A lot of people dream of starting a business, but only a few actually take the first step to make their dreams a reality. We are just too scared to start. I am guilty of this, too.
In 2017, I had a dream of starting a blog. I took a few steps toward this goal, like purchasing a domain name and writing a few articles that were never published. My website never actually went live because I was too scared of what others would think, that my blog wouldn’t be successful, and that I wasn’t good enough to start a business yet.
My fears and self-doubt held me back from realizing my dreams. I didn’t dare put myself online, and so my dream was forgotten. Temporarily.
Two years later, the pandemic hit. We were forced to stay indoors and work from home. I started waking up later than usual because I didn’t have to commute. I’d work for only four hours and then be done for the day. One sunny afternoon, I was talking to a friend about how I could spend my extra hours productively. I didn’t realize it at that time, but that day was one of the most significant days of my life.
My friend recommended that I sign up for a free trial at Skillshare, a platform for online learning. I picked the course I found most interesting: coding. It led me to create a website from scratch. Yes, it was a simple site, but the feeling of building it on my own was meaningful—and I really wanted to share it. As congratulations from my friends poured in, I had my eureka moment.
That forgotten dream was felt again. This time, though, I took a few weeks to reflect on it. Did I really want to start down the blogging path again? I researched how to successfully start a blog and read stories about other bloggers’ journeys. Once I knew what I wanted to do, the only thing left was to actually do it. I know this probably sounds simple, but for me, the hardest part of starting something new is getting past the initial fear.
It’s not uncommon for people to feel fear when faced with a new experience. But this time I knew I had to conquer the fear that was coming from within. This self-awareness helped me a lot. I started by evaluating myself and asking myself questions: What are my strengths? What is my personality?
Extroverts flourish when they’re interacting with others, but that is not for me. I am an introvert who enjoys being alone—journaling, writing, and spending time with the people I trust. Once I discovered my natural strengths, I let them drive me to successfully starting a blog.
After four months of blogging, I realized that starting a brand new venture will never be easy. It’s like being on another planet. Lots of things were foreign to me, like email marketing, social media, web design, and blog monetization, to name a few.
Blogging is not just about writing and publishing. You have to market what you write so people read it.
Along the way, I had to surmount another mountain—finding my community. When you start a business, usually, the first people to get involved are family and close friends, but my family doesn’t even know what a blog is. I have been told that I will fail from this. My friends don’t understand what I’m trying to do. I receive random messages on Facebook from people offering to edit my articles because they see errors and grammatical mistakes.
So, I had to find my tribe and surround myself with fellow bloggers. I had to find people who had the same goals as me, who could support me and push me toward my dreams. Now I surround myself with mentors and bloggers—people who I can learn from, be inspired by, and share ideas with.
Self-love has taught me a lot. Two years ago, I would have been paralyzed with fear over what others thought of me. I would have wasted my time and energy on things not in my control, like what was going on in other people’s minds.
Self-love is how I combat feelings of insecurity. When I accepted my flaws and imperfections and focused on what I like about myself, I stopped caring about what other people think. I was determined to stay focused on my goals and ignore the noise around me. The people who doubted me didn’t deserve my self-doubt or worries. My smile is too beautiful to be taken away by anyone.
After these experiences, I came to another realization: there will always be problems to solve. Six months into blogging, I looked back at my successes, like growing my email list and social media following, making my first $100, and collaborating with fellow bloggers. I noticed though—and it hit me hard—that struggles never go away. Every time I solved one problem, another problem—often more complicated—would arise. So many times I’d been tempted to just throw in the towel and give up.
Thinking about my competitors—especially the ones who have a bigger following than me and who are making more money than me—fills me with anxiety. I question whether or not I can make it to their level. Can I possibly turn my passion into a full-time job and make a profit? Who am I doing this for?
And so, figuring out my purpose became the third mountain I had to surmount. I had to stop chasing my competitors and set my own pace.
The Share to Inspire blog is a place for women to find inspiration and feel empowered in personal growth, relationships, finance, and productivity. My mission is to share and amplify my story to inspire women to start their own personal growth journeys.
I believe that if you focus on something, it will grow. With effort and determination, you can develop in a way that you want. With personal growth, you can design and live the life you choose.
Let’s talk more about self-doubt
Self-doubt is a negative energy force that paralyzes us from realizing our dreams. This doubt we feel from within blocks us from fulfilling our dreams, especially at the start of our journeys.
I’ll start to think about the big goals I have for my blog, but then I’ll shrug them off. I am hesitant to act on them because I don’t think I’m good enough. I’ve felt this way so many times that I’ve lost count. I know I am not alone in this struggle. Self-doubt is universal; everyone struggles with it. But how can we rally against it?
If fear, doubt, and other forms of negative energy will always be there, we must learn how to combat them. Really knowing who you are and knowing your craft helps. Learn more about yourself. This is what I did and what I continue to do. I know what I’m good at and I know my limitations. When I’m facing something I know I can’t do alone, I ask for guidance.
You are not alone in your journey. Some people have already taken a similar path. Find these people; I’m sure they’d be happy to offer their support.
Here’s the truth: If there is negative energy, there is positive energy, too. We need the positive energy to combat the negative energy. The negative energy largely exists in our subconscious, grown from our environments and what we learned when we were young. Maybe we were influenced by our parents, families, and culture. While we can’t change the past, we can free ourselves from the resulting crippling negative energy.
I already mentioned self-love, but I think it is worth emphasizing. Using self-love to disregard what other people think is always my first step. I shower myself with affirmations every day to weaken my self-doubt.
Everyone’s aim in life should be to love and prioritize themselves, instead of competing with others and striving for perfection. I have created a mantra, and I remind myself of it frequently. It helps me to stop comparing my journey to the journeys of other people. Developing a loving relationship with myself has been fulfilling.
Invaluable lessons from blogging
Define your goals
Clarity matters! Not having clear goals is a big reason why people fail in their first attempt at starting a business. Before diving into a journey, take some time to think about why you chose this path and define your goals. It’s hard to arrive at a destination without a clear path toward it. It’s like wandering in a forest without a map. The first time I tried to start my own blog, I didn’t have a crystal-clear goal. I’d needed a vision to keep me going.
With Share to Inspire, I want to inspire women to live life to the fullest. Personal growth has taught me a lot, and because of this, I am living a life that I designed. I want the same for others. This is my goal and vision. It’s what keeps me going through the tough times, when I’m working all hours to make my blog a success.
Invest in yourself and your business
Along the way, I realized that investing in myself was vital if I wanted to succeed. When you invest in your business, you’ll see valuable returns and big results. Earning that first $100 (while I know that’s just a small profit) felt like earning $1 million to me. I didn’t get it because of luck; I earned that $100 because I decided to invest in my business.
A lot of people are afraid of investing money in their business in the beginning. Excuses like it’s too risky or it’s too expensive hold them back, or they simply have a fear of failure or judgment. But these reasons are just excuses; excuses won’t bring results.
No one can make you better. No one can make your business successful for you, and no one can make you richer, either. You have to do it yourself. Invest in yourself and your business, and you’ll achieve greater results.
Self-care is non-negotiable
Other people’s opinions don’t change my awesomeness or worth as a person. This is the biggest lesson I learned when I started my self-care journey. I had to make self-care non-negotiable. In my world, where I’m constantly working to grow my business, it’s important to take time to switch off and find my happy place.
When things get overwhelming, it’s important to nurture and prioritize yourself. Sunday for me is set for self-care. I leave my computer behind, visit new cafes, have a read, treat myself to something, take a warm bath, and just do things that I love. Every time I do this, I notice a distinct pattern. I feel good about myself and feel comfortable in my own skin. I can let go of the negative things when I am content. I can let go of the things that hurt me and the things that make me question my worth as a blogger. Self-care also brings me more time and space to reflect on my week, helping me focus on the things that really matter.
Be comfortable with what you lack
Confidence comes from knowing what you lack and being comfortable with it. A lot of people think confidence is about not lacking anything, but the opposite actually is true. If you want your business to succeed, you have to be comfortable with failure. If you want to be good with people, you have to understand that not all people will like you. I am confident in my blog because I know it’s not perfect. I gained confidence in myself by feeling good about my flaws and weaknesses. My imperfections give me confidence, and I wear it with pride. I know that my work is not perfect, but I am proud of it.
Become an expert in your niche
As my mentors say, collect experience on what you love to do. Learn everything you can and become an expert in your field. I can’t say I’m an expert in blogging yet, but I am trying my best every single day to become one. I chase growth and I gain expertise every day through experience. I have to push myself out of my comfort zone. I am not comfortable talking in front of a camera, but I did it anyway because I know there is no growth in my comfort zone.
I’ve had live call sessions with people to talk about personal growth. I thought comments from strangers would paralyze me again, but it was not bad. It felt good to show myself and spread inspiration. I receive a lot of support and I will keep doing live calls and video series to inspire and empower women. By working with other bloggers and learning from the experts, I can succeed in my business.
Don’t be scared to ask
Blogging can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to do, like planning and writing, taking and editing photos, learning about affiliate marketing and SEO, managing social media accounts, and the list goes on. I honestly cannot do it all. It would have taken so much longer to set up my blog if I hadn’t asked for help.
Approaching the experts can be intimidating, but eventually I realized that it’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to ask for resources, advice, ideas, and support from your tribe. The blogging community that I’m a part of is so kind and supportive. There are probably thousands of opportunities surrounding us at all times, and we miss them just because we are scared of asking. Get clear about what you want and then ask. Seek answers and you shall receive them.
Enjoy the process
Blogging and its technicalities can be frustrating. I can’t even count how many times I almost threw my laptop out of frustration. I couldn’t figure out how to do everything. Some things were just too complicated. When this happens, I know I have to take a break. Stare at my plants and my vision board. I have to notice the sky, savor the flavor of a peach, and listen to calming music.
At the end of the day, don’t forget to count and celebrate your wins. When I received my first successful commission email, I almost jumped out of my chair with joy. Don’t forget to enjoy the ride, have fun on your journey, and remember to stop and smell the roses when things get overwhelming.
Starting and growing a business can be challenging, but know that you are not alone. I had to surmount three mountains along my journey. Conquering my fears and doubts, conquering people who doubted me, and conquering for a purpose. I know problems will always arise and that I still have mountains to climb, but I am determined to achieve my goals and purpose.
I know I am not perfect, but I acknowledge my imperfections. I am comfortable with what I lack, and this is where my confidence comes from. I hope my story will inspire fellow entrepreneurs to take a leap and keep them going on their journey.