In 1993 I was in dumps. I was working for a chiropractor, but I wanted to work for myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough clients to make a move. I felt stuck and was ready to give up.
But lucky for me I had two people in my life who challenged me to change my situation. And I started to face the things that were actually preventing me from going out on my own. I became VERY uneasy.
But I didn’t retreat from the uneasiness, and it actually helped me launch my business.You're gonna be uncomfortable BUT at the end of the day you'll be working for yourself. Click To Tweet
It seems counter-intuitive to move towards the very things that make you uneasy when you’re down and out because of your work situation. But often times with work, the things that make us uneasy are the things that we need to address in order to change the situation.
Fortunately for me, Lisa, my wife (girlfriend at the time), and my friend, John, who was a personal trainer, were good at poking me. Every time I gave a reason as to why I couldn’t go out on my own, they countered with a question or an idea.
Things that Prevented Me from Starting a Business
My number one reason for not going out on my own was that I didn’t have enough money to rent a place. This was absolutely true. But when John pushed for more information, I had to admit that I hadn’t looked for alternative rent options.
John had a suggestion. He had been referring clients to me at the chiropractor’s office for a while. He suggested that I see his client Sybil, a person I’d known for years but never seen as a client, at my apartment.
This made me uncomfortable and I initially passed on the idea. For one, I had no idea how to make my office look like a massage room. But when I told Lisa about what John had said, she volunteered to make sure that my office would seamlessly double as a massage room.
I Don’t Want to Work for Free!
Even so, I still didn’t sign on. In fact, I was more uncomfortable than before.
Lisa and I talked again, and I realized that my growing discomfort was about setting prices and collecting money.
Here’s why I was concerned: Prior to massage, I had a small gardening business. During that time I always undervalued my service and never raised my rates. Crap, I was going to be working for free!
Lisa helped me figure out a price that seemed fair to me. Then John told Sybil (and any future client who he would refer to me) how much the massage would cost. Now it was less likely that I would cave and discount my massage when it came time to collecting the money.
Even with all their help, I was still uneasy when Sybil came to my home office for a massage. But when she got up off my table, happy with the massage, and paid me, I was ecstatic.
Working in the discomfort zone paid off!
Stay On It
For most of us, staying in the discomfort zone is not a default state. Even now, 20 years into private practice I still avoid things that make me uneasy.
For instance, now I have no problem collecting money from clients, but when it comes to promoting my business that’s I whole different story.
For our new massage business, I had been contacting local businesses that could be good business partners, like chiropractors, personal trainers and yoga studios.
About a year and a half ago, I’d made contact with April, a key person in a local running store, via email. Email was my go-to way to contact people because I was comfortable with it. April and I had exchanged numerous emails about doing potential events together, but nothing materialized.
It was frustrating, but instead of actually going to the store and looking for another way in, something I wasn’t comfortable with, I gave up.
I Wasted Time
About a year later I was doing demo massages at a chiropractor’s office. A patient of the chiropractor who was a personal trainer told me to talk to Casey, the owner of the running store, instead of April.
I started to email Casey, but then I realized that it was time to make myself uncomfortable. So, I walked into his store and introduced myself. We hit it off and by the time I left we had set up a massage event at his store. Seriously?!
Once again, staying in my comfort zone wasted a lot of my time and potential revenue.
Are You Uncomfortable Enough?
If you’ve been dreaming about working for yourself but feel stuck, it’s time to feel uncomfortable. Here’s a quick way to start:
- Write down the things about starting a massage business that make you feel uncomfortable.
- Pick the top one.
- Find a person(s) who can hold you accountable to stay in the discomfort zone (like Lisa and John did with me).
- Then jump in and tackle that number one thing that makes you uncomfortable. Don’t give up until you’ve experienced at least one win (with me it was Sybil paying me for my first “official” private practice massage).
My bet is that once you experience a win, you won’t want to give up.
If you need another check, I’m right here. Connect with me in the comment section below or on Facebook. Now, go get ‘em!