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Self Employment - Frustration,
Isolation and Overwhelm
Author: Maria Andreu

Whether you’ve been in business for yourself for a day
or a decade, you remember that sweet feeling of
freedom when you first thought, “I’m going to do this
on my own. I’m going to go into business for myself.”

The heady exhilaration of that moment was followed by
other, not necessarily good, feelings. After the
initial dream, you found out you had to learn about
things like tax codes and office equipment,
outsourcing and expenses. The result was often less
than inspiring.

So how do you keep that burst of enthusiasm alive past
the honeymoon stage of self employment? First, you can
learn all the information necessary to make sure
you’re approaching self-employment from an informed
and ready state. This can help you break free of the
isolation, frustration and overwhelm that being self
employed can generate.

But that’s not all you need. Information alone is not
the answer. If it was, we’d all be thin, Zen-master
millionaires. We are flooded in information. We’re
drowning in it. What we need is the right information,
sense in the chaos. AND we need to know what to do
about it once we have it.

There are concrete, logical steps you need to learn to
be successfully self-employed or to coach
self-employed people. That’s the easy part, the
“info-dump” we’ve come to rely on to solve our
problems. But in addition to that, and perhaps more
powerfully, it is based also on the idea that having
the right information will not guarantee success. Have
you ever known what to do and still not done it?

The fact is that there are powerful forces within you
tugging you away from the success you want. They’re at
work every time you organize your desk when you’re
supposed to be making follow-up calls. They’re there
when you rewrite the text to your website a hundred
times instead of unleashing it on the world. They are
your constant companion, causing the fluttery feeling
in your stomach when you think of getting up to speak
or think of contacting that influential person in your
field with whom you’d love to do some work.

So how do you combat the dream-killers of frustration,
isolation and overwhelm, plus the paralyzing
conflicting intentions that keep you from being your
highest self?

It starts with being very present to your body. In the
West, we are taught that the body is a thing that
carts around our brains, not the sentient, integral
part of out being that it truly is. So instead of
listening carefully to its messages, we mask them,
medicate them and deny them. It’s one of the causes of
the epidemics of illness we see in our society.

Your body doesn’t lie to you, and if you listen to it,
it will guide you, even in business. Business IS
personal, after all, and never more than when you are
in business for yourself. Your body will give you all
sorts of valuable business information in the form of
intuition and guidance. Use it.

Secondly, you can learn the valuable lesson that fear
does not equal “don’t proceed.” Being in business for
yourself can be confronting in a big way. You will
need to address issues like, “Am I good enough?” “Who
am I to be doing this work?” “What if I fail?” Much of
the conflict and inaction in self employment comes
from trying to avoid these questions. Instead, feel
the fear, listen to it, understand it, thank it for
coming. Be with it. This is a process and not a
gap-stop solution, so at first you may find that it’s
difficult to do. Stick with it. The key to freedom
from overwhelm and paralyzing fear is to feel things
fully, to allow “I’m not good enough,” to live
alongside, “Yes I am.” You are both. After you accept
the yin and yang of it, only then are you truly free
to move on.

Thirdly, frustration arises from trying to force
outcomes and seeking validation outside yourself,
navigating via others’ approval. The quickest way to
business failure is to not know exactly what you offer
and the value that it holds for others. Many
businesses have failed trying to figure out “what
people are buying” rather than what they offer that’s
unique. Of course, a key component of success in solo
business is offering services that are appealing and
topical, but done well this is a process that starts
from within and not outside yourself.

The third dream killer, isolation, comes from the
illusion that we’re separate from others. In self
employment it can particularly feel that way since we
are alone so much of the time. You can combat
isolation in a variety of ways, like finding
communities of like-minded people, reaching out to
collaborate with others and being very open to the
experience of others’ influence on you, such as by
R&Ding your ideas, collaborating and finding strategic
partners to leverage your efforts.

Self employment is a big idea and a big task. It
requires gathering up a lot of knowledge that you
don’t necessarily intuitively have. But more than a
series of great big projects, self employment is truly
a road to self transformation, the process by which
you learn to dream bigger, own that you have deep
mastery of your experience and profoundly impact the
world. Through self employment, you can uniquely
express what you’ve been put on this Earth to say.

©2005 Maria E. Andreu. Service business owners, get
the AMS Letter and receive 10 great tips for
marketing, as well as free audio of the popular
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