To Begin, Begin: My Story
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We don't know people's stories. We don't know their experiences. We don't know their education. We don't know how they got to have the expertise that they're claiming to have. We only get to see the highlight reel they are willing to share on social media.
I'm excited to share with you a little bit about me, because I find it very helpful to hear about other people's experiences, of the stories of how they got started, the twists and the turns of the journey that got them to where they're at because oftentimes there's a lot more life experience than what they share in their brand story or what they're willing to put online about themselves that helped contribute to their success. Ultimately, I hope that this helps inspire you and I hope that it helps assuage any doubts or discouragement you've been feeling about your ability to build an online business.
This is my story and my hope by sharing it is that it helps you uncover and embrace your story, your experience, and your education in your own expertise.
As a brand person and a designer, you might think that I have a background in art or design, and the truth is that I don't.
Actually, my background is in science.
I have a background in water quality studies, fisheries, and oceanography. I thought I was going to be a marine biologist, and in fact, I was well on my way to that experience.
Right after college I got an internship at NASA. Quick side note about that, because it does relate to the rest of the story. Helping people helps whether you're just in real life or on the online space and you're wondering how much should I share? How much information should I give away? How much should I keep back that they need to pay for? Being generous always helps you.
I was helping a fellow college student with an oceanography assignment, and they said, I thought jokingly, "Ha, you should work for NASA." I responded "Ha-ha, that's funny." They replied more seriously, "No, really, if you can do this level of work, then I'm the hiring manager and you should apply." So, I did, and I worked at NASA for a little bit. I did that for a while, but afterwards I wanted to travel, and so I did that. While I was doing that, I met my husband, and I really thought I would someday maybe come back to science. Right after we got married we moved to the mission field, and we did missions work for many years and we lived primarily in Central America, si, yo hablo espanol. We had a lot of downtime in the evenings. We didn't always have really great internet. We didn't have kids. We didn't have any pets, and so there was a lot of opportunity for us to just kind of Netflix binge and just hang out, and we knew that we didn't waste our lives on that.
I wasn't sure what was next.
We were just very present in what we were doing, but I also knew that I needed to maintain my skill set. I needed to stay marketable in case we ever changed careers, and we ended up doing that. While I was in Central America, I was in Nicaragua, I started looking at ways to improve our online visibility as a nonprofit for our own organization, for our own mission work. That was really important to us, because we wanted to be professional. We wanted to be taken seriously. We were still kind of young, being in our 20s, but we were really serious about the missions work we were doing.
We wanted our visible assets, our marketing assets to reflect that. We wanted to invest in that and so I started learning about email marketing. I started watching YouTube, and bought Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Learned how to make our photos, our brochures, our newsletters, and our email marketing newsletters, look more professional.
That's when I discovered the world of online teaching.
I love to learn and I love to educate, and I just thought, "This is my thing. This is something I want to do," and I started teaching myself even more about the email marketing systems and the different ones that were out there and a little bit of code. I started playing on WordPress and Squarespace and whatever else was available at that time.
By doing and studying all of this, I learned all of these skill sets, and all of these platforms and programs, and then I discovered that I could get paid really good money doing what I was doing for our little family for free, and that's what launched me. I started taking action. I began doing what I was interested in, and it turned into something more. I got momentum. I kept going. I learned a lot. I made a lot of mistakes, and some days during that journey I wasn't sure what I was doing was going to pan out. I was just trying different things and seeing what felt good, what fit.
All I really knew was that I just wanted a business that could support our nomadic lifestyle at the time, and I wanted to be able to set myself up for a business where I could stay home and still be able to start a family. I still wanted to work, but I wanted to be able to have a family. That still is a huge part of my Why and our family's Why, but since starting in 2015, officially, as a business (a lot of this experience was pre-2015) I decided to get serious about it.
Once I got serious, I discovered my sweet spot, which was brand and business coaching.
I like both because the one feeds me really creatively, and the other sparks the very techy-sciencey side of my brain, and I'm super grateful that I get to do this full-time. Doing this is such a gift. What I've discovered as I've been talking to women who also want to be able to build a business is that it feeds them and is life-giving to them. For them it's restorative and not draining to them. When I talk to them, though, they are very hesitant to get started because of the level of investment to get started. Maybe the cost of a website or maybe they're thinking about hiring a coach or needing to hire a designer to help them develop a brand.
They're really afraid to invest. They're afraid to make mistakes.
What if they start in one industry, like life coaching, then they decide they want to do success coaching or they want to do financial coaching or something like that, they're afraid to have to make pivots in the beginning.
If that is you, I just want to tell you right now, if you're just getting started or you're wanting to get started, hear me say this:
It is not about perfection. It's about direction, so keep going. You can't turn a car that's parked. You can only turn a car that's moving, right, and so you just have to begin. If you want to begin, begin with whatever level of knowledge that you have. You may not know what you don't know, and that's okay. I just want to encourage you to get started going.
This was my story. I figured out everything for myself. I’m a consumer of information. I'm a voracious book reader. I read around 100 books in 2015 or 2016. I figured out everything myself. I tinkered, I learned, I researched, and I wasted a lot of time. I wasted a lot of time on YouTube. I wasted a lot of time on Google. I wasted a lot of time on shiny object syndrome.
Now, I'm very crystal clear about what I'm good at, who my clients are and should be, and what we can achieve together.
But, I didn't know that three years ago, and hear me say that.
Even though I had some things built into me, I'm very helpful, I love education, I love learning. These are things inherent to me that have set me up for success in an industry that I'm in now, but I didn't know that I would be right here three years ago when I first got started.
I thought I was just going to be creating courses, and that's kind of where I got started. I was creating courses and doing some email marketing and doing newsletter for nonprofit work. So what got me here for the last three years is not going to get me to the next set of goals that I have, and this is the same thing for you.
What has gotten you to whatever point you're at, is not going to get you to the next point. You have to keep going, but if you haven't even started, I just want to encourage you to begin and to overcome that fear of making mistakes or maybe needing to pivot a little bit later.
That's okay. That's why I'm offering a mindset workshop, because in that journey it was very hard to keep going. Sometimes it's easy to begin. For some of you who might be reading to this and saying "I've began like 10 times, and I haven't gotten anywhere." Well, you have to keep going. That is part of the equation, and that's what I'm offering the mindset workshop for, to help you begin and keep going.
It's very discouraging to see other people getting ahead of you, but you don't know what experiences and education they've had, what family mindset they're coming to the table with that you don't have, and you know what, that's okay.
For me, I didn't know that I had to have this kind of mindset capacity of resilience to failure, to making mistakes, to things not working out the way that I thought that they would. If you haven't registered for the mindset workshop, I know it's going to be super powerful for you in 2019. Man, I wish I'd had somebody tell me these things when I was at the very beginning because I wouldn't have changed my mind so much, and I would've tried again a lot more times than what I did in the very beginning.
That's why I wanted to share my story with you.
It's very easy to get caught up in other people's results and other people's stories and other people's successes, and that messes with your mind. It really does, and comparison is a thief. It robs us of joy. It robs us of our energy. It robs us of our own productivity in our lane and in our business, and I don't want that for you in 2019. I wish that I had known that for myself, and now that I do and I've had incredible momentum, have had incredible success with my clients and my business, I want that for you too. My heart is to educate. My heart is to see other people succeed around me. I want to be surrounded by successful people, and that includes you.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope that you are encouraged. I hope that you're inspired to keep going or just get started.