The fear of missing out is a real thing (hello FOMO). The fear of doing the wrong thing is a real thing. As dreamers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs, we put a whole lot of heart and vision into what we do, and it can be incredibly scary to put something out there, to let go of your message in a bottle and see what happens— so scary, in fact, that too often we wait. We don't put anything out at all, and we let that creative spark fade as we settle in to the office job we didn't want, the schooling we weren't really excited in, and the average life that society has picked out for us.
A year from now, you will wish you had started today. The discomfort of that initial fear will seem like nothing compared to looking back and feeling like you have let an entire year of your life slip by without taking a step towards your dreams— no matter how shaky. Take that first step. Start building your audience, even if you aren't sure where you're going. Start writing, start engaging on social media. Gather interest and see what it is about you that people respond to— you might be surprised at what that is. I know I was (hint: it wasn't the cookies).
What's the worst that can happen?
By choosing one path, you are not giving up other options. You are not barricading other doors and flooding other roads. You can change your path a year from now, or ten years from now— in fact, your path will change. Where you end up five or even two years from now may not be where you thought you were headed— I can almost guarantee that. The business you are striving for now may not be the business you get. Look at the success of Being Boss (a podcast and community which I highly recommend checking out if you haven't already): do you think they expected a podcast to be their main squeeze two years ago when they were busy and successful in very different fields? Probably not.
When I started The House of Muses, I had no idea I would have blog coaching and web design clients. It wasn't that I didn't think I would succeed, but rather that these things were not even a part of my day dream. I thought I would be making money from my Creative Boutique, advertising, sharing recipes and DIY. Through several transformations, nearly none of that remains (more on that at the end of this post, actually).
Today, I have no idea what my business will look like, even one year from now. I could still be doing blog coaching for creative entrepreneurs, web design, brand consulting— or something else I had never even dreamed of that saunters in one day with a smile, inviting me on a new adventure (my bet is on this last one, and I welcome it when it comes). Sony famously has a 100-year plan for their business, but I think for most of us— thriving in or starting creative small businesses— that kind of plan stifles flexibility and innovation. It stops those moments of synchronicity and serendipity from blowing everything wide open and showing us a view we didn't know was there.
So do something. Anything. Fail. Try something new. It's in this experimental phase when amazing things happen. I'm all about goals and plans, but sometimes you have to embrace the transitional period to discover new things. When we don't know what to do, when we don't know what we can do, we can attempt anything. There are no rules. You may discover a love you never knew you had.
This is where the most brilliant ideas happen. It's where synchronicity and serendipity thrive. When you take that first step, you will be closer to your dreams— closer to discovering your dreams, if you're not sure what they look like yet. The sooner you get that first failure under your belt, the better. It's a badge, baby— it says I've tried.
It's okay to start with imperfection. Sit with it. Be comfortable with it, because it never goes away. Your business is a process, not a destination. Perfection is overrated, anyway— if you've reached perfection, you'll have no more of the beautiful and mysterious and terrifying parts of life left to explore.
Keep exploring. Take one step.
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