Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Learning to fly the plane while it's in the air (or practicing what Johnny & Lee preach)

This whole starting my own business thing is freaking me out a little. More than a little. I'm not much of a risk taker by nature. I suck at downhill skiing because I stay on the baby hills. I hate roller coasters. I've never been camping. When I go on vacation, I tend to visit places that have spas. I admit it, I like comfort. I like safety. It makes me feel . . . comfortable and safe. But starting a business - not comfortable or safe. And even though I know deep down that this is the right thing, that this is good for me, I'm still freaking the hell out.

Last month I organized the corporate entity for my company. Got my level 2 Reiki certification. Got my domain name and all that blah, blah, blah (but no website yet . . .). And then. Nothing much. I've been procrastinating. Finding other things to do. Not getting all my documents done. Not moving forward. Even my metaphor of assembling my trampoline wasn't working for me.

Some of the other things I found to do involved spending money on a few programs that some of my readers will be familiar with (so far, money well spent). First is Danielle LaPorte's FireStarter series which just came today (yay!) so I don't have enough experience with it to talk about it . . .yet. But then I signed up for Johnny Truant and Lee Stranahan's Punk Rock Question the Rules series. (If you're so inclined, you can click on this affiliate link right HERE and I'll get a little somethin' somethin' if you buy it but you can also buy it from Johnny and Lee directly or not at all if it's not your thing. So far it kicks ass.) I started listening to it yesterday and today I applied the first lesson I learned from them. It's ok to learn to fly the plane when it's already in the air. Scary? Yes.

There are times when I feel perfectly comfortable flying by the seat of my pants. (What's with all the flying metaphors today?) In law school I deliberately did NOT read the cases for one elective class the entire time just so I could see if I could wing it in class and still participate intelligently (ok, sometimes I skimmed them but never read them all the way through or took notes or anything). Damn if I didn't get an A in that class. What did that teach me? That I'm pretty good at bullshit. I can kind of make stuff up and make it sound good as long as I have a decent grounding in the basics. But in that case, I didn't really care all that much what the outcome was. It was an elective. It was my last semester and I already had a job waiting. I knew I'd be ok so it wasn't as big a risk as it sounds. Also, it was fun.

But now the stakes are higher. I have two kids I need to support. My chances of getting another job as a lawyer aren't real high (partly because I really, really don't want to do it anymore). I don't have a big pile of money saved up (most of it went to divorce lawyers and living expenses for a year without a job). There's not much of a safety net here. I care a lot about the outcome - as much as I'm trying to let go and trust in the universe, I want things to work out well.

So I've been a bit stuck until yesterday. A week or so ago I had gone to an Argo Tea near my apartment and tossed my business card into a container trying to win something free. Then I forgot about it. So yesterday I get an email from the manager telling me I didn't win the free whatever. BUT she told me that Argo Tea partners with other businesses in the community that share the same goals of wellness and sustainability (who knew?) and she asked if I would like to come over there one day and speak to their guests about Reiki. Oh.my.god. Does the universe deliver, or what? So my first thought is Yay! Rapidly followed by Shit! I don't have brochures or anything prepared for a presentation! My website isn't up yet even though it's already on my business cards! I'm so unprofessional! I haven't had any paying clients yet, who will take me seriously! SHIT! Then I took a deep breath and remembered: Sometimes you have to learn to fly the plane while it's in the air. And that's ok.

Today I got hosting for my website and then pulled together something that is pretty crappy but is at least something better than random ads for GoDaddy products. You can look at it here. If you want to. But remember that I know it sucks and don't be too hard on me because I'm not a web designer and I have no idea what I'm doing. So I was TERRIFIED to push the Publish button because it's not exactly what I want. But it's what I can do right now and I need to just keep moving forward and it will eventually be a beautiful website with pictures and links and information and a blog and hopefully you will all LOVE it and send it linky love. But for now, it's just a baby website. That needed to be published because I need to learn to be scared shitless but do it anyway. Learning to fly the plane while it's in the air allows you to get started without waiting until every little detail is in place. Because if I waited for that, I would never get anything done with this business.

The other day my daughter brought home a quiz where she had gotten one multiple choice question wrong. It was a vocab word and she didn't know what it meant so she didn't put anything down. When I asked her why she didn't guess, she said she had no idea what the answer was so she didn't feel right guessing. I explained to her that with 4 possible answers, she had a 25% chance of getting it right if she guessed but 0% chance of getting it right by putting nothing. I know it isn't a perfect analogy but it kind of applies to what's going on with me. So my first website isn't the perfect website. But it's there and it looks a heck of a lot better than the GoDaddy ads with half naked women that were there before. My first presentation won't be perfect either and that's ok. I'll learn from it and get better next time. But if I don't try, if I don't put myself out there, I have 0% chance of being successful. And I don't like those odds.
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