11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business

11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business

 

A lot of people like to fool you and say that you’re not smart if you
never went to college, but common sense rules over everything.
That’s what I learned from selling crack.
-Snoop Dogg

 

My name is Stephanie St.Claire, and I am an unfunded entrepreneur. I’ve been in business for 6 years, after engaging in my own personal and tenuous renaissance (uh…divorce) and rediscovering my Divine Core Purpose. In other words, I grew a pair of ladyballs, launched a business, and started figuring out how to coalesce my efforts into profit.

But there was a LOT to learn, and some of those things weren’t covered in Who Moved My Cheese.

Throw these 4 rockstars into a blender, and you’ll have a composite sketch of me in the first three months of my business:

 

rockstars!

 

Glitter was literally shooting out of my eye sockets as I quit my PR firm job and started my own business. Full of optimism, living in New York City, and surrounded by a tribe of friends who were also launching businesses, art, and gigs, I felt it was the perfect time to make the bold move to entrepreneurship. I was now officially Living My Dream and Working For Myself which meant that I was In Charge of My Financial Destiny and Captain of My Promising Future.

Luckily my initial hyper-optimism buoyed me whilst, oscillating between euphoria and despair, I was slowly but systematically forced off The Magic School Bus and onto the S.S. Battleship Long Haul.

I was a quick and eager learner, but despite the hours of webinar watching, countless Friday nights pumping out site copy, and teaching myself everything I could about HTML, there were just some things I didn’t get. I had to fall on my ass to procure the “masters degree in life survival” every entrepreneur has to earn on their “journey.”

Yes, those are bitterly gesticulated air quotes.

Here are 11 things I wish I knew when I started my business. I hope they will save you some time, but at the very least, some anguish because – experience is a good teacher here – the sodium from your tears acts as a corrosive melting agent on all brands of premium ice cream, but otherwise, makes a superb saline for your dirty martini. Cry over a cup, oh fathomless bird of preneurial gumption!

 

NUMBER 1.
RUNNING THE BUSINESS IS YOUR FIRST PRIORITY. Your success (and financial stability) will come from expertly running your business –not writing copy, rebranding your client’s website, teaching yoga, podcasting, or making jewelry. In other words, you will spend 15% of the time doing what you love (your gift..in my case coaching and writing) and 85% of the time marketing, administrating, selling, strategizing your business, and answering a shitload of email. Survival will totally hinge on how quickly you adopt this role of Business Owner first, creator of pretty things, second.

This sucked for me because I wanted nothing to do with running a business. I just wanted to be a writer and a life coach who wrote and coached all day. I didn’t get it.

 

NUMBER 2.
READY TO MEET YOUR SOULMATE? IT’S YOU. Entrepreneurship is the most life changing relationship (like marriage or parenthood) that a person can have. You will be confronted overandoverandover with your fears, your insecurities, your crappy excuses, your limitations, your justifications, your shitty integrity, and your inefficient time management. The standard you held yourself to in the work-a-day world was good enough then, but it won’t be good enough to run your own business. And you will learn to accept yourself through all this because in order to get up every day and create a profit, you have to. Somehow through that process of acceptance, while you’re busy putting yourself out there in spite of your flaws, your weaknesses will transform and you will fall in love with yourself. Not in the over-hyped “SELF LOVE 2012” way, but in a quiet way that sneaks up on you after witnessing a thousand splinter-sized moments of transcending the baser aspects of yourself.

 

NUMBER 3.
YOUR TRAJECTORY FOR SUCCESS WILL TAKE AS LONG AS EVERYONE ELSE’S, EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE SPECIAL AND BRILLIANT. I heard the “two-year rule” when I started my biz, but I was confident I could do it in 6 months. I believed with every fiber of my glittery, go-gettin’ heart that my work ethic (15-hour days/7 days a week), along with my talent, skills, and personal magic, I could rip a path to accelerated success because also, this was A Leap of Faith and I was Living in My Divine Authenticity and that was worth some express lane juju points from Heaven.

Jesus had other plans.

See #4.

 

NUMBER 4.
RUNNING OUT OF MONEY IS A COMMON PART OF THE JOURNEY. You won’t expect it, because you prepared for the long haul. You secured a business loan, or got some investors, or sold your house (cough, cough), or have one year’s worth of savings and you have planned accordingly.

But then all of the sudden, midst the puffy clouds and blue skies, your little twin engine Entreprenairplane will sputter, the needle on the gas gauge unexpectedly plummeting to zero, and you will have only one choice… land your plane on the wild, abandoned air strip called Bank Balance: Fourteen Dollars. And this will be the LAST PLACE you ever thought you’d crash land, because didn’t you pass this test on No More Sephora Island?

Well.

The good news is this is a rite of passage that will launch you into the League of Business Badassery in which, once you are out of the money hellhole, you will be unstoppable. You’ve been to the baddest prison there is, you looked down the barrel of your worst fear, and you stood your ground. You didn’t quit. You got up the next day, and you wrote your next post, created your next offering, and answered the email with zero dollars in your bank account.

There is nothing more beautiful than running out of money and realizing that you are doing your work because you’ve got the guts to stand above proof, and push through your worst fears when there is no evidence of security. You really, truly love what you do, and you’d do it for free if you had to.

Irony is a sassy bitch, isn’t she?

 

NUMBER 5.
BUILD A HYBRID STREAM OF INCOME. Take a second job if it will give you peace of mind. Please don’t be a jackass like I was and make it mean that you’re failing at your business. I was so resistant to “dividing my focus” or taking any action which I interpreted as undermining my commitment to being a successful writer and coach. Do you see the hellish mousetrap that was? I really thought that by making a Plan B I was telling the Universe I wasn’t 100% serious about my success. Don’t even get me started with my crazy aversion to Plan B’s. I created a worse problem by allowing financial stress to gut me of my sanity.

If having a steady stream of part-time income would be in service to your peace of mind, do it.

I finally came to terms with the fact that I was being obnoxiously naïve about how money, peace, survival, and timing all work together and I got a second job. By doing this, I supernaturalized my own path to freedom and self-sustainability. And since I wasn’t freaking out about money anymore, I liberated more creative real estate in my brain to apply toward my business.

 

15 85 rule

 

NUMBER 6.
READ STEVEN PRESSFIELD’S DO THE WORK. The biggest challenge you will deal with in running a business is your own resistance. Period, end of story. Before you study anything about marketing, social media, money, or time management, read this book. You’ll be treated to gems like this:

“Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace, or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why he can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”

“A professional distances herself from her instrument. The pro stands at one remove from her instrument – meaning her person, her body, her voice, her talent; the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological being she uses in her work. She does not identify with this instrument. It is simply what God gave her, what she has to work with. She assesses it coolly, impersonally, objectively.

Does Madonna walk around the house in cone bras and come-f*k-me bustiers? She’s too busy planning D-Day. Madonna does not identify with “Madonna.” Madonna employs “Madonna.”

 

NUMBER 7.
SPEND LESS TIME RESEARCHING, MORE TIME DOING. Researching/studying/ reading other people’s blogs is a form of resistance. In order to get clarity, you must act. Clarity does not come by learning more, it comes by jumping in with your instincts and putting yourself out there, even if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.

Block out the distractions (turn off the phone, social media, and email notifications) and take inspired action that feels tangible and measurable. Set a timer for 25 minutes and go to town on a task. Do not look up. Do not go to the bathroom. Do not cruise the fridge for cheese sticks. Get something done, despite the fact that at times you will feel like you are pissing into the wind. Piss into the wind 4 times a day, and you’ll make a difference in your bottom line.

 

NUMBER 8.
ONLY SAY YES TO CLIENTS/COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS THAT ARE HELL YESES. Scrutinize any joint project carefully and qualify the person you are doing the project with (even if they are your friend and have more page likes than you). Get everything in writing before you embark on the project, with a clear division of labor and deadline dates. You will most likely be splitting the profits, so have two numbers in your head: The $ number you NEED to make in order to pay for your time, and the $ number you would LIKE to make. Set the first financial deadline early to make your NEED number so that you both have the freedom to walk away if the project isn’t going to be profitable. Have a transition strategy in mind so in case that happens and one of you wants to continue on with the project, there is a way to pass the baton gracefully.

Summed up: COMMUNICATE ABOUT EVERYTHING, even though you’re friends, even though you love each other, even though you trust each other, even though you’ve worked together at XYZ Company, because projects have a way of going sideways and making everyone a little custodial and overreactive.

 

NUMBER 9.
YOU MUST DEVOTE TIME TO BECOME A BRILLIANT MARKETER. MUST. I know you just want to spend all your days making hipster sarsaparilla-scented mustache wax, or needle pointing edgy throw pillows for Etsy, or writing your YA zombie novel, or life coaching women to stratospheric success, but if you don’t spend time marketing you will not make money.

 

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This was my biggest weakness when I started because I thought marketing = slimy sales letters with big arrows and opt-in boxes and I couldn’t! I wouldn’t! So I put my
head in magical fairyland sand, stubbornly insisting that my
customers would be tractor-beamed into my budding practice
by the pulsating, heavenly light that radiated from
my vision boards and 4 blog posts.

And then I ate canned food and spaghetti for a long, long time.

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But this rescued me — knowing what marketing personality I embody. There are three main types: The Guru (Brendan Buchard, Danielle LaPorte, Gary Vaynerchuck, Marie Forleo, Tony Robbins), whose marketing boldly states, “Listen to me. I have the answers.” Then there’s the Wisdom Advisor (Brene Brown, Chris Guillebeau, Marianne Williamson, Dave Ramsey), whose marketing feels like, “This is what I’ve found to work best. Let’s brainstorm together, and I’ll help you find out what’ll work for you.” And finally, The Connector (Oprah, Jonathan Fields, Mark Zuckerberg) who connect people with other people/resources. Once you have figured out your marketing personality, selling to your customers will be a thousand times easier because you will be working within your natural vibe.

Learn what way you like to market and stick to that and do it consistently and often. Even if you hire a pro, you will be doing some marketing yourself. Keeping your website fresh and current is essential in your marketing, so learn how to work WordPress and learn some HTML code. You will be in the guts of your website A LOT.

 

NUMBER 10.
EMAIL WILL BE YOUR NEW BEST FRENEMY. Your inbox will explode. You care about everyone, but you can’t help everyone. Read: Not everyone is your customer. Your inbox will be a jumble of people who want to say thank you, people who want free stuff, and people who want your services. Your job is to quickly discern who’s who and respond in the most appropriate way.

Shorten the email back-and-forth as quickly as possible with people that are your potential clients. If your business is a consultancy where you are selling your time, I recommend having two form letters on hand that you can customize to the occasion: one for your potential customer and the other for your not potential customer.

Your Customer: Acknowledge their situation, request, or problem and invite them to a 20-minute call. Include your available dates, times, and a phone number you can be reached.

Not Your Customer: Acknowledge their situation, request, problem and direct them to other resources, practitioners, blogs, or articles that would be a splendid fit for them.

I love personally connecting with my clients. In this area of business, I am 1997 all the way, and I pick up the phone and talk to them live. I set up all the calls on one day or schedule them after my regular client sessions. I have found this to save a colossal amount of time. In a 20 minute phone call, I accomplish the following:

  • Find out their history and current issues.
  • Explain to them how coaching works and pricing.
  • Ascertain if we are a right fit and they are ready for coaching.
  • Answer any of their logistical questions.
  • Give them a personal sense of what it would be like to work with me on the phone (my tone of voice, cadence through the call, etc.).
  • Process the invoice.
  • Set up the first session.

Do you know how long that would take back-and-forth by email?
5 days to a month. Do not screw your own time economy.

 

NUMBER 11.
NUMBER ELVEN IS A HODGE-PODGE: Do not work your business 7 days a week. From time to time, forget everything you know about the “right way” to run a business and run it like a neighborhood lemonade stand. Do not price your offerings around your personal ability to pay for it – you are not your ideal customer. Work out perplexing issues in your business and it will resolve problems in other areas of your life. Connect with other entrepreneurs and set up a skype brainstorming session (with wine). Take a walk around the block every day at lunch. If you want to be smarter in business, read everything these two people write: Regina Anaejionu and Ash Ambirge.

Now it’s your turn: What piece of advice could you offer a new entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments.

Onward!
signature

 

PS. Are you a woman who is thinking about starting an online consulting business? After coaching over 250 clients privately on how to take their talents to market, I made a self-paced, do-it-yourself business launching course. Let me help you: Build a Blissful Online Business.

 

TWEET IT OUT!

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Are you into stuff like this? I write about modern spirituality, love, communication, generosity, and how to run a sustainable small business (while keeping your sanity). Put yourself on the list and you’ll never miss and article or a workshop. xo

 

 

Published in #GIRLBOSS, BLOG | 425 Comments

    Comments

  • Steve


    Steph, really enjoyed your post. The ONE thing no one told me – and that I painfully had to learn for myself – was that building and marketing my brand was going to consume a full 90% of my time and resources.

    Most beginning solopreneurs aren’t good at / don’t like having to sell their goods / services (somewhat ironic in that I’m an internet marketing consultant 8^), but it sure came as a rude awakening to me very early on.

    The “build it and they will come” mentality is purely wishful thinking.

    Thanks again and best wishes for your own continued success!

  • Anita


    I just read your 11 things and it really hit the nail on the head for me. I’m going thru the same things you mentioned like identical. Your really good, I love your style of your writing and way of describing as well as the content was inspiring and hopeful. Thank you!

    My lesson would be this: I was a project manager at the company I left before starting my own interior design company. One of the clients I was to manage was the company’s most valued client in 40 years. Imagine 5 years the valued client called to get a quote to change her front door….. Small job right.
    When I left the client had spent one million one hundred thousand in renovation projects with the company.
    The lesson I learned from the front door call and the company that has been running for 40 years is no job is too small, as you never know what the possibilies will come.

    • Jenn


      Thank you! This was so helpful and FULL of reference, info and information! I immediately downloaded Do The Work and love your quote about the overhyped self love of 2012. Couldn’t be more true. Anyway, just want to show my appreciation!

      Jenn

  • Christina Jay


    Love this list! I can totally relate to ‘too much research’ vs actual productivity it’s really important to not get stuck in that and to consistently be working on your own marketing.

  • Anne MacKay


    Brilliant! Just when I thought that no one else understood this ‘moment’, you nailed it … and with such humour. Already forwarded this post to a pal in a similar boat. Thank you for the fabulous wisdom.
    I’ll be reading more!

  • Ivailo Durmonski


    Being different today, is probably the most difficult part. We have to give the best of ourselves, in order to success in this great journey.

    Great articles!

  • Susan Hailey


    Loved this! Right on point and yes, working 70-76 hours a week is not the best, but sometimes there is not enough time in a week let alone one day.

    #3 is great and loved the piece.

  • Douglas Karr


    I wish I had known that many businesses don’t bother paying their bills. Our revenues are outstanding, businesses suck at paying on time, though. We’ve had to revamp how we bill simply because – as a small business – one or two clients paying late could put us right in the toilet.

  • Melissa


    I just love your writing and totally connected with what you have shared. I think I am still in the “I just want to have fun and make stuff” stage of business and yes, it is time to realise that marketing is required ;) LOL!
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Jaya


    What an amazing post! Thank you so much. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Every day I wake up feeling like a sham that will never get it together!! Resistance!
    Thanks for some great advice/tools to overcome those obstacles :)

  • Natsai


    I love #5 and I actually wrote a blog about it after dealing with the shame of being both an entrepreneur and employee
    http://www.natsai.com.au/job-doesnt-make-less-entrepreneur/

  • Julie


    Loved this. So much of what you said is happening to me right now…which I keep blaming on mercury retrograde.

    Keep writing! xx

  • Victoria


    Oh dear, and I thought I was the only totally naive, gullible, clueless, overworked entrepreneur on the planet. I am so glad that somebody finally admitted to it as well :)

  • Maggie Mahboubian


    I need to stamp this on my head.
    Getting to work on that 85% part!

  • cake tree


    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a
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  • MJ


    summarizes the last two years of my life ever very well, Thank you so much! Hilarious! MJ

  • Anne S


    Honest, to the point and inspiring–As I’m getting my business off the ground, this hits the spot and reminds me where to focus. Thank you.

  • Galia @Used Children Clothing


    Starting your own business is not for everyone, and this passion and ambition are in the genes of all entrepreneurs. Failure will happen often, but without failure, there is no good product and success.

    If you success from the first time, most likely you will not do well eventually. Running a used children clothing for quality kids clothing and cheap prices is my 10th venture so far.

  • Sam


    Never give up. Ever. Ignore all competitors and become an expert networker. Be your own coach.

    Excellent article.

  • Mallie Rydzik


    I’m just now finding this post but I am so grateful to have run across it. You outlined things I’m going through now, and it’s so useful to have that insight at this stage in my business.

  • Scootsie Apparel


    Wow! Thanks so much for a great read!

  • rosland capital gold


    I every time spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s content every day along
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  • Michael


    This should be used as a primer for anyone that is even thinking about starting a business. Great no nonsense advice from someone that has been through hell and back. I would add: learn to accept when the business has failed and stop beating yourself up about it. Thomas Edison said it best, ” I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

    • McMD


      “To succeed, double your failure rate.” Thomas Watson, founder IBM

      • Sam


        Fail. Then you’ll know what you’re made of. The scariest founders are those who don’t know they can fail. Those who hit it big square one tend to post start-up drivel. Great quote. I’d forgotten about that one.

  • Lisa


    You are my cup of tea! We need more women like you that won’t coddle other fellow entrepreneurs. We don’t need another person to say “All you need is one more vision board and you too can have a million dollar home with a pool in the back yard” I run into a lot of entrepreneurs that are going around and around the merry go round. And we all just want to do the fun stuff. NOPE ain’t gonna happen if you want to be successful. Thank you I have forwarded your blog to my fellow business owners.

  • Laura


    Hello, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this wonderful kick in the pants! As a beginning entrepreneur it is SO hard sometimes to find that right balance between being realistic, being inspired, and taking action. It truly helps to receive guidance like this, thank you for the work you do in the world!

  • NJ Pain Management


    I seriously love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own
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  • Chef James E


    My thoughts… You will be able to set your own hours, but remember, they will be set to 24/7.

    Also, the little things. The overlooked costs. Paper, printer ink, toilet paper, floor cleaner, a new spatula, light bulbs… they aren’t free. Don’t forget them, for their “couple dollars here and there” add up real damn fast.

  • Becky


    I love your insight..humor and creative writing. After over 15 years as an entrepreneur I can say we are all stronger, more resilient and better equipped to face life and everything it hurls our way! Best of luck to all who “think I can…”.

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    Everything is very open with a really clear
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  • Todd Whitaker


    Best part, “Business Badassery” after running out of money. Something to ad, pay close attention to the people who can find the love to support you.

  • Sherri


    Hi my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, great written
    and include approximately all important infos.
    I would like to see more posts like this .

  • james caan entrepreneur


    Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I
    really enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you recommend
    any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects?
    Appreciate it!

  • Sabrina


    SUPER post! Thank you. I’m a little less than a year into starting my own business (coaching) and your advice is SO needed right now!

    My advice for entrepreneurs is another book recommendation: Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port.

    Thanks again for a great post :)

  • Heather Birch


    Thank you ! I’m not sure of my words but thank you for sharing. I am a mother of 7,I work full time for the State ,I work part time as an LNA doing home care and I run my own practice as a massage therapist/labor doula/childbirth educator. I do all of this.. My new husband has been a great shoulder. But, now I have to make plans to structure,I have my GED, some college, but was thinking of getting my associates. but not sure.

    Heather Birch

  • Julie Nelson


    Just love your style and can truly relate!

    A great share..
    x

  • Michael


    This is superb. You basically recreated me and my first 3 years of my own coaching practice. Holy mother father you got this on the tee. Also, hello landmark graduate :) Good to see you out in the open.

    • Steph


      Michael, thank you. Always great to meet another Landmark grad! I checked out your website, and think the work you do is very cool. Excited to see your book launched! When is that happening?

  • Ang


    Thank you, dearly. THIS, right here, is what I ‘needed to read’….um ‘needed to be slapped into reality.’

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  • Melissa Maher, The Mindfulness Coach


    This is my favorite thing I’ve read in a good long while. As a life coach having launched a business on a shoestring under 3 years ago, every single thing you’ve said hit home, and was comforting and inspirational at the same time. Especially love this: “And you will learn to accept yourself through all this because in order to get up every day and create, you have to. Somehow through that process of acceptance, while you’re busy putting yourself out there in spite of your flaws, your weaknesses will transform and you will fall in love with yourself.” Truth! Thanks Stephanie.

  • Rachel


    I love this article, Thank you! I have had my own business for years, but I want to make some real changes. I agree completely that our own resistance is our largest challenge. I feel inspired by your insights, i am ready to get down to the real work!

  • Paula Hornbeck


    Realize what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. In my case, I own my own optical boutique. I know I’m a great optician, good at inventory purchasing, great with my customers. I’m not good at number crunching so I have a great accountant. I’m not good at creating marketing and advertising. So I have a wonderfully creative marketing group. You can’t do everything. So find the right people to do the things that you aren’t good at but they are. Your business will be all the better for it.

  • Lydia Stec


    Excellent and Funny! Can TOTALLY RELATE. However, I would add to books to read: The E-Myth. And suggest a Business Plan because even when the going gets tough you can read your business plan to re-excite you!

    Lydia Stec
    Aquarius Star LLC
    Om Eco Cafe
    Cincinnati, OH

  • Paul August


    Great Article. As a serial entrepreneur for 17 years and also business consultant, I can’t tell you just how hard it is to articulate what you’ve said in an effective way to some of the people starting out. Your authentic style helps a lot!

    My 2 cents:

    Big Bank Account Syndrome: Depending on the type of business, you may have large amounts of money in “your” bank account. The business will need this later! This is not your money, it’s the businesses! Don’t spend it until you are absolutely certain that there isn’t anything more you can do for the business first and that the business won’t need it otherwise in the future.

    It is about Money! It’s so popular now to say that money is not the “be all and end all”. That is true in life! Balance and thus happiness are based somewhere else. However, this is a business, it has to be about money too. Without charging enough, spending the right amount, and etc etc etc there is no business. Make sure your choices are financially sound.

    Network network network! Talk to other business people. It doesn’t necessary matter if they are in your industry or not. Just grow your business friends, they can understand your life. Of course it would be great if they were in a similar industry or even better when they HAVE BEEN in a similar situation. Think a lil older and wiser or been there – done that. Get their opinions, get lots of their opinions, then make the choice that is right for you.

    I guess thats more like 3 cents ha ha. What a great read Steph! Thanks.

  • Sean Costello


    My wife sent me this and I’m happy she did. I’m a photographer in Los Angeles. It was very entertaining, as I’ve experienced several of these things. It also reinforced my decision and reminded me why I love being self employed. It’s hard, but I can’t imagine working any other way!

  • Martin


    Thanks for sharing this insides! I just read ‘Brains versus Capital’ of Guenter Faltin. It help with the development of my business concept a lot. Most important – it changed my view on entrepreneurship as well.

  • Eugenia


    EPIC! Thank you!

    I have never met you, but by reading this piece, it seems you are living in my head, experiencing EVERYTHING I am experiencing!

    Feel less alone, FOR SURE!

    With gratitude,

    Eugenia Krok, MA

  • queena deschene


    I agree wholeheartedly with this list. I’m lucky that I had several years in a partnership/startup before going on my own, so lots of these lessons were covered under those check books.

  • nancy


    The best thing I have done in my businesses over 30 years is to show up every day. It’s harder than people think, especially when you are going through a tough time or you have to do repetitive tasks. I’ve been through the same spin cycle so many times that I see it as a temporary discomfort. The longer I am around, the more I have learned to shut up and listen. There’s a lot of free tuition out there.

  • Alison O'Grady


    You are a Rock Star!

  • Kiki


    Stephanie! Well written -really. I am 18 months into my own small business & I could totally relate to almost everything in this post. Now I don’t feel like such a freak. Thank you x

  • Brian Spellman


    Stephanie: This article offers terrific practical advice. I admit reading stung me at times. Your emphasis of prioritizing business over artistic creativity is truth hard to take. I’m disabled so have limitless time with limited funds to ply my business. The strength of my website is paraprosdokian one liners, married to images. If you have the time to look, I’d love specific advice. Best wishes. – Brian

  • Ian Ivey


    Brilliant! Been through many of the 11. Beautifully put together!

  • Sandy - Roseville Designs


    Wow, this article is fantastic. So much of what you said resonated with me as a small-business owner. The best piece of advice I ever read was “take on projects that scare you…if you’re not, you’re not pushing yourself enough”. It’s easy to stay in comfort zone, but in order to grow we must push ourselves to see what we can achieve. Thanks for sharing this!

  • dgogirl


    I have been thinking about starting my own business for 2 years. This week I decided to make it happen. It’s serendipitous that I came across this article. Ironically I am not even sure how. Anyway, thank you, this is going in my back pocket as I move forward. Excited, with some trepidation, but not listening to the naysayer voice in my head.

  • Megan (The Lyons' Share)


    Thank you SO much for this article! I’m so glad I found it. I began dreaming of starting my own business probably 4 years ago, but was stuck in a very stable, corporate job that was just taking every single bit of life out of me … I finally left 4 days ago! The 4 days I’ve been “starting my own business” have been exciting, freeing, overwhelming, scary, and wonderful all at the same time, and this was just what I needed to read. I greatly appreciate it!

  • Riva Brown


    After 37 years as a small business owner, I whole-heartedly confirm everything you said. Nicely put.

  • Leslie


    TWELVE…Avoid hiring employees. I’ve been in business for myself for 12 years and employees have been the bane of my existence.

  • Yasser


    you are a true living entrepreneur who writes advice like a poem it’s true and hard to accept but you write it like a friend Who will never judge ,Thanks for your 11 advices it’s really a life experience transfer that i need it more at this time

  • Amy Robinson


    LOVED that post. After 10 years in practice/business – I AGREE wholeheartedly with every point you made. Thanks for sharing. I am excited to check out the references you listed, and follow YOU.

  • paula


    thank you. I recently took a part time job after reading this article. It was unsustainable for me to run my practice, stress about money was killing me, and I couldn’t afford to do the things for my business that I needed to. I took the job at the beginning of my slowest time so I could be well settled to relaunch when business would naturally be picking up again. I can not express to you how important it was for me to read that taking on that pt job did not mean I had failed, you may have saved my practice.

  • Maria Wagner


    Thank you so much for this. The title of your blog after I read through this was too much of a sign for me to not write you and say thank you. I thought I was the only one out there feeling this in the beginning, and with my recent comeback still in progress I needed to hear this to remind me.
    My about us pages give the full account. I would love if you would like me on Facebook(Bloom@A Blissful Place) if you think it would help motivate anyone to keep on keeping on…:) not just in business, but anytime work/life challenges kick you in the behind. I’m so thankful I found your blog. best always,
    Maria (finally on my way back to A Blissful Place :)

  • Isaiah Jackson


    Well damn you #5

    Always made me think EXACTLY what you was saying.

    Everyone kept telling me to go get a part-time job, all the damn time.

    I eventually bit the bullet and did it and am using the funds to invest
    on my business.

    Thanks for this.

    Isaiah Jackson

  • Bo


    Wonderful, inspiring article.

    I’m an attorney who, like most persons, learned nothing about running a business until
    having my own. My initial 5 years were spent learning on the fly. So here’s my two cents:

    1) Don’t start a business by learning everything on the fly. I’m not Steve Jobs. I don’t have those business instincts. I need info. provided to me. Learning on the fly also prevents you from earning income. You don’t have time to earn money. You’re too busy figuring out what you don’t know.

    Spend time in advance educating yourself (not through blogs referring to passion and cheese movements) on how to run a business. Marketing knowledge is crucial. Also spend time working for a successful business person in your field to learn how they do it.

    2) Form your own braintrust – I was so busy learning on the fly while trying to earn a living that I isolated myself. I called my tiny office my cave. It was not only depressing, but I learned more slowly and made more mistakes by not getting and exchanging important ideas, input, advice, and information from others. Meeting in person with others is also crucial for marketing and getting referrals.

    3) Do what you do really well – I watch Kitchen Nightmares. The most common problem is the chef can’t cook. It’s possible to be a great chef and have no business, but impossible for a bad chef to have good business.

    4) Treat customers with respect and empathy- I was in the Monte Carlo hotel in Las Vegas. I hated it. The pool music was loud, the pool way to crowded, prices were spiked through the roof, and I was solicited by 2 prostitutes in 2 days holding my daughters hand. I was ready to complain when checking out. I started a mini rant. The hotel worker at checkout was so understanding and helpful – checking if I could get a discount I didn’t know about – and generally pleasant, I quickly felt better and checked out mid rant.

    On the other hand, doing a great job will be negated and overwhelmed by treating the customer poorly and coldly.

  • Cost Of Tv Advertising


    My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all
    of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.

    can you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating
    on a lot of the subjects you write concerning
    here. Again, awesome blog!

  • Jack Henke


    Stephanie, you did what only “real” writers can do – you touched my soul and moved my brain and body to action. I highly recommend your article to everyone. Thank you, Sincerely, Jack

    • Steph


      Jack – thank you so very much!

  • Patrick Allmond


    Add a #12 – Ignore every phone call. I don’t answer my phone any more because it is ALWAYS an interruption. Let voicemail take care of it. Then just set aside a time to check and deal with phone messages. You need to be become hard to get access to.

  • Helene Malmsio


    LOL! Where were you in 2003 when I first started my online business? This sage advice would have saved me much grief and a big chunk of money. Don’t know why we think online businesses don’t need the same things to succeed that traditional businesses do!

    Sharing this post with everyone I know – lol!

    And definitely subscribing as I don’t want to miss any more of your pearls of wisom

  • John Allen Mollenhauer


    Great read and already in play. I was happy to be blissbombed today!

    #6 as with all, awesome. I will be getting some awesome in my email box.

    Here’s an idea friends, a big one.

    Get your lifestyle as a whole, completely in support of you, your body and your life (business etc.)

    Let’s get real, we know what needs to happen here, there’s just so much that has to happen to have a an optimized life, style for living it and achieve our goals that it’s overwhelming and few of us have enough support… to make it happen.

    It’s starts with your lifestyle and it needs to be optimized based on the fundamentals of successful living, that help you steer clear of the mess that most of our lives are in these days…defined by overwhelm.

    Don’t tread lightly here. go all the way!

    http://www.lifestylejam.com

    ~ JAM

  • Chuck


    Outstanding, thank you. One thing to include (the only thing I can think to include) is to devote the time to running the business, but not the things you shouldn’t be doing. DO do what your business represents, DO connect with clients, DO do the work, but DO NOT do your accounting if you are not an accountant. DO NOT go out and spend 4 hours mowing the lawn when you can pay the kid down the street to do it for $30. If you charge $125 an hour, those four hours cost you $500. You are not saving money by doing your own accounting or doing any other service that you can pay less for than your time is worth. That’s what accountants, and marketers, and writers, and life coaches are for.

    Thanks again for a great article! As an aspiring web content writer every single number hits home.

    Chuck

  • Derek Volk


    Hi Stephanie, I thought you might like to listen and maybe share the discussion i had on my radio show this morning about your great blog.

    Best,

    Derek Volk
    http://www.boxtalkradio.com

    • Steph


      Derek, thank you! Yes I will listen in!

  • Connie Kallos


    Every thing you said is on point. It’s Common Sense. But as an old black man bus driver told me once while I was doing a movie in Gary, Indiana,
    “Common sense ain’t that common.”

  • Helena Collins


    Be willing to admit that you are not ready for the ext step, that all of the work that you needed to do is not done and if you had “arrived” early the party would have sucked and you would not have understood the conversation. Spend time listening to what successful people say and learning the parts that you do not understand. Never waste time feeling bad, Thank for this great post!

  • corinne


    In the beginning focus less on the profits and more on the successes.
    Any business is going to take a huge amount of time and a revolving influx of investments if it is going to succeed.
    If the immediate focus is placed on the payday it can become disappointing as the hours are long, mostly “volunteered” and the cash just keeps on flowing back out the door.
    Whereas, if the day to day successes are celebrated and enjoyed, a new client, a positive review and referral of business, these progresses inevitably lead to a stronger, healthier business and keep the motivation going from day to day.
    And all of this is imperative always on the #1 priority….FOLLOW YOUR BLISS!

  • Balognia


    Miss Stephanie:

    May I say first off, I believe I have only experienced Devine intervention twice in my lifetime. First time was from my deceased mother and now you. I no longer will allow myself to feel as I ‘m failing. It is just a transitional period as far as I am concerned…..

    Oh BTW, your Sephora is my Henri Bendel.

    Your journalistic sonata was a delight and came at the perfect time.

    Happy Holidays, and thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Steph


      Balognia, I am speechless and touched beyond words. Thank you so much for such a kind compliment. I’m thrilled that the piece touched you and, trust me soul sister, it is written from my own experiences of fear, perceived failure, and turmoil. And that too did pass. :) I adore that we’ve connected. stay in touch and let me know how things are going for you! xo

      • Larry


        I saw that King Solomon reference. ;)

  • Vic


    Hey, this was fun and informative. Thanks :)
    And yeah, James Altucher is cool to keep tabs on as well, indeed.
    Cheers.

  • Noemi Gamel


    Insightful advice with witty narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog post. I am embarking on my own business too, and I have a friend doing the same thing. I am sending this valuable article to her.

  • Randy Thomas


    Thanks Stephanie
    What you say is very true.
    Most people have no idea what they are getting into.

    I love the book “Do the Work”.
    Short & straight to the point.

    Happy Holidays

    Randy
    416-624-8536

  • sherry


    You succeeded in getting me to read your entire post. And this on a day when I am walking through a river of marshmallow fluff. Brava!!!

  • Andrea


    Fucking love this! You got me with “Perfectionist Catholic German Drill Sergeant”. Check. The most important point you make in this blog is simply to take action even if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. It’s completely terrifying at the start and once you come out the other side you will feel like your own business superhero. Wash, rinse and repeat. This is how you and your business grow into that vision board reality you created. Thank you for sharing your brilliance Stephanie.

  • Carleen McIlveen


    And don’t give up, keep manifesting, keep the passion and learn to be open to receiving!

  • Steve Edwards


    Thanks. Great article. Lively writing voice. And I bought ‘Do the Work’ ;)

  • Janet


    Thanks.

  • Monty Ruth


    Really enjoyed your blog 11 Things I wish I knew….
    I look forward to reading more of you. Why don’t I see any Ebooks by you on Amazon???

    • Steph


      They are definitely coming! Thanks for asking! :)

  • Eliane


    This is CRAZY, it’s like you’re in my house and in my head watching me and listening to me. Wonderful article, thank you!

  • Marcia-Elizabeth Baker-Thompson, MS, LAc


    God, this was great!!

    Thank you so much!!

    I needed to hear from someone else in the trenches!!

    I’m applying for that SAT tutoring job at the beginning of the year!

    My practice is going great, and I’m making strides and leaps with each passing month, but I’m done worrying about money. There is not a thing wrong with having a steady income stream. It frees up more energy for me to enjoy my life, my work, and my husband!!!

    Thank you!!

    You’re awesomeness on a teacake!!

  • Cristina Sierra


    Fantastic article. I would add: Get VERY used to explaining what you do and develop a VERY THICK SKIN to counter the tact free comments you will receive including “Wow, does anyone need that?” or my personal nails on the chaulkboard question “How is your little business going???” (said with a sympathetic look as if the speaker is communicating with a slow learning monkey)

  • Andres Sanchez


    So true! And I’ve been there financially and got out of it. Great feeling.

  • Matthew


    Stephanie, I read a LOT of different blogs in running my Internet marketing company (A lot) It isn’t very often I read a post and about 6-7 seconds into it I realize I am reading the work of a real pro. This article is so powerful and relevant and real, most of the points I couldn’t have related with more :) – thanks for sharing! I am saving your site in my browsers toolbar and look forward to coming back and reading more. I will be sure and share and promote your content!

    Matthew

    • Steph


      Matthew – thank you so much good sir!

  • Navin


    Terrific writing this.

    Your thoughts are so mature…you sound like modern day marcus aurelius :-)

    Thanks for putting this online and sharing. May God bless you darling

  • Joe


    I have had the privilege of running my own consulting practice for three years, and I would say the biggest tip I have for would be entrepreneurs (or consultants anyway), is to be as authentically you as you can possibly be, and be okay with it. Some people don’t want to work all the time, or make hthe business his or her identity. I, for one, run my practice with the goal of spending as much time with my family as possible. And while I know I leave some professional success on the table, that’s not what I deem as life success. Knowing what I want to accomplish makes it much easier to focus and find peace with my work.

    Oh, and charge a lot. That helps too. As human beings we underestimate our value. Our thoughts, dreams, ideas, and intellects are worth a lot! Charge for it.

  • Cindy


    I loved your article and found it very insightful. I just wish you hadn’t led with a snippet about the wisdom Snoop Dog gained as a crack dealer. He may have learned many things as a crack dealer and pimp but they hardly commend your point of view and there are so many other more wholesome sources for quotes.

  • Kati B.


    Brilliant Steph! Thanks for the good laugh-cry! I could have sworn you were stalking me in Canada and wrote this about me. #5 indeed saved my sanity and completely put me on the path of “having” – confidence and position of strength to continue my pursuits! Thanks for sharing. Regards.

  • Tim Howard


    Great thoughts

  • Ed


    Pretty inspiring read! Congratulations! I love how you write on your experience which gives you a sense of “I couldn’t, I wasn’t sure how, but I managed it”. Really inspiring.

    I’m a designer and I’d appreciate if you could check my portfolio in case you are interested in some graphic/branding projects. http://www.behance.net/kamaron

  • Molly


    fantastic! totally relate! i, too, wish i’d known those things before i started…but 8 years later, here i am, business in hand, making it work and loving it.
    thanks

  • ana alexandra velazquez


    Hello
    Thanks for all thing eleven ispiring things you pointed out.
    I am an entreprenuer my self and Leather Handbag Designer, picking up my business this year after 8 years of trial and error, I know exactly what you are talking about.
    KUERO is my brand label for leather handbags made in Nicaragua by women which are trained by KUERO. Single mothers- my vision is to impact women in Nicaragua and globaly with a high fashion brand – feeling beautiful inside and outside- I truely believe in women transformation and in LA we need this change.

    Thanks very much for your insights and hope we meet.

    Blessings
    Ana Alexandra Velazque
    KUERO
    usa ph #661-4563-202
    fb/kuerobyalexandra
    http://www.kuero.co

  • Nathan


    Nathan here from the land down under.
    Firstly thanks for the article, what a great read and today I smashed through ” do the work” which was a great boo, double thanks.

    I’m 40 and have just started my own business, 5 months deep and things are looking good.

    Take Care and keep up the great work.

    Peace Out
    Nate

  • Tracy


    Brilliant! Thanks to cousin Tommy for sharing on facebook – so true and written like a woman.

    The 12th is understand the government regulations governing your business inside and out, because some bureaucrat somewhere doesn’t, and if you don’t know it when you encounter this bureaucrat, who will?

    The 13th is have an organization system. Sure, you know where everything is and everything that needs to be done, but eventually, if you are successful, you are going to need help, and no one thinks quite like you. Organization doesn’t have to look like any other form of organization, and it can evolve, but it needs to be teachable.

  • Jenuine


    I love this! All wonderful wisdom accrued through experience.

    I would like to add a quote I read in Brian Froud’s Faery’s Oracle. The Master Maker says, “Design beyond your skill, and then raise the level of your skill to fulfill it.” In launching my own self-taught clothing design business, I’ve had to do just that. The quality of my products continues to improve, and so does my confidence in what I create. One thing I’ve come to learn in selling handmade items over the internet is that a great product + great photos = sales. Especially in the handmade arena, it’s important to recognize that quality is more important than quantity. I’ve found that I can only make so many things with my own two hands, so I may as well make the best quality stuff I can and charge a little more for it. Don’t cut corners. It will show in the final product and customer feedback.

    I’ve also found that it’s really important for me to match my ethics and morals with my business. I find that if I purchase eco-friendly materials and supplies and give a portion of my profits to non-profits I believe in, then I feel better about my business. And if I feel good about what I make, others will feel good about buying it. I highly recommend reading “The Diamond Cutter” by Geshe Michael Roach. It has deeply changed the way I look at abundance and helped me to realize that how I feel about my finances is the most important part of creating my finances.

    Thank you <3

  • Eugene


    Thank you for great tips. They sound more than reasonable although I have not started a business on my own yet and can’t justify. I beleive I am one step closer to this after reading your article. And thank you for vivid allegories.

  • Kelly Conkright


    This article had me laughing and also shedding a tear! I am about 6 months in on forming my own business and this is absolutely brilliant advice, which I appreciate as I sit here the eve of Thanksgiving, working and drinking a bottle of wine! My agency website goes live December 1st. Onwards!

  • Jess Brin


    Awesome post. One of the best I’ve ever read, in fact. Been there. Done that. Over and over.

    I’d add a 12th (or a blanket corollary). Its application and penetration depends a lot on the nature of the product. And how well you planned – ahem – how much startup capital you scammed, um, ok, what the starting balance of your war chest looks like.

    “You don’t have to perform every single little task all by yourself.”

    Also recommend the “Entrepreneur’s Master Planning Guide” (Welsh and White) for nuts and bolts. And a viewing of ‘Startup.com’ (the documentary) for docutainment. It bores most workaday types, but I’ve found the story rouses almost all true entrepreneurs to nodding their heads and football game couch quarterbacking as it plays out.

    Boffo.

  • Renee


    great article – all too true!!

  • Gina De La Mora


    JUST what I needed to read today! Thank you!!

  • Mr. Cedor


    Great article. I loved it all. Everything you mentioned is what I went through while starting my own business before graduating from college. I plan on starting my own blog in the beginning of next year. I would love for you to check it out when I have it up and running.

  • Rahull Raut


    The right things happen to you, at the right time.

    This post just gave me that push I needed. Thank you so much!!!!

    Wish you all the success you deserve, and more.

    – rahull raut.

  • Jilena


    Thank you, loved it! Very helpful as I breathe deep and look into the unknown… :)

  • Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health


    Ah, this is so amazing! Your writing style and the truth you tell had me nodding, laughing, and tearing up in some parts. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world, I have sent it to so many people! xo

  • kirk


    Yes, it’s true… as a single man, I was initially attracted to ’11 things to know ‘ because I saw a pretty girl. However, the writing was so cool, witty and terrific that it has changed my outlook on producing video and documentaries, EVEN if I don’t go back to TV news, or spend 100% of my time on my own business. I’ll likely read at least one of the books recommended, if not more, because I must create videos and documentaries, no matter what. Now, that part about 15% producing work and 85% marketing… I’ll just have to figure out a “work-around” or continuous intern program! I’ll save the Merlot for Thursday! THANKS!

  • Bianca


    You didn’t *have* to share this with the world, but you did, and I am very thankful! I just got a much needed kick in the ass.

  • Maggie


    I love the suggestion to set up potential client calls for specific times, back to back. I am definitely putting that into my routine!

  • Leanne @ Scents by Post


    Fantastic post! So true. Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Stephanie. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Best thing I’ve read in … a very long time. Sharing it on Facebook.

  • Chris Daff


    This is my advice..

    Take your time to:

    Build your dream.. write it down.. exactly.. dates, times, dollar amounts.. people, what is smells like.. what it feels like.. what it looks like.. Be extremely specific and be sure to put a used by date on it.. IE a date which you would like to accomplish it. know it!

    Then sit and look at it … visualise it..smell, it see it. feel it.. YOU MUST WANT IT!! more than air to breathe. If you dont want what you just built.. try again.. It wont work..

    Then LIVE..

    Feel your way through life.. the journey is as fun and easy as you allow it to be. .. the knowledge, the courses, the tools.. will be laid out for you..

    You must have an open mind and be sensitive to feeling the right decision not thinking it.. Your gut is ALWAYS right.. trust it!! Know it love it.. even hen your MIND says its illogical.. Roll with it..

    Remove the stressors in your life.. surround your self with the RIGHT people.. Remove yourself from the energy suckers.. yes even your family if need be.. limit their time with you..

    Exercise. Eat well and lots!!, Sleep.

    Sort out your relationships – properly.. by that I mean sort out YOU.. because your relationships are a direct reflection of you!!..

    Invest in yourself.. your personal growth. Love yourself. Remove physical stress on your body. Forgive forget and move on.. including forgiving your self.. Be grateful for all that is laid out for you.. HAVE FUN..

    The journey doesn’t have to be a tough one.. It is only as tough as you ALLOW or create it to be.

    ENJOY swimming in your ocean of abundance!!

    ITS DONE!

  • LaToya Johnson-Rainey


    I TOTALLY agree with everything mentioned in these 11 steps. When starting my business I underestimated the power of marketing as well as the cost. Marketing is ESSENTIAL. To piggy back on some of things mentioned I suggest; creating a morning routine when you open that includes affirmations and creating daily goals/tasks. These help you stay productive, positive, and generate results. I have two quotes that I live by; 1) Believe, Do, Have and 2)”Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can” Arthur Ashe. Best wishes to everyone!

  • Jolie


    Thank you so much for this Stephanie! I just resigned from my job of the past 4 years so I could pursue my dream business venture. I feel like you wrote this just for me! I’m printing this out and reading it many times over!

  • Aimee & Clint


    We really like No. 9 and are still working on that one!

  • Eileen


    Brilliant wisdom. Every word true to the core. Thank you. I too found my ladyballs when I got divorced and launched myself into a Master’s level career with any degree. Fifteen years of working my butt off later, I am retiring with glee.

    • Eileen


      That is without any degree.

  • Michelle Marie McGrath


    Thank you for the hysterics…I can only relate to er every single point…. yep….had some big lessons with those last 3 points this year. No is my new Yes!
    Thank you!

  • Julien McRoberts


    Know your value and don’t compromise this. It is ok to say “No” to clients who are too cheap to value your work. That is sometimes hard when you are first starting out (especially as a freelancer) but if you take on the cheap paying jobs….guess what? You get pegged as being low priced. Now this is ok if you want to work your ass of doing all the low paying jobs. Me…personally I would rather have less jobs but better paying ones with clients who appreciate my work and that I enjoy working with.

  • Michael Rance


    Steph is dead on. My business is 14 years old, some big swings, mostly because I didn’t do most of these things at one time or another. Focused energy is everything …focus, do, tweek, do more ….I love that it is from a doer and not a theorist. If you’ve never taken a business call while on the toilet, you aren’t trying hard enough ..:>
    I will definitely do the $48 test drive….

  • Anthony Gubler


    I began my own Private investigation company seven years with a goal to be one of the top three Private Investigation companies for detecting Insurance Fraud in my area within five years. I was able to accomplish my goal and I believe it was for these reasons: when I received a request for an investigation, I immediately respond and at least acknowledge my receipt of their request. I do this 24-7. Wherever I am what ever I am doing my phone, which has my e-mail is with me. Second, when I get special requests for “Rush” jobs that I am told by the client that they will understand if I can’t do it, I tell them that I CAN do it first, then after they are happy, I bust my butt to make it happen and if all my investigators are busy, I do it myself! Never say “NO” to a valued client. Because of this when they need an investigator they can trust, my name is the first one they think of. Lastly, I find out when is the latest time they need the report so that they can do what they need to do. Give me a deadline! Once I get that deadline, I work 24-7 to make sure I beat that deadline so they have more time to do their job.

    It seems to be working, and one last thing, continue to provide the service the client has come to expect!

    Sincerely,
    Tony Gubler CEO/Lead Investigator
    Alias Confidential Investigations

  • webly


    The best piece of advice I would offer is to trust your intuition, stop asking for validation from your broke friends when you decide you want to do something, and protect your investment on yourself. After you spent so much time and money growing your business, your friends who didn’t even want to hear about it and avoided you will want to skip the line and join but expect you to do all the work for them so they can start where you are and not where you’ve been.

    Love this article a lot. Thank you, thank you, thank you

  • Wendy Lacey


    Absolutely priceless info!!! A great dollop of realism. Wish I had read this 5 years ago and got my head (and my heart) S T R A I G H T! a must read for anyone even thinking of going into business – it will save you time, money, angst and may even make you realise it may not be the best thing for you to do.
    Thank you Stephanie StClaire

  • Krystal


    Your venture will NOT be an overnight success. I repeat! When you are in the honeymoon phase of starting your business, it’s just too easy to think the day after you launch your business, people will be knocking down your door. It just doesn’t happen. Although it’s great to be an optimist (I think most entrepreneurs are), sometimes you just have to get real with yourself. What’s the worst case scenario, what’s your exit plan. This way, you are prepared and not in lala land.

    • Ryan Kippes


      Yes, I was the same way. I though that because I knew all these clients and they were happy with my work at my previous jobs they would follow me over and I would be a one month success.

      I now know that it is important to run my business like a marathon. There are benchmarks I need to make each week, month, year. I focus on the up coming bench mark at all times. It is working out great now.

  • Pippa Crawley


    I just loved that article and so thrilled my friend sent it to me. Your irreligious style in much like my own and the info’ invaluable. If you’re ever in Australia, I’d love to catch-up. x

  • Gary Welsh


    i want to thank you for the time you spent to put this together! i have a new “shero” to add to my long list! this is awesome!

    i am sharing this on my facebook page, which is where you magically appeared!
    be well…..

    gary r. welsh

  • Christine Kenneally


    Great article…I related to so many of your points, especially #4 and #5 You can not have prosperity if you are living in a scarcity mindset!

  • Michael


    After 29 years in business, I still remember what a millionaire client and friend once said to me. His simple words still hold true today. He told me, Mike, the more you are willing to give, the more people will take. This is your business, not theirs. You set the boundaries on how it will operate, and don’t let the customers take charge. If you provide a good product/service, there will always be customers. Don’t make your life your business , but make your business a part of your life. Be positive, accept advice, know full well you will make bad decisions, but that you will learn from them. Forget yesterday, and focus on today and tomorrow. Don’t strive to be rich, work to be content and happy.
    I used to live my business 24/7. I put everything I had into my company. But I was not happy. I enjoyed doing my trade, but sometimes would get so frustrated at the never ending demands it seemed of customers and my time. It was the customer above that changed all that. And get this, it was while I was working on one of his projects. I was so wiped out that I finally said to my wife, I don’t feel like working this weekend. Lets go away. We did, and we had great time. Monday morning came and I was a bit nervous thinking well, I am going to hear about this today about why we were not further along than we were Friday. The customer came to the jobsite and sure enough those words came out of his mouth, almost verbatim. I told him I was tired out and just needed a break. Please understand, this project was under a time limited….it need to get done. What he said next surprised me. He said, “Good for you” I was shocked, and I think my jaw dropped. It was then he told me the words I started this message out with.
    Since that time, I changed the way my business runs. I now work from March/April till November. After this, I shut the company down for the winter. Call it maintenance, down time, vacation, whatever you like. But this is my time. Do customers like it? At first there were a few complainers, but you know what? They all accepted it and I did not lose a single client to this. I have expanded my down time to once every 3 months during my work season also, and again clients adapt.
    I can say now, I am happier with my business and with my personal life. I can give not only my body a rest but also my mind. I am not a millionaire, but my family and I do well. I always look for ways to work smarter and not harder.
    Anyway, that’s my two cents I suppose. I hope it’s helpful. Remember, be happy and content in your business. If your not, it’s time to make a change.

    • Bo


      Great advice. If your work becomes drudgery, your services will suffer. The best reviews one gets are customers who know the provider enjoys their work, has a positive attitude, and it reflects in the work.

  • rohana wolf


    I know – no website yet. Lots to do, including a FB Fan Page, actually using my Linked In account, and opening a new Twitter account (I’ve forgotten my initial password when I first opened the account years ago.) It’s 3am, so I printed out your info and will read it in a more focussed hour.

    This info couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve already shared it on my FB page (I saw it on another Friend Page.) I can tell that you’ve hit your stride. Of course, my experiences will be unique to me, but you’ve given my a wonderful head start. Many thanks for sharing!

  • Toys of India


    Zen like advices :)
    Waiting for your next article.

  • Alexis Meads


    I LOVED this article! Great writing style! I’m watching Beth Grant’s Cash Alignment Grid now. Curiously – which style did you identify with?

    Cheers,
    Alexis

  • Ioana Wilkinson


    Yes yes yes you are SPOT ON!!

    Thank you so much for this valuable article.
    I shared it on my personal and business page on Facebook.
    I would love to read more articles like this on your blog because no one EVER talks about this stuff!
    (At least no one that I have met online or in person.)

    You have no idea how much your words mean to me. It’s as if you read my mind.
    I feel like we are all in it together and that makes me very grateful!

    Thanks again.

    With So Much Love,
    Ioana

  • Marie Mills


    Great advice and insight. I’ll also add – figure out what you are really not good at and hire/trade/entice those who are to support you in those areas. I’m great at organizing, logistics and process improvement. I hire someone else to do my taxes and asked a friend to help me get started on my website. Also, I take every opportunity I can to get feedback on my website, my pitch, my brochures and business cards from people who will be brutally honest and then I thank them for their honesty. It’s all a work in progress.

  • Praveen Singh


    One of the best articles….!!!
    Right in many ways->Spend less time researching more doing it…!!!

  • Sher


    I LOVE YOU & WANT TO MARRY YOU for the bit on how not everyone is your customer :) I say it every day…. and more often when rent on the office is due and a jackass WANTS to be my customer.
    Stay true & choose yourself.
    I just bought DO THE WORK. Time to read.

  • Pennie


    Started three small businesses and in the process of another. Love your 11 Things….. Exactly right about all of it. Good Luck!

  • shira


    Thanks for these insights! I just launched my first internet biz recently and need to know these things! Well done!

  • Ian


    Beautifully written. I love ‘Entreprenairplane’. Absolutely Brilliant!

    I’m not sure I wanted to know these 11 things before I started out. I mean, no one told me about the two-year thing. Had I known that, I might not have made it out into the fresh air. I heard six months, which meant that, because of my ‘work ethic, along with my talent, skills, and personal magic…’ three months should do it. Pass the spaghetti….!
    But we do need to hear your #1 right from the start. The rest are good to keep next to the tissues or drinks cabinet, whichever works for you.

  • Chad


    First of all, what a GREAT article. I am sure entrepreneurs everywhere will agree. I would add only this insight I learned the hard way for anyone doing sales for their new company.

    The most effective way to sell anything is for your client to feel they are not being sold. There is no way to fake this. Find a product or service that you believe in and spend time with your client discovering how what you have to offer will truly help them. Then explain that vision to them. Some will agree, some won’t. The ones who don’t do not need to be your client. You will both regret it in the long run. The ones who do will be great clients and will recommend your company to everyone they know. That is how you grow a loyal and enthusiastic client base. Not through pressure, not through trickery. Listen to your client, discover and explain their need as you see it. If they agree, offer your solution. That is selling. Anything else is a crock, and will lead to a decreasing business over time.

  • Shayna Baker


    You are a crazy bitch ! I totally love you ! Brilliant writer, you had me at business badassers! I wish you well and when my $ starts rolling in and I can get off my spaghettio business owner forced diet- your going to here from me! You will be on the payroll!

  • Mark


    Wow… An excellent piece written from a wealth of experience and deep from the heart. Absolutely love it and the advise carry the much much needed bluntness which hit the sweet spot from point blank. Having gone through one project which I had written off as a “failure”, and reading your article provided that much needed and long awaited post mortem. So thank you for such a great article. In the midst of kicking off another one, so timing is very apt.

  • Camelia Miron Skiba


    Steph,

    I had no idea I have a twin, but now that I found you I breathe relaxed because I know where I need to run to when I need a shoulder. If you have a couch and a Starbucks near by, we’re all good. To your incredible list (I wish I could tattoo it on my forehead but I’m too chicken) I’d add # 12: the sooner you face your fears (of failing, of being judged, of making a fool of yourself, of public speaking–you name it) the better. Remember there’s no other way around and sooner or later you will face those fears. Some take baby steps dealing with one fear at a time, others just plunge feet first. Whichever way you pick, remember you are human and you’ll make mistakes along the way. Forgive yourself, pat your back for trying, and move forward. You’re one step closer to finding your AMAZING self.

  • Craig Davidiuk


    Finally…I have an answer for people when they ask me “how do you start and run your own business”. I’ve been a business owner for nearly 20 years and I still have many of the same struggles a start-up does. Great article!

  • KC @ G-Free Foodie


    Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant & thank you. This is exactly how I’ve felt growing our business and funding it myself. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one on the boat!
    KC

  • John Puzzo


    You neglected to mention the idealist. A (former)girlfriend’s father urged her to dump me because “He’s an idealist and won’t care about money.” It took too long for her to tell him to mind his own business, so I dumped her. I’ve made and lost several small fortunes, but remain independent and free. Currently in Grad School (again). Google my name, and look me up on LinkedIn.

    Nice story and well told.

  • Diane Ferraro


    I laughed out loud several times and scrolling to find Chris Farley bottom left was amazing. I’m sharing and rooting for you. From one scrappy entrepreneur to another, thank you for this.

  • natalie page


    What a great article! Its a tough lonely path being an entrepreneur. Your friends won’t understand but other entrepreneurs do! Thank you

  • Donna


    Aloha! This is my first time reading your blog. Great writing! Re #5: I consider getting a part-time or temp job as using someone else’s money to grow your own biz! Re #10, Item #3: By what criteria do you “ascertain they are a good fit and ready for coaching”? Do you have a system or specific ?s you ask prospects to determine this? I saw myself in #11: “Do not price…on your personal ability to pay for it; you are not your ideal customer.” I will mend my ways on pricing and charge more for my valuable service! Thanks!

  • theresa


    this had me laughing! so much truth in what you blog. thanks for the insight (or help in taking the blinders off)

  • Cristie


    Thank you so much. I just so happened to start a business less than a week ago, so this was perfect timing. Luckily I already knew most of what you explained. Hopefully this will help me be successful sooner.

  • kelli


    amazing blog post and with so many great follow-ups as well.

    i am 7 years into following my passion for blending business and doing good and i am one of the few who have now been burned out and looking for real employment again.

    exhausted by the financial stress of starting this professional adventure in September 2008 (bad timing), i am in desperate need of a balanced life again. i was unwilling to go to Plan B (selling my house) but opted for many great experiences and paths that now point to finding other means to restore balance and provide for myself responsibly.

    in many ways i feel that i failed, but this odyssey has required prioritizing and a realistic look at the marketplace – and if I hadn’t ventured in, I would have never known.

    i need to create a few years of stability in my life before i can even think of doing this again. or hope that my adventure will open windows not previously considered but supportive of my values and desire to change the world for good with business.

    the toll that an entrepreneurial adventure can take cannot be underestimated but there are so many upsides to that success if/when you find it, even with failure its a worthwhile endeavor. just be sure to take care of yourself in the process.

  • Trey F.


    I totally relate to the “2nd job” tip. I enjoy my personal training gig however since the economy has not been the greatest I finally accepted the fact that its not just going to blow up one day soon, ushering us into a grand explosion of good economy. So I invested in bartending school and am now bar tending at a friends (personal training client’s) Italian restaurant in the theatre district in NYC. You are so right Cuz, I was my own inhibitor for a long while. Now I am not wallowing in fear of lack of funds and I get to keep my sanity.

    Thanks again for an inspirational message today!

    • Donna


      I agree that there’s no shame as an entrepreneur in getting a J-O-B. I consider it as using someone else’s money to help grow your biz! Best of luck pursuing your dream – while bartending helps pave the way!

  • Trey F.


    Good stuff cuz! Thanks!

  • Brandy Anderson


    Fantastic article. Great suggestions and I love your witty sense of humor!

  • Paul Gill


    The only thing I would like to add is that regardless of how stressful it gets from time to time… don’t forget to laugh and have fun while doing whatever it is your business entails.

  • Khris


    Word. Truth. Speak it sister!

    I would add : beware of businesses that prey on small businesses and start-ups. If anyone is promising you something that is guaranteed to make your business an overnight success, they are really trying to sell you something that will make their business $$$. So remember, the 2 year rule IS for super special, talented, and amazing entrepreneurs.

  • Thom


    Amazing advice from someone who’s been in the trenches. This is going to be a must read for all my clients.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Thom

  • Merete Haahr


    Thank you so much for all your advice. It is very helpful advice for someone like me, who has just started in business. I will share your information and spread the word…

    Best regards

    Merete, Denmark

  • Kristie


    I’m really glad I was sent your blog today from one of my client whom said your words reminded him of me and my determination to turn sadness into success – I really enjoyed it and I totally relate.
    A lot can change in 365days and for me that’s been my entire old existence all that I thought was ahead of me simply vanished, I often hear or see the saying sometimes things just happen and we are not aware of why at the time however every dark cloud has a silver lining. ( I was skeptical until the beginning of this year.
    My desision to open my hair salon took a break up after ten years of what I thought was grand, only to find I had been tricking myself for quite a long time.
    After losing the love of my life ( well now id second guess that- love of that time) my money investing in a 3 bedroom home a wedding dress ( & all the rest) parting with my amazing ring not to mention the having to say goodbye to 15 friendships and not having family close by.
    This was all just days before the new year, I found myself broke a single mother of a 13 year old darling girl (13 is a challenging age might I add) anyway I’m raving… Long story short I adore the way you state falling in love with your self is a part of the process ( this is were am at) I’m learning new things about my self and my passion for hairdressing by having a business that allows women to not only be beautiful but to walk away knowing it. I procrastinate at times I’ve made mistakes and as I go along I learn how to apply new ways to improve so your tips were humorous and insiteful.
    How long should one expect to have a coach for?
    Kristie Bradbury

  • Harriet


    Oh my goddess. I love you. I’m not gay. But I love you.

  • Roberta Perry


    Great advice. I started Scrubz™ 7 years ago on a wing, a prayer and a dime. I have had incredible growing pains, but we are still here and making noise.

    Thanks so much for the kick in the butt I needed for our busy season coming up.

  • Pam


    I absolutely, totally, deliriously, love your article! After re-reading it several times, I’ve printed it out & posted it next to my small business, business plan!

    Didn’t think of myself as an emotional person. . . before! Now, if some time goes by before a sale, I’m an emotional wreck. Then when sales do come in, I’m euphoric!

    Not having money reminds me of my college days! Yuk! But I have hope for better (even if it’s not to be a millionaire).

  • Pierre Sansfacon


    Patience and perseverance. I Start my business 30 years ago with nothing else than passion and determination. I have successful business now but It took time to build it. I agree with all your recommendations!

  • Lasheen


    You have stated the most important points in the most interesting way. I have read it thrice already, shared it with my little fellow entrepreneur group and they love it too.

    Thank you very much. Much needed and it came just when I needed it.

  • Leslie


    I make luxury soap and lotion. I hate to say I see myself and my journey in much of what you say. When you are right, you are right and I will be bookmarking this page to re-read in the near future. I will be re-reading this page for a while, I think. Thank you!

  • Kelly Wagner


    Brilliant post, Stephanie…you put the spotlight on so many crucial & sanity-saving points that new entrepreneurs need to know. Strategizing where you want to take your business (and soliciting an objective, 3rd-party point of view on your plans), marketing and selling (two different skills!), and getting help where you need it are so, so important. And Number 5! Oh how true, Number 5. Financial security = emotional, psychological and mental freedom. Thanks for pulling back the curtain on the real life of a new entrepreneur…small biz owners, you are not alone! PS Claire Stringer put me in touch with you a couple of years back, and another local connection posted this on LinkedIn today…it’s always nice to see a familiar name out here on the www :) – cheers!

  • Connie Fix


    #12 Keep your hands out of the cookie cutter jar.

    No two businesses are the same. Even if they are the same, they really aren’t. Therefore, steps A, B, and C may work for one company, but those same steps may not work for another.

    I have had people tell me that running a cupcake business requires that I do this and do that. They were wrong. Luckily, I didn’t listen to them.

  • Nyssa


    WOW, that was the best summary of the last two years of my life ever. Thank you so much. I am on the cusp of total badassery!!! Super grateful I read this and will be looking to read your recommendations as well.

  • Dee Middleton


    When you own your own business be prepared to do things that are the right thing to do for your business even if it breaks your heart and destroys a lifelong friendship. I you know you can not don’t even start it. There is no honor in going down with the ship if throwing a liability overboard will keep it afloat.

  • Capt Brian


    great piece, i have retired early after a life as ab entrepreneur now traveling the world on my boat. hope you can read my blog, furthuradventures.com
    your advice is perfect, i know it will send others on our path, keep up the good work;
    Make your Dream Your Story, is my motto

    Capt. Brian

  • Toby Neal


    I’m a successful self published fiction author and I find that having a business mindset from the beginning has made the difference. Thanks for a great article. Posted it on FB and boosted it out there. You nailed it on this one!

  • Carrie Brady


    Persevere!
    And check your ego at the door!…25 years as a fish print artist on Maui :)

  • Robbin SMith


    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I wish I had heard of these 5 years ago when we got started. Oh my gosh these are SO SO SO TRUE. I am glad to say we have accomplished 90% of them however they did come as hard learned sudden realization and big brilliant the light bulb just flicked on after a long dark period moments. They were hard earned! My biggest fault HTML and website development, right now I am still hiding from it. The hardest earned for us are 1 and 6!!!

    I would only add two things the first is the thing I thing is the BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT, DON”T GIVE UP!!! Being your own boss and making it has a whole lot to do with being stubborn, dogged, and tenacious. Don’t let other people discourage you either through criticism, the “you will never make it’s” or the can’t you just donate/volunteer/ do something for frees. They will attempt to eat your sole, stay firm and make a solid list ahead of time of those instances and groups you will donate too. It makes it easier to say NO if you can say you donate to these other groups. This is also #2, once I set up firm guidelines on who, what, and where we would donate to it made it easier for me to say I am sorry but NO, we already donate to XYZ because of ABC reasons.

    • Robbin SMith


      Also thank you that so makes me feel better about #1. I am glad I am not alone in the fact that I spend 85% of my time not being an artist in our business but in running the business!

  • Chris


    Spot on!

  • Steph


    Wowzers, you guys are amazing. I am humbled and grateful for the incredible response to this post. I have read every one of your comments as they have come in, and you have put a love in my heart for our shared journey like never before. I will be answering your comments in the coming week- and look forward to doing so! I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for sharing your thoughts here, standing up, and being counted. The entrepreneurial journey can be excruciatingly lonely at times – but that’s just because we hole ourselves away like a buncha Ted Kaczynskis.

    Well. You’re not alone. Keep pushing and taking the next small action. Your dreams are upon you. xo

    Love, Stephanie

  • Vicky


    Thank you for your interesting and very real article. You confirmed for me my decision to stop being a freelancer. That’s what we used to call it. Now it is indeed being an “entrepreneur.” And you’re right. You have to be the 85% of stuff that you don’t want to be or do in order to just survive these days.

    So I am looking for employment in a “normal” job. I chose my freelancing field in part because, back in the day, it was NOT marketing, NOT networking, NOT sales, NOT PR, etc. I think it’s sad that one can no longer work freelance based on one’s merit alone, but I do think that’s the way it is. And those of us who do not want to be 85% business-runner and 15% core professional will just have to move on. Which I think, in the long run, will be a great loss to everyone, because very talented folks who are not media-driven, media-savvy, or just media-interested, will have to opt out. There is already a lot of sheer noise out there in the digital world, and comparatively less good content and value. I think that trend will continue. Too bad. But thank you for your very realistic assessment, and best of luck to you.

  • Gerry O'Brion


    Totally awesome. May be the best post I’ve ever read on solopreneurship. I’m nearly to year three. Everything you said is true, and you said it so eloquently!

  • Fred Pauser


    I’m 71, been self-employed most of my life in two different fields of endeavor. So I feel somewhat qualified to judge this article: It is EXCELLENT! Thank you, Stephanie!

    Many people of my age are retired. But one never knows what the vicissitudes of life will bring. My only income is my Social Security and savings interest, which is not enough. So I’m once again looking for income via some sort of self-employment. (previously I climbed trees for a living, getting a bit old for that.)

    Since 1999 I’ve been participating in internet discussions and debates on nearly a daily basis. I love it, and I’m a good writer. Hmmm…

  • Chris


    Hi Stephanie!
    I just started my online business about a month ago promoting yoga and design for conscious living (I’m an architect and yoga instructor). This is great advice, making my path ahead seem challenging but possible. You’ve inspired me to keep going! Want to know just how new I am to the online business world? this is the first comment I’ve ever left on a website :-)

  • Catherine


    Highly entertaining, valuable advice for solopreneurs that I feel almost could have written myself – the awesome talent & coaching skills ! MADE Me want to sign up for newsletter to keep following :-)

  • shelley westgarth


    Four years ago I started my own ice cream manufacturing company with no money. …no business plan and no idea how hard I’d really have to work….the line about tears making your ice cream melt made me laugh out loud, so thank you for that! Four years later. …Whole foods market. ..Ritz Carlton…..we’re going strong. My biggest lesson learned…you can sell your product better than anyone else can. Don’t rely on outside help (Distributors, brokers, PR) to be as passionate about your product as you are.

  • Lisa Rangel


    Simply put? this is a great article…spot on!

  • Ruby


    just what i needed to hear. Thank you sooo much to put it into words.

  • William Schuh


    I have Been thru everything you have been thru and there is a lot painful times. When you figure it out and your business start going in the positive changes then you know that has a person that you have change. Thank You for writing this!
    Thank God everyday for what you have!!

  • SaraBeth


    Just started my own business in June 2013 – great advise!

  • Steven R. Rochlin


    Steph,

    Great article and soooo agree! Am working one company and about to start another related one. As such, am right now in the middle of ‘crazy pre-launch time’ preparing everything. After 18+ years with my first project am always learning new things/ideas each day. It seems to never stop and am thankful for that. Must smile when you said “Share your two cents here” as started with just many years ago, literally two cents. Keep sharing your wisdom, it is very much appreciated!

  • Richard Harris


    Have been lucky enough to embark on the yellow brick road of entrepreneurship and this post could not have been more perfectly timed.

    Here are some things I have learned and more than happy to share:

    I completely agree with you on discerning suspects vs. prospects. Suspects will suck the life out of you looking for free consulting and advice and then go into hiding never committing to a thing and afraid to “hurt your feelings”. Prospects will engage you in meaningful ways.

    A “no” is as good as a “yes” and 1000% better than a “maybe”. Nothing will exhaust your spirit like a “maybe”

    Break up with them by giving them permission to break up with you if they don’t think its the right fit. On the flip side, tell them if you don’t think its the right fit you will let them know and you can part ways as professionals who know how not to waste each others’ time.

    Do not “Cadillac” around the bases. Meaning when you have a great moment, close, call, etc. Don’t take a break and get coffee, call a friend or FB, etc. Use your energy and endorphins from the “win” to help you accomplish something else that is forward moving for your business. Don’t waste that lightning in the bottle on something futile.

  • Elaina Ketola


    I just read your “11 things about being an entrepreneur”. I just wanted to say holy shit, thank you, that was awesome

  • Andy Pforzheimer


    1) If you haven’t taken an accounting course, take an accounting course. If money is mysterious to you, that’s a problem – demystify it.

    2) Hire people who are smarter than you are, who can teach you something, and who you like to be around. Overpay them.

    3) Offer free tastes to get a client, but charge for the real thing.

  • Scott Reid Parker


    Didn’t Steven Pressfield also write “The War of Art”? Resistance was the theme in it too! IT was the motivational kick in the ass I needed…

  • Homer Berkowitz


    Love it! I’m going to share this with my entrepreneurship students. Your post confronts the most important issues that entrepreneurs are naturally in denial about. No matter how many times we read things like this, it always takes a couple lessons from the school of hard knocks to get on the right track.

  • jen minery


    Hi there – awesome, awesome, awesome – I am posting this, pinning this, etc!!

    I am currently enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I am already starting a job with a wellness practitioner and learning how to market and pull people into our practice…that being said, I will say that I am not entirely in my confort zone (calling patients I don’t know who initially think I am a telemarketer, bringing brochures to local businesses, talking about our practice and services that we offer)….I just want to health coach patients all day and give them hugs. But my boss likes my personality and mindset and knows I need to personally be out there marketing for myself and for him……I DON”T LIKE THIS PART OF BUSINESS!!!!

    He threw me into marketing and is trusting me to figure things out…EEEKKK (websites…ughh)….HOWEVER, I am figuring things out and feeling very empowered!!!

    My 2 cents…. I say, the stuff you don’t like to do just get out there and TRY STUFF AND DO IT!!!! There is no ‘best’ place to start, no real preparation, no affirmations, JUST ACTION….throw yourself out there and do it. Who really gives a shit if you make an ass of yourself – your true intention will always shine through and may actually be a relief to some and endearing to others. Every time you do something, you learn, you grow, you meet people, you start to make a name for yourself!! I sometimes feel like Alice being thrown down the rabbit hole…..or Neo deciding which pill to take……but somehow it’s cohesive and all comes together and once you start to actually do what you love….you have so much more to offer :)

  • Frederick Gaston


    My job is working with folks who are first time or serial entrepreneurs. I am part of the same team. All of this stuff is true. Laugh out loud, but true. Number 4 “Running out of money is a common part of the journey” is what I refer to as an “entrepreneurial moment” It is usually combined with a great impulse to chuck it all into the toilet. Don’t do it! FG

  • Michael W Willis


    I am a Mechanical Engineer self employed and enjoyed your article. A few thoughts although different business types vary of course..No set income or schedule, collecting is real fun Ha ha, retain a good tax person and be diligent, market when you are busy then you may have work when you are done with the present work although over time repeat clients help. Take time to play. Its easier to retain clients than find new ones. Be fun to work with. Rambling thoughts enjoyed the article and I am sure these things very depending on business type. **one aw shit and everything prior can go out the window quickly sometimes LOL. Be fun to work, knowledgeable and gracias. I have a cohort that signs his e-mails and correspondences with “Respectively at your service” I received this the first time and went wow nice.

  • Keith Luedeman


    Just saw this on a friends facebook page. RIGHT ON TARGET. Just sent it out to my entrepreneur network in Charlotte – http://www.bigcouncil.com. Let us know if you are ever in Charlotte, NC!

  • David M. Bender


    Fantastic article!

    Let me start with, I own a training facility (personal, not a gym). I decided for all the same reasons to go it alone. I have been scraping by for the last year, cutting my teeth in all of the same ways you have. It has been a brutal task. I love my job and suck at marketing for all the same reasons you have posted.

    The one thing that I have learned is that my current clients are my greatest tool, and using them (and I hate that phrase), and not abusing them has been the greatest thing for my business growth and my sanity. So much so that they had an intervention to get me to start taking every Sunday off. (I was also in the 16 hours a day 7 day a week work cycle, literally)

    The best advice I have is this. If your great at what you do and people want your services, and they have something that you need other than cash and are willing to trade then do so! I haven’t paid for groceries in 6 months as I have 3 clients that own organic farms so I keep them super fit, and strong and they keep me packed full of health veggies and fruits and the fantastically glorious bacon drop.

  • Debbie Stonebraker


    Thoroughly enjoyed your writing, and it takes a lot to get me to read something to the end! I am a dog portrait artist (primarily) and have been doing it for over 20 years. Still making the same 10k gross at it that I did 20 years ago. (Hubby pays the bills)
    I’m now 61 and not 41 and so I don’t get near as much done as I’d like.

    I wanted to tell you tho, that one statement you made just smacked me in the face:
    Do not price your offerings around your personal ability to pay for it — you are not your ideal customer.
    I do believe my prices are going up!
    Thanks!!!!
    deb

  • Leila Marsha


    When times are down, do afformations, instead of affirmations. <3

  • Elizabeth Armenta


    Great read. Love your writing style. I’ve basically been through most of that since I quit my corporate job to go full-time as a freelance writer 4 months ago! Thanks for sharing.

  • Zoe Belucci


    Love this article, very inspiring. I started an independent record label with my boyfriend in may this year and things are going well, however we are yet to actually make a sizeable chunk of our investment back (we used our personal funds)we know this may take up to a year before we start seeing any kind of return… However this is our passion and we love what we do… This article just reconfirms everything that we are doing is right and we will hang in there!

    Thank you, and all the very best xx

  • Kristi Cooper


    Oh My! This/You are brilliant. As I shared on my Facebook page:
    No. 6 could have saved me some time…
    Except I never did number 7 :-)
    It will take courage to do No 10, which for me would mean to ask friends and family to stop emailing me to say “hey” if they ever expect a response that is meaningful or remotely intimate (let’s call okay?)…
    No. 11 is my new mission.
    I’m so glad I found this blog and you. I’d advise others to read this blog as a great start to entrepreneurship!
    Thank you for offering this wonderful perspective!

  • Varun


    Hi, thanks for sharing your thoughts.. Very uplifting and motivating for business persons alike.. Good to know that one’s problems are not isolated from the usual in and out of self-run businesses.. Much like strengthening the core in fitness, this is that! Thanks once again..

  • Lori Loessin


    Learn to smell crazy when it shows up at your door, and have your response ready for when it does. Something like “I don’t feel we will be able to do xyz to your satisfaction – perhaps you’d like to seek out the services of fill-in-the-blank.” Crazy is a huge time sucker where you will never win. And, it’s a numbers game …. the busier you are, the more crazy you’ll see. Be prepared.

    My 2 cents.

  • Eulojio


    Number seven really got me. I prepare and over prepare, but eventually I realize that the level of quality I am adding to the end product is so small that it’s no longer worth the investment in time. Besides, part of a great product is innovation and creativity, and that sometimes can’t happen if a thing is too planned out, because there will be a reluctance to scrap so much planning in favor of something that’s probably better.

    Great, great article. Thanks so much.

  • Tiffany Wills


    Holy crap. This is revolutionary. I have done so many of these, as I am just in my “lift-off” phase, as well as relocating to an entirely different state right in the middle of it all, so to say I have made excuses and blamed the market for my procrastination and discouragement is an understatement. Scared as hell and making every excuse in the book, but it is nice to see I am not alone. I could relate so well to everything you wrote. You have inspired me, I have a God given talent, and I have a passion in my soul to share it with others, thank you for fueling my fire!!

  • Don


    You nailed it. I am 15 years into my journey. All your points ring true. Still do not know what HTML means. Always something to learn. It all make me tired. But they sun does rise and my clients keep me going. And yes, I am ufishing in a cold mountian stream on Friday. But this is not the start of a long weekend, just trading Friday for Saturdya.
    Thank you from the bottom of the sharp pyramid.

    Don

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life


    Don’t compare. Everyone has their own journey and while it’s ok to look to others for inspiration and motivation, being discouraged by someone elses’ success is stupid. It has nothing to do with your own and there’s certainly more than enough to go around.

  • Nathan McLeod


    Do not let your mind be clouded by money or how to make the quick buck. Businesses are not built over night or even over 2-3 years. It takes time. Do not focus on getting rich because you will get the “lottery complex” and day dream and lose focus while other more focused people in your industry will thrive. Work on building a good, strong, and professional and the money and success will come!

  • sumit


    Very well said . I started my business around 2 and half years ago and had very similar experience. I like the bluntness and way it has been presented. Appreciate the effort that has been taken to put the thoughts. Hope people get inspired and learn from this.

  • Bella


    Keep it “real” and don’t make promises you can’t make, or say you can do more than you really can. Also, give back to the community. Make your legacy. This encourages longevity and perspective. Greediness isn’t the best base for a business. Learn how to communicate. Learn to take no. And learn to have your feelings hurt. Move on! Good luck!

  • Debby


    I liked the article, but it would have been more credible if you had let go of the profanity and shortcuts to words (” ‘cuz”) – it makes you more credible when you can get your point across without being a
    “gangsta” ( sarcasm there…) I liked your points, but your delivery turned me off.

  • Claudia McCloskey


    Stephanie – LOVED, LOVED your article. Funny – but accurately to the point. Will want to see more of your writings & also some of those you recommend. Thanks!!

  • Wendy


    It’s never a good idea to have just one email. To best direct your time from most to least important, set up email addys like you would a coded post office box: one for inquiries/general questions, one for ordering, one for setting up appointments, etc.

    How you best operate will be the determining factor with your email accounts.

    Include the customized email address ON the web page it corresponds to; this will help you quickly identify the most urgent matters. it worked like a charm for me.

  • Taylor Hunt


    Entreprenairplane = word of the week.

  • Tara


    Brilliant! Soul Sistah….I too have a 3 year old business and can totally relate. My business is raw,vegan foods to go, so I do eat better and less out of a can. Keep on shining that bright light.

    Thank you Wisdom Guide.

    Peace,Tara

  • Rebecca


    Great article! You have reminded me what is needed and what I’m forgetting.
    I constantly resist marketing but it’s so important. I believe that will be my new goal for this month.

  • Jenny Sansouci


    Yup, this is awesome. Thank you!!

  • Robbi


    That was great writing and great advice. I love your style and honestly. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hanna


    Thanks for sharing this insightful article with us! I can relate to so many of the points mentioned by you – and especially the one about working with friends. It is SO crucial to have clear rules and agreements and also keep things professional when working with people that we know well. Otherwise things get blurred and in the worst case friendships get affected. I also learned we have to choose so wisely with whom we work with in the first place! Bottom line: Once we really become entrepreneurs and we leave the comfort zone of a secured income, we can no longer afford time, energy and resources in random communication & tasks, doing favours for free all day long…we need to optimize our operations and keep a steady focus. Still a lot to learn for me…

  • Tom Peck


    Haha…great post. A friend of mine shared this on Facebook so I thought I’d check it out. I love your candor! Entrepreneurship is tough and a lot of people are naive to the challenges associated with building a business. Very inspirational. I love when people talk about the struggles and how they have overcome. Again, great post.

  • Saura Johnston


    GREAT POST!
    Here are three Marketing Rules that I wish I knew a year ago!
    https://medium.com/p/8e39d444b7e2

  • Melissa


    You couldn’t have said it better and this article couldn’t have been sent to my inbox on a better day. So for starters, I want to give you a big THANK YOU for summing up life as an entrepreneur, it’s so scary out here and it’s reassuring to know someone has gone or is going through all this “Fun” of running your own business. I’m currently battling step #4 and #5 and I am happy to know that there is light out of this tunnel.

  • Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D.


    Spot on, sister!! I’ll be passing this along to all the entrepreneurs I know. I think #1 cannot be stressed enough. It’s like The E-Myth. We are more than technicians. We must be business owners.

  • Bridget LeRoy


    This is SO good, I do not want to share it.

    Mine! All mine! *throws money in the air a la Scrooge McDuck*

    So you take it down now?

  • Frank Abrams


    Hi Stephanie – I shared your amazing post on our zenPeak blog – thinking that mid-career people who are considering going into business for themselves, can learn a lot from your experience! Frank
    here’s the link to my post: http://zenpeak.com/2013/11/07/advice-from-a-new-entrepreneur/

  • Dianne


    I cannot begin to tell you how bloody brilliant that post was. I had that whole “I’m committed to the dream and won’t work” thing going on years ago and while it was hell, I came out of it much less afraid of some of the things people tremble at contemplating. I made some changes did it again and again until finally, I’m getting it because I’m in an mindset and an environment where I can.
    Plus, with this current path I had this whole 7-da work week mentality. Let me tell you, it wasn’t going to happen. I needed to decompress and handle my OWN stuff the way I was doing for everyone else. YES, I will be bookmarking this to remember how far I’ve come and what I need to remember.
    Thanks

  • Brooke


    You are on point lady!! Woke up to this blog post in my inbox. Glad I didn’t overlook it! Have a great day!!

  • Hem Ramachandran


    You can have all the money in the world, by starting a successful company and working hard and such, but if along the way, you lose your spouse and can’t find love and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, money doesn’t matter. Our life is burning away every second, and need to ‘seize the moment’ to enjoy it fully and not be compromised. Just a thought.

  • John


    Thanks for the post. Great stuff. One thing I would add is to make sure to do things other than your business. Take time for yourself doing something that isnt business related. Take a yoga class, join a boardgame or new language group, hike do something that gets you out of the house, aka your office, around people who arent clients, and your mind off of selling and running your business. What often happens is that you will find solutions to problems as well as garner new clients when you arent thinking of either. A step away from the business is healthy for you and your business.

  • Seth


    if they are going to be using equipment for their businesses it is important to budget for modernization and repairs. Also if its a particularly necessary piece or hard to find parts it would be a good idea to have spares or be prepared to be out of business till they arrive.

  • Vanessa James


    Hi there,

    Just wanted to reach out and say congrats! I had a moment to read your article and it absolutely connected with me in every way! Cheers to you following your dreams, and risking smartly. I’ve been there and am on the other side. I’m here to tell you that you are well on your way! Cheers to you and your business.

    Warm Regards,

    Vanessa James

  • Marisa Papetti


    Every time I have made a major step with my business , I have had zero dollars in my account. It’s been a terrifying and thrilling eight years. I highly recommend talking walks, swimming….whatever you enjoy to help you clear your head. I have also found taking weekends off is key. I work my ass of the rest of the time. If I’m not 100%, my works reflects it. Also, get a brilliant bookkeeper. They are worth every penny.

  • Danielle


    This was like looking into a mirror. Yes, yes and yes. Soul sister, will be following you for sure!

  • Steve Z


    Love the article. I teach entrepreneurship to college students and I am so going to include this in my curriculum….as long as you promise not to sue me for copyright infringement ;>}

    • Steph


      Glad you liked it Steve! Just include my name and a link to my website and we’re good to go! ;)

  • Bob


    The one thing that I have experienced is that if you find a need and fill it, you will prosper. You might be wonderful at what you do, or you might have the best product on the market, but if no one needs it you are up a creek.

    I have not yet read all of your content but I like your philosophy. I look forward to hearing what you have to say. Maybe I will learn something. Best wishes to all.

    Go with God!!

  • bigqueen


    try your best not to make things more complicated than they need to be. some times we read more into things than what there really is. make sure you know just how and where you want to market yourself and your company and remember that your company is apart of yourself and you have to be you to make it work no one does everything the same way find out what works for you and just go with it……..

  • Kathy


    I’ve lived many of your experiences – the one I’d like to add is – while Facebook is important, a Like does not equate automatically with a paying customer and paying customers is what we all need to survive.

  • Sarah


    This is EXACTLY what I needed today! Rock on sister! As a fellow entrepreneur, I have literally been through all of this in my first year. Thank you so much for this fabulous read, I can’t wait to share it…

  • Sarah


    This. is. my. life.
    It’s true, I planned and planned and planned. And now 6 months down the road, I am two months behind and therefore dangerously close to the empty bank account. Because I knew what I was doing, it shouldn’t have happened to me! And today as I sit in my office ready to throw up my hands, I run across this ass-kicking that was so dearly needed. And a reminder that I will only fail if I allow myself to fail. Fabulously written. Thank you!

  • Katherine Regnier


    I wish I wrote this. Lovely. :)

  • Tim Howard


    I agree with almost everything here. Except the idea of creating an alternative revenue stream. That’s nonsense. You can’t be splitting your time between multiple pursuits. That just means you’re diluting yourself. Remember you’re competing against people who are devoting 60 + hrs a week to their business. You can’t compete unless your head is completely in the game.

    • Steph


      Hi Tim – I agree with you, except #4 might happen. And then, yeah, you’re gonna have to get a second job :)

  • Michael Milligan


    1 Rule I lived by which seems to be covered in a few of yours is…at times, put everything aside and concentrate solely on DPA (Dollar Producing Activities). Lost in all the hubbub around running my own real estate business is making calls to clients to get their business, FB, marketing, advertising, spreadsheets & cost of goods sold calculations be damned. Get on the effin phone and Get it done!!
    Loved your 11 rules and I’m positive they will help many many just starting out to learn from your lessons.

  • John Ricci


    Great read and all are perfect. I am going into my 4th year and I would add delusional thinking. I have used numbers from past experiences to project our successes and none have held true. You live and die by the numbers, ALL OF THEM.

  • Rachel


    This is brilliant – one to share with my students/clients (I am a Business Owner/Mentor and deliver Business Start-up Workshops).

    Love your style of writing I am sharing this and also watched Beth’s videos – simple and enlightening, shared those too!

    Thank you Stephanie, today I needed you and Beth, for myself as well as my clients!

  • Taylor Leach


    I started my business 6 years ago and I have to agree with your 11 points. I would like to elaborate on one point and make a point.

    1. Marketing – If you are not talking to a potential client about your business then no one is talking about your business. I would sit and look at the phone and think if I don’t pick this thing up and call someone no one will know I exist.

    2. If you don’t want to drive by, work on, fix, walk into or interact with your business everyday you don’t need to own it. Many of my friends want to own real estate in other cities or part time or a car wash or any other hard asset they think they are going to sit back and collect money on. My personal rule of thumb is if I don’t see it everyday I don’t need to own it. The simple reality is if it is not apart of your life everyday you will lose interest.

    Take it from a guy who started out in his garage apartment with a plastic Santa Clause as an office mate to a thriving small business owner with offices in Houston Chicago and LA.

  • Suzannah


    Develop a mission/vision and let that guide you. Make every important decision by running it through that mission and seeing if it furthers or aligns with it.

  • Filippo


    tough world, congrats., determination is everything!

  • C Michelle Adams


    Thank you so much for your frank writing. I will be sure to pass this on to others.

  • John


    You don’t read much about Calvin Coolidge in the history books but as an entrepreneur, I live by his words:

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
    Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
    Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
    Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
    The slogan Press On! has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.”

    J. Calvin Coolidge Jr.,
    30th President of the United States of America

  • LisaAR


    Stumbled upon you through a Facebook share. So glad I did! Love the spirit you’re putting out, and you said several things I needed to hear!

  • Eric Rose


    YOU are the funniest white woman I’ve ever read. Phyllis Diller’s dead ass cannot compete, even when she was alive.
    Ok you’re the funniest motivated Bitch, white or not.
    Ok you are one funny ass Human.
    Thanks for the inspiration, I have to get off my ass now.

    Eric

  • Lisa Manyon


    Brilliant!
    Write on!~
    Lisa Manyon

  • Jenny


    I loved this post and agree 1000% with your point that the real enemy is our own resistance. Amen sister, that was/is true for me…when things seem bleak it is usually the case that my resistance is working overtime. Somebody much wiser than me (and completely successful) keeps telling me: JUST GET TO WORK. She also gave me a book that I read when I feel like I am sliding into that territory. It’s called The War of Art, also by Steven Pressfield. I’m going to get the other one you recommend, but thought you might like to check that one out too if you haven’t already! I think you would like it. (:

  • Fief


    Right On !!! – My 2cents are: all of the above. You nailed it on the head all the way – thank you for a great read. I especially appreciated ‘my soulmate’ section.

    Thank you

  • Lisa


    You are the first life coach/writer who in any way shares my sensibility (I am a coach/writer). If ever you are in need of a Martini in Seattle…also, what do you need to make your bidness grow?

  • Lindsay Obermeyer


    After crashing and burning with not one, but two businesses, I finally shook off the dust and am now soaring. Resistance is the biggest problem, at least for me. Believe in yourself folks!

  • Corinne


    Perfectly Awesome. I so needed that…right now. Addressed everything I have been feeling. Thank you!

  • Jodi Clayton


    Look for the negative space and go there. If you are hell bent on replicating someone else you better have really deep pockets and be way better than they are-or be bored.

  • Randy Romero


    I really enjoyed everything you had to say! Especially “In order to get clarity, you must act.” It reminds me of the three principles of Morita Therapy:

    1. I accept my feelings.
    2. I know my purpose.
    3. I do what most needs to be done.

    And the 9th Cherokee Wisdom teaching:

    “If you see what needs doing, do it now.”

    I would add something about accounting. As a Music Therapist in private practice, it was necessary for me to create a simple system for tracking income, tax deductible and non-deductible expenses, my IRA, and general money management. I do it with pen and paper, even though I know fine software is available. Many creative people shun accounting, but it is essential.

    “The Richest Man In Babylon” was given to me in my 20’s, and the lessons in that book have served me well. If you’re ever in Fort Wayne, Indiana, dinner’s on me.

  • Jennifer


    Oh my stars… YES. YES to all eleven and all the commentary in between. I laughed, even when it rang sooooo very true. Great article!

  • Lia Lee


    Hello Claire,

    I just read your article. It caught my attention as I quit my job 9/16/2013 to start my own practice as a CPA with nothing but my talents and a few devoted clients. I always felt the need to have the security blanket of a paycheck especially when children came along. But the misery of working for firms became unbearable such that all fears evaporated and I discovered the other side of fear is freedom. However, the reality of developing and nurturing my own business is a challenge and I appreciate your words of wisdom. I just borrowed the kindle version of Do the Work and will put the works of Altucher and Trunk on the “to read” list.

    Best regards,

    Lia Nazloomian-Lee, CPA

  • Anna


    The ONLY thing I would add is that, when in the depths of despair between #4 and #5, hire the most amazing business coach ever—one who knows how to market. I found someone by chance—offering a free webinar, so I thought, “why not?” His free advice made me $500 within hours. So, I took $100 of that and invested in 3-day online seminar…which has made me about $10,000. His advice is specific to what I do, but the point is…don’t feel like you have to invent everything. A few hundred bucks invested in the right person will be the leverage you need to keep going when it’s very, very dark.

  • Therese Prentice


    The BEST post I have read on the web in a long time. This is pure TRUTH which in the past couple of years has become a scarcity among many. Thank you for being who you are and sharing pure authentic truth with the world. I have been working online since 1993 as a Life, Business and Marketing Coach and I am saddened by how many people who have been hoodwinked into thinking entrepreneurship was a walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon on the Sunniest Day on most beautiful day in Spring. YOU ROCK!! Thank You!

  • Jocelyn


    Hi Stephanie. You are HILARIOUS! You can also be a stand up comedian but the teller of the truth about being a business owner. You nailed it! There are days that my brain is not functioning at all and it’s like looking for something to wake it up. You did it! Thanks a million for posting your personal experiences in a very entertaining way.

    Jocelyn

  • Jen Seymour


    LOVE LOVE LOVE your 11 things article!! thank you, thank you. I’m “early retired” in Costa Rica, but trying to earn a buck here and there, really appreciate this advice… :)

  • Linda


    Thank you Ms. Stephanie – great post, thank you for sharing your experience. I have been in the “startup” phase of my own business, as a grant writer and soon-to-be health coach, for the past six months. It’s making me crazy. The biggest challenge is my own resistance – what you said. Thank you, thank you – I know it’s not just me.

  • LaKaye


    OMG! Thank you for this kick ass blog post!!! I’ve been in business and stressed myself out and quit. I started a new business and I’ve just began marketing myself. I feel good doing it, but it goes against ever gain in m being. You are spot on with all of these points. I’m sharing and subscribing NOW!

  • Tanisha Brown


    I want to say thank you for writing this article. It was to the point and nail everything I should and shouldn’t be doing. I am a jack of all trades wearing hats in several settings. (i.e. corporate and entrepreneurship). It’s hard to balance sometimes. I feel like a hobbyist and not a business owner, because I am not profitable just concept rich.

    Thanks for the valuable thoughts!

    Sincerely,

    Tanisha B.
    Atlanta, GA

  • Michele


    Thank you for this. I can totally relate!

  • Helene


    Thank you for the this most needed and timely newsletter! Thanks go to mutual connection, Michael Roderick!

  • Anny


    Nice article! Like all your points. Finding good valued books and owners that experienced the failures is such a key to learning the realities of owning a business. Also, another point is not to jump right in and trust a professional “take time to make decisions”. Many times we trusted bankers, attorney’s and accountants only to have cost us dearly in the end.
    I wish you luck in your endeavors!!!

  • Emma


    This is awesome, thank you. Many of my fears you have covered here – and have clearly gone through. This has given me a proverbial kick in the butt, in a really nice way actually. Have subscribed, and I look forward to future articles!

  • Andrea


    Hi!
    I loved this, thank you!

    I am hitting the two year mark right now and I’ve already gotten over some of the hurdles you mentioned. I think now I am at the point where I am busy enough that I have to learn how to turn down a client, simply because I don’t have the time to take them on! Not because they aren’t “my customer” or a job I wouldn’t LOVE, but because I have already booked myself solid for the next 3 months! This is a new hurdle and something that is HARD to do!

    Determination, learning to say no, and sometimes taking on the jobs you don’t necessarily LOVE because the pay and experience would be very beneficial! Those are the three things I recommend :)

  • Nancy Ceresia


    Wow. That is all I kept saying as I read this. It was like you took a peek inside my mind right now. Note: I’m approaching no. 4 whilst taking on no.5!! I think you should make this a poster somehow. I need it pasted in front of my eyeballs as I work. Thanks so much. Seriously.

  • Fleur


    Just found you via Cakecentral. I’m about to launch my own cake decorating business and your truths are currently hitting me in the face! Thanks for putting them in words for me, just what I needed to read today. Exellent writing – love your wits and humor!

  • Grace Mayele


    This article just gave me life! Totally resonated with me as I am realizing that every bit of what you shared is true! Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart nor is it a fly by night experience. The minute you start assuming things are “easy” and complacently take them at face value, you then realize how soon the real business ethics always catch up to you! Executing the gift is one thing but managing it is another. Thank you for writing this!

  • kara rane


    Steph – so happy you are thriving in business to write –> thankyou!
    4 still terrifies me… major crash & burn (literally) lessons.
    11 is swell ~ feeling Lucky , and full of gratitude )

  • rowan twosisters


    Awesome!

    I love #4.
    And I’d add since you are in it for the long haul figure out how to have a daily self care plan along with all that business goodness, ’cause the best decisions and business mojo come when all engines are firing with ease.

  • Jacqui


    So if I had seen this 15 years ago, it might not have sunk in (ie. you aren’t talking about me? I have special God energy working through me…)… Found myself laughing @ the “glitter shooting out of my eyes” Yeah I know that one, been in business for myself by myself for 15 years… yes I did go to school to get away from it and now I still have it, plus a part time job and have hired three other therapists.
    It has been a full court press, a roller coaster ride from hell and the biggest personal growth machine ever. I love the person it produced, :)
    and I love this article.

  • Tracy


    Do you have a hidden camera following me around? WOW, so true, SO what I’ve been living!!

    Can’t thank you enough for pointing me toward Beth Grant! Fantastic resource :-)

  • Kate Knight


    Stephanie, Fantastic post.

    I just got referred to your writing and loved it. Gave you a shout-out on a piece I wrote here:
    http://www.kateqknight.com/1/post/2013/11/start-up-wisdom-from-a-lady-who-grew-a-set11-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started-my-business.html

    Keep up the good work!
    Warmly, Kate Knight

  • ANNA FREDERIKSEN


    #12 everything costs more than you think it will

  • Steven blake mba


    The first thing I would tell someone starting a business is to read your blog! Brilliant and very entertaining, I like your style. The next thing is exposure, getting yourself in front of potential customers. We all want/need people to buy our services/stuff and yet as you rightly say we fill our time with the doing or the procrastinating. I have met so many therapists who keep taking training in different aspects of healing, just so they feel fully prepared and yet never launch the business as they don’t feel “quite ready yet”. You eloquently made the point that you have to just do it, as now is the only time we have. regards Steven

  • David Frank Gomes


    One of the most lucid and helpful blog posts I have read in a long time. Much wisdom in this. Read it daily for one month.

    Thank You.

  • Mia Rivero


    By far the best article I have read recently. It’s a kick in the butt, a wake up call, and a refreshing dose of reality all said in a way that makes me want to work my business harder instead of running for the hills. Thanks!

  • MrsP


    You are amazingly accurate ! I have been in the financial planning business for 11years and I have been broke, scared, sort of broke, terrified and I survived!!!! Now I am successful and loving life and my career! I am afraid of nothing

  • Gene Hammet


    Great article that I needed to read. I too am a coach and feel the stress of getting the business off the ground (code for paying the bills). I am 15 months into the journey. I am great at what I do…but I spend 60+% marketing. I have had to learn all I can about marketing. I feel it paying off, but it is hard. This might be a black beans and rice week for my family.

    Gene
    Digital Agency Business Coach

  • MILLIE MARTIN


    I really enjoyed the 11 things you should know.
    I would like to add that knowing about some basic tax stuff helps. How to keep receipts and what are tax write offs etc. Things I did not learn in one of the top conservatories of music back in the 80’s.!!! I pay big bucks for tax prep! but have lowered my bill by having stuff together and totals at the time with the tax guy!
    Also the ability to constantly reinvent yourself within your field and making yourself indispensable. The business of music is my field but it is like old dinosaurs evolving and changing, especially on the classical end of the job scene. Feeling confident when I pick up the phone and being positive when asking about gigs!
    The old stock tip of diversifying helps me in my field of music performance. The minute I get negative or feel like I am holding onto to the old vision of my dreams with fear I stop seeing myself as a musician of expanding genres and talents….this includes ideas for saving the arts as well.
    I also do a planning of my day with a visualization I really like and it helps my day so I can go from the networking end to actually feeling like I have energy for the product of music which is most important and must come out in my personal practice time. I cannot let my $$$ stress bleed over into the art part. $$$ is fluid and it ebbs and flows.
    Thank you for your article and best of luck to all who venture forth into the great and exciting unknown!

  • LC White


    thank you. repeat many times. i am 61 but still beginning.

  • Michele Allen


    Loved your article! After 9 years I still deal with some if those! Very insightful!!! Will share!!!

  • Heather Dietel


    Loved this article. Love love love. So true. I’m feeling the pain right now. Your words were just what I needed to hear.

  • Dave


    Great article, the 2 year rule is so important for planning. I loved the 4 Rockstars you threw in a blender, but at the end of everything, did you look more like That Girl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoh1LGADKI8 ?

  • Cat


    That was awesome! It’s like you crawled inside my brain and scan ALL the pages! Thanks

  • Positivityman


    What a great article. Insightful and really useful information.

    Thank you and well done!

  • Don Hardy


    Nicely written and so true. Point number 6 really hit home.

    A professional distances themselves from the work. So true in being self aware and objective about evaluating your product from other similar products in the marketplace. Why is one coach better than another? The ability to stand back and evaluate the efficacy of their work, and clients can recognize that skill. The clients and customers are then are best advertisement the business can have. It seems to work well for Rolls Royce and Steinway – neither are the largest corporations of their respective fields, and both have miniscule advertising budgets – their clients do that for them. I used that philosophy of excellence in the success of my service based business.

  • Julie


    I’ve started three businesses – two out of necessity (got laid off or quit job, couldn’t find a new one) one was planned.

    You’ve really got to write a business plan. Yes, it’s a pain and people can’t stand doing it. But – guess what – it forces you to sit down and commit to paper and pen 1) what your business is, 2) who your competition is, 3) how are you going to produce it, 4) how are you going to market it, 5) how are you going to raise VC and going to support yourself when you start, 6) what do you expect to make/how much are your expenses going to be, 7) who can help you, personally and professionally, as you start/grow the business.

    It’s a daunting process, but if I can say this as a childless person, it’s like giving birth. It’s totally worth it. It becomes your touchstone, your 12 month, 24 month plan. But – it’s not completely set in stone and you can tweak it.

    I think another lesson I learned is once you pull the trigger and commit to starting a business, put a lock on your credit cards, your checkbook, your ATM card when it comes to personal spending. You hope not to hemorage money, but it always costs more than you think. So it’s not the time to console yourself with a dinner out if it doesn’t go your way, or that new dress, or that impulse buy. Because you are going to need every dollar, every quarter, every dime, every nickel, every penny for your business.

    I love being a business owner. I can’t imagine working for “the man” ever again. But it’s like that old ad for the Peace Corps, it’s the toughest job you’ll every love.”

    • Steven blake mba


      Brilliant advice there. I hope you have sorted out your own planning, but if not, or for anyone else that wants it a few years ago I designed a spreadsheet to help people plan their business finances and to test out the viability. I helped over 700 people start their business using it and since I no longer do that type of work have given it away FREE for several years. It’s now used all over the world.
      I do it as a pay it forward, you use it and then you do someone else a favour of your own choice! Regards Steven
      http://www.explainedwell.com/business-spreadsheets/

  • Beth Picard


    Someone just shared this and I felt like you just told my story- but in a MUCH funnier and better way than I ever could. EVERYTHING you said is SPOT ON! I have been in business for 3 years now, and still trying to beat back the urge to resist marketing (does that EVER go away?) What a brilliant blog post- I am going to share this with everyone I know and I help people with their Etsy businesses and with their websites and they need to read everything you write- so do I.

    Thank you for making my day! I just read every word to my husband and all he could do was laugh- at how brilliantly you described it and at how exactly it described me and my “journey”!

  • David Mackey


    Great read Stephanie.

    Couldn’t agree more re Steven Pressfield. His book the War of Art is one for the ages.

    Two other principles I’ve learnt in business are the importance of goal setting and taking time out to think.
    When I finally took on board these two pieces of advice I entered the law of attraction.

  • Maria


    I feel like I went through the same exact process. I’ve been in business for 3 years. Sometimes I feel like I am barely surviving and it’s a constant struggle. Everyone sees me as a young (25) successful entrepreneur, doing something deeply meaningful, traveling the world, living the dream… but there are days where I feel like I am on the verge of a melt down! The amount of work and responsibility I have, plus the pressure that I put on myself by setting high expectations really takes its toll on my mental well-being… plus trying to live up to what others think of me and trying to please every client can be exhausting at times. I am glad I am not the only one. I make mistakes, I went broke, I had a couple of partnerships that didn’t end well. I also started this business right after I got divorced. I left a marriage broken, so I poured my heart and soul into this business, I put all my time, money and love into it. I love it! Even through all the hardship I still love it. I am getting better at it everyday. Thanks for your post!!! :-) _ Maria

  • Dave Rogers


    Number 7 (“just do”) definitely struck a chord with me. Doing web development, I started working remotely and quickly found how the same things that I loved about it (nobody around to distract me, I can get up to do something else whenever I want, I can work whenever I want, I can eat whenever I want, I can sleep in, etc) were also the very same things that I could allow to hold me back. At first I found myself being so easily distracted for days at a time that I felt like I got nothing done, so I’d turn everything off and work until my eyes bled until eventually I burned out and found myself distracted for days at a time once again. It’s definitely about learning to balance all those distractions to get things done while knowing when it’s time to punch out for the night.

  • Andrea Fellman


    WOW. This hit a cord with me so much. I can relate to all 11 items on this list and you’ve helped me see a few things from a different angle. Thank you for all of this!! Sharing with all my girl with ladyballs!

  • Polly


    I have the 12!!! Persistence and consistence (even when you don’t feel like it’s working–or you’re simply “not feeling it” is the key to “making it”. Of course, with your first 11 steps!

    Marketing and advertising savvy is a Godsend! Why pay for something you can do yourself? If you “don’t know how” use a tutorial and dabble in it.

    Blog—blog as if your life depends on it, and if you blog, remember—-persistence and consistence are the “key factors” in getting hits on your blog. Blog to direct traffic to your business.

    Enjoy the ride—-

    I’m sharing your brilliant blog post with my team!

  • Joe Rhinewine


    #1 was, is, and possibly will be in the future my problem. With 2 young children, I’m not willing to make my business first priority. This is a huge problem. One might argue I should have waited to start my biz, but as a clinical psychologist, this was the path I wanted. So we do things imperfectly, it’s painful, and we learn. Thanks for this insightful article.

  • Vanessa Lalonde


    Fantastic, engaging, creative and insightful article, thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  • Tai Goodwin


    Love the honesty of what you’ve shared. A lesson I’ve learned: You will never get anywhere trying to walk someone else’s path.

  • sharon


    thanks, that was a joy to read.

  • Emily


    You had me at ladyballs. (One of my favourite words)

    Seriously, thanks for this. Fucking brilliant, no-nonsense, well-written article. Totally sharing this on social media.

  • sara


    I never expected this but no matter how much o worked on my business, i never thought it was enough, there was always more to do.

  • joseph


    thank you,everything you wrote is so true,i needed to read what u had to say and it was very important to me because i am on the verge of starting my own business soon..i believe that if i stay out of my head i will get alot done and be very successful,really all i can say is wow
    i will be looking out for more of what u have to say,,have a great day and thanks again

  • Liz at Human Nature


    I started my first business in 2005. I have learned these lessons the hard way! The learning curve is so steep in entrepreneurship but in many ways it has been the best personal development journey I could have gone on. Although I still wish I had learned the lessons sooner!!

    I’ve just joined my husband’s company to take it in a new direction, and it’s amazing how differently I approach this business from how I approached my first one. I guess this is why so often people say that your third business is the one that succeeds – it doesn’t have to be that way, but it’s definitely true to say that you learn from the mistakes you make early on!

  • Curt


    I’m a 32-year entrepreneur with all the battle scars you can imagine. The 11 items in the article are SPOT-ON.

    Please also add to your “pre-opening” reading list, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. I read it after already being in business 10+ years and I felt like Gerber wrote the book JUST FOR ME! His insight and advice is priceless.

    She mentions taking time off. TRUE. If you work 24/7/365 you’ll fry (or end up divorced). Thankfully I’m still sane and also still married to the same person 23 years…

    Once you’re successful and your business is mature, look into http://www.strategiccoach.com
    Dan Sullivan is a genius when it comes to helping successful people get better and take more time off — while still growing their business!

    Lastly, Pareto is your friend: 80% (OR MORE) of your business comes from 20% of your efforts & clients. Focus.

  • Kate Danta


    Two things that really helped:

    1. Read The E Myth

    2. Implemented a technology called Mind Mapping

    I only wish I hadn’t already put in 10 years before I found out about these two things. I guess in a way, I wouldn’t have really been ready and I probably wouldn’t have felt the impact in quite the same way if at all if I hadn’t gone thru all the years of running the business as the technician instead of the entrepreneur.

  • Dov Baron


    Stephanie, just wanted to say thank you for a bloody fabulous article about the truth of starting your own business. Well written…I like your style! I have of course shared it with my own tribe.
    I too am a writer (among many other things) and have been in business for myself since I was 16 yrs old (which was a while ago) and as you so well stated: To this day; the biggest challenge we have to deal with is our own resistance. (Loved “The War of Art”)
    I wish you every success on this entrepreneurial journey for the soul.
    With gratitude and respect, Dov…

  • Angela Squicciarini


    This is what I needed to read today, thank you!

  • Lorraine


    Thank you so much Steph, this is great advice. To help myself stay grounded I take on one project. What I mean by this is I certainly write down all the wonderful inspirational ideas & thoughts that come to mind that I would like to incorporate in my business. I then start with the one that resonates with my beliefs. It is surprising as to how other parts & ideas may fall in place as I continue. Make sure I finish that project before starting another as it can become overwhelming with too much on the go. Another part to add to that is when I have my “to do” list each day I write a “to be” list. Who do I want to be today? This helps keep me in alignment with my beliefs, being true to myself. This is important as this shapes my day, my experiences. Your “to do” tasks can become more rewarding, fun, manageable & even exciting. Hope this can be of some help. Just a part of what I do. Than you once again Steph. Empowering reading & advice :-)

  • Simone Joye


    YOUR ARTICLE ROCKS! Thanks for writing and sharing! All the best to you!

  • Donna


    Great tips and yes, these things happen to entrepreneurs — I know this because I am one — 2 years into my business!
    One item that I have encountered is that from time to time you have to work as a Collections Agent — reminding clients that the bill is due. It sucks, but don’t forget that you earned that money, so go and get it!

  • Scarlet Art Workshops


    I loved this article so much. I love your humour but mostly what you say is so valid. The areas which resonated with me the most were ‘be brilliant at marketing’ and ‘spend less time researching and more time doing’.
    I so get all that. As a new business start up I am having self doubt and also realising that as much as I want to paint all day, I need to work hard to get people to attend my art workshops.

    Thank you for making me stop and think!

    Helen

  • James


    I’m not sure I’ve ever read a business how-to piece that is both this spot-on content wise and artfully written. Hard to pick a favorite quote here, as I’ve experienced literally everything you lists. This is all coming at a great time too as I’m working on a new venture for the New Year. Thank you for the inspired words.

  • Melissa


    I loved this message who was sent to me by à great friend. I am a female entrepreneur, I have just started one month ago and can COMPLETLElY relate to the no money part, the part where you speak about the marketing and the procrastinator within yourself! I love it!! I have a Facebook page for female entrepreneurs and I was wondering if you would want to post or allow me to post this message on my page?
    That would be awesome! I will look into the books and writers you are recommending!.
    Thank you for your fun writing and comforting words :)

    Love and light from Holland,
    Melissa

    • Steph


      Melissa – Hello there in Holland! I want to come visit someday, okay? :) Feel free to post the link – that would be wonderful. Thank you for sharing my work with your tribe. And stay in touch – I would love to support you on your entrepreneurship journey. We are really all in it together and hat is how we survive the hard/crazy/challenging times – together! xo

  • Cynthia


    A thousand Amen to your article. It just articulated everything, that I have felt as an entrepreneur.

    –Ran out of money, being there done that.

    –Research projects to death, made a million schedules and plans
    instead of just acting and doing, being there done that

    –Self Doubt, procrastination in all shapes and form – hello!

    Always good to know, that all entrepreneurs experience this

  • Angel


    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and man could I relate! It seemed as if I was writing it (although I don’t write as good as you do- well written)! I was totally engaged and hung on to every word. I am living the life you wrote about. I think I’m going to print it and read it daily until I make something happen. I tell myself everyday that the best solution to fear and anxiety is ACTION! I know this, so what is wrong with me? Right? And on and on……..
    I am going to get the book you recommended and follow your inspirational blog post!
    thanks for bearing your soul with the rest of us who feel that way but just don’t articulate it as well.

  • Bones Rodriguez


    Great article- thank you!

  • Heather


    This is brilliant and spot-on. I’m guilty of not following #8 this week (only going for the “hell yes”). I’d also add to that rule “always trust your gut” – just spent months entertaining a potential collaboration when my gut told me from day 1 that something felt off. Turns out I was right and could have saved a lot of time and energy if I listened! Thanks for this – every new entrepreneur should read this.

    • Cynthia


      I absolutely agree, every time, I have gone against my Guts, I always regret it.

      It is also that little voice, that gut that always tells me am on the track and that I will succeed in business.

  • Dana


    Holy glitter balls!

    I am in the midst of all this RIGHT NOW! I think I’m bobbing along on a life preserver somewhere in between The Magic School Bus and the S.S. Battleship Long Haul. I am JUST starting to get that hustle doesn’t begin to describe what you’ve gotta do to make it work.

    It’s not that I’m unwilling. I am. I am just torn between so many things right now: a steady contract gig that pays, raising two kids, HOMEWORK (I never realized how much I’d be involved in THEIR homework), writing, holidays, toilet cleaning, making dinner (I HATE THIS SO MUCH)….oh, and my business. I need like twelve of me 24 hours/7 days a week. ACKKK!!!

  • Aurora Hill


    The only other recommendation I could add is: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I had to learn that I cannot do it all and in order to have, even the 15% of the time I need for my own special talents and glitzy creating, I needed help. Beg, borrow or barter – It usually isn’t as far away as you might think. I found another budding entrepreneur who could also use some help and we collaborated with me paying her a bit when I can afford it, or trading time when we both need to get some things done now! I love your article and I am papering my studio with it as a daily reminder!! Thanks.

  • John Reoli


    Don’t be afraid to honestly assess your worth and move forward from that assessment. Inversely, know your place at the moment and work that place until you have exhausted its value. Put simply, exhaust step one and JUMP onto step two! You’ve earned it so therefore you deserve everything, however awesome and frustrating, step offers. Also, success is not happy land every day, it has it’s own challenges and rewards, too.

  • Jennifer


    I’m about to enter my 10th year of being in business for myself. I define it as the first 6 years I just didn’t want to work for someone else- growth mode for 2- and redefining my business model for the last 2. While my business is successful (I’m still here making money!), I can finally see evidence that I might be winning a lot of the battles you outlined in your article. Thanks for writing this. It makes us all know we’re not alone on this journey.

  • Danielle


    This is SO great to read as I am just starting out – thank you thank you thank you!

  • Julie Sergel


    Good Stuff. Really good, liberating stuff. Thank you for sharing this wise light in such an entertaining manner. If life really is all about perspective and if magic is made in the reframing of life, then, you’ve just sparkled us all up.
    Thank you.

    May success find us all as passion take us prisoner.
    X
    Julie

  • jean


    Wow. This hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. Thank you!

    “Do not price your offerings around your personal ability to pay for it – you are not your ideal customer.” – See more at: http://blissbombed.com/11-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started-my-business/#respond

  • Manuel


    A very honest article.
    Thank you.

  • toby trevarthen


    I just read you post on Medium and had to respond. Love your humor..and a few life lessons along the way. Thanks for making my evening a joyful experience.

  • tina


    oh, and 1 more thing. I tweeted your Madonna line.
    @fosternadflo

    • Steph


      I saw that! So awesome! And I retweeted your tweet :) #partnership

  • tina


    Best ass-kick I’ve had in quite some time. How do I define a good ass-kick? When ouch comes out as a laugh-of-delight. Thank you. And the bruise looks kind of like a roadmap. Seriously, great article.

    • Steph


      Ah!! Thanks Tina! So glad you liked it :) we’re in it together!

  • Marsha from YesYesMarsha.com


    LOVED
    THIS

    Loved loved loved!

    Too many takeaways for me to mention one!

    Thank you!!

    (I’m off to take some ACTION)

    • Steph


      Get it girl! :)

  • Allie


    Someone just shared this article with me today and I found myself emailing my business partner quoting every point so I just sent her the whole article because it’s all so familiar! We’ve been in business for about a year and for some reason I wasn’t prepared for it to take this long. You really do have to remain neutral when things aren’t going as well as you expected. And the marketing! Oh the marketing! I’m terrible at it and always feel so ingenuous.

    Thank you for making me feel less alone and for the reminders! Fantastic article.

    • Steph


      Allie, I’m so happy to hear it helped you feel less alone! Seriously, when you *know* that the chaos and the waiting and the months of being broke are all part of the deal, it does help. And if you keep taking of you (and you biz partner does too), and you just keep getting up doing the next best thing…it all does turn a corner. But this is like driving in the thickest fog ever..you can only see a few feet in front of you. It gets easier. My two biggest encouragements to entreps are: don’t feel like you have to do everything perfectly (you biz will still flourish), and let go of expectations about how long it will take. Just enjoy your work, market from the heart, and keep taking care of YOU. xo

  • Jen


    LOVE THIS! My 2 favourite take-aways:

    The pro stands at one remove from her instrument — meaning her person, her body, her voice, her talent; the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological being she uses in her work. She does not identify with this instrument. It is simply what God gave her, what she has to work with. She assesses it coolly, impersonally, objectively.

    Only say yes to clients/collaborative projects that are HELL YESES.

  • Jennifer


    Whew! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who has run out of money after so cautiously planning for the long term! :)

    • Steph


      Good news! You’re right on track! xo

  • Halona Black


    I love you’re writing! I’ve heard many of these items before, but you never really “hear” this information until you walk through the fire yourself…

    • Steph


      So true Halona (beautiful name!)..and thank you :)

  • Katie


    This had me laughing from the beginning! Just what I needed to see. I’m still in the frantically-treading-to-keep-from-going-under phase. Even though it’s hard work and I feel like I’m failing half of the time, I love the work. So, I’m gonna keep at it :)

    Thanks for making my Friday!

    • Steph


      ROCK ON Katie! Keep going. One thing I’ve learned is that, in time, I became numb to that “failing” feeling. Don’t let things like a dip in sales, creativity block, etc. tell you things aren’t okay. This always happens and isn’t a predictor of future success. Confidence comes from riding out a LOT of high’s/low’s and the eventual breakthrough to the next level. It always comes if you don’t lose faith in yourself and you work like an MF’er with a million bucks in the bank. ;)

  • Lewis


    Thanks, great advice. I constantly need reminding that I need time off even if there’s a lot to get done. At times its hard not to be in the 24/7, 7 days a week mentality.

    • Steph


      I totally know that one Lewis. It takes a lot of trust to be confident that if you take your foot off the gas pedal for one day a week that everything is not going to fall apart. But in an (awesome) cosmic way, that’s how everything stays together and growing vibrantly…you taking care of yourself first and creating a vacuum for the Universe to step in time with you. Without Lewis, there’s nothing. :)

  • Anton


    Great article!

    I really LOVE the way you write and will definitely be singing up for your weekly note cards :0)

    I’m smack dab in Number 9 right now. I’ve realized that in order to serve my customers the most I’m really going to need to master the art of marketing.

    Thanks again!

    -Anton

    • Steph


      Rock on Anton! As I mentioned, it was my biggest challenge too. I found a way to build relationships with my readers and clients that had nothing to do with selling to them. And it felt great to me. One way was just to send my latest free stuff (posts and videos) to their inboxes (so happy you will be one of them!). Another way was to curate some cool stuff on Pinterest and share that. And another way was to give a free 30 minute phone call to anyone who buys my Vision Board or Soulful Entrepreneurship workshop. I LIKE talking to my clients. They’re my friends. It feels organic and natural to do business this way. I am rooting for you all the way!

      Would you share the link to your website here? I’d love to check out your work. :)

  • Sarah


    Spot on! Soooo wish I had read this back ‘in the day’ when I retrenched myself from the corporate world with a heart-felt passion that was blinding ~ to share meditation with the world! Day on day having to re-learn, and re-dream and re-energise, again and again. Somewhat like meditation where we start again and again and again.

    Thank goodness I had my practice of connecting each day with my meditation, or else I surely would have been lost. Love your view of the world .. please keep sharing :)

    • Steph


      Sarah – thank you so much! Meditation has saved my sanity and keeps me humming at high vibe – even when the vagaries of entrepreneurship threaten to swing me by the tail. If I had a message for new entrepreneurs, it would be: Become numb to the ‘evidence’ of downturn: number drop on your FB page or mailing list; you go a week without sales; your launch does less than stellar. Become NUMB to it. Celebrate the good days, be neutral on the bad days, and create like an MF’er 5 days a week. You can’t fail.

  • Dorien


    Thank you so much for this piece! It makes a lot of sense. I am one year on the way now (and have been away traveling 6 months of it).
    Especially your comment that it will be zig-zaggy.. Yes, the human experience is a messy one, not like in the glossy magazines. So thank you very much. This article has been a very welcome pep-talk. I will follow your blog and read more often :)

    • Steph


      Dorien – I’m so happy it encouraged you. Keep creating and keep giving to your tribe. Lead with love always! So happy you’re in my orbit. Let me know how I can support you! xo

  • Bruce Williams


    Magic. Love this post. Just what I needed to read today!

    • Steph


      So happy to hear that Bruce. Rock on my man!

  • Lillieth


    Thanks for this great post! I am a music therapist in private practice in Oregon and have just passed the one-and-a-half year mark with my business. I’m FINALLY starting to take off! Of course, I think that it has a lot to do with my starting the Introduction Leaders Program with Landmark Worldwide recently too, but it’s really true that it takes two years to get a business off the ground. Thanks for the reminder.
    My advice: have strategies to remind you every day of WHY you are in the business that you’re in. I have things around my house like a sign that says “miracle” because I believe that I get to be the space of miracles for my clients. Also, have a support network of like minded individuals. I belong to a Facebook group of private practice music therapists. It’s great because we can ask each other anything there and benefit from other’s experience and expertise.
    Thanks again!

    • Steph


      Lillieth – WOW. Such beautiful work you put into the world. Thank you for the good advice shared with everyone reading here. Friedrich Nietzsche said “If you know the why, you can live any how.” So true!

      PS. I heard the ILP is AMAZING. I have several friends who went through it. Best of luck to you Lillieth!!

  • Joe Choi


    At some point you will be seduced by someone who says, “Well, we can’t pay you now…but do this for free/cheap and we’ll have more work for you in the future.”

    It’s a trap that outsiders can see you walking into, but in the heat of the moment you’ll be oblivious to it. That’s why #5 is important so you can do #8.

    • Steph


      Joe – you are so right! I have fallen into that trap myself early on. Thank you for bringing that up! Cheers.

  • Amethyst


    For marketing check out mindvalleyinsights.com The wealth of free info there is beyond priceless. I just jumped fully into the unknown this month and marketing is the first place I am looking.

    • Steph


      Love Mind Valley – thanks for sharing this resource Amethyst!

  • Emily


    Love this!! Thanks for the great advice!

    No. 7 & 8 in particular… Oh hell yes.

    • Steph


      Boo-YAH. ;)

  • Ellen


    YES. This is SUCH a helpful post, I’m bookmarking it for future clients. I’m really finding that number 7 & 9 are my sweet spots these days that I never considered when I started all this. LOVE this list and it’s rocksolid advice. xx

    • Steph


      Thanks Ellen! 7 and 9 were my biggest challenges and it feels good to be kicking resistance’s ass…finallyyy :)

  • Tanya Malott


    Love your writing!

    • Steph


      Thank you Tanya! x

  • Todd


    I just stumbled across your site today. I finally figured out what I really want to do with my life. I’ve been working at getting everything set up online and now that it’s all done, I find myself being pulled in 1000 directions and getting nothing accomplished. I need to do number 7 to resolve that and then I need to learn number 9 because that’s the direction I NEED to be going.

    Thanks for putting this up.

    • Steph


      You are welcome Todd – congratulations on coming this far! This is a zig-zaggy road…keep on!

  • Holly Harmon


    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I save your writings and sit down with them when I can really sit down and savor them. This is *exactly* what I needed today. I have been so conflicted about, like you said, working 85% of the time on the business and 15% doing what I love-changing women’s relationship with food. I never imagined having so much fear, confusion or even “non- sparkly days” while building this biz. You really clarified I am on the right path. Love your stuff xoxo

    • Steph


      Holly – you are so welcome! Keep shining on…it gets easier and easier, especially if you stay with your natural momentum and don’t make yourself “wrong” for zig-zagging through the process. :)

  • BeDiverse


    Stephanie you really summed it all up here!!! My biggest problem has always been differentiating between potential clients and not potential clients. I’ve found myself wasting soo much & sharing valuable information with no monetary reward!

    Thanks again for putting it all into perspective!

    • Steph


      Hi BeDiverse! This is what worked for me: simply homing in on if the person I was speaking to was on the same page with me. That’s it.

      If they were, they were my client. The money would come (from them directly, from their referral to a friend, or something else that surprised me down the line) – and I trust that.

      Give all your best, valuable information to ANYONE who is your client, and don’t evaluate based on if they purchase from you. Money has been the least reliable way to evaluate if I were investing my energy in the right direction.

      Rock on lady!

  • Akirah


    I need to work on saying yes to the “hell yeses.” I’m taking on too much, I think.

    • Steph


      Yup! Listen to your intuition. Take only the Hell YESES..this requires trust that there will be enough of them to sustain you. But there WILL. ;) This I know. Blessings to you Akirah.

  • Jordan


    I’ve been in business for myself since I was 17 years old, when every mother says “in this house we either go to school or we get a job.” likely thinking that I would get a job, hate it, then go back to school. 16 years later I have to say that this is one of the most concise articulations of self-discovery through economical warfare I’ve read; though I don’t read many of them, as time and energy are for making money and enjoying the fruits of it, as stated above.
    Yogic studies, Dip.C.s, and other such personal growth stuff for me has just been that. Learning to love the world for what it is while discovering self through reflection on by business decisions.
    Thank you for putting together a post like this. From the outside looking in, it looks like you’ll make it just fine after all.

    • Steph


      Jordan..thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate your support and am happy the post spoke to you. No doubt, you are rocking it also :)

  • Mark Ure


    Doesn’t correspond much to my experience in fact, but one thing which stood out to me in that respect was the idea of “taking” a second job. If it was as simple and casually possible for me simply to find a job with an employer, i wouldn’t need to run my own business in the first place because i would have a reliable source of income.

    • Steph


      Mark – I get that completely. Being a full time wife/mother for 12 years with no college degree did not set me up to win as far as employability goes once I emerged onto the marketplace. I saw that I qualified for labor jobs like waiting tables and working at the grocery store. There was a lot of recalibrating I had to do mentally and emotionally but once I got on board with building a hybrid life and seeing that other people were doing the same, it became easier. I wish you lots of luck in your work!

      • Bel Fin


        Yes me too, I started my clothing business at 26 and rocked it until I was 33. Then having a baby (solo) took it back to hobby level. Then, when my child started school I went out into the job market, but my years being a business owner didn’t seem to count for much in the eyes of employers – and I tried many fields. So, born out of renewed passion AND perspective of how I wanted to live my life – ie, see my child more than the after school care lady – I have started my business up again. And so, i love your article. All fair points.
        I would add: Acknowledge what is in your Field of Genius, and what is outside of it – your weaknesses – and DON’T try to improve your weaknesses – much. I learnt this, because I am a ‘chronic’ learner and love to learn everything and everything but I’ve stopped this and are thus, more contained and effective. Instead, find cost-effective ways to outsource. The internet is amazing how it allows us to access people who are good at doing what we are not.

  • Leslie


    Loooove this – thank you. You are hilarious & great gems.
    Recently discovered James A & am inspired to be terrified hitting publish every time.
    xo

    • Steph


      Leslie – so AWESOME! Isn’t James Altucher the best? I high five you across the miles!! Keep pushing publish! The world is shining brighter with you creating into it every day. xo

  • Samantha


    Thank you Stephanie!!!

    #7 is definitely my weakness! Such great tips!

    I would say, remember that there will always be people who can benefit from your knowledge. You may not always “feel” like an expert, but as long as you are authentic in your message and genuinely want to help others, people will see you as an expert in your area and will come to you for help.

    :)

    • Steph


      Samantha – I couldn’t agree with you more! That’s a more genuine way to be, rather than buying the “fake it till you make it” advice all beginners hear. Facts are, you ARE an expert at something. I don’t care if it’s tiny…speak with confidence about what you have life experience in – share authentically and from the heart. This is how you light up your corner of the field. Thank you for that.

  • Jeannette


    Thank You so much for this! Absolutely laugh-out-loud funny… so witty and genuine… much appreciated. I am in business school, and just started another online program to become a certified health coach… with a focus in holistic nutrition. This inspired me and excited me. I thought everyone in this world had more guts, less fear, more inherent motivation… it sounds like you faced your fears despite frustration, self-doubt, etc. I know that will be my biggest obstacle, is trusting in myself (erp) and movin gforward despite challenges and obstacles. Fear of the unknown is prominent, but finally moving towards my passions faw outweighs the fear of living an empty, meaningless life.

    Thanks Again, I will hold onto this in times of strife on the road up ahead. Wish me luck!

    • Steph


      Very best of luck Jeannette! You already have what it takes: humor, self-awareness, and work ethic. Your trust/confidence in yourself will grow and your ability to be unflinching in the face of obstacles will also be your biggest asset. You got this! Enjoy the ride and let the good times roll.

  • Rebecca


    The Beth Grant video is really helpful! Thanks for the recommendation & this amazing post. Will be re-reading this puppy.

    • Steph


      Rebecca – awesome. She is really amazing and knows her stuff! So happy you found the info helpful. xo

  • Adam


    Great piece and funny…every bit of it is the truth. I spent 12 years building a business and people still think it must have been easy. It is impossible for someone who has not DONE it, to understand it. Starting, growing…and willing to survive multiple times, a business is the toughest thing someone will ever do.

    • Steph


      Adam, high five my fellow entrepreneur :) Thank you for your kind words about the piece – and yeah – this is a survivor’s game. Congratulations on 12 years of business! That’s impressive.

  • Beth


    Steph, great post! My advice would be twofold:

    1) Only start a business in the thing you are truly, absolutely, I-Love-It passionate about. It’s not enough to be good at something! You have to have a very deep “why” that goes beyond not wanting to work for other people or the “freedom” reason everyone gives.

    2) Self-care is #1. Always. Get a day away from the business every week if possible. If not, make time on a weekend day for you: pedicure, exercise, nature, time with your best friend, a change of atmosphere. If money is tight, go for coffee with your bestie, or a walk. Whatever! Otherwise, an energy takes hold, usually a “striving” energy because the conveyor belt in the factory never shuts down. If you burn out, you will not be able to sustain your business in the long run. Always take care of your well-being first, even if you don’t know how you will pay the next bill.

    You ROCK sister! You inspire me to do more writing.

    • Steph


      Fantastic advice Beth!! I totally agree, Keep writing :)

  • Tamar


    This is brilliant. Thank you!

    • Steph


      Thank you Tamar!

  • Sara Brooke


    LOVE this one Stephanie, relate to so much of it. Thank you :) x

    • Steph


      Keep rocking Sara! <3

  • monica


    Don’t be obsessed with how things are supposed to look especially when it comes to work and lifestyle and if you’re first starting out an entry-level job or biz. Stay open.

    This is the best biz list I’ve read. And the funniest. Keep it real Ms. St. Claire.

    • Steph


      Thank you Monica. Terrific piece of wisdom right there. Forget how it looks…pay attention to how it feels. If it feels good, you’re on the right path and everything will work out :)

  • Meghan


    Mine would be when you made enough to make it through the day money-wise, rest in that. Do not keep worrying about tomorrow or the next day. Rest in today is enough and you did enough.

    Old advice I know. I repeatedly give myself a hard time about not having it all figured out and squared up for the future.

    I love the two year advice — I thought I would be different too. Now I am at 5 years and still not sure I “got it”.

    • Steph


      Congrats on making it 5 years Meghan – that’s really something! And I totally agree with you on the money perception. It feels good to be a place of peace with it, knowing that in this lifestyle (the entrepreneurial one) money ebbs and flows and, as the tides go in and out – so does that money.

  • Otiti


    Steph! These are the reasons why I love you; such humour and grace while you tell it like it is. I wanna write like this when I grow up. :D

    I’d encourage every new entrepreneur to start a daily meditation practice, and breathe long and deep every time they remember. Daily meditation clears your head, frees up your workflow, and makes you a calmer person all around; handy when you’re handling a situation that makes you wanna bitch-slap somebody! ;) Deep breaths are better for your brain and nervous system, so breeeathe + keep it nice and slow.

    AND! Please, please, please, for the love of God, FIRE ALL NEGATIVE FRIENDS in your life!! You don’t need their baggage and your time and energy are way too precious to waste with their drama.

    Can I get a witness!

    • Steph


      Meditation has saved my sanity and throwing the negative people overboard too. Didn’t think those two could go together in such a zen-like way, but yeah – they DO. Rock on Otiti!

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