A little over two years ago, I was living 1,500 miles away from my friends and family, trying to come up with a way to serve beans and rice for dinner again, and dreaming of a day when my tiny blog would become a thriving online business. My husband and I had been in the dry season of our lives for so long, but I had a vision and was going to make something big happen.
At night, I stayed up late nursing my baby and feverishly writing down business ideas. In the mornings, I woke up early to work on my book before my husband left for his six-days-a-week job that we both hated. Days were spent homeschooling our four kids, cramming in more writing, editing, and laundry-folding at naptime.
I finished my book in less than thirty days and shot my own cover photo. It looked terrible, but it was done. I was proud, finished, and ready to self-publish. This was going to be my big break.
When the book launched, it didn’t even bring in enough to buy me the $200 laptop I desperately needed. I was devastated. So devastated, in fact, that I pounded my fist on my faithful old laptop, sending it to its grave and digging myself deeper into my awful hole.
Today I’m writing this from my dream home in my home state. How did this happen? How did we go from completely broke with a failed book to a seven figures income in just eighteen months?
First, I bought a new-to-me-and-definitely-no-one-else laptop for $50 from a skeevy guy on Craigslist.
And the rest started with five intentional steps…
1. I had a purpose-driven vision. My passion is helping other moms find joy and simplify their lives. Minimalism and the philosophy of less had transformed my motherhood, and I was eager to spread that message to the world. Without this passion, I could not have kept going through multiple failed launches and disappointments.
Does your business have a deep purpose behind it? Brainstorm a list of three ways your business does or could help people. Are you passionate about creating that kind of positive change in the world? Is this what you want to be doing?
2. I let my failures be my catalyst. We can let disappointment affect us in one of two ways – positively or negatively. My failed book launch led me to seek out other ways to bring in revenue through content, and that led me online courses. If my book had been a success, I would’ve missed out on so much!
What have your “failures” been? Make a short list of your most recent “failures” and write out how each of them has affected you positively. If they haven’t helped you move forward yet, what could you learn from them or how might use use them for your benefit?
3. I changed the story I was telling. What we say holds power, whether we realize it or not. Proverbs 18:21 tells us the tongue holds the power of life and death. To change my world, I stopped speaking like a broken victim and started speaking like a mighty warrior. I watched my words and got seriously intentional with my thoughts. This changed my whole life.
What conversations do you have regularly? What story are you telling right now? If you talk a lot about being broke, overly busy, or a victim, that’s what you’ll continue to be. Grab a journal and write out some positive truths about your life. You might also include a positive “self-story”, where past or current struggles prepare you for your future successes. Next, set a reminder in your phone or post a note on your fridge to remind yourself to watch your mouth.
4. I served the few. Any audience is an important audience. If you cannot serve the twenty followers you have now because you’re focused on gaining 20,000, you will not be able to serve those 20,000 either (mostly because you’ll never get them).
When I started focusing on serving the people who were already following me, I was a happier influencer and my reach grew. I listened to what they had to say and created helpful content they needed.
Are you grateful for your current following or customers? Write down three ways you can serve them better, selflessly, right now. Don’t stop there! Write out an action plan with concrete goals and deadlines for following through on those three ideas and make it happen.
5. I overcame perfectionism. If you want something, you have to go get it. You can’t wait for everything to be perfect – the perfect timing, the perfect circumstances, they doesn’t exist. I didn’t wait for life to calm down to start my business. I didn’t wait to get a product to my audience until it was perfect.
Example one: my book cover. It was super blurry and unprofessional, but not a single person who bought it mentioned that to me. It was done, it made me a tiny chunk of money, and I got a powerful message out on Amazon.
Example two: my skeevy-Craigslist-dude laptop. It had a fan that made a ton of noise when it was working too hard, so in half the audio lessons in my course, you could hear it in the background.
I got the course out there, terrible quality and all, and people bought it and loved it. So many people, in fact, that it made me over $300,000 in just a few months. And yes, I upgraded my equipment and re-recorded it later. That’s the thing – you can’t let perfectionism hold you back because you can always go back and fix mistakes later! Done is better than perfect, my friend.
Where do you see yourself being crippled by perfectionism? Be specific. Pick one or two things and set hard deadlines to complete them. No excuses!
When we act out of purpose, let go of perfect performance, and just serve, great things happen.
And hey, don’t you dare give up. The world needs your message.