There are 2 things I find difficult about running my own business. The first is the physical admin and workload that comes with starting something from scratch and then keeping it going.
The second is the physiological strain it takes and this is the part I struggle with most.
Exposing you bare
If you ever want to find out more about yourself then you just need to set up a passion project. We all have inner demons that we struggle with and running a business (one that you care about) will magnify these big time.
Never before have my insecurities been so obvious and bare for all to see. And it’s a constant battle to see beyond them so that I can continue to do what I set out to achieve.
Wondering what my big insecurities are? I’ll tell you…
- not being liked
- not being good enough
When things start going well
It’s a misconception that when things start going well for you that suddenly all your problems must be solved. While that’s the case in some areas of my life – knowing what I want to do with my life, feeling satisfied with my work – it is definitely not the case for all. In fact, if anything it has made my problems bigger.
One of the things that have really come to light in the process of setting up my blog and Love Her Wild is my absolute hatred of competition. I know why I don’t like competition – because I see it as a popularity contest (see insecurity number 1) and because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to succeed (see insecurity number 2).
When in my pre-adventure life I avoided competition like a bullet but it is impossible to ignore now because I’m putting myself in a market that feels like it’s directly up against others. Be that other speakers for a slot at an event, other bloggers for a sponsorship deal or other adventure companies for bookings on expeditions.
And when you work for yourself you need those opportunities, you can’t shy aware from them.
Giving too much of myself
If you’ve ever met me you’ll know that I’m ambitious but also someone who loves to live religiously by my values…like the Peaky Blinders but just a bit more moral/less cool. You’ll also know that I talk a lot and that I like to help people.
Since things have started to go well it can feel sometimes like lots of people I speak to want something and this is usually in the form of knowledge – how did I grow social media, how did I get traffic to my blog, how did I become an expedition leader, etc. I totally get it!! It’s been the other way round many times where I’ve been hoping to nab an ounce of inspiration from someone else. And I’m also absolutely ok with this…..I put myself forward as a blogger and in the eyes of the public. That was my choice no one else’s!
The problem with this though is that by nature I want to help everyone. It’s so instinctive for me to do this that I’m not even aware half the time that I’ve turned to conversation into some kind of Tony Robbins motivational monologue! And I don’t know when to stop and how to say no when I don’t feel comfortable with giving.
Then the insecurities come to bite
Sometimes concepts seem a little too close to home but sometimes it’s entire expeditions (names and all) that I’ve invented that have been carbon copied and plagiarised…
And sometimes this is from the people that I’ve given my time to help. This hurts the most! I feel like an absolute mug and like I’ve been betrayed. The Peaky Blinder in me goes all angry.
All this is my insecurities talking.
My worries about competition and reading too deeply into peoples actions. Most likely they aren’t even aware they are doing it or that I might perceive it as copying. And if they are, who cares really, I should just focus on doing my own thing.
Practising putting up the wall
It’s tiring having to deal with things that you wish you could just ignore or pass on to someone else. When you are running your own business though you can’t do either. Instead, you’ve got to learn to come to terms with it and see your insecurities for what they are so you can tackle them. Either that or become one of those wound up control-freak bosses who go nuts if anything goes wrong. I’ve seen business owners like this before and I can also see how you can easily end up there!
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this entire process is that almost every problem comes within. Because the problem is rarely actually the problem but in fact the way you react and the way you feel inside. So that’s why being your own boss is bloody hard work and I spend a lot of my time frustrated, hurt, angry and feeling like a complete mug.
But the good news is it’s completely in my control to change it. I just need to keep confronting those inner demons and putting mechanisms in place. (For my tips on this check out my blog how to stop comparing yourself to others.)