When I first decided to build an online business, I invested in some online courses. I'm all about learning from other people who have done what I want to do. I also really love a good structure, so when some online experts told me they'd share the exact steps they took to achieve online success, I was sold.
The importance of being your authentic self was casually raised in module one of my first-ever online course (about how to build an online business).
At first glance, it seemed easy. Be authentic. Got it. Let’s get on to the ‘real stuff’ like showing me the exact steps on how to build my social media following and actually make money while I’m growing my business (like it said in your marketing blurb which, by the way, totally drew me in).
The real stuff involved a lot of content building. Not just any content, content that is extremely valuable to your audience. Content that could be delivered in a myriad of ways - blogs, social media posts, live video, recorded video, podcasts, and so much more.
Right. This is the real stuff. Let’s get to work!
-> Enter frustration.
Everything I put together seemed a bit awkward, a bit boring, not quite me. The ideas I had in my head were just not translating into my content the way I imagined it would!
My family and friends were a finding it all a bit cringe-worthy (or at least, I imagined they did). This weighed heavily on my mind, but the ‘expert’ advice was not to worry about what anyone else thinks of you, they just don’t understand how big your dreams are and we all have to start somewhere!
So I kept at it. But the work I was doing was just not attracting the tribes of people my ‘expert’ suggested it would if I just kept showing up consistently.
For the audience I did have, my message wasn’t quite resonating in the way I’d hoped it would. I could count the number of raving fans I had on two hands with fingers left over.
My motivation (and success) was haphazard. I’d have a spurt of inspiration where I shipped great stuff, followed by a great lull of doubt, procrastination and wondering how it was all going to come together in a cohesive (and ultimately financially rewarding) way.
There was a great battle between wanting to make an impact in the world, and wanting to hide from all the fear, anxiety and self-doubt that was keeping me stuck and keeping me small.
It was when I found myself more than a year and thousands of dollars’ worth of online training deep, still feeling like I was *so close* but never quite making it, that I finally started to listen to my inner voice.
It took a year of fussing over what my online product would be and how I could get it ‘out there’ before I realised that I am my product.
My business is a reflection of myself, and every time I reached out for another external tool or opinion (free downloads, podcasts, webinars, blogs, courses, video training) I was listening less and less to myself.
I had been telling myself I just needed another tool for my toolbox. Ignoring the blatant fact that my how-to-build-an-online-business toolbox was already so darned full I could barely move.
That’s when I realised that I didn’t need to add more tools.
I needed to take tools out.
I needed to stop thinking something outside of me would hold the answer.
I needed to stop trying to convince myself that if I could just figure out how to improve my funnel, write better copy, have a higher converting sales page, do my live video or attract more followers my business would suddenly take off. These were just convenient distractors from the real problem, and keeping myself busy made it feel like I was getting closer to success.
In my quest for tools, I’d forgotten my own internal voice. And my own awareness of what works (and doesn’t work) for me. I was ignoring my 14 years’ experience as an occupational therapist, helping thousands of people figure out what is meaningful to them and how they can use that to create the life that they want.
So I came back to the drawing board. I came back to my roots. I came back to my expertise. And then asked the question:
Who am I beyond being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, student, occupational therapist and of all the other hats that I wear?
What does it mean to be ‘her’?
How do I let her be genuinely seen on video and through my other seemingly necessary extensive, valuable and well-thought-out body of work?
If I can get people to listen to me, what is it exactly that I want to say?
If I’m really here to create the life that I want, what exactly do I want to create?
The quality of your life, and your business will be determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Asking questions — such as: What product should I build? What service should I offer? What do I want to do? What is my life’s purpose? — are not the right questions. They’re the kind of questions that will keep you stuck.
Further, if you answer only those questions nothing in your life will truly change. Sure, you will have a new project, or a new job to embark upon but the same issues that are present right now will persist.
More effective questions are less about what you should do, and more about discovering who you are and what work matters to you. But what I found when I was searching for these answers, was that the harder I thought about it, the more the answers alluded me!
I made it my sole job, to develop a (surprisingly fun) infrastructure that will help you explore these questions in a relaxed-brain way that just might allow the answers to be revealed without you directly looking for them. Why? So you can add greater value by bringing more of you to your brand and your business, and have fun doing it.
If you'd like to dive deeper, there is still time to book my Gold Coast workshop. Seats are limited because we're going to dive into your specific situation to get curious, learn, fumble, explore and expand. You're going to give feedback to others and get extraordinary, valuable, idea inspiring, light-bulb clarity feedback for yourself. We're going to actively WORK in this workshop so that you walk out the doors you can hit the ground running.
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