This post was written by TCCS member, Aleisha Hey
If I was my dog, my life would be much less complicated.
Let’s face it: most animals have a great life. No fashion trends to keep up with, no glass ceiling to break, no narcissistic gaslighting boss to tolerate, no imposter syndrome, and no money to suck the life out of every dream that isn’t financially smart.
My dog Murphy is my hero. He loves me unconditionally. And I’m convinced I’ve made him 70% human by raising him in such a human-like way. I loosely trained him as a puppy, and so he has a rough idea of what’s right and wrong. He’s not perfect by any means. But he can walk next to me, bark at strangers and sit, and always stays with me when I’m sick or sad. I even once heard a neighbour say to his puppy, “Why can’t you be more like Murphy?”
Unfortunately I was born a human, and so the luxury life of a dog doesn’t apply to me. I’ve had to conform to some element of fashion to come into the office. I’ve tried to reach the ceiling (or even just tap it), without success. I’ve endured a couple of gaslighting narcissists and the “joy” they bring to (or rather suck out of) everyone’s lives. I live every day thinking I’m not good enough (probably because of the narcissists). And money has guided every decision I’ve made for the past 28 years.
I’m starting a business
No, I’m not going to live in a backyard kennel, grow my facial and leg hair, and howl at the moon. But I am going to do something only 2% of the population will try to do, and that most people dismiss and push back into a mental box labelled ‘Too ridiculous to achieve’.
I’m starting my own business.
I’m standing on the edge of a cliff called ‘Have a go’, and I’m scared to jump. But I know I need to start somewhere. Like Murphy, I have a rough idea of what I’m doing. I’m loosely trained, and not perfect by any means. But I do have some skills, and can do things other people can’t do. And I think I once heard a friend of mine say “I wish I was more like Aleisha”.
(Okay, I might have made that bit up.)
But if not now, then when?
And if not me, then who?
You’re not alone – The shared challenges to starting a business
The challenges of starting a business are universal. And I’ve found most people share these threads of hesitation.
- Fear of failure: Many people are afraid to start a new business because they’re scared of failing. They’re worried they’ll be investing a lot of time and money into a business idea that won’t be successful. (And so they invest their time and skills into someone else’s business instead so they can be successful. Weird.)
- Lack of confidence: People may doubt their ability to start and run a business. They don’t think they have the necessary skills or experience to make it work. (But you can always learn more, right?)
- Financial concerns: Starting a new business can be expensive. And many people worry about whether they have enough money to get started. They may also worry about whether they’ll make enough money to support themselves and their families. (This is the one that got me. But every time I’ve really needed money I’ve found a way to make it. I can even work part-time until I start smashing it in my own business if I need to. So no excuses here, right?)
- Fear of the unknown: Starting a new business can be daunting because it involves a lot of unknowns. People may worry about whether they’ll be able to navigate the complexities of starting and running their business. (This is another one I can relate to. Who do I think I am thinking I can run my own business? But not every business owner knew every answer to every problem when they started. They just got on with it – ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ and all that.)
- Fear of taking risks: Starting a new business is a risk. And some risk-averse people may prefer to stick with what they know rather than take a chance on something new. (You either ‘risk it for the biscuit’ or you don’t. Prepare as well as you can, and then jump.)
There’s a plethora of well-known people who were too scared to start and didn’t know what they were doing, but over time morphed their idea into a personal success story.
Dare you ask who? Here are a few examples.
- Oprah Winfrey, who faced numerous challenges in her life including poverty, abuse, and discrimination. She also struggled with weight and self-esteem issues. Despite all of this she went on to become one of the most successful media moguls of all time, and currently has a net worth of more than $2.6 billion.
- J.K. Rowling, who was a single mother living on welfare when she began writing the first Harry Potter book. She faced rejection from multiple publishers before finally getting a book deal. Today, she’s one of the richest authors in the world, with a net worth of more than $1 billion.
- Walt Disney, who was fired from a newspaper for his “lack of imagination,” and whose animation company went bankrupt. Despite these setbacks, he went on to create one of the most successful entertainment companies in the world, with a net worth of more than $130 billion.
- Elon Musk, whose first company (Zip2) wasn’t profitable for several years. He also faced criticism and scepticism for his ambitious plans to revolutionise the auto industry and colonise Mars. Despite these challenges, he went on to create several successful companies including Tesla and SpaceX, and has a net worth of more than $200 billion.
It’s time to show up for you
I’ve shown up at other people’s businesses every day for 20 years, helping them grow and succeed. I’ve shown up for my children every day for the past 23 years, helping them find their own paths to follow. And I’ve shown up for my husband every day for the past 25 years, standing beside and behind him making sure he’s supported.
But one day I’ll be looking at myself in the mirror for the last time. And on that day I don’t want to look at myself and ask – “did I show up for me?” and have to answer “No”. I want to see myself smile and say, “Yes, you showed up and had a go”.
I know I’ll still have a lot of complicated decisions to make. I know I’ll still need to worry about money, and maybe sometimes what I wear. I know making a profit from my passion is a luxury I’ll need to work hard for, and that it won’t always be cruisy.
But I’ve already crushed the little box in my head labelled ‘Too ridiculous to achieve’. I’ve also found another one with a label that says ‘That’s a good idea. Let’s try it’.
And I plan on filling it up.
I’m going to have clarity about who I work with, how I’m treated, and what my goals are. I’ll be consistent so there’s positive momentum towards my goals. And I’ll be confident in my ability to succeed.
And I can have Murphy sitting at my feet whenever I’m working because I make the rules.
So to anyone who has thought about jumping off ‘Have a go’ cliff but talked themselves out of it, or is too scared to consider the possibility, I say “Jump!” Find a mentor, join a networking group, and create a plan to start.
Do whatever it takes.
Many other people have jumped before us. They may have soared and championed their dreams. They may have glided gracefully to the bottom. Or they may have crashed and burned. But they all survived.
So will I. And so will you.
Over to you
What are the two biggest fears holding you back from starting your business? How do you show up for yourself? What’s the number one reason you want to start your own business?
About Aleisha Hey
Aleisha Hey is a freelance copywriter, copy editor and marketing expert. Despite having worked in marketing for the past 17 years, her passion lies in content creation, particularly in writing. Her new business incorporates her experience in marketing as well as her skills in writing. She likes to refer to herself as ‘The People’s Copywriter’ because she loves bringing to life the stories of everyday people.