7 business truths I wish I’d been brave enough to believe, 732 days ago.

It was January 28, 2010. 8pm. Central, that is. A thirty-minute conversation that changed . . . well, everything.
Cue the dramatic Taiko drumroll.

It was my very first chat with my very first coach. None other than Ms. Michelle Ward, of course.

I consider that conversation to be the birth of my entrepreneurial identity — an early glimpse at a luminous world of passionate, polished, profit-driven ‘preneurs rocking the web & ricocheting their skills from studios in Brooklyn to the shores of Bermuda.

A world I never knew existed (this so wasn’t posted in my college career center!)

A world that gleamed with possibility, purpose & the promise of creative fulfillment.

A world that now — 732 days later — I live, work & belong in.

Lots of people ask me how I’ve “done” what I’ve “done” in “so little time.” Meaning: how I built a profitable business anchored on my writing skills, story-channeling abilities & promotional intuition . . . during the depths of the Recession, no less.

The answer isn’t very glamorous. But it’s genuine.

Quite simply: I didn’t give myself any other option, but to succeed. And I redefined my definition of success, whenever I felt the pinch of burn-out or boredom. In doing so, I met myself in the center. And the center traveled forward.

All my woo-woo brethren are like, “I’ll namaste to THAT!”
And all my anti-woo peeps are like, “uhh…digestible bullet-points, puh-lease?”

You got it, guys & gals. I give you . . .

7 business truths I wish I’d been brave enough to believe, 732 days ago.

Side-note :: I eventually DID come to believe each of the following truths, along the wild & winding road. But if I’d known & believed them at the BEGINNING of my entrepreneurial journey? We’d be living in the United States of Franzen, by now.

1 :: Proceed like you’re already PLATINUM.

To borrow a potent question from everyone’s favorite Jersey Girl-made-good, “If you were the BEST in the world at what you do, how would you BEHAVE?” Behave like that, from day one. And pretty soon, the BEST is precisely what you’ll be.

2 :: But . . . fall in love with your worst-case scenario.

I got up close & personal with my worst-case scenario – working in a dive bar for peanuts, and snacking on government-subsidized cheese — and realized that if everything imploded like a dying star, I’d still be fine. I’d still be loveable. I’d still be charming. I’d still be me. Rock-bottom failure = more fodder for the memoir!

3 :: Get your finances aligned by a pro, from the get-go.

Admission: I thought I could wrangle my own finances, forever. I mean, that’s why the Goddess of Prosperity invented Turbo Tax, riiight? Do yourself a glorious favor: spend $50 on a consultation with a professional number-cruncher, and get cleaned up & confident. You’ll sleep better — and keep more of what you earn.

4 :: Remember WHY you’re here. And WHAT you want.

Write it big. Blow it up. Frame it. French kiss it. Silkscreen it on your t-shirts. Tattoo it on your forearms. Do whatever you need to do to keep your driving purpose front and center, at all times. The locked-in perspective will keep you focused . . . and sane.

5 :: Put your cheerleaders on speed dial.

Your mom. Your auntie. Your mentor. Your partner. Keep them clued in, and close. But don’t use them as human Kleenex boxes — call them when you’re in celebration-mode, not just when you’re in crisis-mode. They want — and need — to know that you’re making progress. That they don’t need to start up a charity collection for your survival. Unless, like, they do. And that’s OK, too.

6 :: Get a just-for-the-joy-of-it hobby.

Hobbies keep you fluid, playful & expansive. Which is exactly how you’ll want your brain to be wired . . . if you want to receive your next brilliant business idea.

7 :: Live 100 years in the future.

It’s the most critical question you can — and must — ask yourself, with each new client, opportunity, invitation & growth spurt: “100 years from today . . . will it matter?” Or, if that’s too heady, start with this: “1 year from today . . . will it matter?” Will it leave a lasting legacy? Will it continue to elevate lives? Will it enhance your visibility, the breadth of your voice, your income, your influence? Is it vitally important? Or does it just ‘feel’ urgent?

Every time you make a decision from a place of long-term legacy-thinking rather than short-term survival, an angel gets its wings. And your business grows up. Beautiful — and brave.

And now, a brief word from our sponSOAR . . .

Remember that marvel of a woman I mentioned at the tippity-top of this post? The woman who popped my entrepreneurial cherry, back in the day? The woman who tolerates filthy insinuations, like the one I just made — with charisma, charm, and career-charting prowess?

She’s got an offer you can’t refuse. Lean in . . .

Michelle Ward — aka, the When I Grow Up Coach — is a sought-after & seriously powerful life & business coach, who is perpetually coming up with savvy new ways to serve her ever-growing audience. Enter: THE CLUBHOUSE. It’s a get-yer-coach-on membership site, with virtual workshops, open coaching calls, a Facebook community, inspiring giveaways, and access to every product Michelle’s ever made — and will ever create, in future.

Your CLUBHOUSE membership starts at just $27 / month. And is, to quote the loquacious Ms. Ward, truly “AMAZEBALLS.”

Chip-chop & clip-clop over to THE CLUBHOUSE page, watch Michelle strum her pink ukelele, pour over the ultra-affordable membership levels, and leap in.

Your business will LOVE you for it.

business // acceleration


… Dammit. Now I need to sign up for this Clubhouse. Well played, Alex. I imagine I’ll be saluting the USF flag any day now.

Congratulations on your 732 days success!
I needed to hear this – January has been a horrible month, which started out great. I had my goals all set, I was super motivated to get going and was really energetic…the first few days. Then it all turned into dragging myself around in the different projects I’m working on (which were all exciting projects to me, but I couldn’t keep the momentum long enough).
For me, I think no. 6 will do the trick – I need to actually have free time that I can look forward to and fully enjoy, so I don’t burn out! And I think I need to make (as corny as it sounds) a vision board, so that my goals are visible and will get me fired up in the morning.
Thanks as usual for a wonderful post!

Yep, you’re a rockin’, poppin’, singing machine.. with all the glitter and stuff.
I am so thankful and appreciative of this mighty world you have opened up.. it is essential to not feel alone, no matter how brave I think and feel.

When you say get your finances aligned by a pro, can I ask you to talk a little more about what you mean by that? I’m guessing you don’t mean a traditional financial planner — they’ll cost more than $50, and they’re also going to be talking about stuff like retirement planning, which I’m guessing you aren’t talking about, as that’s not germane to the in-the-moment determining of how to create and support ‘preneurial success.
Do you have any recommendations / links / references, for the kinds of consultation you’re suggesting would be helpful?

HALLEY :: My flag will be fabulous. And chartreuse.

CARINA :: Vision boards are the real deal. Don’t knock ‘em yet!

JENNIFER :: You are quite welcome. There’s more where that came from.

KAREN SHARP :: Definitely! I found a terrific tax preparation & accounting agency in Minneapolis (where I live) … and they specialize in serving writers, artists & musicians. Perfect-o! My very first consult was $50, and from there, they were able to help me incorporate my business, find a local bookkeeper, and lots of other grand stuff.

I suspect there are similar agencies that serve the artsy / writerly / non-traditional business-y community, in virtually every major city.

At the very, very least, you could schedule an appointment with a tax expert at H&R Block (or one of the major “chains”) and get a few of your foundational questions answered.

Keep rolling like a river…

Alexandra Franzen on Feb 2, 2012 Reply

AHHH THANK YOU for posting this! I just made the leap from part-time to full-time with accolades & excitement. BUT… now the thought, “Is this REALLY going to work?” is creeping in. I just took a breath and reset!

Also, I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I briefly introduced myself to you at RHH LIVE in October. I’m also a writer and a huge fan =)

Brills. Trying to live #1 these days. It’s a good way to be.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Your words could not have been better timed. {did i say thank you?} :)

Awesome Alexandra! Having taken the big leap from corporate clone to excited entrepreneur just a few years back, a big fat fork in the road has driven me even further down the road of throwing your dream out in front of you and chasing it down. Hats off to you – your wordsmith-nicity (ok so words are NOT my strong point!) is super-fine!

Super list and congrats on your 732 days of success! Inspiring to read what others share about their journey. Love #1 and see how that will frame my mind to take it to the next level. Platinum. Cheers!

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