I’ve given up on my online business.
Well, more accurately, I’ve given up on my idea of an online business. I don’t feel the love anymore. I’m not staying true to why I hung up my shingle in the first place and I just. can’t. fake it anymore. Or act like nothing’s wrong while my insides eat away at my heart.
Going on hiatus helped me get clear on what I needed to do. My lower back tightened up in knots and pain that wouldn’t go away no matter how much yoga I did. The night I decided to burn everything to the ground and start fresh? I felt the knots and pain start to ripple and dissolve. Go figure. You know it’s time for something new when your health sends you frantic signals to cease and desist.
I’m fortunate enough to be in a few Facebook groups with fellow trailblazers who want to live their biggest lives and weave their greatness into the tapestry of humanity. I asked them what they wished they knew in their first 6 months of business, and the general consensus was to hang tight, learn all you can, and know that these things take time.
Well, I’d put 6 months into my business and it still made me cry at night. Something had to give, no?
I did a few exercises a friend suggested so I could get some clarity on what was really going on in my head and what I could do about it. Here’s what came up:
WHY I FEEL LIKE GIVING UP:
1.) I haven’t made any money since November (made $550 between August and October 2013).
2.) I’m disconnected from my ideal client and can’t seem to bridge the gap.
3.) Yeah I’m a great writer but no one wants to pay for my services. I feel people just read my blog and don’t bother to stick around afterwards.
4.) My efforts to spark conversation on my blog keep falling flat. I want to connect with people but it seems like almost no one wants to connect with me in my space.
5.) I can’t afford a business coach because I have zero income and savings. I don’t qualify for a credit card because I don’t work, and I can’t get a side job offline until I improve my German (learning German right now).
6.) I can’t invest in my business because I live on an allowance and it doesn’t stretch to big purchases.
HOW I WOULD FEEL IF I ACTUALLY GAVE UP:
Relieved. At peace. Like I finally made peace with not having the capital to really build a business. Like I can try again when I earn steady money. Like I’ve stopped trying to get blood from stone. Like I’m doing what’s right for me at this point in time. Like I did what I could with what I had. Like I’m making space for something more nourishing/wholesome. Like I’m listening to my soul instead of my ego.
WHY I STARTED THIS JOURNEY:
So I could feel useful. So I could earn money on my own. So I could do something for myself. So I could connect with women yearning to play a bigger game. So I could show those women that it’s OK to speak up and let their voice be heard. So I could experience what it felt like to run with the dreams of my heart. So I could build something I’d be proud of. So I could live.
WHAT IT’D MEAN TO COURSE CORRECT:
Try something different. Take my focus off money and immediate financial independence. Have free sessions to deepen my expertise and broaden my range. Have free sessions to connect with my target audience and meet their needs. Let go of blog stats and just write for the love of it.
HOW IT’D FEEL TO TRY SOMETHING NEW:
Like a deep breath as I learn to live again. Like I’m giving myself the chance to discover who I am right now. Like I’m leaving behind what isn’t working so I can make space for what is working. Like I don’t have to be an entrepreneur right now. Like I don’t have to exhaust myself trying to do what I “should” do.
Nobody talks about how hard it is to build a business piecemeal with little or no capital. Nobody prepares you for the people who praise your work and melt into the shadows when you name your price. Nobody shows you the dark side of running your own business or the underbelly of making money online.
And most of all, nothing, but NOTHING, prepares you for how hard it is when you do fail. The pain, the second-guessing, the soul shrinking . . . there’s no manual for that. No easy way out or 7 simple steps to slay the dragon.
All you can do is feel what you feel and hope that you’ll feel good again at some point. All you can do is remind yourself you tried and let the rest go. All you can do is cry your tears, cut your losses, and trust you can find your way again.
So that’s what I’m doing now. Cutting my losses and trusting I’ll find my way again. Letting go of what I think I “should” be doing and unfurling into what I can do. Letting go of the compulsive need to make money NOW and just showing up to be of service in the world.
I’m tired of putting my heart on the table every day and getting stomped on by hobnailed boots. I’m tired of feeling the same despair wash over me day after day. I’m tired of feeling like everyone else but me has it figured out. I’m tired of flinging myself against a spiked wall caked with my blood.
I just want to transcend living on an allowance. I just want to find my feet and regain my independence in full. I just want to be free to live and love and shop and travel. I just want to be free.
And for right now, giving up is what I need to do to let things happen. I’ve tried making them happen and that hasn’t exactly worked out for me, so it’s time for something different. Giving up is what’s best for me right now because it lets me stay open to acting on my dream in a more soulful way, in a way that doesn’t chafe at my eye-teeth or make me want to tear my hair out. Giving up is how I can stay open to a new path, a truer path, a more inspired path. Giving up is how I can calm down enough to remember that I am always whole, I am always loved, and my worth is not tied to the state of my bank account.
How do you know when it’s time to give up? When things aren’t working and you’re slogging so hard you’re bleeding everywhere. When things don’t feel right. When the thought of giving up makes you feel lighter in your heart and opens up a big breath in your chest. When you can’t remember why you started something in the first place, and even remembering doesn’t do anything to light your fire. When things feel so heavy that you just wanna scream and break somethin’.
How do you know when it’s NOT time to give up? When you feel you can still make a difference going down the same path you’re on without abandoning things halfway. When you feel that giving up is killing off a big part of yourself. When things may be tough but they’re not insurmountable or soul-draining. When your project doesn’t feel like a leech sucking your lifeblood and giving you nothing in return. When going on leaves you excited, hopeful, and willing to ask for help. When it still matters to continue what you’re doing. When things still feel alive and fluid and bright.
Sometimes giving up can open you up to new love. The next stage of your evolution, if you will. A chance to discover what’s really going on beneath the surface and how you can translate that into something alive and meaningful. New love can be an exploration of the caverns of your soul, of the folds of your intuition and the seas of your spirit. New love can be the angel that sets you free from the hell of pain and suffering. New love can make you whole again.
Can you guess that I’m open to new love now?
It’s so funny how we think we know best when we actually don’t know much at all. How we think we’re doing great when we’re just going through the motions. How we feel on top of shit when actually we’re knee-deep in shit. It just feels like we get stuck in ruts and dead ends when we forget to tune into our hearts and truly follow our intuition. It’s one of those things that seems really obvious but is incredibly difficult to put into practice on a daily basis. Well, difficult if you’re not plugged in to love and generosity. Or not on top of your game when it comes to playing nice with your intuition. The Resistance fights dirty, yo.
Like I said, people don’t talk about the dark side of the journey much. We hear about trials in success stories, and even then they’re muted by the glow of “Look what I did! Life worked out so beautifully!”. Like how many people come right out and say, “This shit sucks,” AT THE TIME said shit is actually sucking? Not many, that’s for damn sure.
I guess that’s why I’m writing this today. We’re all human, and no one’s up all the time without some downsides. The full experience of being human runs the gamut from ecstatic to tragic to livid and back again. It’s not just about the glitter and rainbows. It’s about the thunder clouds and lightning storms. It’s about the tears that leak out when you’re just so tired and so done with everything. It’s about the heaviness in your bones when you realise things aren’t working and nothing’s getting you back on track. It’s about the hole in your soul when you aren’t living true to your deepest desires. It’s about feeling trapped in your skin and wondering if you’ll ever be able to breathe deep again.
Really we all want customised versions of the same things. Love. Joy. Connection. Abundance. Exhilaration. Power. Impact. We want to feel loved, heard, and respected. We want to feel useful, like the world is a better place for having us in it. We want to feel connected, like we have a place to call home. We want to feel powerful enough to make a difference in the things that matter to us. We want to feel alive, goddammit.
Sometimes you gotta break loose before you can feel any of that.
I’ll say that again: sometimes you gotta break loose before you can feel any of that.
Why? Because the pain is a sign that it’s time to grow. Because the malaise is a sign that you need to challenge yourself and stretch your wings. Because the tears are a sign that you need to have a heart-to-heart with your innermost heart. Because trying to stuff your big self into a corner or a box will always feel stifling and deadening; maddening, even. Because clinging to one way of doing things can be the difference between victory and defeat (and we all want some victory, right?).
Breaking loose is where I’m at right now. It kinda goes hand-in-hand with giving up on the method, not the actual dream or desire itself. Breaking loose is how I could map out my new Freedom Sessions under 30 minutes and feel like I’d tapped into something solid. Breaking loose is how I could burn everything down and not rush to fill it with new stuff that didn’t feel true to me.
Breaking loose is how I have the courage to share my experience even though it feels too raw and vulnerable to put out there. No one wants to listen to me whine, right? No, but I bet they want to listen to me grow. Y’know?
So here I am. Beaten but not broken. Bleeding but not defeated. Weary but not hopeless. I’m living proof that you can walk away from whatever’s not working for you so you can make space for something else that’ll nourish you and fill you up.
It’s OK to change your mind. It’s OK to remake your vision. It’s OK to switch around the little things so you can get a truer sense of the big picture. It’s OK to admit that you don’t actually want what you thought you wanted. All part of living true to yourself, innit.
Whether you’re on the verge of giving up, new love, or breaking loose, may you have the courage to do what’s right for you.
Image credit: Karen Salmansohn