Who wouldn’t love to see themselves as a hero? Business building comes with a lot of self-labeling: newbie, veteran, introvert, extrovert, part-timer, full-timer, solopreneur, consultant. The list goes on! But none of those labels carry the energizing spark you can feel in the word “hero.”
How would it change things if you actually thought of yourself as a hero because you were building a business?
The commitment and follow-through to make something new takes courage, inquisitiveness, persistence — heroic qualities you can recognize in yourself as you continue business building.
But c’mon, no one’s courageous, inquisitive, and persistent all the time. What if when you’re failing to connect, feeling petty jealousy, or just fed-up, you’re also on a hero’s path?
In her book Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life that Matters to You, writer, speaker, and brand advisor Terri Trespicio presents a holistic view of how a hero’s journey applies to a business-building journey. And she knows: the hero doesn’t always look heroic.
Trespicio describes a 10-step journey she calls “The Hero’s… Jaunt.” Recognize yourself in any of these steps?
Step 1: A Shiny Object Snags Your Attention
A money-making opportunity comes into view, and you think: hey, I could do that!
Step 2: You Sign Up
You meet people making their money the way you want to make your money. You find people to show you the ropes, and decide to give it a try.
Step 3: You Hit Your First Roadblock
(Man! Why does this have to be Step 3? Why can’t we put it off to 8 or 9, when we’re really ready?)
Maybe you freeze and assume your product or service will sell itself. Then it doesn’t. Maybe you get negative feedback and wonder if you stink at this.
Step 4: You Have a Breakthrough Moment in Your Business Building
If you’ve already had one of these — that moment when you see your way around an obstacle — breathe it in for a few deep breaths! Getting from Step 3 to Step 4 can be a major leap!
If you feel like you’re bumping your head against Step 3 over and over, well — you’re still on the hero’s jaunt. Ask for some help getting over, under, around, or through.
You don’t need to conquer a roadblock like a horned Viking with a giant sword. Sometimes you just need to nudge it 1% to the left, or move yourself 1% to the right, to break through.
Step 5: You Start Cooking with Gas
You discover you can do something by doing it. So you do more of it.
Trespicio uses the example of her days selling jewelry through home jewelry parties to show how “sales beget sales.” Her account demonstrates the value of talking about your business, casually “displaying” it, however you can.
“The more I wore the jewelry, the more conversations I was having with people about the jewelry, and the more interest I was seeding, and that interest turned into parties — and sales.”
Trespicio points out that keeping her pipeline of customer interest flowing kept her from worrying too much about individual customers. “There was a confidence and security in sheer numbers,” she writes.
Ever stressed out about an individual client saying yes? Saying no? Dragging their feet? Changing their mind? Try shifting the focus to figuring out how you can start more conversations with more people you might be able to help.
Step 6: You Go from Breakthrough to Needing a Break
Whoops, the pipeline’s TOO full, you’ve taken on too much, and now you’ve got a scratchy throat and the eyeballs of a wino because you’ve stayed up way too late… again. Wouldn’t life be better if you just… quit? You spend actual Google time on your alternate career fantasies. (How DOES one become an anthropologist/astronaut/secret-shopper/NASCAR driver?)
Trespicio’s fix? Plan time away to reunite with your tribe and get reinspired.
Step 7: You Identify Your Role Models — and Eye Your Competition
Finding people who are where you want to be can lead to some helpful reality checks. When you hear their income, or other wins, do you truly know their corresponding challenges (or expenses)? Would your sacrifices, your opportunities, or your tactics match theirs… or are you better off focusing on your own path, right in front of you?
Step 8: Scarcity Thinking Sets In
Trespicio tries to physically expand her body with deep breaths when she feels the contracting effects of fear or jealousy. Then she pushes back against those feelings by boosting someone else.
“I find a way to give, freely and without restraint, to somebody who needs it.”
How can you feel the joy of giving with just a 15-second burst of activity right now?
Step 9: You Go Out on a High Note
This is an important one for people who work for themselves. The work of business building can seem endless! But you do go “out” sometimes. You finish a project. Or switch niches. You say farewell to a client. If you’ve gotten an award, kudos, or a simple “thank you” for truly helping a client, ring a mental bell to hear that high note.
Step 10: You Take Your Skills to Go
“We think we know what trip we’re packing for, but we really have no idea,” Trespicio notes, in an earlier chapter. In writing about Step 10, she talks about how the skill she learned selling jewelry — selling — was transferable to her future life as a consultant and solo business owner.
What you learn in one professional setting goes with you to the next, and what you learn in one phase of business building, or one project, or one conversation, can help you with countless other phases, projects, or exploratory talks.
Trespicio counsels the wisdom of “finding opportunity wherever you go” by being open to using the transferrable skills you already have in new ways.
What keeps you flexible, adaptable, and hopefully fulfilled at each stage of business-building?
Maybe thinking of yourself as a hero… on a jaunt… can keep you light on your feet.