What I learnt this week… making lemonade

When life gives you lemons…

… make lemonade
… make lemon cake
… add ginger and honey
… make gin and tonic
… or grab tequila and salt
… keep them (hey, free lemons!)
… squeeze them in people’s eyes
… plant a lemon tree
… learn to juggle
… sell them
… throw them at someone

Why have I started this roundup by listing all the things you can do with lemons?

Running a business can be hard, challenging or impossible and you might often feel frustrated.

Sometimes I ask myself ‘Why on Earth am I doing this? Why did I think it’s a good idea?’, but then I realise that there’s no other way for me. I know that I’m no longer employable as I love my freedom and owning my responsibilities too much. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

This week, I’ve been feeling tense and tired, but excited about the future at the same time. I was feeling a bit restless and a bit impatient with my current situation, as there’s a lot to be done before I can immerse myself into doing the new things that excite me.

The art of storytelling

Earlier this week, I went down to London to an all-day event about digital marketing called KickstartSocial. One of the speakers – Dan Knowlton – shared a really interesting perspective on storytelling. According to Dan, every brand needs to figure out its Core and Everyday story.

The Core story could be a narration of ‘how did you get from your lowest point to your highest point (this ideally being now)’. It’s a really simple model that allows you to share a bit more about who you are and why you do what you do (and what makes you special).

Telling your Everyday story can be more challenging, as you need to come up with new ideas daily. It was a really great exercise and it allowed me to reflect on my own brand’s story.

It inspired me to go back to the beginning and revise how I’ve been telling my story and which steps of my journey I’ve been focusing on. How often do you revise your Core story? Do you have some secret tips on telling your Everyday story in an engaging way? I’d love to know!

Will I ever feel good enough?

Over the past 18 months, I’ve been fighting with my Imposter Syndrome a lot. At the beginning, almost every day I felt that I’m failing and that I’m not good enough to make this ‘running a business’ work. Over time, it became easier and with repetition I’ve got pretty comfortable doing all those day-to-day tasks.

But then I decided to do something new, something different that’s a little outside of my comfort zone and my Imposter came back, telling me that I should stick to what I know and stop pretending I’m something else.

Recently, the Imposter came back when I started running the Small Business Marketing Bootcamp with two colleagues. Each of us has a different background and that’s why we decided to do this project together (as none of us could have made it work alone).

We were halfway through the first session and the Bootcamp was going well and we were getting some pretty amazing feedback and then it hit me – next time it will be me delivering the day’s course.

Until now, my colleagues have done a remarkable job and set the standard pretty high. Will I be able to deliver? Can I keep the quality of the Bootcamp high? Or will I disappoint not only my colleagues but also our participants?

The Imposter made me feel not good enough besides my more experienced colleagues – and that’s the issue – more experienced. How can I expect to deliver the same results as my colleagues if I don’t have the same experience?

Taking baby steps

After an exciting day in London and seeing the more human side of all speakers, I got a bit of my confidence back and got some great inspiration for next year’s events (and how to run them successfully) in Cambridge. In addition, the supportive and kind community of people present on the day gave me the courage to start planning for speaking opportunities in 2018.

Sometimes, we compare ourselves with people miles ahead of us and that makes us feel intimidated. When we actually get to know these people better, we often realise that they’re still just human – they’re also afraid and nervous, they make mistakes and lose their train of thought. If they survive and move forward, why can’t I?

Book Corner

Recently I’ve been involved in many conversations around ‘being a freelancer vs. business owner’. Looking at your business and asking yourself – do I own a business or do I own a job? There’s nothing wrong with owning a job, as long as that’s what you’re looking for.

Lots of people struggle with running their business, as they never wanted to have a business. All they wanted is to do what they love on their own terms!

Over the weekend, I read the cult book E-Myth (where E stands for Entrepreneur) and I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to set up a business (or already has a business, but is struggling).

There are two amazing quotes that I wrote down while reading The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber.

“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!”

“The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is living fully and just existing.”

Have you read this book? Would you recommend another book to all fellow entrepreneurs? Let me know in comments or tweet me at @lenkakopp.