Becoming a business owner has been one of the most rewarding, and humbling, experiences I have ever had. I was able to grow a successful ads agency, help an array of business owners and coaches, and build a life of freedom. On the other hand, it brought up every feeling imaginable and made me confront the deepest parts of myself. As rewarding as the freedom is, entrepreneurship is hard, which is why many people fail. But if you’re able to overcome those challenges you discover an inner strength that sparks so much power it becomes addicting.
In today’s episode I’m going to discuss one of my favorite topics: how to deal with the roller coaster of emotions that arise with entrepreneurship. I go into what makes being an entrepreneur so hard, and how it has nothing to do with the journey. I will then talk about why discomfort is actually a good thing, and how I overcame my fear in my business. Finally, I talk about how hitting milestones don’t make things easier and what they actually do. Stay tuned!
Here’s a closer look at what I discuss in this episode:
- What makes entrepreneurship so hard, and how it has nothing to do with the journey
- How I become unafraid of being a better business owner
- Why discomfort in your business is actually a GOOD thing
- How hitting milestones doesn’t actually make things easier
You are listening to the Scaling to Freedom podcast. I’m your host, Christina Bernhard. And this episode we are talking about something super fun. We’re talking about how to deal with the roller coaster of emotions of entrepreneurship. Um, this is actually one of my favorite topics, even though it’s, it can be a tough one. Um, one thing that has definitely happened, um, through my journey in entrepreneurship is that it has definitely just brought up everything, right? Like it just brings out everything that you need to work on. It brings out all of the insecurities, all of the limiting beliefs, um, everything that you’ve been carrying around with you. It will just bring it all to the surface and you’ll get a very clear idea of how you see yourself, um, especially when it comes to your capabilities and what you feel like you are, um, just capable of.
So in this episode, I’m gonna break down what actually makes entrepreneurship so hard that really has nothing to do with the journey. Um, I’m also going to, uh, talk about how I became unafraid of feeling, um, changing the perspective of what actually makes you a better business owner, in my opinion. Um, and how the threshold of discomfort just gave me peace, just increasing that threshold of discomfort and why hitting milestones doesn’t actually make things easier. Now all of this is just based on my experience, um, and I’m not a mindset coach or anything like that. Um, this is just sharing my experience of my entrepreneurial journey and things that have helped me tremendously. Um, so to go a little bit back into my story, so things started off pretty great. Um, I would say given the circumstances, so I actually, my, whenever I was in corporate, um, whenever I actually let me back up, whenever I was in college, I always wanted to try different things to try and own my own business.
It was definitely something that has always just kind of been a part of me, but my confidence was fairly low. Um, I would say a lot of my life I didn’t have, I’m just not naturally one of those confident people. I think this is pretty common, but, um, I really just didn’t believe in it that much. But I definitely wanted to always be a business owner. Um, I’ve never been like, fit really well into the mold of, I guess the system. Um, so traditional school and stuff like that, I didn’t do very well in school. Um, I did okay, but I didn’t do super well. And one of the things that I struggled with the most out of everything that has to do with school or like having a job in more a traditional sense is that I don’t do well with like being at school all day, every day during a specific amount of hours.
My energy is just very, like, I can’t explain it. It’s just very different. And I also just don’t like to be in one place and like held there. I feel like I’m a prisoner or something. I know that’s super dramatic, but it literally feels like prison. If you told me you have to go inside of this office and sit here from eight to six, I just feel like a caged animal. Um, and I always felt like that in school. In, uh, high school, I actually had terrible attendance, especially when I got my license and I had my own car and I could just leave. I left school in the middle of the day all the time, and I could not tell you why. At the time I was just like, I don’t know, I’m like a bad kid. Like I don’t know what it is.
And now as an adult, I just know like I am more aware of myself and I’m like, I really just can’t be caged in a building all day. I don’t know what it is. So I always knew that I didn’t quite fit into the traditional like way of things. Um, and it sucks because that is our like way of being like, that is how our school system is set up. That is how a lot of jobs are set up, and you are just expected to be in the office all day, every day. Um, of course that’s not all jobs, but that was certainly the job that I had in corporate whenever I did graduate college. Um, I actually thrived in college, and I think it’s because I was able to create my own schedule and go to classes whenever, you know, I wasn’t stuck inside of like a school from seven to three or whatever.
Um, so college was really, really great for me. And then whenever I went into the corporate world, um, I was just like, Oh my gosh, this is terrible. So I tried all these different like business ventures, like I sold t-shirts. I did, I actually have a podcast of the six different businesses I tried before this one . So I tried all kinds of things and um, whenever I was in corporate, I, um, you know, started to build out this business and I was making money, but it was nothing sustainable and it was kind of all over the place. It was really chaotic. Um, I had no boundaries. I pretty much let clients like walk all over me. Um, there was nothing against sustainable as far as income. It was always just hustling every single month. So it was more like freelancing and I was just constantly having to find clients and they were often not great clients.
And I undercharged and like all these things . So I have some podcasts about that, my stories of my past businesses and things like that. But, um, whenever I did, um, get some guidance and I started to, and I actually quit my job, um, and went full time into building a business, things started off really great. I had learned so many things not to do that learning what to do, um, really, really served me as you can probably imagine. So things started off great. Um, the business was doing really well and all of that, but then I realized even as the business started to do super well, I had this anxiety that just never went away no matter how much success I had. And I realized it really does just follow you everywhere. And I just had so much anxiety. Like I would wake up in the morning and I just felt like my heart was just pounding and I always had anxiety and I just didn’t understand why, because even whenever everything in the business was going well, or like we were hitting really great, um, revenue numbers or our clients were getting great results, all these things my team was doing real, like every, they had no reason for all of this anxiety, but I just had so much of it.
Um, and then one, the other thing was that my piece was directly tied to the numbers in my business. So I had to learn how to separate the circumstances from my ability to be at peace because it was really, really disruptive to my life. And it was almost like I just couldn’t function as a peaceful human being . Um, so I took a, I took this and I did a lot of thought work on this. Um, I started coaching with a life coach and like I worked really, really hard on this. Um, and over time I am happy to say that I was finally able to get to a place where I, my piece was not directly tied to the numbers all the time. Um, and those numbers can be different for everyone, or maybe they’re not even numbers, maybe they’re just specific circumstances or something like that.
But, um, my piece was not ha like directly tied to a circumstance that was happening in my life. And I wouldn’t say that, you know, this is a 100% of the time. I, this is always like something that I’m working on. But um, it is something that I’ve made tremendous progress in. And the piece in my life is definitely a level that I never thought I would reach, honestly, especially as a business owner when, you know, if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably are an entrepreneur or business owner and you are aware of all the things that can go wrong and do go wrong and all the things that do go right and it’s great, but there is definitely, it’s not a super linear, very simple journey. There’s lots, lots of ups and downs. Um, and so to be able to ride that wave and still be at peace through it, um, is definitely a gift.
So I wanna touch on the three main things that got me there. So whenever I was working with life coaches on this and doing the thought work and trying to, you know, make it to this place because I had all of these positive things, you know, as from my business, just being a business owner and being able to make my own schedule and you know, just be able to work with whoever I want to, and you just all of the amazing things of having a business. Um, and I was able to have that. But you know, on the backside of it, it was always this anxiety and like, it was just like a huge trade off to be honest. And so I got to a point where I was able to enjoy all of that, but also I didn’t have to trade off my just a mental piece for it and I got to be in a place where I can actually enjoy it, um, and not just sabotage it with all of this anxiety all the time.
So the first thing is to be here for all of it. Um, and what I mean by that is just really understand the journey for what it is. We can’t always just want only good and not the bad. No matter where we are in our journey, there are going to be good parts of it and there’s going to be bad parts of it. And that this is where toxic positivity just isn’t really helpful. And a lot more people are talking about this, um, about, you know, toxic po uh, positivity. And I think it’s good that people are talking about it, um, because there are things to be grateful for. And then there are things that suck and that’s just the truth. Um, and we can actually embrace all of it. It, it’s actually supposed to be this way. And I think the pain lies in thinking that it’s not supposed to be like that.
Um, and resisting what it is that actually makes it hard. So whenever you are a business owner, having clients that are unhappy or having people maybe like try and get out of contracts or having team members quit or hiring someone and do they completely let you down, um, and getting like scary letters from the IRS or realizing you owe more taxes than you thought, you know, just all these different things they are just part of being a business owner and, um, to think that those things are not supposed to happen. That our revenue’s not supposed to fluctuate, it’s not supposed to go down. Um, it’s actually thinking that it’s not supposed to be that way. That is the most painful part. It’s not actually the fact that those things are happening, if that makes sense. So us sitting around thinking that everything is supposed to be great and all, you know, wonderful, um, is not, is just not helpful and it’s not accurate either.
Um, and so to be able to just be here for, you know, the quote unquote bad, um, is really just what makes everything so good, honestly, in my opinion. So whenever you know, things do go wrong, it makes me a better business owner and it makes me like have this threshold of discomfort that raises, which means that every time something does go wrong, I’m able to practice being in that space of problem solving and also just being in this discomfort. And whenever I just practice being in that discomfort, that discomfort, like that threshold of what I’m able to handle increases, which means that all the little things that go wrong, they do nothing to me. Like it’s completely my threshold for discomfort has increased so much because I’ve embraced these challenges throughout the journey that so many things that used to bother me just don’t anymore.
And that really accumulates over time to a much more peaceful life and it makes this whole entire entrepreneurial journey so much more peaceful because it is hard. Um, it’s always like much harder than people think. Having an online business, it seems like it would be fairly simple, especially whenever you look at social media, if you look at other entrepreneurs and stuff like that, a lot of us aren’t really like posting our, like, the hard parts of our day or the stuff that sucks and you know, things that happen in the business. So you just don’t really have a lot of exposure to it. And even if you do, it’s kind of just trickled out. It’s not the forefront. The forefront is going to be that everything’s great, right? Um, and sometimes that’s true and a lot of times that’s probably true, but there are hard parts and it can be a little bit skewed, um, in how we see how things are supposed to be.
So that’s the first thing is just being here for all of it, understanding that the journey is supposed to have these like low points. It’s supposed to have these tough, um, parts of it, and it’s actually a really, really great thing. Um, it just makes everything better. Like every time something has gone wrong, I’ve either gotten a really great lesson out of it, but most of the time we’ve done something to change it. Whether I’ve like done a rehire and let someone go replace it, like it always ends up being so much better to where I’m like, I’m so glad that happened because I just would’ve never searched for this solution if everything was fine. Um, and this solution actually is so much better and I could write a book on how many different things I’ve changed to my business that ended up being so much better for everyone myself, my team, my life, just everything, um, that I would’ve never just soughted out had something not triggered us to look for a better solution.
So the second thing is to feel the feeling. So this is not the funnest part of life all the time. Um, it quite sucks, but just getting comfortable with feeling negative feelings and just allow yourself to feel disappointment. Allow yourself to feel the shame. Just learn how feeling feelings isn’t actually all that bad when you just get used to feeling them. Because we, we spend so much energy into avoiding feeling all the negative feelings, like we feel like we should just be happy and positive all the time. And while it does seem like that would be the recipe for a peaceful, happy life, um, in my experience is actually not. Um, because whenever we are just trying to be happy and avoid, you know, giving into how we actually feel about certain things, um, what usually happens is that I’m walking around smiling, but I still have this heaviness on me and it comes out in different ways.
Um, like I mentioned before where I used to wake up in the mornings and my heart was just racing all the time, a lot of that is because of just unfelt feelings that I’m just carrying around with me everywhere. Um, and no matter what you do, um, trust me on this, you can travel, you can fall in love, you can do all these amazing things. And I’ve done so many things in my life that um, were, you know, made me very happy. But even with all of that, like you just cannot escape the feelings like your brain and you like follow you everywhere. So I have been like in Bali on beautiful beaches, absolutely miserable. I’ve been like, you know, just travel is like my thing. So, um, I have definitely reached out to traveling, um, in at times to try and cover up or avoid, um, feeling, you know, the actual feelings of my life.
And I used to use travel as, um, an escape at some times. Um, not all the time because I do have this like pool to go see as much of the world as possible. So it’s more of me like going towards something than going away from something. But definitely whenever I lived, uh, or I worked in corporate, um, I did, there were definitely some trips that were planned and, um, that I went on to try and escape my life. And it wasn’t really necessarily that I was trying to see more of the world in those instances. I was genuinely trying to find a way to just be happy. And I think that this is something that I see a lot, um, not just with traveling. It could be with dating, it could be with drinking, it could be with spending money, you know, just we’d find all these different ways to try and make us happy.
And all we’re doing is we’re trying to just avoid feeling these negative feelings when if we would just feel them, we’d realize it’s not actually like that terrible, like it does suck. But I don’t know, I feel like I always worked it up in my head that it would just be so much worse than it actually was. Especially once you practice feeling the negative feelings, you realize that it just, it actually doesn’t like hurt that bad. Um, especially when you don’t have to deal with like, the destruction of whatever you were trying to do to numb it, whether it was spending all of your money or like eating all this junk food and hurting your health or, you know, like whatever the case is, whatever you did over time. And it doesn’t even mean that you did anything drastic, but just maybe over a few years some habits kind of, um, you know, sent your life into a different direction and really just feeling the feelings.
Um, you get to avoid so much of that. So that would be the second thing. Um, and definitely something that has helped me in my journey as an entrepreneur is just feeling the feelings because once they’re felt in their process, I get to just move on. And it has overall given me such a more peaceful life. And, um, I now just have a practice of it. Again, it’s not 100% all the time. Um, I still avoid negative feelings at times for sure. Um, but overall, just always working towards having that practice of just embracing whatever it is that I’m feeling and allowing that to happen in surface. Um, the third thing is that realizing that the failures are where the good things come from. So I kind of ta talked about this a little bit, um, but we don’t enhance much when things are good.
So if my business was to just take off and everything was good and I never had to like rehire a new team member, or I never had to like deal with an angry client or something like that and never had to do anything to fix something, um, then I wouldn’t be able to like, improve things and to actually actually become a better entrepreneur, a better problem solver in my life. So whenever something does go wrong or we make mistakes, what comes from it is usually just really good ideas, even the best ideas. Um, a lot of the best things in my business were birthed from something not going as planned. And this has just been proven to be true time and time again in my business. I have a million examples of this, um, big and small and, um, so this is something I truly, truly believe in.
And so it makes it, you know, once you realize this and you think about it this way, whenever something does come up, I just know like, without even knowing how on earth we’re going to fix this or what’s going to happen, I just know like with such confidence that it’s a good thing and something really, really awesome is going to come from it. And it just always does. So those are the three main things, um, that have helped me so, so much. I can’t even, like, I feel like there aren’t even the right, like as dramatic enough English words to describe how life changing this has been for me to be able to, you know, go from waking up every single morning with just such intense anxiety. And I couldn’t even pinpoint what it was. Like, if you ask me what is wrong, like what is bothering you, I’d be like, I don’t know, like, everything is fine.
, I don’t know. Um, I would just have this anxiety and I was just always just worried something was going to happen. And whenever I implemented these three things of just like understanding the journey and just being here for all of it, like genuinely being accepting and like arms wide open for even the bad, just as much as the good, um, feeling all of the feelings, not just the happy ones, but the negative ones as well. Um, and allowing myself to just be in those feelings. And I don’t mean like dwell on them, but just embrace them if they are there, Um, and feeling them, processing them and then letting them just like run their course. Um, and then the third thing is just realizing that, and remembering even that all of the amazing things that come out of my business or my personal life, um, come from some sort of quote unquote failure or something going wrong, um, or something just not happening the way that I thought it was going to.
So that is what I have for you in this episode. I hope that this is helpful for you. This is just my experience and what has helped me on this crazy journey of being an entrepreneur. And, um, so I hope that something of, of this episode has helped you and just know that if you are an entrepreneur and you have had struggles or you are struggling, um, I totally see you and this is a very real thing and I’ve experienced it myself and still do. I genuinely feel like this is just part of the journey and, um, we’re just here for all of it. So that is what I have for you for this week. I will see you guys next week. Thank you for listening to the Scaling to Freedom podcast. If you are a seven figure coach, looking for ads management with an agency that partners with you to get your work out into the world and amplify your impact, see if we are a good fit by applying for a spot in our email@example.com/apply. Find the link in our show notes.