I’m Illana Burk, CEO of Your Life’s Workshop, coach to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs across dozens of industries and host of Good Business. With nearly 20 years experience helping hundreds of clients create profitable, ethically driven and sustainable businesses based on their life’s work, I’m here to teach you how to do great work, make great money, and make a positive impact without feeling like you need a shower afterwards.
Hi everyone. Today’s episode piggybacks on last week’s when we talked about how to have real success as an entrepreneur. You have to love being an entrepreneur as much as you love doing the actual work. So today, as promised, I’m going to talk about all the reasons why being in business for yourself today is pretty damn wonderful. Even on the days when you know you don’t get to do the work that you love, and you’re doing all of the work that your business requires, this is about highlighting that stuff. The reason why that’s important – if you haven’t listened to our previous episode – is that being an entrepreneur is about so much more than your work in the world. Being an entrepreneur is its own thing. It stands on its own two feet, as being separate from whether you’re a designer or a coach or you build stuff for a living, whatever it is that is your actual work.
There’s so much more to the story. If you don’t love the entrepreneurial part, the business ownership part, the marketing part, the selling part, the cleaning up at the end of the day part, whatever the boring stuff is in your mind, you have to love that too. We’re going to talk about that a little bit today.
Here’s the caveat, before I get into my laundry list of seven things. It’s not going to be that long, I promise. Before I get into that, I want to give you a little caveat that this is a biased list and it’s not even a real list. It’s more like a quiz, because if you have an immediate, “holy crap,” then you might not be cut out for this. This is not an upside kind of response to any of these. That’s real. That’s not to say you can’t be successful if you hate parts of your business, it means that you’re missing the point. You’re missing the fun part. You’re spending half your time hating half your time. And that doesn’t work sustainably. That’s a recipe for martyrdom and victimhood and hate and starting to hate the thing that you used to love. So today isn’t about talking you out of being an entrepreneur, today is more about finding the things that you can adore and enjoy, and remembering why you got into this in the first place and letting that attitude color all of the pieces, instead of just the ones where you get to do the fun stuff.
So number one. It’s something new and different every single day. New Challenges, new people, new ideas, new hurdles, new opportunities to learn. This is one of my personal favorites because I get bored so easily. My husband teases me because I always have 50 tabs open, both literally and emotionally. I’m somebody who likes switching between things. I get bored very, very fast. If you’re one of those people, which a lot of entrepreneurs are, notice that’s a big deal and a really big benefit.
Number two. It offers you incredible opportunities to connect with the world in a way that almost nothing else does. That’s a big one you guys, seriously. There are so many amazing things in this world that you have access to when you’re an entrepreneur. When you start to think about putting your ideas out there, all of a sudden doors can open, and opportunities can present themselves, and people will start to get invested in your success. If you let that happen, they’re going to remind you when new opportunities arise, and they’re going to connect you with them, and they’re going to support you in your endeavors. That’s incredibly special on a personal and emotional level.
Which leads me to number three. Communication and opportunity are more democratized than ever. What I mean by that is if you want to be a TV star, start a YouTube channel. Twenty years ago that wasn’t even a thing, That wasn’t even a blip on people’s possibility radar. If you want to talk to the CEO of a company, go chat them up on Twitter. If you want to be a broadcaster, start a podcast. There are opportunities for you that are just standing right there for free, in ways that never existed before. The next time you hate having to create content for your marketing plan or your communications plan, remember how level the playing field is, how awesome it is to be alive and be an entrepreneur right now, because of that.
Number four. You have a real opportunity to change the world and help others. I don’t know too many people who are slaving away at a cubicle at Amazon or Microsoft or any one of the nameless, faceless companies that occupy all of those industrial areas. Every city that you drive by and go, “I wonder what people do in there.” I guarantee they’re probably not changing the world; they’re not putting their ideas out there. They’re not expressing themselves and putting themselves out there courageously. They’re not doing that. You are. Remember that. It’s incredible. You have a real opportunity to do that.
Which leads me to number five. Community impact. You have a real chance as an entrepreneur to impact your community, to use your business, to use your work in the world as a vehicle to affect the people around you that matter both near and far. Whatever your community is, whoever that is to you, whoever the stakeholders in your life and your general area, whatever that means to you, your business is an opportunity. That’s not to be taken lightly.
Number six is personal growth. There’s nothing that teaches you things about yourself like being an entrepreneur. For good or bad, it means that you get daily lessons in humility and empathy and personal evolution. It means you get confronted with your demons and your angels. It means that you get to work on yourself and get paid for it sometimes. Hopefully. If you’re doing it right.
Number seven is money. The big one. This is why I put it last on the list. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re 100% in control of your income. You are in control of your income. It is up to you how much you make or don’t make. If something isn’t working, you can try something else. If something isn’t selling, you can stop selling it and sell something different. There’s nobody standing over you giving you a piece of crap and saying, shine it up like a hunk of gold and sell it and it makes 10% gains quarter after quarter, even though it’s still just a piece of crap. There’s nobody doing that. You get to decide. You’re in control. You’re in control of your money. That’s a big deal.
There are many, many other points to make about entrepreneurship. There’s freedom, fun, challenge; the actual list is long, and most likely, every entrepreneur would put something different on it. There’s plenty to say. These are my things. These are the things that emerged for me again and again. These are my reminders to myself because I have days where everything feels like I have to slog through. These things are the things I go back to and pay attention to on those days.
What I want you to take away from this lesson is something you can grab onto from what you’ve heard that helps light a fire under you, that helps make it feel more fun, impossible, and vital to connect with the business side of your work, beyond the work part of your work. The business is what makes all those things possible. That’s incredible. That’s amazing. That’s unique because the reason why I’m saying all of this, most days when I do a podcast, when I record, when I sit down to do this, I’m always thinking about, “what is my motivation for doing this?” I created a podcast because fundamentally because everybody kept telling me I need to do a podcast. How many of us can say that? What my actual motivator is, what gets me to set up all the things, and write the outlines, and do all the work that it takes to publish one of these. I want the world to be full of entrepreneurs who feel honored to do what they do. It’s selfish. It is. I’m so tired of the world of entrepreneurship being full of people who are either only in it for themselves, and don’t see what a privilege they have, or they are only in it for the money and don’t see that they have the opportunity to make a bigger impact, or they treat it like a job, and they lament about how hard it is all the time. That’s the shit that makes me fucking crazy, you guys. I grew up hearing, “I have to do this. I have to do that.” from the entrepreneurs around me. It was always a challenge. I kept going, “You’re doing the thing you want to do. You don’t have to do it. You can make a choice.”
So I want you to feel privileged to do what you do. Privileged to wake up every single day, knowing that what you do, whatever that day holds in store, is an honor. It really is. Whether you’re cleaning out space to make room for growth or building a world-changing technology, or designing a logo, or coaching people through a hard time in their life. Being able to do it on your terms and in your way is truly one of the single things in the western world that we still get to control.
That control is special and not to be taken for granted. It’s a privilege to wake up in the middle of the night sweating where your next client will come from. It’s a privilege to know that your work is your work — no one else’s. You get to put it out however you want it and let it have an impact. It’s a privilege to wander around in the dark, wondering if you’re making all the right decisions every minute of every day. So next time you utter the words, “I have to,” before you talk about your work, any part of your work, even if it’s cleaning the bathroom, remember that. Remember you’re one of the chosen few. You’re one of the few who chose themselves, and they’re vibrant, work in the world over trading their time for money. Enjoy the ride — all of it.
Thanks, everybody. It’s a tight, little quiet episode today that I hope got your day started, or your evening headed in the right direction. Have a great week.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. For more information, visit www.thegoodbusiness.co or www.yourlifesworkshop.com.
Asynchronous Income vs Passive Income | GB54
What is "asynchronous income"? In this episode, I talk about why passive income is a total misnomer, the difference between passive and asynchronous income, and what you can find in the middle between (the myth of) passive...
You don’t have to be a commodity | GB53
How to know what you should commodify and what you shouldn't. In this episode, I address the idea that we don't actually have to become commodities in order to be successful business owners. First, I clarify what I mean by...
Let’s talk about ethical marketing | GB52
What is ethical marketing? What does it mean? What doesn't it mean? And are you afraid of the wrong thing? Lately, there's been a new flavor to the ethical marketing and selling conversation happening amongst small business...
Offer Design Part 5: Does your offer make the world better? | GB51
Does your work make the world a better place? When you think about creating an offer, do you think about the impact of what you're doing? And how do you think about it?In this episode, I talk about how to consider impact when...
What I do and why I do it | GB50
Episode 50! Today we take a small break from our series on offer design and talk about, well, what I do and why I do it. In this episode, I talk about how I got where I am today, the big why, the triple bottom line, the kind of...
Offer Design Part 4: What does done look like? | GB49
Today's episode is part four in our series on offer design. In this episode we talk about: What does done look like? In other words, what does the end of a client relationship look and feel like? And how do you know when you are...