*** Not for the faint-hearted. If you’d rather not know the ins and outs of running a business … Please click here to see a cute, very happy dog. ***
It’s hard to believe and it definitely hasn’t sunk in yet — The time has finally come.
After quitting employment 1.5 years ago (which seems like a lifetime), the OPTIM-EYEZ website has now landed!!!
No doubt … The last few months of climbing this great mountain of sand have tested my patience, endurance, sanity, passion and grit to the absolute MAXIMUM.
I’ll get to that in a moment.
Simultaneously, it’s been the most exciting and exhilarating time of my life! There is no way I could (or would ever want to) go back to employment now!
My findings on this rollercoaster journey will always be shared with you because I know how much it means to hear the real deal … The experiences you might not hear elsewhere, when everything is sugar-coated with a cherry placed on top.
Let’s face it … Life just isn’t that easy.
It’s past midnight as I write, but the website simply could not go live without an upfront post of this nature.
Planning to run your own business or grow your current brand..? You’d better be ready to invest similar dedication.
I’ll also get to that in a tick!
Things have changed A LOT since my last update, just 6 months into life as a solopreneur.
I’ve adapted my schedule, branding and mindset regularly. The day you stand still is the day you fall behind.
Sure, I’ve taken some holidays and breaks … But my mind is ALWAYS on my business. This is why you must LOVE what you do.
Otherwise, it will drive you crazy. No exaggeration.
It’s certainly a life that multiplies your experience, intelligence, perception and understanding many times over.
I feel I have grown so much — not only professionally — but as a person, since venturing out on my own.
Anyway, back to the website!
Why Has It Taken So Long?
The question asked on more occasions than I can remember…
Here are just a few reasons!
#1: Insane amounts of time and energy devoted to engagement on Social Media; building relationships, helping people at every opportunity, and also contributing to their projects
#2: The rapid growth of my personal brand overtook the rate at which I was able to manage workload, at numerous stages (so much so, I have been as quiet as possible for the last few months)
#3: Various health issues surfaced, due to being overloaded
#4: Potential clients reached out — known brands that were too awesome and reputable to turn down
#5: My commitment to creating a future-proof, beast of a website that wholly met my expectations and exceeded those of others
#6: The constant changes in the industry and beyond which meant remodeling previously completed sections of the website — due to working on it for so long
#7: Swarms of fresh operational challenges and obstacles surfaced, which I never expected because I simply did not know they even existed (including deeply complex accountancy, legalities and other business compliances — the really boring / painstaking stuff that is only appropriately learned [by non-experts] through hard-earned experience)
We all make them! What matters is that you learn.
Here are some of mine that further contributed to delays in launching…
Mistakes I Made (& What To Do Instead)
#1: Initially hiring a web designer who didn’t visualize my brand the same way I did (a lot of money and time wasted here — if something doesn’t feel right, change it — fast)
#2: Responding to many requests I should have outright ignored (simply skip ridiculous messages and plain spam)
#3: Trying to please everybody (it’s impossible)
#4: Taking on too much client work and/or the wrong client work (but do what you have to do until you can do what you really want to do)
#5: Thinking a little too far ahead (the future changes with each day that goes by)
#6: Worrying too much (deal with stuff as it happens and enjoy not being in control — worrying doesn’t change anything)
#7: Rising to trolls (let them waste their energy)
#8: Preparing for too many negative outcomes (they likely won’t ever happen)
#9: Pressurizing myself to do better, no matter how well I’d already done (being proud of every achievement is essential, even small wins)
#10: Taking too much notice of others and their successes (things aren’t always as they seem — focus on you)
Biggest Psychological Challenges
This is such a critical aspect of solopreneurship, entrepreneurship, and ANY type of business ownership that can often be overlooked or underestimated.
This journey is TOUGH. There are no easy passages. No golden tickets. Nobody there to give you everything you want.
It’s all down to YOU to make it happen.
On good days, it’s the most rewarding feeling that is incomparable to any other.
During bad days, impending doom sweeps over the mind and it can be tough to climb out of that deep pit.
While you’re investing blood, sweat and tears into building a business — one that you want to be successful, more than anything — you are faced with menacing, daily tests of will; sent straight from the devil himself (at least, so it seems).
Here are some of the mind-jolting thoughts and pressures I’ve encountered:
#1: “Is this even happening?! Am I really good enough to be featured right alongside industry legends like Neil Patel, Mark Schaefer, Larry Kim, Rebekah Radice, Jay Baer, Murray Newlands, Gary Vaynerchuck, Neal Schaffer and John Rampton?!”
Only a couple+ years ago, I was nowhere to be seen online. I haven't yet reached 30 and some of these remarkable people have many years’ experience under their belts.
John Rampton even mentioned me on his blog. This guy has over 1.5 million followers on Twitter alone; he is seriously ‘big time’ in the marketing world.
I still can’t believe it myself — It’s astonishing! I don’t think it’ll ever truly feel real in my mind.
I still operate in the same way, treating others with love and care … And that will never change, even if I gain an audience 10 million strong.
#2: “How can I carry on giving and giving and giving when I feel like collapsing and I still don’t have a website of my own?”
Strength and determination must burn bright inside. The desire to succeed needs to outweigh any weakness.
#3: “He’s just launched a book. She’s just finished an online course. Lots of influencers are getting verified. Everybody is doing amazing things and making tons of money. Everyone is waiting on me.”
These thoughts are so destructive and brought me down on many occasions.
What got me through?
Support from some incredible people (you know who you are) and also, remembering this:
“People may look at me and think the same way I might think when I look at the next person. The truth is, we are all doing our own thing in our own way. We all have our own lives and our own struggles that are hidden from social profiles. The key to contentment is feeling fulfilled by our own accomplishments and being happy in the present. Stop comparing.”
#1: Ranked world’s #1, #2 and #3 influencer by 3 separate brands across 3 different categories, among dozens of similar accolades from other companies and blogs
#2: Featured in magazines and mega-sites like Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, LinkedIn, Search Engine Watch, The Next Web, Marketo, Oracle, Adobe, IBM and Muck Rack
#3: Over 1,000 (especially) lovely comments from amazing people
#4: Not only surviving, but flourishing in business after a year (without ANY advertising OR owning a website)
#5: Growing revenue each quarter and leaving the (frustrating) salary of collective employment far behind … Along with all the restriction, office politics and travelling
#6: Sustaining a healthy client base and bringing them results that only delight
#7: Being asked to speak at huge international events in countries like Dubai, France, Israel and America (including many in the UK)
#8: Sticking to the strategy and not once veering from my ‘big plan’ — created right at the very beginning
#9: Serving as inspiration to others
#10: Never giving up
NOTHING can truly prepare you for running your own business.
EXPECT the unexpected.
CHANGE happens incredibly fast.
RELATIONSHIPS are the single most important component of success.
MISTAKES are essential learning points.
EVERYBODY isn’t as nice as you’d like them to be.
FOCUS on yourself.
STAY on track.
STOP trying to do everything.
DREAMS can become reality if you’re willing to work hard enough.
This is such an exciting prospect! I’ve been so used to NOT owning a website, I'm unable to comprehend it all right now…
It sure will take a while to get to grips with it!
I can however, share my vision:
#1: Dramatically diversify my offerings
#2: Build a solid OPTIM-EYEZ community
#3: Inspire on a far wider scale
#4: Venture into video
#5: Embark on new projects (i.e. products, software and collaboration)
And something else which is super secret at the moment — with the potential to touch many lives and minds on an even deeper level.
Thanks to you all for sticking with me. Your support and friendship means the world and I aim to provide exceptionally more value in years to come.
LET’S DO THIS! 🙂