Being a doer is my M.O. I live for achievement, ever since I was a little girl I set goals and I reach them.
At 11 years old, I swore I’d study at the University of Minnesota. And I did.
At 13 years old I decided that my passion was writing and I should make my living doing that. Hence my blog.
At 15 years old I watched a NatGeo special about Machu Picchu, Peru. Even though it seemed impossible with a $200 a month income, I settled on going. I set foot on the ancient grounds 5 years later.
I became a missionary.
I went to India.
I was a filmmaker for missionaries and traveled all over the world.
I learned to speak fluent Spanish.
There is always that nagging fear tearing at my efforts. We humans deal with it constantly: fear. The temptation to give up or not try because, what if I fail?
My advice: tell that feeling to take a hike. Suck it up. Take the leap with your heart in your blessed throat. Each time you look your terror in the face God does something amazing, and you also kick some butt.
Where Kicking Butt Starts
Friend, I simply cannot leave out the fact that all of these plans began with an excel sheet, a timeline and a budget. Well, they actually began with the wish, but I never arrived at the finish line without first mapping the route.
Planning is my for-TAY baby. I love tweaking and giving special attention to my own 5 year plan. Marriage and a baby hindered my efforts for a couple of years, but recently I sat down and had coffee with my old friend Microsoft. My spreadsheet quickly took shape, outlining my path to my most recent and seemingly unattainable wish: to buy a home. In fact I want to buy 2 homes. One in Mexico, and another in the U.S.
The plan is to monetize this blog the right way, pay off my debt, bring up my credit score, and buy my dream home(s).
I sat down and had coffee with another old friend, let’s call her Melissa, and she was the first to not bat an eyelash as I told her my plan. She said three glorious words. “I believe you.”
Surprised, I thanked her and she happened to mention that I usually end up doing what I say I’m going to with my life – something I have been forgetting lately.
How to Follow Through
Ok, that is true, but a couple of tools on top of that would be a couple more tangible things.
I will stop right here and tell you that there is one aspect of mad sure success that I cannot help you with. And no one ever will. And that is self-motivation. There are people who accidentally win, and then there’s the rest of us. We have to work hard for the grade, fight to get noticed at work and buckle the heck down to get anything done.
I used to have more of that kind of auto pilot type of motivation in reserve, but somehow as you age things seem more daunting. To remedy this I put together a vision board that reminds me daily of where I want to be. Interestingly enough, the poignant and central phrase for inspiration is “Be fearless.”
Until you have the drive, the following information will be useless to you. What I am about to share is what I am in the process of putting together for myself in order to get to dream house status because I know that these things work like a charm.
An entrepreneur without anyone to answer to is just a weenie, too afraid to share their successes and goodness knows their failures should be kept secret! You are not taking yourself seriously until you have a safe place to confess your professional sins, and sing about your successes.
Where do you look for an accountability partner? Anywhere you can! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard good things about Facebook groups. Personally, I opt for flesh and bone people that will challenge me, but I think a Facebook group has other dimensions that your bestie might not have.
The point is to have someone or some medium where you report and discuss the professional steps you’ve been taking.
This person or medium should challenge you to be more and do more, they are not a sounding board, rather they encourage you, ask you questions and give you grief if you get lazy.
This is different from accountability. This person doesn’t care about what you did this week or if you didn’t get around to meeting your quota. This person has experience, knows your industry, talks 80% of the time that you’re together and you have a notebook of all this person’s insights.
An entrepreneur without a mentor is just a hobbyist. If you don’t have a teacher, forget it. YouTube is better than nothing, but I’ll tell you one thing, folks leaning on YouTube are left Googling their questions.
Imagine a perfect world where when you have questions about your field you can call or text an expert any time you want. Or when something is being explained to you, your receiving training or taking a class and all you have to do is interject with your worries, questions or comments.
Now that you have an accountability partner and a mentor, what more could you ask for? Let’s call these 2 your inner circle. But how many businesses thrive with just the founder and a couple of coffee dates? None. Zero.
Get out there, make yourself a business card with your website nice and prominent on there. And give it to everyone you think might find it valuable, or who might be valuable to you. These people are people in supporting niches, customers, distributors, (if you’re a blogger) other bloggers, people in your field. If your gut tells you to hand it to someone you think would have nothing to do with your business, do it. Many opportunities come from unexpected sources.
Bring up your niche in conversation, and start TALKING to people about your business. Talk about your business like it’s the best thing since the invention of the disposable diaper (without sounding pretentious). Even if that voice in your head says you’re a nobody and you have no idea what you’re doing, talk like a boss. You are what you think you are.
Put it All Together
These three tools are non-negotiables for entrepreneurs these days, especially bloggers.
I will say that my accountability partner is yet to come. I’m picky, so I’ll let you know when I find a worthy soul, and I hold myself to the standard that I judge other people with, so you can bet this person will be honest, hard on me, and encouraging.
I declare that Elite Blog Academy shall be my mentor. I am on the waiting list for next year’s course and I have only heard of several bloggers’ amazing results from the advice, tips and material from this course. I’ve also heard the only way it “works” is if you follow through on all the stages of the course. It is a must, and I’m working my way up to it by soaking up all the free advice I can from Ruth Soukup’s blog.
As for networking, I have a running list of bloggers who I admire that I plan to write to, befriend, write for on their blogs and follow in general.
As a blogger I have to mention social media. In this day and age, God bless the smart phone. I can network while I eat my Cheerios in the morning. But never underestimate the value of a face to face meeting with people in your field. Conferences, courses, events of all kinds. Go. Do. Be.
And once you get there, buy a really affordable but beautiful home to raise your kids in.
Did you do something amazing? Tell me how you reached your goal!