How many businesses die

The problem with keeping silent is that no one can help.

Many full time corporate employees with part-time businesses struggle to make a successful transition into full-time entrepreneurship because they don’t talk. They don’t open up about their fears of failure or success. They are afraid to admit that they don’t know what makes them different, or where they can find their paying clients. Others are divided when it comes to asking for money, they don’t want to appear greedy or pushy, that is not the way they were raised.

So they tinker with their business on the side, mainly sending out a few social media posts and showing up at every networking event to take pictures and appear part of the movers and shakers. And yet, they don’t make major moves that shift the course of their lives or create any powerful follow-throughs because they are so afraid. Of looking dumb, of causing a scene, of being asked for credentials, of appearing greedy and spammy, of asking for money. They don’t want to fail, appear amateurish, or act different from their peers. They are afraid to rise above and be seen, judged, rejected, accepted, bought, referred.

They don’t even want to know what that process is and so they remain hidden behind delicious sounding excuses: I’m okay right now (okay or afraid?), I’m not really interested in self-promotion, I believe in clients floating to me (and you’ll never make real money building a stadium with lights and hoping for the players and audience to randomly show up), I’m working on building a presence (in what exactly?), on and so forth.

Many insist that they are fine where they are, happy to dabble at their dreams and yet their constant engagement with the community and use of titles to describe themselves suggest otherwise. They even know their prices but don’t feel confident quoting them. They know what to do to attract clients but won’t do it.

I get it. It’s complicated. And it’s mentally challenging more than anything if we’re honest. There are some things our minds seem determined to not let us do. Like getting out there and sharing with the world just how incredible we are and how we can benefit others with what we have and can do. No. Stay safe, stay hidden, judge the doers.

I also get that many people don’t get far with building successful stand alone businesses because of one thing: the failure to ask for help.

Without asking for help, getting a team together, and letting the world know what one has to offer, there’s little chance of the endless expensive hobby becoming anything more than that.

I started my journey at the end of 2010 and for many hours before, after, and around regular work hours, I worked at building myself, my brand, and my business. And then I got comfortable doing just that. I had the perfect excuse not to make any bold moves and even more, to follow up with even more boldness and consistent action. I was so uncomfortable venturing out already and in denial about what it was I was trying to do. I had big, big responsibilities and a very, very safe job. More importantly, who did I think I was? So I claimed all the titles I felt within myself belonged to me such as Speaker, Blogger, Author. I mentally happened to be in 50/50 and that worked for me.

Or so I thought. Turned out I couldn’t excuse the growing angst within to break out of my shell and go full throttle ahead into what every fibre of my being desired. A life of many roles in which income came from different sources and my success was not tied to an organization, label, or pay grade. I just wanted to be me and a big part of that included paid work that was in alignment with my value system, life purpose, and the vision I had for myself. I was petrified. Not many around me seemed to share these feelings or want these things.

The few I mentioned this to reminded me to be realistic. Others expressed disdain and a few laughed. I was also greatly misunderstood. It appeared I wanted to draw attention to myself and to wear a crown. Not true. But I can see how one can draw such conclusions. It was simply my heart’s one desire for me.

When the discomfort of remaining in tight spaces that didn’t represent me felt worse than any kind of thing I’d face stepping out, I knew I had to decide what team I was going to play for. It became evident to me that I would always experience mediocre results if I continued to treat my business like a hobby and that being a top producer at work no longer worked because my heart wasn’t in it.

Like many who forever remain fully employed while dreaming of entrepreneurship, I was afraid of stepping out and admitting my fears, my grand wishes, and worse (then it was worse), just how badly I wanted a different kind of life for myself. Just how badly I’d wanted it for longer than I even realized. And I didn’t want to hide anymore. I couldn’t be me if I couldn’t go all in and let myself rise and fall publicly and many times.

Here’s what worked for me:

The realization that I didn’t want to die one of those people who regretted not pursuing their passion or starting their business because they were so afraid of what others would say or of starting again if they failed. I didn’t want to die with my message, my gifts and talents, and all I could bring into this world, brought. I didn’t want to live ‘safe’ and die ‘unused.’ One life. I wanted to provide an account of my life in which even I could say, “thank God I did that.” Even if it didn’t work as many things in life don’t. I didn’t want nice and neat and clean. I wanted lived and experienced.

The problem with keeping silent is that you don’t give others the chance to come in and do what they do best which is to help. We’re all designed to function in specific ways and when isolated, our gifts are of little benefit to us other than amassing wealth (for ourselves or for others as their employees). When applied to and for another, we see just how much we are meant to be a part of each other’s lives and the fulfilment of each other’s dreams and wishes.

It breaks my heart when I see dreamers watch the doers from the sideline, too afraid to speak up and ask for help in bringing their desires to life in a big and meaningful way, because they’d rather seem pretty or well put together. It makes me sad because they don’t know what the rest of us messy folks do.

We’re alive. Fully, messed up, alive. We are bursting with all the emotions that come from being immersed in what we believe and place all our reputation on. Some days are horrible and some days are amazing. Either day is a full day in which we get dirty and create out of nothing, something. We get to be partakers of this wonderful creation called the universe. And we get to do it with our lives.

If you want in, all you have to do is first acknowledge your deepest desires, agree to face your fears one by one, and dive into the process of shifting your mindset to become open to the possibilities in your life.

Live. So that your business can be born.

Does this article resonate with you? Leave a comment and share it! If you need help with confidence and direction, read my article on starting out with writing your personal vision and the major positive changes you’ll experience.