Sometimes you can take a path in your business that isn’t right for you. Your choices matter.
I know more than a few men who’ve started what they thought was the perfect business for themselves. Once momentum kicks in it can get hard to change direction. The biggest trap ends up being the one we make in our heads.
One example is the expert industry. There are variations, but the formula is pretty straight forward. You start some combination of writing, coach, consulting and speaking about a topic or two where you can add value to people.
The formula is simple, but the implementation requires persistence, skill and a lot of work. A lot of people don’t make it.
So when it starts taking off, you end up telling people about it. Success tends to grow. Writing, speaking, consulting and traveling the world seem pretty awesome to many people. You hear nothing but envy from your fans. And those fans convert to even more clients.
Then the novelty started to wear off. Airports, planes, trains and automobiles are not the same as the destination. You are spending more and more time away from the reasons you started the business. Your schedule is starting to be set a year in advance.
You are making more money now. And your fans are piling up. So you bite the bullet and keep at it with the hope that you will come to enjoy it as much as everyone thinks you should.
You have momentum.
Momentum Keeps You Going
Newton’s First Law: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
You are making good money, and you can see the path to even more clearly. When you start making more money, you tend to elevate your lifestyle and expectations. If you were struggling with money in the past, this one is particularly tough.
No matter how well you start to leverage your time or how much you charge, there is one person at the center of the business. You.
So you delegate what you can and keep moving.
Here ego is your sense of self and self-worth. Part of selling the expert business (or any business) is selling the success story. When your success story is relatable to other people and their personal success, you have a very compelling brand story.
You can’t always be happy doing everything that needs to get done in business. But when the core of your business is built around doing something that is not authentic, it will start to wear on you. This is true even if you believe the story.
Our pride and desire to make others happy can trap us from seeing this truth.
If you are heading on the path of your dreams, that is great. Congratulations. If you aren’t, the point to understand is that you always have the choice to change direction.
Making Other Choices
I was heading down that road. This could have been my life as well. I could see the path and parts of it excited me. Except I know deep down, it isn’t all for me.
The best thing about knowing a lot of others in the industry is that you get to hear not just the good, but some of the negative.
I like to travel, but not all the time. As an introvert, I prefer not to go alone. Plus I have my other interests that require some routine and regular commitment. Had I not acknowledged that I would have pursued the paths of others, rather than my own. I am not saying I won’t travel for business, just that excessive travel would wear on me.
I also realized again that I thrive more doing work that is longer-term results focused. So I decided to restructure that path to be more project-based and the type of work I can do with a team. My goal is to build a business that can operate with or without me. One where I can have some flexibility and I can focus more on those things I enjoy and where I am strong.
This may not be your path. That is fine.
Just realize that the choice for your path is yours.
This post originally appeared on The Good Men Project.
Image Credit (modified) – Pixabay