilling your true purpose is so personal, which is why it’s always a gift when people do share those stories with us.

Lately though, I’ve been thinking that maybe the work itself is the reward. You learn so much about yourself, whether you’re building a business or a new life. You grow. You get the opportunity to share your unique, God-given gifts with the world. This, I think, is the bliss we all seek. But it requires a huge commitment. If you are an artist, you drop everything and give in to the inspiration. If you’re a coach, you submit yourself fully to the needs of your client. If you’re a writer, you stay up with the muse until 3am. You feel the words coming through you and you ride it out.

It’s not easy. It’s not even free.

It’s a heavy thing to finally be able to admit to yourself that you know exactly what you were put on earth to do and that you intend to do it. But here’s what happens when you do. When you finally take your purpose seriously and start doing the work that only YOU can do to serve the world, doors begin to open up.

And you begin to have the courage to start walking through them.

How to Have a Different Life (or One Year as the CEO of Me)

Like everyone else, I did my taxes last month and could hardly believe my eyes when I submitted the paperwork to the IRS.

I earned $60,000 in revenue in 2010, my first year of business for myself.

Of course, $60,000 certainly doesn’t make me rich (hello, expenses!), but the significance of this number, for me, is that it’s pretty much the same amount I was making as an annual salary in my previous full-time job.

Rewind back to January of last year. When I first quit my job, I was totally excited, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t also scared. The fear and the lizard brain were there the whole time, even as I began to build my business, work with coaching clients, get speaking gigs and create my own training programs.

Most of the time, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, or exactly what the outcome of my efforts would be, but I kept going anyway. Which is how I ended up here today, having proven to myself that it’s absolutely possible to have a different life if you’re willing to work for it.

How to Become the CEO of You

A lot of Happy Black Women often comment here on the blog about their goal to leave their job and work for themselves. Many are in the process of doing so right now! If that’s you, I’d like to continue to offer encouragement and link you to tools that might help you in your journey. I know how discouraging it can be to struggle making $10,000 a year on your own, let alone the equivalent of a full-time income. But the first thing you need to know is that “the economy” has nothing to do with you. People are still buying products and services (and they always will). Your job is just to make sure they buy from YOU. So don’t blame “the economy” on why you can’t get your business off the ground. It’s a weak excuse, and I know you’re better than that. To get started, you may want to read my How to Start a Side Hustle blog post series.

The second thing you should know is that blogging and social media are responsible for 99.9% of the leads I get in my business. Without my online presence, I would have NO business. Seriously. If you don’t have a professional blog yet, download my FREE ebook, The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog. Geared toward newbie bloggers, this easy-to-read guide will take you from soup to nuts in terms of your blog concept, software, design, content, promotion and analytics. Longtime bloggers will also benefit from the marketing angle of the ebook which outlines how to build your personal brand online through blogging.

How I Make Money in My Business

I operate as a sole practitioner in my business, which is based in Washington, DC (though I can “work” from anywhere). My clients and customers are mostly women – young professionals, nonprofit leaders and small business owners.

Here are all of my income streams (in order of financial significance):

  • Consulting services
  • Speaking fees
  • Part-time teaching as an adjunct professor
  • Book sales (I have 2 books for sale)
  • Affiliate marketing through my blogs (I have 3 blogs)
  • Career, business and personal development coaching
  • Online training programs

As you can see, I have a VERY diverse range of income streams, which together averaged $5,000 a month for my first year of working for myself. This year, I’ve been working to streamline my income to eliminate consulting and teaching, because they require a lot more time than the others and make me feel like I’m working a 9 to 5. My goal is location independence with my business so that I can travel and spend more time with my family.

But you know what the funny thing is? A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed I’d be this close to reaching that goal so soon. Last month, I got to go to Cincinnati for a speaking gig during the same week that my grandmother was having surgery. I had the opportunity to get paid as well as spend a few days with her in Ohio. I took my laptop so I could work when I had to, which wasn’t much. This is the life I had envisioned for myself last year. What started out as a side hustle has become a fulfilling business and career that both sustains me and allows me an enormous amount of freedom over my time.

Yes, it’s hard, but it’s actually not that hard. Not harder than working for someone your whole life just to “retire” and have fun, relaxation and wealth when you’re 65. That life is NOT for me. It never was. This is how to have a different life: Confess your big dream. Take the first step. Commit yourself fully. Distance yourself from negative people. Ignore the economy.  Get training. Work hard. There really isn’t one magic formula other people have that you don’t. A different life is available to you if you want it.

Today’s Assignment

Post your responses to the following questions in the comments:

  1. What does your “different life” look like?
  2. What’s the first step you need to take to become the CEO of you?