It might surprise you to hear that after I got my first retainer client in my VA business I was miserable.
I wasn’t depressed or anything but I realised that I was providing a service that I actually didn’t enjoy. I felt like I’d swapped one boss for many and whilst much of it was under my own steam I felt…disappointed.
I’m sure it would have shocked people if I’d told them but I was too embarrassed to say. I thought, this is what I’d wished for so best I lay in this bed I’ve made.
As I came down from the exhilaration of starting my own business and everyone was exclaiming how much happier I looked and how proud of myself I must be I realised that I’d sold myself short with the business model I’d chosen. The shine had definitely started to wear off.
I had technically gotten everything I wanted yet I was almost as disillusioned as I was when I was working for other people and it made me wonder what I was going to do about it.
Should I quit my business? Was this a feeling because I was actually failing? Looking back on it now I can see how much this made me self sabotage too. In lots of weird and wonderful ways I was compounding my business mistake with others.
The truth was that I didn’t really think about life after getting what I wanted. I didn’t imagine what it would be like once I’d done the thing I’d been secretly dreaming of for years and then boom. Still miserable.
I was debating whether to share this with you at all. I mean, how professional does it look to tell you that I made a mistake like that, that I was miserable with my own small business? Then I read an article in RED Magazine called The Arrival Fallacy by Elizabeth Uviebinene. The gist of the arrival fallacy is that we will be happy once we have achieved a goal and that this belief reduces our present happiness and increases our sense of discontent when we do achieve and we are not miraculously transported to the happy land of perfect happiness.
When I read it (and it’s a great article in the print copy of the magazine which you might get a lot out of if you want to check it out) I realised I absolutely must share my own experience of it. That sharing the good the bad and the ugly is in fact the point of my business.
Since I made that discovery my business has continuously evolved. I’ve made some good decisions, some bad ones and it no longer looks anything like I thought it would back in the day when I was just dreaming.
I am more aware that I’m a serial goal setter so it can become this viscous circle of getting and still needing more and I think that’s a trap that many women fall into. Feeling like you’re never quite there, like it’s never quite enough and like you’re never going to be truly happy.
Feeling unhappy in your business can make you feel quite lonely. I know, I’ve been there! There are so many places online that you can build community and talk through these things, sharing your wins and your woes. One of those places is the free Facebook Group I’m building and I’d love you to join. It’s here – Entrepreneur with Amy Johnson