3 most valuable lessons I learned when I was trying to find the PERFECT business idea
Starting a business is a process where you stumble and fall a million times, and every time you get back up, you continue your journey carrying another valuable lesson in your backpack.
You could just go for it, keep walking, and learn from every fall … OR you could do something even better.
You can learn from the people who experienced the fall before, so you can avoid making the same mistakes and find clarity sooner, so you can successfully build your business.
I’d love to share with you guys how I started my business. How I found my purpose and the focus to pursue something that I was actually going to FINISH. Because just like you I’m a multipassionate, and I like to start a lot of projects without finishing them.
I quit because I get bored or unmotivated. I find another exciting thing to work on, and I take a different leap without thinking.
I realized that if I want to create a business and really reach a level of success, I needed to find my focus and keep going to make it successful.
What I want to share with you today is a little story about what I learned in that whole process of finding my purpose after I quit my job about three years ago …
My journey towards online entrepreneurship
I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my job at all. I tried working full-time for about two years. And I absolutely hated it, even when the work I was doing was fun! Especially my second job was pretty cool, and I had a lot of responsibility. But at the same time, I hated not having the time to do the things that I loved, and having someone else telling me what to do. Working full-time just used up all of my energy and time.
I felt passionate about a lot of different things like photography, writing, blogging, … And I wanted to travel places. But it just didn’t happen. My full-time job was literally absorbing my Full Time. So I decided:
“Okay, this is not for me. I really, really want to travel. I don’t feel fulfilled, and I want to do something more meaningful to me…”
I decided I absolutely didn’t want to work for someone else anymore. I had made up my mind. I quit my job and joined a mastermind community to help me figure out what I wanted to do so I could start something online.
Shiny Object Syndrome
The thing is: I didn’t know anything about business or online entrepreneurship. I just jumped into a brand new world of all these online opportunities to start a business: digital marketing, blogging, affiliate network marketing, podcasting… It felt like a jungle out there. And it was ALL new to me.
I love learning new things. It gives me that feeling of excitement.
So as a typical multipassionate, this is what happened: I jumped from one thing to the other, trying to learn as much as I could and explore a lot of different opportunities.
All that idea-hopping and exploring was great for a while. I learned a lot, I explored a lot, and it was a really interesting period, BUT … At some point, as you can imagine, I got completely lost, confused and overwhelmed. There was just so much out there. I couldn’t possibly do it all.
I had no idea what direction I wanted to take.
Lesson 1 – Do NOT blindly follow what other successful entrepreneurs say
I decided to find my focus by just listening to what my mentors said and simply executing what they thought was the best business idea. Since I had no clue, following other successful people’s advice seemed like the right strategy.
I heard them say: “If you do x,y,z, you will make a lot of money and you will get the freedom you long for.”
I think a lot of people recognise this when they’re starting a business:
You subscribe to twenty webinars, follow successful entrepreneurs on Instagram and you think:
“Ok, this is the business idea that’s working for them and they’re making millions of dollars. I should take their advice and do whatever they say is right.”
I was blindly following whatever I thought would make me a lot of money or what would at least give me the freedom to do what I wanted. I longed for the freedom to work wherever and whenever I wanted, so it didn’t matter what it was, as long as I could make enough money to live my dream life.
Until I realized it did matter.
I ended up feeling super unfulfilled, overwhelmed and confused once again. I was just following the money and other people’s version of success. I wasn’t following what was actually true to ME and what kind of business I wanted to create for myself.
That’s the most important lesson I learned and it’s the very first lesson I wanted to share with you.
Lesson 2 – Do NOT blindly follow your passions
So then I set on a journey to follow my passions.
I love travelling. I love writing. I’ve been journaling since I could basically hold a pen. I love taking pictures, especially on my travels. So travel … Blogging … Writing … Photography … Maybe I should start a travel blog? That makes sense, right?
I had already been blogging for a while during my travels, so I decided to take it to the next level and actually set up a proper blog. I started writing consistently about the places I was going, created affiliate links to make some money, grew my travel Instagram account…
It was fun for a while.
Until I realised that I completely lost the joy of travelling.
Once again, I felt overwhelmed. On top of that I didn’t feel motivated and I didn’t feel inspired. I felt so much pressure to write content about everything I was doing during my travels that I completely lost the joy of the traveling itself.
I realised that what I loved most about travelling, was the sense of freedom it gave me. It means being able to go wherever I want and to do whatever I want. To explore new cultures, learn a new language, just wander around.
But when I had to think about what I was going to write about, and when traveling became part of my work, I completely lost that passion.
I had a big A-HA moment right there. And at the same time I was confused:
If I can’t follow the money, and if I can’t follow my passions, then what should I do?
I had absolutely no idea. I was really confused at that point. I decided to take a step back from everything. I was still jumping from one idea to another, trying out different things, and nothing seemed to work. Nothing seemed to really fulfill me. Apparently, following my passion led to losing my passion.
I needed to see what was BEHIND my passions, find that driver underneath all of this, that would really make me feel fulfilled.
So I did this:
I took a step back, I stopped listening to my mentors, or to any other entrepreneurs and coaches out there. I wanted to really start listening to myself.
What is MY story?
What have I been doing all along?
Lesson 3 – Look at what you’ve been doing all along & find your purpose
By that time I had gathered enough self-development resources and coaching material to start coaching myself. I felt like it was time to put everything together that I’d learned from my mentors, the books I read, and the podcasts I listened to.
The turning point for me was doing the ikigai exercise or the Venn Diagram of Purpose. I remember this moment very well, I was in Sri Lanka, and I sat down to do this exercise on a big piece of paper. It was one of the most important things I’ve done for myself.
The Ikigai consists of four circles:
- What you love doing
- What you’re good at
- What you can be paid for and have experience in
- What you value and feel the world needs more of
Where those full circles come together in the middle, that is your ‘purpose’ or ‘ikigai’.
I used this exercise to figure out: what is that thing that brings everything together?
I quickly realised that there was one thing that kept coming back in all of the four circles and that was: teaching.
- I have always loved teaching
- I am good at it and it brings me into a state of flow
- I have experience. I can make money with teaching
- For me, teachers and mentors are such important contributors to whatever it is that other people need to learn
I have been teaching from a very young age. I used to organise and lead these little hobby clubs with my friends where I would teach the others about the things that I was interested in at that time. Love, Buddhism, animal activism, or meditation.
In high school, I helped my fellow students with their maths.
During my student years, I tutored maths and economics, paid and as a volunteer. I come from a teacher’s family, and I just knew I had always been a teacher at heart.
I realised that the specifics of what I was going to teach was not as important as the fact that what I was going to do had to have something to do with mentoring others to get ahead in life.
How I became a Life Design coach
For me, coaching was the most logical next step. Even though, I didn’t really know what kind of coach I was going to be.
As my interests change all the time, I started off with general life coaching, then called it purpose coaching, and then I focused on time management coaching.
At some point I discovered the word ‘Life Design’ and I realized it combined everything in one.
But I don’t think it matters what I call myself. It matters what I do and who I help:
I help multipassionates design a life around their passions through learning about time management, finding focus and gaining freedom in their professional lives.
As a quick recap, here are the 3 most valuable lessons I learned when I was trying to find the “perfect” business idea:
- Do NOT blindly follow what other people say about what makes people successful or how you can make a lot of money. The message here is: don’t follow the money! If you do what you do best, and what you love, the money will follow. It doesn’t work the other way around. If you do something just to make a lot of money, there’s a big chance it won’t really work for you.
- Do NOT blindly follow your passions. Look at what’s behind your passions, because your passions will change, especially as a multipassionate. When is the last time you discovered a new passion (and dropped another)? 😉
- Listen to the common denominators of everything you’ve loved doing in your life. Look at what you have been doing all along and focus on your core purpose. The specifics of how you’re going to bring your purpose into the world will unfold later.
Are you overwhelmed by your ideas and confused by everything you love? Book a 1.5 hour clarity session. In this intensive 1:1 session I will help you to cut the chase and get to the core of who you are, so you design the life you love.