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10 Things Not to Forget When You Are Starting a Solo-business

by bevbarnes on February 13, 2014

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Have you ever noticed that when you are going through a major life transition that you forget things?

You forget that idea you got while in the shower. You forget that you wanted to phone your credit card company about your bill. You forget that you don’t have pasta for the spaghetti sauce you’ve made. Starting a solo-business is a major life transition.

Expect to forget things.

Going through transitions feels like walking through the fog blindfolded.

That’s the real reason that the human species rarely makes change. It doesn’t feel good. Our entire biology is trying to keep us safe, trying to hold on to the old and not risk the unknown.

That is how our species has survived.

The grey zone, in-between one place and another is uncomfortable. The emotions that are difficult to deal with show up – fear, uncertainty, sadness and most of us like to escape from the emotions that we don’t like to feel.

When you start a solo-business, you are on an emotional roller-coaster. To successfully make the transition, you just have to hold on for the ride.

This week’s blog post is a reminder for you – ten things not to forget as you start your entrepreneurial journey. My intention is to help you to deal with the intangible, emotional roller coaster stuff.

1. Allow yourself a transition period.

That means recognize you’ll have lots of emotions, sometimes you’ll be extremely efficient and sometimes not so much. You’ll look fondly at the past, fear the future AND you’ll be relieved the past is over and be excited for the future – all at the same time.

You’ll forget what you are doing and why you wanted to do it.

You’ll repeat things over and over and not realize you already said them. Your projects will exist in your head and you’ll forget you only thought of them and didn’t action them.

You’ll be human. Allow this and accept it.

You can’t go faster than you can go and if you do, you’ll crash and not be able to do anything anyway, because of your exhaustion.

2. Act your way into a new way of thinking and being.

Even if you don’t believe that you are an entrepreneur yet, pretend that you are. Set your days up like someone who is self employed. Work in your high energy times. Rest and play in your low energy times. Include what your body needs to function well into your schedule. Plan your working hours and your break times. Believe that you already are who or what you want to be.

Feel the feelings that accomplishing your goal will give you, right now.

3. Don’t just focus on the work!

Remember that you are undergoing a life transition and not just a work transition when you are starting a solo-business. What you are experiencing in all parts of your life affects your work. If your kids are sick or have a snow day, this will impact your work. If you are helping your aging mother to move this will impact your work.

Decide what is important to you, what success means to you, and create your whole life to achieve success on your own terms.

Include the things you’ve been craving in your life, right now. Allow yourself to create a whole life, not just a business.

4. Try out tiny low-risk projects.

Look for small opportunities, tiny projects that you can do that will help you to learn more about what you love where the risk is minimal. Offer your services for free. If you fail, you learn something and if you succeed you learn something.

Taking tiny steps is how you can hone your skills. Unpaid opportunities are also great because they help you make contacts, get clearer on what you offer what you truly love and you start building CONFIDENCE (by doing).

5. Don’t expect to feel confident or crystal clear on what your business is before you start.

The universal myth is that once you feel confident, you can act. Actually it happens the other way around. Confidence comes with action. Action trumps fear.

Clarity, just like confidence also comes with action. You actually have to do before you know and then you will learn from what you do. Don’t forget that!

6. Learn how to catch your lying thoughts.

Just because you think something, doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because you tell yourself that no one is going to sign up for your new program, doesn’t mean it’s true. Learning to catch your lying thoughts and wiggling free of them is one of the most valuable skills that you need to learn. You are not your thoughts. You have thoughts.

7. Recognize your resistance.

Do you end up watching back to back episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker and mindlessly snacking on a more regular basis than you you’d like to admit? My hunch is that your resistance is at work – that totally human part of you that resists change.

Notice that this tricky resistance allows you to shift your focus from building your business to trying to figure out how to lose weight.

Voila, resistance has won.

When you recognize how your resistance shows up, you can come up with strategies that work for you to move through it.

8. Be compassionate and loving with yourself.

Beating yourself up is another tricky resistance tactic. Self-flagellation takes the focus off the shift you are making. It’s exhausting to be constantly criticizing yourself in your mind. It’s so exhausting that you have little energy for the business you are creating.

Some think that if they didn’t beat themselves up, they wouldn’t do anything. That’s a myth. In this journey to create a business you love, you are like an 18 month old child just starting to discover the world. Treat yourself as you would your 18 month old daughter – with gentleness and kindness.

9. Keep reminding yourself of the people that you are serving.

It’s easy to talk yourself out of going forward in your business creation when you start questioning whether you are any good, offer anything of value, aren’t as brilliant as your favourite guru. That means you are focusing on you.

Focusing on you will keep you stuck.

Shift your focus to the people that need you. They don’t care whether you’re a guru or not, they just need you to help them resolve a problem. Remind yourself that the business you are starting is bigger than you.

10. Get support and give support.

We are social animals. Period. We need connection and a sense of belonging. Connection and sharing becomes an invisible force field that provides momentum and forward movement. When you have forgotten how far you have come, someone else who sees you more objectively can remind you. This connection is the magic sauce that will ease you through your transition.

The latest research on stress tells us that when we can support others who are feeling stress it actually transforms our brains and helps our hearts. Finding someone you can help will help you!

I LOVE hearing from you! What do you think is most important to remember when you start your entrepreneurial journey? Share your ideas below on the blog!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy February 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm

When things don’t go as planned, I think it’s important to remember the reasons why you do the things you do. Although sometimes we forget these, just like you said. That’s why for me it’s necessary for every entrepreneur to be resilient. The ability to to stand up after a fall and get back again and again is the reason why entrepreneurs succeed.


bevbarnes February 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I agree. Things WILL fail so getting back up and shifting things, trying again, remembering why you are doing it all help you to be resilient. Thanks for sharing this Joy.


Liz February 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Hi! I like this article. I have been following yours and Jenny Shih’s conversation on the internets, and I think this goes to what you said (and Jenny acknowledged) is the life coach part of making a business. I like it.
I was wondering about what you said about scheduling your day around high energy and low energy times. I’ve heard you say that before, and it piques my interest, and I’m trying to do that now with my day while I’m not an solo-preneur yet. It’s also one of the things that makes a solo-business look really attractive to me, as an introvert who needs to work with her energies. My question is about work and play during those times. Martha Beck says that work is play when it’s your true work. You say above to rest an play during your low energy times. Do you hear what I’m confused about? Which do you like to do–work on things you like (so “play”) during your high energy times, when you’re at your best? Or during your low energy times, maybe because they come naturally to you? Thanks, Liz


bevbarnes February 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Hi Liz! My work (when I’m coaching or teaching) is play. And truth is I schedule my day so that I do this when I have a bit of an energy dip so that it energizes me. So in low energy times I play (do my work, because it feels like play). I also rest during low energy times because while 80% of my work is play, I also get tired and do things that do take energy – like travel, like visiting my accountant, billing, scheduling etc. I know that I’ll get the things done that I don’t like so much in my high energy times but don’t want to waste it all on doing things I don’t like. I think that the big thing is to PLAY with your schedule. See what works best for you. My approach is to schedule the things that are essential to my wellbeing in my high energy times and these are things that I might not do if I didn’t schedule them. For me these are things like exercise, writing and just having unscheduled time (paradoxical) but true.

It’s important to notice your own energy and what YOU need. If you do that it’ll work for you. Thanks for a great question Liz.


Bonnie Olson February 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Hi Bev!!
This is a GREAT blog. You are dead on with your view of how it feels when beginning our new businesses as coaches. #4 is a great point that resonates with me, about daring to take the tiny risks first to build confidence. It always feels like “fake it till you make it” as I move forward in taking those risks. When someone asks if I can do “x”, I smile and say “sure I can” and then figure out how to do it. It seems to just happen in the right time, when I am open to a challenge.
You are a such a terrific coach and mentor and I’m so glad you are here to help!
xoxo Bonnie


bevbarnes February 15, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Thanks Bonnie! I love that you are taking those small risks and building your confidence at every step. Big hugs 🙂


Monica February 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Another great blog Bev!


Houkje February 19, 2014 at 12:59 am

I especially like your number 3, “Decide what is important to you, what success means to you, and create your whole life to achieve success on your own terms.”

I recently had a huge ‘aha’ moment where I realized that my dream to live my life on my own terms could take me a life time to build. But it’s such a worthwhile dream, that I’m willing to give it that long to emerge.



bevbarnes February 19, 2014 at 3:39 am

That is a super important point Houkje – taking the timeline out of living your life on your own terms. Great point. Thanks for sharing.


mary ellen garde February 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Hi Bev- I’m one of the cadets in the Sept 2013 cohort and have been privileged to be in a few of your classes. My sweet friend Connie Cruthirds told me about this blog post and I’m so glad she did! It was exactly what I needed to read this morning as I begin taking turtle steps towards creating my business! Thanks you for a very meaningful piece of writing!


Leda February 21, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Great and timely for me blog, Bev! All ten of them resonate with me. Today I did number 10 for 2 hours with a dear coaching buddy and it was incredibly helpful. The thing that came up for me also was to do my business my way. There are so many wonderful examples to follow, but why try and be them? I’m not my mentors. I love them, respect them, and learn from them, but my business will have my special gifts in it, not theirs. Thank you for this blog!

xo Leda


Laura February 22, 2014 at 12:19 am

Hi Bev, thank you for this article – it came at just the right time! Numbers two and five really resonate with me. Getting in to this new mindset has been a challenge but I keep reminding myself that I’ve been thinking another way for 33 years so its okay if it doesn’t happen overnight. Also, number 5 is so important for me. My lizard brain is always coming up with reasons I’m not ready – but my mantra has been ‘clarity come through ACTION!’ Thank you again for a great post!


Resources for Solo Business Owners March 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Great lessons! Also important to remember to surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurial folks. Your friends and family might not care about your MailChimp stats or your number of Twitter followers 🙂


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