This week on the show, I’m taking a look at how I grew my business while working a 9 to 5 job. I’ll walk you through the inspiration, intention, and actions I took, and share reflections on how you can use these same tips to start or grow your own business.
For my own journey
For me, the journey to getting to be on my own has been one led by inspiration. When I say this, I know that there are two places I sense and receive that inspiration – internally and externally.
Internally, I’ve gotten really good at getting in touch with tuning in to my body about what would feel right, what would bring me joy, and what truly feels like the right next step to take. In the past, I’ve shared a bit about listening for that “full body yes” when I think about taking a step or making a move. The flip of that is listening for a “full body no” when I’ve come into contact with something that isn’t a match for me at all.
My intuition also leads me places; when I started out on the path to figure out what it really was that I wanted to do, I knew a couple of things: that I wanted to find a place or a role that made me feel the way I felt when I was leading retreats. I also knew I no longer felt good doing what my day job was at the time, and needed to get out of that.
Additionally, inspiration came externally for me in seeing other people living lives that seemed aligned with who they wanted to be. Some of my early inspirations continue to be people I still follow – artist Jessica Swift, and her coach friend Michelle Ward. Wayne Dwyer was an early inspiration for me. I can see now that I was looking for ways to couple my love of spirituality, and bring it into a format that was more in line with who I am and frankly, more accessible for others.
For your journey
A few questions for you to consider, if you are looking for inspiration on your own journey:
If you’re stuck in a place that doesn’t feel right, get curious. What’s going on?
If you access your body, and take a few minutes to ask yourself what’s going on, what do you sense?
What wisdom comes up when you think about the job you currently have?
If you’re not feeling like you fully know what the next thing is for you, can you tap into something that you want to do more of?
Note that you don’t have to have the full thing fleshed out to take the first step (that’s a lie that fear likes to tell you to keep playing small and stay where you are). For me, early on, saying yes to something that felt better was actually taking acting classes, and later Improv classes. I can see both of these come into play in making a podcast and coaching, and it gave me more information about what might be next.
What thing feels interesting and joyful, and that you could pick for something to try?
AND how can you see it as an experiment where you’re just getting info back on what feels right?
For my own journey
The interesting thing about really bad situations is that they often push you to take a good hard look at what’s not working, and make a plan for what you really want. In many ways, I could no longer sit idly by and not address the issue at hand: I didn’t like where I was, but what was it that I REALLY wanted? If I were to set an intention about how I wanted to feel, and what I wanted to be doing, what did that look like?
In sitting with that question, I landed on wanting to “feel more joyful, and spend more time with my family.” I think it’s important to underline here that I didn’t know what my “end game” was, nor did I tie that intention with a goal at first. It took a while get comfortable with not having a destination or goal, especially since I’m very much a planner. It’s taken getting comfortable with the unknown, and taking action anyway. That’s part of what following intention means for me; being open to saying yes while not always knowing what comes next.
For your journey
Joy is what I like to call a way-finding emotion. I feel like anytime you’re saying yes to something different than your current set of circumstances, especially when those circumstances are not acceptable to you, you’re responding to the nudge of joy. So if you are on this journey and unclear about how to get your intention piece in line, there are a couple of things to look at:
-Spend some time listening to your heart or what your body is telling you. What do you really want to do? What have you always dreamed of doing? Are your current choices in alignment with that direction? Yes, great, you’re living intentionally. No? It’s time to spend some time unpacking why.
-Try the Ten in Three. You can find it all in last week’s show.
-Read the Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer. It changed my world.
-Dive in to some personal growth. I find that it’s often hard to follow your intentions if you’re questioning your worth, or not clear on who you are. It’s nearly impossible to run for your dreams if you don’t feel you’re worth it. It took me a long time to feel worthy of paying for coaching for myself. Part of it was perfectionism, thinking that I could effort my own way to something because I always had been able to do that in school. Part of it was fear of actually going after what I wanted. Give yourself permission, right now, to choose the things you want to do, and accept help if you can. If you’re looking for a life coach, I’m accepting new clients and you can sign up for a 30 minute consult here.
For my own journey
Creating a business and juggling a life and work a 9 to 5 is hard. It’s no joke. Once I’d gotten mindful and clear about what I wanted to do (which was be a coach/consultant, create a company, and build a client base), I started building slowly.
I said yes to things that felt right.
I made the most of my lunch breaks and did coaching and podcast interviews, especially when I had work from home days.
I focused my actions on the goals I’d set out for myself by doing a “Ten in Three” each year.
The other side note is kindness. I’m kind with myself when things don’t go as planned. I’m kind when I need to change my mind or my direction.
For your journey
As you are working on building a business, action often means maximizing the moments you can use to do something meaningful. I found solid advice on this in Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. McKeown does an amazing job of breaking down how you can right size your effort, and, make sure you’re focusing on the most impactful and meaningful thing, which is the key to gaining momentum when you’re growing a side business.
The other thing important thing to consider in a time of beginning and balancing a side business with a full time job is: What does success look like for you with this business, in this phase of your life?
The invitation with this question is to let go of any traditional measures of success that you may have in mind, and really listen to what your gut says.
It may be with the amount of time you have and the other things you are juggling in your day, that your success means having a single meaningful interaction about your biz or hobby each week. It might be raising your engagement slightly. It might be having two clients because you know you and your schedule can not handle more. Name this for yourself now, and let it whatever you know you can handle be “enough.”
One more thing to note
At one point this meant that part of what was right was going back to a 9 to 5 job, so I did that for two years while I continued to build the other part of the business on the side. So often you hear about people celebrating huge milestones (like leaving the day job) and those stories aren’t don’t always include the backstory of how someone got to where they are today. I bring this up here as encouragement for you to keep going as you take the actionable steps to build your own business. There’s no one “right way” to do it, and it’s so easy to compare yourself to someone else who seems to “have it all figured out.” Give yourself the permission to do what you need to do to make it work.