Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The ugly duckling is in business

I have always identified with the ugly duckling. See these fluffy grey feathers? They've never quite fitted in. I've never been one thing or t'other.

Now let me tell you a secret: there is nothing more draining than being what you think you're supposed to be and then feeling you don't measure up. That you're always not quite good enough. When it turns out you just haven't seen yourself clearly. You've been using the wrong classification chart to identify your inner beast.

Excuse me for being thick. But I've just realised something which is a complete revelation to me... I am an entrepreneur.

Well, duh!

You could see that, right? As clear as the nose on my face, I'm guessing.

But me, I was thinking that I was a writer, who painted, and taught, and made chocolates on the side. And I wasn't good enough at any of them, a bit of a failure all round (welcome to my little inner carnival of self doubt.)

I have been in denial. And that has clipped my wings.

I have been repressing something that I am actually very good at: selling! Ha! Bet you didn't expect that! Truth be told, I didn't either. In fact I've been almost allergic to it in recent years.

Then within a week from all sides the scales were peeled from my eyes. Two weekend conferences in a row I, in the words of Maria Forleo, "hustled my buns off", selling Juno by the bag load, as well as lots of cards, books and dials. And I loved it. Felt absolutely on fire. Totally alive and connected. I'm really good at this...I chuckled to myself. I made money and my dear customer ladies went away happy, connected, inspired...

Then four people in a week mentioned entrepreneurship: my friend Sharon outed me first over tea and cake. Then Maria Forleo's awesome videos, the e book I'd Rather be in the Studio, and Kind Over Matter's wonderful new e book Zen and the Art of being a Work at Home Mama (which she is doing as a pay what you can deal!) 

She identified herself as being a forth generation entrepreneur and I thought, dammit, I'm a third generation one, of course!

It's in my blood: not just the creative genes which come from both sides three generations back. But yes, entrepreneurship. I see now that I have started about 10 businesses in the past 7 years: pregnancy yoga, chocolate making, freelance writing, wreath making, festival planning, self publishing... But each time I back off when the business needs come to the fore, the need to sell rears its head. I run for the hills: I'm just a little girl, I can't sell, my work isn't good enough, I'm not experienced enough, I don't deserve, please like me...

But something has shifted. I realised that they are all just voices. I wouldn't make my work if I didn't think it was good enough. But being my own biggest critic I'm burning up so much energy. Self doubt is like cutting off your own wings and then wondering why you can't fly.

You know what? The bullshit takes up too much time and energy that could be better spent making magic, having fun, making money...

So long bullshit!

My mind has shifted, and with it my energy too. I started my website as a place to sell my books. The books being the focus, not the selling or business sides. I resented the business bit for taking my time and energy away from the creating. But now I see, that's an integral part of the puzzle, of my identity, it's part of me, part of my work, part of my job. Because if people don't know about me and my work, if I don't tell them about it, I'm withholding something which they are looking for, wanting, needing.

Healing money, that's a whole other blog post. Taking back money from the broken model, from patriarchy if you like. Earning my worth as a woman on my terms, within a loving, sustainable business model. One which cares, which helps to feed transformation on a personal and social scale. Which supports me in being with my family and doing the creative work I love.

Hell yeah! The ugly duckling is in business!

This is part of the Mindful Money series at Dreaming Aloud. Take some time to check out the other posts on...

Naming Your Price


  1. Oh WOW, I could have written this! Except for the revelation, that has yet to come for me... I HATE selling myself, my soul, my inner being, and I shy away from it constantly. I am trying harder these days, to put myself out there and not to feel too judged or rejected, and you are stunningly right that it is ALL bullshit which takes up precious energy. It needs to go!

    Think I'd still be number one in your carnival of self-doubt though!

    (ruffles feathers, tucks head under wing and pops off to sleep...)


    1. I can see your little entrepreneur peeping out from under those feathers, Mamma. She sells beautiful clothes!

    2. Aw I don't any more sadly!! We shut up shop last year and have (happily) moved on... as I type there's another 3 or 4 things brewing under my wings!! x

  2. Did you climb inside my soul and know EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now? We women are funny. So racked with self doubt, it can become paralysing! And on the outside everyone thinks we're super confident! "Self doubt is like cutting off your own wings and then wondering why you can't fly" Ain't that the truth sister! Thank you for writing this, been meaning to comment on the blog for ages and been self absorbed in my own round of self doubt bullshit bullshit. hahaha! X

  3. Hahahaha oh pink haired wonder goddess xxx

  4. Yay!

    I couldn't have written *this*, but I just discovered that when I switched from the "Being better at business" and/or "Being better at working" to the "Being a better artist" literature, everything fell into place.

    "OH! All those problems I'm having? They're *artist* problems. People already know something about that, just not the people I've been reading." And you're so right: it was like a switch in my head of recognizing myself, suddenly, after so many years of thinking that I was just too freaky to fit in anywhere.

    Congratulations on finding that particular switch!

  5. Yay for you Seonaid - it's only changing glasses - it's just knowing that we're wearing the wrong ones in the first place that's the main hurdle!!

  6. Thank you- badly needed to hear this... a post on guilt+money next please!!!!

  7. Hi Emily - your wish is my command - working on a healthy money series now!



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