Memory Keeping, Sustain.Home, Work/Professional

If You Want to Build a Business, Get to Know Who You Are

This title sincerely sums up the last few months of my life. I’ve been asking the same questions over and over and over again: Who am I? What do I want to do with my career? Who do I want to work with? And how do I make that happen?

Every time I think I get close to an answer, I head down the decision tree. Let me give you an example:

I am someone who is passionate about crafting and teaching others how to craft. Therefore, I want to build a business around handmade things. I would start with DIY tutorials, crochet patterns, and sewing projects on small handmade items that have purpose and meaning, that are simple but beautiful. That would eventually build into a monthly kit subscription which would teach people who don’t craft how to make beautiful handmade things.

I would almost love that. But I know it wouldn’t be fulfilling enough. So I moved towards this:

I am someone who is passionate about memory keeping. Therefore, I want to build a business around creativity and product/course development. I would work to introduce people to memory keeping, teach them the basics, and apply my minimalistic style to creative designs. I would start with developing some digital card sets, eventually move into greeting cards and stamps, and develop into e-Courses.

Sounds great, right? Except then I came up with this one:

I am someone who is passionate about holistic wellness and lifestyle. Therefore, I want to build an online consulting business about bridging people’s existing lifestyles with a more emotionally/physically healthy choices through small improvements to their daily lives. I would start by building short eBooks on baseline topics, slowly working into my approach to realistic sustainability, and eventually work into consulting on a personal basis. I would go through the training to become a yoga teacher, and I would use that as a way to gain insight into my approach to life and I would use that experience to inform future products and services.

Another great one! But I’m not done.

I am someone who is passionate about organization development, international development, and engineering consulting – all things that have spent the last 10 years building a professional career and reputation in. Therefore, I want to develop a Corporate Social Responsibility business dedicated to helping for-profit and non-profit organizations develop programs which focus on holistic business development through intentionally paired programs. I want to build the case for forging mutually beneficial relationships between the two, to inform and strategically position both organizations and businesses to get better at what they do best. I would start by leveraging my existing experience and relationships to develop a set of programs that I could present to companies and organizations where we would begin by identifying the short and long term goals of that organization, then slowly build volunteer-based partnerships towards building this aligned program. I would also pursue an MBA focused, specifically, on organizational development.

You’re thinking that’s it, aren’t you? It’s not.

I am someone who is fully committed to building my own business and brand whatever the hell way I want it to. In order to do that, I need to get more of the people that I want to connect with online. I need to get them on social media in a productive and effective way. I need to connect them with each other. And we need to grow – personally and professionally – together. From there, I can build into the other things that I think are truly where I want to be and where I think I can make the biggest difference in making the world a better place. And I’ll make whatever eCourses and eBooks and seminars and presentations that I want to. Because I know it’s all connected. And if I can’t find a niche specific to all of these seemingly random subjects, it’s because I’m creating my own damned niche. And that’s awesome. So I’m just going to own it. Own who I am. And make that shit happen. For reals.

So there you have it. When I chose my one little word “cultivate” this year I knew what I was doing: I was forcing this heady internal conversation with myself to come to the surface. And it felt like every week I came up with a different business idea, hashed out all of the steps that it would take to get there, and then – almost in the same breath – completely discount the validity of that idea by pointing out all of the flaws in my long-term planning.

And this happened about 15 times (you’re welcome, for sparing you the excessively long blog post about all of my business ideas that aren’t going to happen).

In between each of these ideas, I’ve been digesting a massive amount of information to build this blog as the basis of my business. I’ve learned far too much about the strategies of social media to build a blog. And I’ve read a lot of amazing insights and met a lot of successful, interesting, and unique independently employed professionals that I admire greatly. And I’ve also read a lot of crap.

This dream-chasing and business-building is exhausting. Absolutely exhausting. And it was beginning to feel a little impossible. To be fair – had I kept on this exhausting trend much longer I think it would have been as close to impossible as anything else that you talk about, but never do. But I’m happy to say that I’m past that phase now. And I’m ready to move forward.

On Friday, I had an epiphany. I knew it was going to happen this way. I knew that I was going to feel like I was floundering aimlessly for months and then, one day, it would all just click.

And that’s exactly what happened.

I was listening to a series of podcasts, reading excepts from a couple of books, and suddenly – in a burst of excitement – it just all came together. I realized that there were things about myself that were holding me back. And I knew, just like that, how to correct them. And as soon as I did that, in my mind, it was all so incredibly clear.

I cannot express the amount of relief I feel, now knowing that my next several moves are going to come FROM ME, not from external sources, not from more education, not from some other blog or coach or business. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. How much I appreciate knowing that what I need most is to be the best parts of me, and to use those as the building blocks for my business.

I have SO MUCH to say and share. So stay tuned, for later this week – and probably the next – when I talk about the path towards my business building epiphany and what you can expect to see from me in the coming months. Also, if anyone owns a device that will allow me to stop time while I solidly work away at my projects, I would love to borrow it. 😉


The lesson today? It’s natural to assume that  answer to whatever you’re searching for will come from someone or somewhere else, but – at the end of the day – it’s up to you, and only you, to put it all together.