"You're holding me back!!" I yelled. I slammed my fist on the steering wheel. I was in my parked car, on the phone, sitting outside of my music school.
I was frustrated.
I was angry.
I felt misunderstood and held back.
It was not my finest hour. But I was fed up. I felt backed into a corner. I was being told to "calm down" and "be patient." I was told that boredom is good. I should get used to it.
Those are not words that resonate with me.
As a creative entrepreneur, there is nothing inside of me that wants to maintain or keep things steady. I thrive on big new projects and coming up with new ideas.
Even if I start something and shut it down.
Even if my big new idea doesn't get any further than my notebook.
Even if I start a website and Facebook page, only to close it up after I realize "This isn't what I want to be doing."
THIS is how I learn. I have to go explore. I have to try things on for size.
It drives Chris crazy.
He's not wired like this. He is wired to get the plan, implement the plan, and keep the whole thing running (thank God). The difference in our personalities can be VERY difficult sometimes. It causes conflict. Hurt. Misunderstanding.
But when we work through our differences, we also form an amazing partnership.
It's just that getting to the "amazing" part can be very, very painful and hard.
Maybe you are a little like me. Maybe you are living in shame from false starts. Maybe you don't even trust yourself anymore.
But the desire to do big things, try new things, invent, start, create. . . it just doesn't go away.
That's because you are an entrepreneur.
I've had many business coaches. Nine that I can count off the top of my head. They each have taught me something different. They each have given me skills that have helped me advance my company forward.
But the ones who provided a community of like-minded entrepreneurs have been the most effective.
I can't do life in isolation. Especially working from home.
I need people who "get" me and who cheer me on. I need a safe place to land when I'm discouraged. I need a safe place to brainstorm when I have a new shiny idea. I need people who TRUST that I can make it happen and not doubt what I am doing.
Let me challenge you: If you are surrounded by people who just want to play it safe, survive the week and get to the weekend, maintain what they have built, or people who are negative, complaining, and super competitive, I challenge you to find a new community.
If you are a woman, surrounded by men, you may need a new community.
If you are a stay at home working mom surrounded by stay at home moms who do not work, you may need to add to your community.
If you are a homeschool mom and the only one of your friends who is working from home, you need to add to your community.
It's not healthy to stay isolated.
YOU are not the one who needs to change. Your support system needs to change.
YOU don't need to blend in. You need to find a group that gets you.
FIND a group of people who celebrates you. Not questions you.
Find people who cheer when you are excited and mourn when you are sad.
You don't have to leave your marriage or abandon your friends. You just need to add to what you already have.
The Never Alone Inner Circle was built for creatives and dreamers. Feelers and thinkers. Passionate people with big dreams and determination to make things happen.
If this sounds like you, explore the program details here:
One more thing: Did you know that most millionaires have SEVEN streams of income? If you aren't wired to just run one thing, then it's time to listen to your gut and start that new thing.
Yes, some people will think you're crazy.
Some people will question what you're doing.
But you'll never know if you're right unless you try.
And who knows? The next thing could be the thing that changes everything.
After all, you aren't starting from scratch anymore.
You're starting from experience.
And check out this week's video I made for you. See if it speaks to your heart.
Several years ago, I was stabbed in the back. A father whose daughter took lessons at our studio, decided to start his own music school--just a few miles away from our location. He opened the doors and still sat at his daughter's recital, in one of seats near the front, looking right at me. He even joined a coaching program that I was in! I was seething. How could he do this to me??
My mentor at that time kindly told me, "There are more than enough clients for everyone. Ignore him. Keep your eyes on your own business."
At first I was furious. I wanted sympathy. I wanted revenge.
Instead, I did exactly what my coach suggested: I ignored him. I focused on growing my own school.
Around that same time, one of the teachers at my music school left and started his own music school a few miles the other direction. This time I didn't give him much energy. "Do your own thing, Jen," I coached myself. I focused on my company, my staff, my systems, my marketing.
I could have frozen in fear. I could have shrunk back and refused to hire anyone else in case they, too, would leave me and hurt me.
I didn’t. I chose abundance. I chose to believe there are enough fish in the sea. There are enough families to serve. The potential hurt is worth the opportunity to serve more kids and more families.
Since these two hurtful events, guess what happened? We doubled our income. Around that time, we were grossing around $500,000 per year. Just 3 years later, we bring in $1,000,000 per year.
You can choose to fight your competition or you can choose to fight your fear.
I worked extra hard. I was attentive to our marketing message. I gave my clients more amenities that the new schools couldn't afford. I doubled down on my time and my discipline to my work time. I added additional streams of income. We now have 3 large streams flowing into our main umbrella company. It gives us security-- if anything happens to one, we know the cash flow will not completely dry up. I have trained my staff to manage and maintain what we have, so I can scout out new streams of serving people. (I love service-based industries. There will always be needs we can meet, people we can serve, and money we can make.)
When I was tempted to flip my lid and throw a fit about new competitors popping up, I took that energy and grew my own company. I asked myself, "What can I do about this?" I can't stop someone from wanting to fulfill their own dreams. I can't stop them from pursuing their passions. But I CAN serve my clients and keep my eyes on my own work.
I'm not interested in dominating my market. I am interested in doing the absolute best job I can for my clients. And that creates a culture of very happy clients who refer their friends. Our reputation is strong. Our name is not tarnished. We work with integrity and we always will.
I don't need to crush my competition. I need to crush my own fears.
I created a video this week that at first might rub you the wrong way. But I have to speak truth. Watch it and let me know your thoughts.
I'm always here to cheer you on.
Dear moms growing businesses,
I know the pull between doing big things and being there for your family.
I feel it almost every day.
The truth is we are called to both. Called to nurturing the hearts of those in our house and called to the dream that GOD planted in your heart.
I often think I'm not doing enough. I'm not trying hard enough. I just don't have my act together.
When I relax, I feel guilty.
When I go to my studio for a meeting, I feel bad for not being home.
It's like I can't win.
Except, the struggle, the pull between both worlds? That's just the life we are living. I don't think there's anything I can "fix" or do better to make that pull go away. It's just leaning into the struggle that brings me peace.
Sometimes I make full Sunday dinners and sometimes we grab fast food.
Sometimes I work long hours and get a ton of marketing done and sometimes I'm in full Mom Mode, correcting homework and cleaning out the closets and driving teens to grab some coffee.
It's never, ever about perfect balance, because balance is impossible.
It's about being strategic.
Strategic with the team I hire, the marketing I pay for, my time, and yes, even being strategic about when I grab some time to rest.
This week I've been down with a bad cold. I have fallen behind on my To Do list and I feel like I've barely seen my kids. I have been tempted to wallow in guilt for "failing." Instead, I'm writing this to encourage you and me that we are all juggling all the pieces the best that we can.
Since I lost my voice and couldn't record a new video this week, I'm sharing with you a video I made in September (when it was still nice outside! Now it's 30 degrees here in Minnesota). I titled it "You don't have to be stressed. You just have to be strategic."
I hope it blesses and encourages you. Here's the link to the blog I refer to in the video: Stages of Business.
Write me back and tell me which stage you're in!
I want to invite you to a Zoom meeting where moms growing businesses can hang out and get some encouragement. We are going to talk about REAL Impact and what that means when you are trying to grow a business AND raise your kids.
It's totally free. To join us, just join my free Facebook group here:
(Sorry guys-- this one is for moms only!)
I'll be posting all the details about when and where and how to join us in the Facebook group. I'd love to see you on this call (you'll be on camera, so use your laptop to join us and throw your hair in a mom bun!).
I really don't think you have to sacrifice your family to grow a healthy business.
I just think you have to do things strategically.
Let's talk about it. See you then!
About the Author
I'm Jen Hickle. I love coffee, journaling, reading, and cozy winter evenings. A business owner for 20+ years, I can't imagine having a "real" job or getting up every morning to an alarm clock. I love my freedom and my family and the chance to encourage fellow business owners every day.