17 Business Mistakes that Block your Growth and Joy
I'm sharing the raw and unfiltered truth about my Business Mistakes. I'm spilling the painful beans so that you can avoid them and manifest your dreams!
✔︎ Are you an entrepreneur who's wondering when 'it' will finally happen for you?
✔︎ Do you wonder how other entrepreneurs 'do it'?
✔︎ Are you waiting for a magical "You've Made It, You've achieved Entrepreneurial Super Status" sign, complete with fireworks and thunderous applause?
✔︎ Do you still think there's only 1 business path?
✔︎ Do you measure your business worth only by money, likes and your email list?
✔︎Do you still belief in the "Predictable Outcome Promise" where coaches promise you the Sun and the Moon, without addressing your inner obstacles. (By the way: do you know that less than 9 % of all buyers actually finish their online programs. Often because they feel isolated, not enough and unseen).
Here's my Brutally Honest Entrepreneurial Story
I have been an online entrepreneur since February 2014 and It's time to tell you the truth about the many - many - mistakes I made.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because it's important that you know that this whole "Get Rich in 2 Weeks - While doing 4-hour naps in your hammock" story is bullshit. But most of all because I want you to understand that this business thing is not just about reaching goals that lie outside of you.
You are not more worthy, abundant or powerful because you have a 100K month. You will however, manifest that 100K month as a result of you feeling worthy, abundant or powerful right now.
Entrepreneurship is something you learn by failing, by making mistakes, by upgrading your self-love, applying smart strategies and by following your desire.
Yep, that's basically the secret of entrepreneurship.
In 2016 I was ready to quit my business because I made zero dollars. Nowadays I run a multiple 6-figures business, supporting and empowering women entrepreneurs to grow their business by helping them switch from the traditional masculine business model to feminine entrepreneurship.
▶︎ Traditional masculine entrepreneurship is organized around lack and gaining more assets to fill that lack. - Yep, the old Rags to Riches story - Relentless goal setting where only the next level counts, push harder, work harder, brag more, only million dollar businesses count, failure is not an option, be consistent, it's a numbers game, exhaustion is cool, and back-to-back soul killing launches.
Those pesky "Work With Me Even Though We've Never Met Before'" DM's that entrepreneurs send? That's 100% old masculine tricks.
▶︎ Feminine entrepreneurship is a softer, nurturing, feminine, energetically aligned business approach, that starts with discovering your deepest desire. Our business grows when we're feeling powerful, loved and abundant so that we are able to co-create with a higher power (hello universe, mother earth, and guides) and are being lead towards a deeply fulfilling life and business.
▶︎ When women fail to address feelings around isolation, shame and not being enough they can't grow their business. Hence personal development and self actualization is as important as strategy and action taking.
▶︎ To clarify: everyone can grow a feminine or a masculine business. What I teach my clients is to create a loving feminine foundation of abundant energy and take action from there.
Learn more about wounded and healed feminine and masculine energy here >>
Read more about feminine entrepreneurship here >>
TRADITIONAL BUSINESS LEADS TO BURN-OUT, FEAR, SHAME AND LOSING FUN
In the past 8 years I have run into at least 5 Almost Burn-outs. And I'm not the only one. I have worked throughout weekends and every evening, pushed forward not by joy but by the fear that I could never fill the lack of 'it's not enough'.
I want MORE clients, I need MORE income!
So, when launches became increasingly exhausting and I couldn't sleep anymore, I decided that Enough was Enough.
I'm done feeling miserable doing the thing I love the most! Let's make being a business owner fun and exciting again.
I'm spilling the beans and sharing all my mistakes and insights with you, so that you can manifest your deepest desires.
The road to success is never straight, you've got to trust me on this one. I don't care how many programs promise you 'Success in 1 Month' this is not how it works.
Our entrepreneurial road is rocky and windy and always changing. But while you're driving to the top you might as well thoroughly enjoy the view and have fun!
ARE YOU READY? LET'S GO BACK ALL THE WAY TO 2014
* February 2014 I'm a partner in a prestigious coaching and consultancy business and decide to break with my old business partners, because I'm incredibly unhappy, I can't stand being pushed in a box, and want to be free.
As a result I lose all my money, clients and office space - that was a huge villa - I had been a freelance consultant since 2002 and have to start completely afresh!
BUSINESS MISTAKE 1 CREATING 'STUFF' WITHOUT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS OF MY SOUL CLIENTS.
* March 2014 I spent my last money on an Online Business Program and realize that working online is amazing. After taking off into the wrong direction (at least 9 times) I decide to focus on creativity and business.
I've got all the credentials, an MA in Art History, 4 years of Art School, a whole bunch of diplomas from Museums and art institutes. I can do this.
So, I read EVERY book on creativity and take EVERY course on the subject. I combine everything with my own background in marketing, branding, art and design and start creating.
I thoroughly love every second of my freedom. I create and create, I'm an idea vulcano. But I have no idea what 'the people' truly need.
I don't know WHO needs or desires what I create. I have been in marketing for over 25 years, I worked with brands like KLM/ Air France, museums and the European Union, but I have no idea how to apply this to my own business.
Lesson learned: know your soul client better than they know themselves. Serve those who have a need or desire for that magic thing that only you can offer them.
I can talk about this for hours, I have taught to hundreds of women but I won't bore you with it here. Reach out if you want to learn it too. Let's go to the next mistake.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 2 WORKING WITHOUT SOUL DIRECTION OR A CLEAR PLAN [YOU CANNOT REACH YOUR NEXT LEVEL WHEN YOU CAN'T FEEL YOUR DESTINATION]
* December 2014. I am very happy with my decision to quit the offline business, but money is really tight, I completely lack support and have no strategy and no inner guidance.
I feel lost, by some unseen magic I do get the occasional awesome client - who soon has huge success - but I don't know how to be an online entrepreneur!
I create program after program. Without a clue how to fit it into a bigger marketing and business structure.
Lesson learned: be so incredibly insync with what you desire to manifest that you can almost smell it! And get support!
BUSINESS MISTAKE 3 THINKING THAT ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS SOMETHING I CAN ESCAPE [WE ARE NOT BORN AS ENTREPRENEURS. IT'S A SKILL YOU LEARN, LIKE DRIVING A CAR]
My way of thinking is: if I just work hard, people will magically see what I can do for them. But they don't see it. That makes me feel betrayed and sad.
Why can't they see what I can do for them? I constantly design new things and come up with an "How to Overcome Perfectionism' webinar. Over 750 people join (Holy Cow). I have never done a webinar before!
People are super enthusiastic. Praise flows in.
But at the end of the webinar I mumble something like: "You can buy my creative program" . Of course nobody purchases it. They don't know what I'm selling, they have no idea if my program is something they need. They just found out that they might be in the ice-cold claws of perfectionism!
But I make the mistake to assume that they will 'get it by now'. I'm so disappointed that I never even send them an email.
Lesson learned: When people are not yet aware of their obstacle, don't understand how your offer will impact them, or how it will transforms their status quo, they will never buy from you. It's not personal! Time to learn how to make marketing your best friend.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 4 95% FOCUS ON CREATING AND 5% ON BUSINESS AND MARKETING, WON'T WORK. AT ALL!
* May 2015, I create The Creative Journey. It's a labour of love. Every button is hand-painted. Years of research are added to this program. It takes me 3 Months to create it. I spent $ 465 buying the wrong online software. 1 amazing person buys the program for $440.
Out of desperation I give it to 5 people - 4 never even thank me for it.
* August 2015, I create a free Creative Challenge, it takes me 5 weeks - I even take videos in Berlin - 78 women join. They love it. I get raving reviews. "You completely changed my creative possibilities" someone writes. After it's finished I invite them to work with me.
Nobody reacts. I feel deeply rejected and - in all fairness a fool for creating this and giving it away for free
Lesson learned: People who pay are invested in themselves and will have better results. Giving away too much (because you're afraid to ask for money or fear that your offer - or yourself- is not amazing enough) is the fastest way to kill your business.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 5 ORGANIZING A CHALLENGE (OR ANY OTHER EVENT) WITHOUT HAVING TO SELL SOMETHING AT THE END AND GIVING EVERYTHING AWAY!
* September - November 2015, The busyness remains. I create more programs than are humanly possible. As long as I create I'm in touch with my worthiness and genius. But because I don't know how to be an entrepreneur it's not bringing in any money.
I see entrepreneurs - who started their online business at the same time as me - spending their holidays at Bali. I know I'm not supposed to be jealous, but boy, do I feel that.
Lesson learned: yes, it will trigger issues around money and worthiness when you have to sell something. But please! think about the change you're creating. Your knowledge is unique. Work on your money mindset and self-worth when you want to grow your business.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 6 SHIFTING TOO FAST AND NEVER GROW SOMETHING LONG ENOUGH TO SEE IT BLOOM BECAUSE OF (MONEY) FEARS
* December 2015 - March 2016 I organize the Gloriously Imperfect Art Days in a beautiful barn in the Netherlands. Without any paid advertisement. Every day is fully booked. "This is like a Holiday for Highly Sensitive Women" one of the women sighs happily.
Because I don't know how to upsell (I actually forget to invite them to work with me or sign up for a new day) the women leave at the end the day and I never see them again.
My biggest issue is that I tell myself that my progress is not amazing enough. I see other entrepreneurs making lots of money and even though I absolutely love the live days I quit The Gloriously Imperfect Art Days.
Here comes an extra rather painful confession: The Art Days are incredibly easy to me! Creating the assignments, the coaching, holding space for those women it's so easy, and the results are so profound that it collides with my ' You've got to work like crazy' attitude.
Lesson learned: when something is incredibly easy for you, it's proof that you're working from your Zone of Genius. That's where the money is. It took me years to finally realize this. Please, don't make this mistake!
BUSINESS MISTAKE 7 BLOCKING YOUR GROWTH BECAUSE OF SHAME AND ISOLATION
* January 2016, my email list doesn't grow! There are 311 people on my list, I write beautiful emails and create freebie after freebie, but I never get any reaction. When someone asks me how my business is going I just smile and nod as enthusiastically as I can. I feel ashamed about my own inadequacy to be a success.
Lesson learned: don't freak out when you reach a plateau. That's completely normal, ask for help and practice extra self-love. Shame and isolation are two of the biggest Growth Stoppers. Make sure you're part of a sisterhood or mastermind where you can share your pain and shame.
I promise you (for real) that sharing your pain with a group of women who see your beauty and brilliance - even when you don't see it - will help you bloom again.
You're more than welcome for a FREE week in my Brave Leap Mastermind
BUSINESS MISTAKE 8 SPENDING DAYS ON CREATING FREEBIES WITHOUT HAVING A CLUE HOW TO MARKET AND GROW MY EMAIL LIST.
* March 2016, I work for 3 Months - day and night - to create The School of Art & Life for HSP Women- I get emails from the leaders in the field of Highly Sensitive Person research. Experts like Dr. Ted Zeff and Dr Elaine N. Aron tell me they adore my program and see the huge relevance. I share that huge news on Facebook and get 6 'Wow''s and 1 "That's is amazing!'
I have NO idea how to use their praise. A deep feeling of ' What you do is not good enough' is suffocating me. I must have created at least 6 sales pages for this program. It's never good enough.
I'm clearly stuck in analysis paralysis.
By sheer miracle 2 wonderful women buy my program. It's 19 dollar per month. They pay the Early Bird fee of $ 9,-
The result of 672 hours of love, creativity, hard work, 27 years of expertise is 18 dollars.
After selling my 2 spots I WANT to do everything to get more people. But instead of reaching out to my audience I keep hiding and keep designing more stuff! After two months I stop my project of love and let it gather dust in my computer.
Lesson learned: creating a membership or a program is so much more than 'making things'.
I was so focused on the creating that I forgot to 'take people along on the creation path' I never shared anything.
Shame and the fear of rejection stopped me in my tracks. Creating felt safe. Reaching out and be vulnerable was too scary. Anything to avoid rejection.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 9 NOT MOVING FORWARD AND BLAMING IT ON ON 'NOT BEING ENOUGH'.
*June 2016 I FEEL HORRIBLE AND CRUSHED. I WANT TO GIVE UP.
The only thing that keeps me financially stable are my branding and marketing clients. But it's a constant struggle.
When I visit my 'male-white-I-don't-need-computers' accountant' he looks at me, disappointment oozing, he sighs and says:
'How can someone with that little income have so many papers and so many bills'.
I'm shocked, ashamed and have NO idea what to do. I work and work and work but I can't make it as an online entrepreneur.
Why does nobody buy my programs? Why am I invisible to the people I KNOW I can help and support? What's wrong with me? Am I that horrible a person?
Lesson learned: in general women blame themselves when something is not working, they spiral down into: "There's something wrong with me. I'm not enough".
Whereas 88% of men blame a failure on outer circumstances.
I learned this the hard way. This is what I do nowadays: if something doesn't work out, I look at my numbers first, track everything I've been doing so far, and I check in with my feelings and desire. 9 out of 10 times the culprits are fear, shame and 'there's something wrong with me so I've got to work extra hard'.
Just so you know: you are more than enough in all circumstances!
BUSINESS MISTAKE 10 WORKING IN ISOLATION WITHOUT SUPPORT AND BUSINESS FRIENDS IS THE BIGGEST BUSINESS MISTAKE I HAVE EVER MADE!
* Summer 2016 my friend Anneke asks: "Do you have any support? Who is your coach?"
I'm dumbfounded. Because somehow I thought I had to figure it out myself. I completely focus on my tiny bubble. I've become a horrible freebie hunter. I'm gathering virtual dust like crazy, because I'm afraid to invest.
Deep down, I'm afraid I'm a lost cause anyway.
But an important seedling has been planted! I start looking for someone who can help me!
I find a Mastermind that calls out to me. The business coach is very structured and analytical. I guess that's what I need. I see that she has the organisation and confidence that I lack.
I'm aware that there are many huge programs with thousands of members and A-list coaches out there. But I want to work with someone who's within reach and not some Far Away Star I can never talk to in person.
* October 2016
I join the Business Mastermind. Within 6 Weeks I start my own Mastermind and 9 women Sign up! 9!!! Simply because I invite them. It's my first Mastermind and I love every second of it.
Lesson learned: When I feel seen, valued and appreciated I can do anything. It turns out that my missing link had been a community of like-minded women that lifts the isolation.
Lesson learned: sometimes it's better to avoid complex launches and just very imperfectly start.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 11 DON'T KILL YOUR MULTI-PASSIONATE POWERS - JUST WORK SMARTER
My list grows from 311 to 2.100 subscribers (and I get lovely responses).
I decide on my hook! Instead of trying to sell Everything to Everyone my focus is on authentic branding and marketing.
Lesson learned: if you're a polymath, a renaissance woman or multi-potentialite listen up!
If ever a coach tells you to niche down and forget all your magic, tell her/him to kindly piss-off.
Having multiple passions is a gift (like being sensitive or super smart - Take my Feminine Magic Quiz if you want to learn more.) BUT, don't make the mistake to be everything to everyone.
Focus on what comes easy to you and make money with that, this is your A-roll. The rest is your B-Roll. It's the magic that you use to attract your audience. Spend time following your joy and ideation, that's how you generate a larger field of abundant energy.
Rule of thumb: if you can't see yourself doing it non-stop for the next 5 years, put it on your b-roll.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 12 YOU (AND I) DESERVE A SISTERHOOD THAT LIFTS US UP YOUR SOUL AND SPIRIT
FINALLY A TRUE SISTERHOOD
Because I'm part of a Mastermind it feels like I can do everything - because I'm not alone anymore. I dare to take truly bold action because I know my Mastermind beliefs in me. These women become my friends, confidants and sisters. They are the friends I have been longing for!
By the way, it's 6 years later and we're still friends, colleagues and clients.
Lesson learned: being with other women entrepreneurs helped me shift from 'I've got to do it on my own' to 'the power of a sisterhood.'
Not being alone anymore truly moved the needle for me. I see this happening with my own clients when they join the Brave Leap Mastermind.
Tip: Make sure you're part of a sisterhood!
* Spring 2017, I happily try-out every strategy and growth tool and focus on being really visible! I absolutely love launching, my confidence grows by the day and I enjoy showing up. 42 women entrepreneurs sign up for my paid Personal Branding Mastermind The Real You. 16 wonderful entrepreneurs sign up for my Next Level Mastermind. Including 4 Women who have been working with me for a longer time! It's proof that my Masterminds work!
BUSINESS MISTAKE 13 BREAK THROUGH STARVATION MODE, KEEP INVESTING IN YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS
August 2017, I break the cycle of "never Having Enough' and treat my family to a lovely luxurious holiday in Paris. After the many years of financial struggle it's pure bliss to properly wine and dine my loved ones. My son finally sees the Eiffel Tower and we spent a delightful Parisian Summer together.
Lesson learned: When things are challenging we tend to go in starving mode. Many entrepreneurs stop investing and hope that things will change miraculously. But nothing will change if you're not creating that change.
I'm not telling you to invest 10.000 euro when you can't pay the mortgage. But there are always amazing solutions that will support you at a more affordable level - like my Brave Leap Mastermind -. Invest wise and keep that money flow running!
* Autumn and winter 2017
* September 2017, 51 amazing brave entrepreneurs sign up for my Real You Mastermind. 1.698 sensitive, gifted, multi-passionate entrepreneurs from 52 countries sign up for my Authentically You challenge. I run 2 Masterminds with my Soul Clients, my entire year is planned, I genuinely feel like the CEO of my own business before, it's absolutely awesome.
I have changed my accountant. The new accountant loves what I do and gives it her all to bring flow into my international stream of income.
She tells me that I have made more money in the last 2 Months of 2017 than in all the years between 2014 and 2017.
2018 I'm known as the Personal Branding Queen and support female entrepreneurs who struggle seeing their unique brilliance to create a personal brand that leads to more clients, more revenue and more impact. I have live training days, work with over 1000 clients and get raving reviews
I've got an amazing team of three (including my own husband!). 2018 and 2019 are all planned. I launch my first membership, work with amazing clients. I work hard, my team works hard, I travel a lot. I love it.
I create a membership from scratch, spent a lot of time in airplanes and airports.
Yet, I'm permanently chasing more, bigger and 'it's not enough'
BUSINESS MISTAKE 14 MISSING OUT ON ENJOYING YOUR PROGRESS BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT TAKING BREAKS AND THINK SELF-CARE AND ACTIVE SELF-LOVE IS OPTIONAL
2019, I organize 3 fully booked events. A retreat on my favorite Island Schiermonnikoog, Live Days in Amsterdam and a Live Day in the North of Netherlands. It's absolutely amazing. I can't believe how easy every is.
I'm also used to working 7 days in a week. My body and mind have grown accustomed to a high level of stress. I'm almost ashamed to share this but I seldom truly enjoy my success, I never take a freaking break.
My mantra has become: It's not enough. I need to grow.
I open the doors to the first Brave Leap Mastermind and have my first 120.000 Euro launch. I'm incredibly happy, but also a bit flabbergasted because it was so easy!
Lesson learned: In hindsight I realize that I never truly celebrated my successes. Seriously, that sucks. I was on the hunt for more because deep down I was afraid that all those clients and money were some happy coincidence and that the well would run dry. I was running as if I was chased by wolves, instead of running with the wolves!
Schiermonnikoog Brave Leap retreat
Brave Leap live day in Amsterdam
Live day in the North of the Netherlands
BUSINESS MISTAKE 15 APPLY OLD MASCULINE BUSINESS RULES THAT DON'T WORK ANYMORE!
2020 and 2021 When the pandemic starts and all the travelling comes to a screeching halt, I feel incredibly grateful for my online business. We organize large events for entrepreneurs, give out scholarships and help over 400 women to deal with the insecurity of the situation and to shift their work to an online environment.
My team grows to 7 members. I keep coming up with ideas: launches, freebies, new programs. It turns out that I am incapable of just spending a quiet weekend because I can't turn-off my brain.
I notice that launches become increasingly harder. I attract more people who want everything for free. A woman flatout says: "I'm never going to pay you, but I like free things". It feels like I'm out of alignment with the old ways of launching.
At the same time I keep hearing how women truly feel about themselves. They are tired, they don't see their unique magic anymore. They don't feel enough, it affects their business growth, but more importantly it affects their mental health and power.
It becomes increasingly clear that the system is not working. So it's time for change. We bring all our different marketing, design, launching, self-love, branding and business programs together and create One Epic program that is only available to our Brave Leap Masterminders.
Aaaaah cleaning is so good!
Lesson learned: I learned that the old way of following goals are not working anymore. Trust me I tried to willpower myself to grow my business faster than my body allowed me to go. Working 7 days a week AND most evenings just so that I could get to the next level was a Very Bad Idea!
BUSINESS MISTAKE 16 NO THERAPY AND NOT TAKING HEALTH CARE AND SELF-CARE SERIOUS.
2021 I realize that - after all those years of therapy - there are still old beliefs and stories that keep me from enjoying my precious life. Time to release several layers of the onion!
I hire therapists, healers, therapists, astrologers, human design people and start operation 'Make Esther Happy even though I have to touch nasty old pain first'.
My relentless work ethics and the Never Truly Allowing Myself to Relax and Do Nothing are crumbling in front of my own eyes. And what appears is pure joy and gratitude.
Lesson learned: Investing in coaches, healers, therapist will always give you a huge Return of Investment. The better you know yourself - and your triggers - the easier you can navigate on your path.
BUSINESS MISTAKE 17 ABUNDANCE AND JOY ARE NOT THE RESULT OF WORK-WORK-WORK. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT! ALIGN TO YOUR FEMININE POWER AND WATCH PROSPERITY SHOW UP
2022 I organize two more launches that fail epically. I overgive, over-complicate, have zero fun and decide that it's been enough.
I make a very conscious choice to break with the masculine way of entrepreneurship. No more boring launches, no more fear, no more: 'It's Not Enough' No more blocking abundance by working too hard. I'm advocating heart to heart connection, love, desire and super smart and aligned action-taking as the way to grow.
And boy, is it working!
I know that it's my purpose to empower women to break free from inner limitations and let feminine entrepreneurship, love, joy, and sisterhood support them towards a Much Larger Life.
Because that how you transform "I’m Not Enough, I’m Invisible and I’m Alone" into "Hello, Abundance, Money and Clients"
When women grow their impact and businesses they seldom do that just for the money. They do it because they want to change the world
Lesson learned: When I started my online business in 2014, things were completely different, the market was less saturated. When people signed up for a free program, they showed up and were truly invested. Don't worry, you can still have multiple 100K (or a couple of million dollars) years, you can still sell your art, coaching, programs and offers.
But avoid getting stuck in lack, old tricks and strategies, follow your deepest desire, get support
Feminine entrepreneurship is a softer, nurturing, feminine, energetically aligned business approach, that starts with following your deepest desire.
Our business grows when we're feeling powerful, loved and abundant so that we are able to co-create with a higher power (hello universe, mother earth and guides) and are being lead towards a deeply fulfilling life and business.
WHAT MISTAKES HAVE YOU MADE AND WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED?
Whatever you do, do NOT give up. Find the support that you deserve and manifest your amazing dream!
May you be happy, may you be well, remember that you are loved and that there's someone out there who is looking for you amazing solution.
Esther de Charon de Saint Germain
Transformational Business Coach and Self-Love Advocate
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