Commit No Nuisance

As you may already know from this post, I’m a big lover of signs.

Why?

They are informative for one. Travel somewhere unfamiliar and you’ll quickly learn how important they are.

But they also can be quite funny and creative.

For example, here’s one of my favorite signs I saw when I was in London a few weeks ago:

Instead of saying, “Caution. Beware. Private Property.” the type of signs I’m normally used to, this one made me chuckle. It reminded me of all the nuisance I got myself in when I first started my business a year ago. And all the lessons I learned since then-lessons I’m happy to share with you.

COMMIT NO NUISANCE

Here’s the thing. Although we don’t want to be a nuisance or deal with any at the start of a business, it’s guaranteed to happen. You’re green for one. Kind of like a new kid in school or newbie at work.

It’s awkward, scary, and a bit uncomfortable. But it’s okay really. We all go through it at one time or another.

Yet, when I think back to a year ago, there are moments I wish I could take back. There were a few unnecessary mistakes that I made that costed me both time and money-things I hope you won’t have to go through, which is why I’m sharing them with you here.

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME (or anywhere else for that matter!)

1. Don’t settle. You remember being in your twenties, desperate and single? Or how about a time when you really, I mean REALLY, wanted something so much so that you felt desperate. That’s kind of how I felt when I first started freelancing. I said, “Sayonara” to my plum job at Apple. With that, I was unemployed and scared silly about what to do next. So what’d I do? I applied for every job that came my way and I took any job that came my way too. I’m here to tell you, “Don’t do it!” In the end, I wasted a ton of time and money (a handful of these guys didn’t pay) with jobs that weren’t right for me. But now I know better and now you know better too.

2. Don’t be a classroom addict. Yes learning is important. You should take courses that can help further your career. But here’s the thing. You don’t need to take every single class out there. And if you are doing so, you might want to consider whether you are doing it for other reasons like a) you feel insecure about your abilities b) you are trying to avoid doing any real work. At the beginning, I felt like I needed a ton of help so I took a number of classes-some were good others ended up being valuable time and money that I’ll never get back.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of other people. One thing I did right on this whole process of becoming an entrepreneur was making a lot of friends in the industry. Because I was scared and unsure, I reached out to anyone. Surprisingly, even the really successful, busy ones responded to me. I got more out of these friendships than I did from any single course that I took. Think about that the next time you rush to take another e-course or class.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail. Yes I know this sounds easier said than done. But it is possible. How? By doing something a little scary every day. I constantly put myself out there whenever I attempt a new project, write a blog/article/query, tweet or write something on my Facebook page. The fear never goes away, but it does get easier. And if you have a dream of inspiring others, then you’re going to have to get used to it. {If you need some inspiration to be inspiring, do what I do, read books/articles and watch TV shows about people who are inspiring and it will motivate you to do the unthinkable. Trust me. It works.}

5. Don’t follow the crowd. When I first started out, I felt like the world suddenly thought that they had permission to give me advice and criticize me. I never felt so vulnerable as I did when I started doing something I was passionate about.

Here’s what I learned in the process: While feedback is always important in your career, finding your own voice and your own way are imperative. There are tons of blog posts out there that say you must do this or that to succeed (and you may even perceive this post to be doing that as well), but in the end no one really has secrets that will directly lead to your success. We all have our own paths. And thank goodness for that!

The sooner you find your own, the closer you will be to your own dreams. If I had listened to a co-worker who questioned my ability to write for a living, I would never have published magazine articles, worked for an awesome psychology website or get this amazing opportunity to be a freelance writer.

And that would be sad.

So remember. Be courageous, follow your own path, expect the best, trust your instincts and find like-minded folks to help you through the twists and turns of entrepreneurship.

Do that and you won’t be committing or experiencing too much nuisance.

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