11 Bold Lessons I've Learned From Being a #GirlBoss

I’m getting real honest today.  

A few of you gorgeous souls reached out to me this week to talk about B-School, Marie Forleo’s online business training (of which I am a proud graduate!), and our chats got me reflecting on my own business odyssey.

Depending how long we’ve been friends, you may or may not be aware of my journey. I launched my life coaching business, True North Life Design, in January 2015. And boy, oh-boy it’s been a wild ride.

Here’s my story in five bullet points:  

  • I graduated j-school in 2012 and launched my reporting career in Canada + Africa.

  • Two years later, I felt utterly terrified when I realized journalism didn’t rock my bliss. Cue a quarter life crisis.

  • Next, I jumped ship to PR + marketing, hustling mala beads for an intentional accessories brand, which was fun until…

  • I discovered life coaching, a radical career based totally upon empowering people to be their best, and I was all likeeeeeeee “that’s it!!!”

  • So I quit my job, signed up for coach training, and launched my business baby, True North Life Design. Enter entrepreneurship.

So much has shifted for me in the past year. I’ve done things I once thought were impossible, connected with women from all over the world, helped them through their worst heartbreaks to land their dream jobs and rediscover themselves. I’ve experienced the euphoric feeling of being paid for something you genuinely love to do.

But I’m certainly not a smashing rags-to-riches success story. I’ve learned some raw, real hard lessons in the past year. And I’m sharing them all with you today because I think there are a lot of us who dream of doing our own thing. And, in 2016,  it’s never been more possible.

So, learn from my mistakes. Steal my secrets. Use them to grow your own #girlboss empire...

 

1. Start before you’re ready (because you’ll never be ready).

In my very humble opinion, fearlessness is a fucking joke. Putting yourself out there, expanding into new territory, hustling from the heart -- all of that, when done for the first time, feels scary. It just does. And that’s OK. Actually it’s more than OK, it’s great. Because moving through fear is what allows you to grow. So if you’re waiting to feel “ready,” just go for it, you’re likely as ready as you’ll ever be.

2. Ain’t no shame in the side-hustle game.

None at all. I’ve worked multiple part-time jobs and kept a foot in freelance writing all while working hard to grow my coaching practice. Originally, I quit everything and went at my business full-time, but that put so much financial pressure on my shoulders it stifled my creativity and my intuition and got me into debt. So if you’re business isn’t big enough (yet) to pay your bills, don’t get upset or make yourself feel like a failure (like I did). That’s just silly.

3. Build your tribe.

I’m a bit of an extrovert, so one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as an entrepreneur is all of the alone time. I don’t have a business partner, or a team, so sometimes I get stuck when I don’t have anybody to bounce ideas off, or to tell me if I’m being crazy. So I’ve had to build a community. I make a point to hang out with local entrepreneurs and I’ve discovered some amazing women online who’ve really empowered me and kept me going. Looking for a community? Join the True North Tribe, we’d love to have you.

4. Do the simple thing.

The right thing to do, is more often than not, the simple thing. I learned this lesson the hard way, unfortunately. When I launched my business I had all these weird beliefs around what it meant to be “professional.” I thought I needed the fanciest website, complicated accounting software, a business plan. And these beliefs kept me stuck in inaction for way too long. Funny enough, I had a fancy website built and ended up trashing it for one I built myself on Squarespace because I was so fed up with struggling to figure out the fancy backend. Keep it simple.

5. Know how you want to feel.

Being in tune with my feelings has saved me from many nervous breakdowns. I’m a big fan and licensee of Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, so core desired feelings are definitely my jam. Every morning I get clear on how I want to feel. Then I do things that make me feel that way. For example, earlier this month I knew I wanted to feel fierce so that I could deal with a sticky business situation appropriately. So I listened to Beyonce and danced around before sitting down to write a challenging email. It totally worked. ;)

6. You come first.

Yes, yes you do. I spend a lot of time reminding my clients and myself of this one, but it’s soooo true. You can’t show up as an epic girlboss, a nurturing mother, a dedicated employee or a loving girlfriend, if you’re running on empty. Energy is contagious. The vibe you bring to any situation matters. So make sure you’re getting your needs met. Don’t put self-care at the bottom of your priority list. It belongs on top.

7. Don’t do it for the money.

Don’t… just, don’t. Starting a business isn’t easy. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fail. You’re going to question yourself constantly. You’re going to get scared, and doubt yourself, and ask yourself why you even started this in the first place. And if you’re just in it for the money, you’ll give up. You need a more compelling reason than cash to put yourself through the mental and emotional turmoil that comes with starting a business. So ask yourself what you’re willing to do in spite of the fear, stress and hardworking that will surely follow.

8. Get ready for an intense inner workout.

I’ve grown more in the past year than I did in the 24 that preceded it. Seriously. Working on my business has brought to the surface so much baggage. I’ve really had to tackle self-doubt, insecurity and fear: issues I didn’t even know I had reared their ugly head this year. In order to move forward, I had to let go of a lot of limiting beliefs and habits. But it has been so worth it, because releasing all that shit that no longer serves you is so liberating.

9. Create boundaries.

If there’s one thing to love about the 9-5 grind it’s that it comes with pretty clear boundaries. Start time, end time, lunch breaks. But working for yourself? Nahhht so much. When I was working full-time as a freelance journalist I would easily get burnt out. I’d start my days at 7 a.m. and often still be typing away on my MacBook at 10 p.m. When I started my coaching business, I didn’t want to repeat this maddening behavior, so I set boundaries. And it’s made all of the difference.

10. Commit to being a student.

Launching a business comes with a steep learning curve. Like, real steep. And if you’re not open to feeling like a student again, you’re going to be in trouble. The best brains in business are always learning. To stay current, you’ve got to be willing to stay on top of the latest and greatest trends in your industry. And that means being a student again.

11. Have fun.

Damn, this is important. And something I have to remind myself of time and time again. Life is far too serious to actually take seriously. Knowing how to laugh at yourself and see the humour in challenging situations makes the rough patches so much easier. FUN is one of my core values, so I’m big on finding ways to make everything fun. Simple things like listening to my favourite beats while doing my banking, actually have a real impact on how I feel. So make sure you make fun a priority. It matters.

Mad love,

Alex

PS: If you're a Girlboss looking for support visit my coaching page and let's explore if working together will help you radically succeed. 

 

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