Entrepreneurial Enlightenment

I am a blogger turned businessman. I never had a grand plan nor an entrepreneurial bent. I never made any money washing cars for my neighbours nor set up a lemonade stall outside my parents’ house.

enlightened entrepreneur

Who am I?

I assumed, after leaving school, I would simply get a job just like everyone else (if the rock ‘n’ roll career didn’t take off – which it didn’t).

And then a few years ago I started writing blog posts and monitoring analytics for fun. I did it during downtime at freelance gigs – it helped with the boredom.

I vividly remember the day I got over a hundred visitors. As soon as I passed that milestone, of course, I kept wanting to break the 200 mark.

stats-going-up

In 2006 if you blogged, people assumed you knew what you were doing. They phoned you up and gave you work. Instead of plodding around tedious London offices doing freelance gigs, I could do the same thing in the comfort of my own home. Fantastic, I could cut out the middlemen – the employment agency and the design studio – and charge a fortune! (OK, not a fortune, but you know what I mean.)

Accidental entrepreneur

I simply found myself running a business one day because it made sense to do so. So, I might be an accidental entrepreneur but I’m not a reluctant one.

Once I discovered I was an entrepreneur (a bit like when you realise someone’s pregnant) I rushed out and bought some books about it. Tim Ferriss made me dream, Michael Gerber made me look at my business as a separate entity and Andrew Carnegie made sure I got on with everybody.

There were a lot more besides. I continued to read business literature as I continued my almost obsessive desire to improve my business.

And, of course, I haven’t only been reading books. There’s the blogosphere as well. I devoured everything by people like Pat Flynn, Glen Allsopp and Steve Scott as my fascination with marketing (and blog traffic) flourished.

My liberation at setting up my own business is too much of a good subject not to write about. I love writing about it. So now my blog is not only about design. It’s about design and marketing.

With this comes a slight identity crisis because the blogosphere loves a specific USP.

And it hasn’t been plane sailing with the traffic either. From a high of 3000 visitors a day at the beginning of the year I’m back down to 1000 a day now – roughly at the level I was two years ago.

stats-going-down

All this increases my entrepreneurial angst as I jealously look around at others. It’s amazing how powerful the ego is. One minute I’m stoked I’m a company director; the next minute I’m pissed I’m not Seth Godin.

Still, I have my heroes and sheroes to turn to. Farnoosh Brock, Esther Coronel de Iberkleid and David Cameron Gikandi are helping with my personal direction.

meditation

Live for the present moment

However, I now think that I should take less notice of my gurus – as useful as they have been on my journey.

There comes a time for every enlightenment seeker to discard the books, the gurus and the satsangs and turn their attention inside.

Instead of worrying about how to get to the next level, there’s a realisation that I might already be there. I’m not making a fortune but, hey, I’m surviving. It’s not like I’m losing money.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. Stop worrying about the traffic and just enjoy myself. Entrepreneurial enlightenment would be great. But endless searching can cause identification with a “problem”.

I do still want to grow my business, don’t get me wrong. More than ever I want to help people get started and do the same.

I just think I need to do it my way.

Comments

    • says

      I will be expanding on the last point soon, Steve, as I have more material on my purpose and my business’s mission to come.

      I hope people don’t feel short changed by only half a post!

      But it’s about not looking outside for ideas but finding them inside, if that makes sense.

  1. says

    Hi Rob!
    I too am an accidental entrepreneur – and some days, more happily than others! Love that term, and thanks for sharing your journey.

    • says

      Hi Louise. Actually, I googled it after I wrote it and I found that it’s been used by plenty of people before so there’s a lot of us about! :)

  2. Oksana Frewer says

    Hi Rob.
    It looks for me like you are just about to step up to the next level of something. I’m sure you will find what you are looking for, but only you can answer that. Sometimes I question myself : Do I really want or need what I do ? Or am I just following somebodys ideas about something ? What about me ? Why do I always need a guru to tell me what to do ? There must be some balance between this !

    • says

      Hello Oksana, I’m might be stepping onto another level rather than stepping up to the next level. For example, I going to concentrate more on content creation (which I enjoy) and less on social media marketing (which I don’t).

      Sounds like you are experiencing the same things as me. This is normal for business-owners. There’s certainly a lot of great advice out there. But, when do you stop listening and start acting? And, yes, when do you stop taking advice from an expert and start being yourself? I think we’ve got to move on. :)

  3. says

    Rob,

    I’ve been going through a very similar realization lately. A few months ago I realized I was overly stressed and not enjoying much of what I was working on. I had lost the drive for some of the projects I used to love and the realization came that it was because I started stressing about needing to meet certain requirements I had arbitrarily set. I didn’t need to meet those goals (which is what they were) but the focus on them was causing me to hate my work. I stepped WAY back and it has been AMAZING the clarity of mind that has come. Life is better on so many fronts and I have started getting back to the projects I love to work on.

    Good luck with your pivot!

    • says

      Chris, this is exactly the point I’m making. I had set loads arbitrary requirements for me to do (for example, marketing my posts on social media). It’s ironic, I’d put up structures in my mind that were exactly the same as the structures I’d rejected when I’d set up my business in the first place. Why? (Well, that’s a question for another day!)

      Good luck on your journey, Chris. So glad you’ve found your mojo again! :)

  4. says

    Your way sometimes means you just have to find something different from what you are told works (or doesn’t work), put some energy behind it and find out whether it works or not. Of course the next step after that is to tweak it, discard it and share what you have learnt.

    All the best. May be I’ll interview you one day about ‘your way’.

  5. says

    Hi Rob.

    What a brave and refreshing post. Sorry to hear about the traffic. Google is increasingly hard to fathom and I’m stunned by the result they serve up presently.

    I’m just getting (skeptically) interested in the marketing side of things . It will be interesting to see if Pat Flynn scores another niche success. I saw Spencer Haws post on getting outranked http://www.nichepursuits.com/outranked-was-my-niche-site-copied/ and the comments reminded me that they only know when it appears to work for them. On the that basis the world is flat.

    That Tim Ferriss has a lot to answer for. Carry on doing it your way Rob.

    • says

      Thanks for your comments and positivity, as always, David. I’m very skeptical about the niche stuff as well. It’s interested me in the past and I’ve had my fingers burnt so I’ll keep one eye on it.

      At least I’ve got my presence on other platforms which is a great “authority site” policy so if one source drops you still have the others.

  6. says

    I understand exactly where you are coming from. I’m in the middle of setting up my own business and balancing that with my current day job – we all have mortgages and bills to pay!

    I woke up one day, went to work, looked around me and wondered what the hell I was doing. I’m in a job I am not even remotely interested in. What am I interested in? Well, that’s simple – web design and writing. I’m realistic. I’m not going to be the next great English novelist but I love web design. So, that’s where I’m at. Starting my own business. I’m doing a massive overhaul of my current site to make it more professional. And I am absolutely determined to succeed.

    Great article, Rob. I look forward to part two!

    • says

      I’m not sure when part two’s coming, but soon! Thank you, Lee, I’m so please to hear you’re going for it. I’d keep writing and working on your site – it worked for me! And the more you write the better you get at it. It’s great that you enjoy writing – that will be one of your greatest assets!

      Keep at it. And remember on your journey that there’s plenty of people who’re happy to help and I’m one of them so let me know if you have any questions. :)

      • says

        Thanks for the words of encouragement, they are greatly appreciated.

        As I said, I’m determined to succeed. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow, I’ll have my own successful business, and the world by the weekend!