Good news in this dark time (which I will take * totally * and I hope it brightens up your day too): Tomorrow is my 10th anniversary as an entrepreneur !!🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
Ten years ago I left my (stable!) Soul vacuum job in the middle of the recession and started what would turn out to be one of the best decisions of my life. (Phew!)
Ten years ago I did something that felt scary, scaly, and totally crazy – and it paid off. (I’m still amazed, honestly.)
10 years ago I finally started to pay attention to what my heart was trying to say to my head and took a big chance for my “small” creative coaching business (because I hadn’t yet become a business coach specifically for passionate women, to discover, build and found their own dream businesses).
It was a hell of a trip. #understatementofthecentury (Seriously, when does the trip come to a halt? And yet I wouldn’t change anything.)
Looking back over the past decade, there were many difficult lessons to learn, many successes to be celebrated and a lot of important question marks to address. You know how people always say, “If only I knew what I know now”? It’s something like that.
Here are 10 things I could have said 10 years ago:
- “Perhaps the smartest thing you’ll ever do is to quit your permanent job in the middle of the recession to be the full-time coach when I grow up.” It felt Nuttso in the Buttso at the time (yup, still trying to make “Nuttso in the Buttso” one thing) and I thought that * could * be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I purposely worked very hard to put enough money aside (5 months of severance pay) to feel comfortable and safe 2 years and 7 months after starting my work. I attached a panic button, although I never had to press it. All of this prep work gave me the freedom to fully realize my dream of becoming a creative business coach and to remain authentic, to remain optimistic and to kick a serious entrepreneur’s butt. 10 years later, this decision has given me and my family so much in terms of our quality of life. It allowed my husband to quit his Full-time job and freelance copywriter. My family bought a house. It gave us the gift of time. (Hey, 10 years younger Michelle? Good call to this.)
- “Continue to overlap what works best for you and what your ideal customers want.” In fact, this is a piece of advice that I am giving to my customers today! Think of this as a Venn diagram. A circle is your ideal work situation. This includes how you like to work, when you like to work, with whom you would like to work, etc. In the other circle are your dream customers and their own wishes and needs. In the middle where these two circles overlap you will find success! I have already said that you must wear your Nancy Drew hat forever to run a successful business and not be afraid to develop. If you are not sure what to do, there will rarely be a correct answer, but there is almost definitely always a GOOD answer, and it hangs around in the middle of this Venn diagram.
- “You are so much stronger and braver than you think.” When I started my entrepreneurial life 10 years ago, I had no cancer. Today I had to kick not only once buttocks of breast cancer twice. I don’t think I have to say the obvious, but hey, do I? You are a total ass. Despite the upheavals that this type of BS can bring, my business continued to flourish, my family grew, and success continued. Take that, breast cancer.
- “You bring good into this world and change life, and don’t forget it.” Let’s call it what it is – today’s world can be full of, um, not great things (if you look at * you *, corona virus) and I’ll be damned if my work will be part of it. When I am the coach, it is so much more than just making money. It’s about really, really, sincereBring something good into the world and give other creative women the same agency that I felt to change their own lives for the better (and thus do more good out there)!
- “Cooperations are fun and wonderful, but you can also achieve your goals yourself.” I bet I’ve had half a dozen collaborations in the past 10 years, and hey, they were all great. I am an extrovert by nature and really enjoy distracting my creative energy from the creative energies of other women that I admire and respect. However, there was also a lot of the time when I really believed that I couldn’t be so successful on my own, and that’s just not true. Today I know that I have the skills, intelligence, experience and drive to achieve everything I want, when necessary and preferred, to fly all by myself!
- “You don’t need a large platform if you don’t run a volume-based company.” The actress in me will probably always have trouble playing the popularity game, bless her heart. In terms of transparency, it’s easy for me to limit myself to the size of my subscriber list, social media followers, blah-blah-blah. As someone who fully believes in the power of a newsletter (and has had one for 12 years!), I am still a long way from the number of subscribers I was told to have. But here’s the thing I don’t need hundreds of people to buy what I sell to do what I do. The success of my business model does not depend on how many “likes” I get. So it’s OK! If you need hundreds to thousands of people to buy your $ 97 product to make a living, it matters how big your platform is. But the When I Grow Up Coach is not like that, sister – and everything works!
- “Everything will unfold anyway – you are the one who decides how to ride.” This is a lesson that I keep learning. It most recently appeared during my launch Dream to do Program. I had * big * goals for this year and was determined to achieve them. But these high expectations always lead to a high number of freak outs, and instead I realized: “Hey, that will happen in one way or another. You can either get stressed out about it and get off to a super nervous start with a hint of despair, or you can calm the devil down, put on your trust hat and relax. ” Guess what? I chose the latter and enrolling was a dream (all 13 women inside are really from heaven). I know I saved myself a lot of panic on the way choose roll with the blows!
- “You are Michelle – F ** king – Ward, CEO.” My mastermind group reminds me of this all the time. What started out as a “small” career coaching company (12 sessions-or-bust a week!) Has grown into an empire of hell, babes, and I’m in helmet. I have a real team that reports to me. I offer (and fill!) Several four-figure programs all year round. I have been keynote speaker at major events, have been published multiple times, and have developed the credibility, the network, and the experience I can rely on for the rest of my professional life. I am Michelle fucking Ward, CEO, even if it is still difficult for me to say with a straight face!
- “Keep following your gut, have your experience, and ask for help from those you trust.” Every time I felt lost, confused, or unclear during this 10-year journey, I just had to listen to my stomach. My loving husband Luke always reminds me that my intuition is always, whenever it is about my business, always always best known. And in those moments when I haven’t listened to it fully or checked in to my support network and processed the feedback in my own way? Those were the times when I was stuck the most. It is necessary to have others to lean on, but to go against your deepest truth never to fly.
- “Do your best to focus on what you are to have done rather than what will come. “ Eyes on your own paper, Michelle. It can be very difficult to give yourself the awards you deserve, but you just have to! Looking around for others who seem to do more / better than you will only harm your self-esteem and reduce the success you have achieved! When you focus on what you haven’t done or haven’t done, you feel smaller, smaller than, and crappy. When you focus on what you did, you feel grateful, motivated, and proud. (It’s a breeze if you think about it like that, right?)
10 years is a long time and it is not a time at all. I am so thankful for every turn this path has taken and I am so proud of Michelle, 10 years her junior, who took a chance and helped me to give myself the life I have today.
If you want to celebrate YOUR 10th anniversary in 2030, you should apply to 90-day business start before the doors on 23.3. conclude!
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