“I’m going to do it. I’m going to start my own business.”
Chances are you said that or something like it at some point in your career. And here you are, a solopreneur with your own company, reaping the rewards of having control of your own career. Ain’t it great? Or maybe not so great? Perhaps things aren’t quite how you had pictured them. Or it’s taking longer than you thought to get traction. Or there are loads of tasks and decisions that you have to attend to that you hadn’t anticipated.
It is pretty common for a different reality to hit us once we take the leap into solopreneurship. Often it’s a deep passion that motivates the transition, and with our heart leading sometimes the head needs time to catch up. Too bad this isn’t all there is to it.
In all the years that I have been a solopreneur and I have coached solopreneurs, there is one obstacle that keeps cropping up. No matter who, no matter what, no matter where-this obstacle is the single biggest hindrance to the forward progress of the solo business owners around the world.
In short, the biggest obstacle to your success . Not you, the person who believes passionately in your business and who is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. Not you, the one who knows you can do it. I’m talking about the part of you whose beliefs will keep you spinning your wheels or taking two steps back for every three steps forward.
This is the part of us that I call the Starving Artist.
The Starving Artist whispers things like this in your inner ear:
You have to earn your success, and it takes time to do that.
It’s going to be hard, but stick to it and you’ll get there eventually.
There’s no gain without pain.
Suffering is what brings out your creativity.
Let go of your suffering and you’ll lose that creative spark.
Money corrupts, and wanting to make a lot of it is not a noble goal.
Any of that sound familiar? Essentially, the Starving Artist embodies all the limiting beliefs you have about your own knowledge and abilities. They may have come from parents or teachers, from siblings or peers, or from decisions you made about yourself and about how the world works. Wherever they come from, these beliefs will sabotage you and the growth of your business.
What does your Starving Artist say to you? If you have a hard time answering that, try this: What repeating patterns in your business have held you back? Here are a few examples that indicate the influence of the Starving Artist in your business:
Your only clients are people who can’t pay your standard fees or who pay really slowly after a lot of follow up.
You seem to have a portfolio comprised only of “difficult” or high-maintenance clients.
Every time you have a big, exciting success, it is followed shortly by something that limits or negates it.
You go through frustrating up and down cycles that end up keeping your business in the same place or, worse, slowly eroding.
What can you do about your Starving Artist? Well, it may sound extreme, but you’ve got to KILL the Starving Artist to be successful. Unless the Starving Artist is killed, or at least silenced, there is no action or strategy that will have a lasting positive impact. That inner saboteur must be eliminated before breakthroughs can happen. This is why whacking the Starving Artist is the very first thing we tackle in my coaching program.
If you have not bound and gagged or, better yet, killed, your Starving Artist, I strongly urge you to get to it. You will be amazed at how much faster and more effortless your business growth becomes once that pest is stifled!