“Have you read this book? Oh, you must read it! It is awesome,” one of my entrepreneur friends said to me.
I glanced at the image of the book she sent me over Facebook messenger. It was ‘The Big Leap’ by Gay Hendricks.
Now, I have a love-hate-kinda relationship with this book.
When I first read this book, I truly liked it. I thought it was full of ground-breaking ideas and concepts. I heard about it while listening to one of Marie Forleo’s Youtube videos. I’m a fan of Marie Forleo and so, I trusted her and read the book.
In the video, she talked about the Upper-Limit concept. I was curious to find out what it was all about because at the time, it resonated with me and the consistent bumps I was experiencing in my business development cycle.
In case you haven’t read the book or, you need a reminder regarding the main message of the book, this is it:
According to Gay Hendricks, we each have a set point for happiness, he says, like the setting on a thermostat.
Whenever we reach beyond it, we unconsciously drag ourselves back down to the level we’ve gotten used to. We do this by making a mistake, getting sick, ruining a relationship, or finding another way to sabotage ourselves so we don’t exceed our set point for happiness.
According to Hendricks, we develop this set point based on old scripts fromchildhood and he refers to it as the “upper limit problem.”
Pretty interesting concept, right?
I am not denying that we are not unconsciously programmed in certain ways that goes back to childhood and adolescent experiences. I am also not denying that we carry a lot of these ‘programs’ with us and they influence the way we react to the world we’ve created around us.
Though, over the past four years of full-time entrepreneurship, I’ve found this book to be dangerous in many ways.
Yep. Pretty strong statement right there and I even feel a bit uncomfortable writing this because I am no Gay Hendricks *yet* but I want to explain to you why I – as an entrepreneur and business owner – think that the main message of the book is dangerous.
To explain this further, let’s dive into some truths about human psychology and our inner make up.
Our believes shape our worldview.
Yes? I think we can all agree with that statement..
Yes? I think we can all agree with that statement..
Now, if your belief shapes your worldview, then what you think not only about yourself but the world will shape your reality.
If I buy into this idea that is outlined in the book that to get to each NEXT level in my personal development, I am faced with hitting and working through some form of crushing Upper Limit – it will hold me back.
Heck, I’ve found myself simply finding excuses and explaining certain situations away by referring to them as, “Oh well, this is just my upper limit showing up so I will just have to take this slow. Etc.“
What is worse is that I was even expecting to hit a block and either i.e. get physically sick or self-sabotage myself!
At every stage of my entrepreneurial journey that is.
How dangerous is that?
And not only that, I started to believe that growth has to be correlated with pain.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, experiencing pain is essential to grow in specific areas. A great example for this would be going to the gym and reaching a certain body goal. That typically is connected with some form of muscle pain.
Though, if you expect that you are going to experience Upper Limits when you move through professional, business and life stages, you can also take this believe as an excuse NOT to act BECAUSE you know you will experience pain. And we humans, generally try to avoid pain.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Yes, there are many helpful passages in the book. It’s a well-written book, I am not going to negate that and you can certainly take some insightful concepts away from it.
But it is equally important to stress that how you are digesting the context of the book could be potentially dangerous to your self-development.
It can have a negative affect on your mindset based on how you choose to view and integrate the knowledge shared in the book into your overall believe system (as was the case for me).
Personally, I choose to believe that growth is something beautiful and even though, it always requires effort – which can be painful at times – it is also equally connected with joy AND fun.
My intention with this article is to help you understand that you can break through the regular ‘entrepreneur development cycle’ that consists of:
Take focused action.
See yourself making some progress.
Then, have yourself freak out internally about the progress you are making.
End up where you started (or just a tiny bit further ahead).
THIS. IS. EXHAUSTING.
Let’s change this life-cycle and stop with the self-sabotaging already!
You are what you believe.
Choose to believe something else, something that will serve you better.
Believe in perfect timing <3.
In fact, believe that YOU have perfect timing. Always. And grow at a pace that feels right for you without ever ‘hitting’ any upper limits ever again.
Because whatever progress you are experiencing right now or, will experience in the future, YOU HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THIS.
As a result, this completely deflects and negates the concept of upper limits.
What’s your take on this? Would love to know in the comments down below <3.
What is the most touching act of kindness you have ever witnessed or experienced?
So this happened about 5 years ago.
My husband has just been relocated to Southern California for work and I was transferring schools in order to finish my degree close to where he worked.
We had been struggling a bit a few years prior to that and were still struggling financially, especially after trying to settle down in a relatively (for U.S. average standards) pricey area.
Long story short, we barely could make ends meet for the first few months and until I finished college.
I took on two other part-time jobs next to attending university full-time.
I needed to finish school as soon as possible because University was also way more expensive than in the previous state I had attended college at.
My husband was in sales and still had not staked out his new sales territory yet so to speak and built up a reputation for himself.
So some months we were doing okay and others, we could only survive because we had a little bit saved up.
Our 4 year anniversary came up (yep, in case you’re wondering, we got married really young) and I’d already agreed upon with my husband that we would just celebrate it at home amongst us.
Nothing fancy and no gifts.
However, he totally surprised me and took me on a surprise afternoon car ride to Beverly Hills.
He said, “Babe! I know you’ve been working really really hard these past few months and you deserve this. I know we will make it through this rough patch eventually but for today, let me just do this for you, okay? I need to do this.”
I nodded because I could feel it was important to him.
He pulled up in front of a restaurant.
I remember it was the same fancy restaurant I had seen while driving by on a road trip that we took once through Los Angeles and Southern California with some friends of ours a couple of years back.
A restaurant where I had seen several elegant couples emerge and come out and I had jokingly declared that I wanted us to be this way one day and to eat there once we would fulfill our dream of moving to Southern California.
Side note: I’m a big foodie ;).
Anyway, we pulled up in front of the restaurant and went inside.
The waiter was very nice and friendly. The place didn’t feel stuck up or anything like that at all of what you might have thought of when dining at a fancy place in Beverly Hills like this.
The middle-aged garçon guided us to our table.
We were seated on a side corner of the restaurant.
Almost right next to us was a dad and his about eight year old daughter.
They looked tired somehow, I remembered.
I also remembered how I thought that they looked just a little bit sad.
Another waiter came up to our table and congratulated us on our anniversary.
We smiled and even giggled a little bit.
However, when I saw the prices on the menu I honestly almost had a little heart attack.
I never in my life ate such an expensive meal before.
I stared in shock at my husband who just nodded at me calmly and squeezed my right hand.
He leaned over to me and whispered into my right ear,
“Please relax. I’ve saved up for this for the past few months.”
My stomach was still in knots but I didn’t want to spoil my husband’s surprise that he had planned for me so sweetly.
So I put on a smile and we went on to enjoy a truly AH-MAZING meal.
In case you want to know what it was, here is a pic from it :):
I kept glancing over at the dad and his daughter and they glanced over at us as well a few times.
We sat so close so it kind of happened frequently.
Then, I saw the dad and his daughter get ready to leave.
I also noticed that he whispered something into the waiter’s ear when he received the check from him.
As they were about to leave, he smiled at us one last time. His eyes still carried a certain sadness.
He took his auburn hair daughter by the hand. His daughter turned around one more time as they almost approached the exit and shot me a secretive look.
She was one beautiful girl.
I shrugged and remember thinking I wish I knew how to make the sadness from their eyes go away.
At this point my husband and I got ready to leave.
My husband asked for the check.
The waiter came and handed it to us.
Though before he let go of the brown leather folder that held the bill inside he said,
“The gentlemen and his daughter that have just left have paid for your bill. He said his daughter wanted to gift this to you both for your anniversary because the two of them thought you were such a nice young couple.”
My husband and I literally gawked at him.
We could not believe it!
When my husband and I opened the leather folder with the paid check, there was a little crunched up paper on top of everything.
It was written in ink:
“Love is everything. Don’t ever let money or the lack thereof dictate the happiness you can share between the both of you.
A kind stranger and his daughter.”
What a keen observer. What a sweet little girl. What a great lesson.
P.s.: I wish I still had that note. However, sadly, I lost it during our last move. Regardless, I will never forget the kindness that this one family bestowed upon my husband and I and every time we hear about or notice a couple that is celebrating their anniversary, we try and give back through little acts of kindness <3.
Or, how I quit my corporate job in 2015 at the age of 27 with $7,000 in my bank account, NO clue how to start an online business or make money online and had only 3 months to figure it out until I’d run out of savings.
And figure it out, I did. Read on…
To tell you my whole story, I’d probably have to go back a few years.
It started in college when I studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea. I took a few technology entrepreneurship and international management classes. Inspired by one of my professors, I started a blog.
My goal was to interview entrepreneurs. It quickly turned into a lifestyle blog. I was never able to really figure out how to monetize my efforts though.
So, it was more of a hobby. Regardless, it was back then, when my softly blossoming entrepreneur buds started to originate from.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself in a corporate job as an operations manager at an international corporation.
Okay, it wasn’t my awesome peeps that I worked alongside with that made my corporate job miserable.
Instead, it was the sheer monotony of it.
The fact that I did not use anything at all that I studied and was passionate in (diplomacy and sociology) or, my other creative talents.
You see, I grew up playing the violin professionally all throughout high school.
Not only that, I graduated from a special Arts high school before moving to the U.S. to study.
I always thought that there was more to life.
I did not want to get stuck in a corporate job, pretty much having the same routine day in, day out.
I did not want someone else to be in control over my own time.
To me, being the boss of your own time means freedom.
Life is life, though. Plans don’t always work out.
There comes a time when it’s not just about those plans. It’s about your future and it’s about what purpose you decide your life will have (and has).
In other words, how do you want to spend your time?
For me, I knew I wanted to build a legacy.
I wanted to inspire people and wanted to help them break through form the constraints they impose upon themselves and live a life on their terms.
In other words and the only way you can do that is by figuring out what SKILLS and SKILL-SETS you already have (or that you’d love to develop), what innate talents/strengths and figure out how to package them in a way that they become valuable to the overall economy.
Understanding that and figuring that out for yourself will result in – you’ve guessed it, income.
Which, in turn, means you will never have to send out that resume again – hoping someone else will choose you and turn your life around.
Make the choice today to turn your life around.
It all comes down to that, a choice. And that is what I did.
So, I started scouting out freelancer websites upon a friend’s recommendation.
My favorite site that I used to experiment with the kind of value I could add to the economy and other businesses was Fiverr.
From when I first used it, it has changed and developed quite a lot.
However, throughout the next six months, I was able to replace the monthly income of my corporate job completely with the kind of money I earned from doing gigs on Fiverr.
First success, right?!
Side note: Yes, I do have a course on Fiverr and even wrote a book on the hacks I used to get those kinds of results. You can find out more about that here: https://fiverrwithfocus.com/welcomefwf
Now, once you get to a certain point, you quickly realize that you need to leave the mothership. It truly felt like that.
Though, I had hit a wall.
I realized that if I really wanted to start growing a successful business (and not only be a freelancer, which is totally fine if this is what you want. it all depends on what you want), I needed to start to figure out how to position myself outside of Fiverr.
So, that’s what I did next.
Once you start branding yourself and positioning yourself correctly, it is pretty straight-forward how to get new business.
And after a ton of trial and error throughout the next few months, I developed a system for this as well.
Throughout the beginning and even nowadays, I get about 90% of my clients from being active on Facebook, without spending any money on paid advertising.
The next success!
Don’t get me wrong.
There was a LOT of trial and error involved. There still is. That never stops.
I had people tell me that I was, for example, crazy for ever offering services on Fiverr.
Though the thing is that if you have never before made real money online before to where you can imagine it completely replacing your regular ‘job income’, it’s hard to find the inner attitude and mentality to get and close new clients.
All in all, you have to figure out what works for you.
Though,most beginning business owners and entrepreneurs are either (or both):
(1) Sabotaging themselves because they do not think they have what it takes to live the laptop lifestyle so to speak.
I was the same.
Not only that, I did not know what to sell. Fiverr helped me figure this out without, for example, hiring an online business coach that would have charged me (rightly so) a few thousand dollars a month.
At that point, I was not ready to make that kind of investment.
Maybe I would have achieved my diverse small successes much faster if I had invested in a coach or program though.
What can I say? I can be a bit stubborn at times and want to figure things out on my own.
Nowadays, I’ve realized to not hold on and let go of my stubbornness much sooner. Thanks goodness ;).
(2) Overthinking things.
You can figure everything out.
Just take it one new information at a time.
No one has it all figured out at any given step in their journey.
That’s part of the mystery of life ;).
(3)Too slow when it comes to pivoting.
Yes, there is a difference between following every hottest new shiny object AND pivoting if something is truly not working.
I believe that every single person out there (and if you’re reading this you are certainly one of them), can create the life for themselves and their families that they always dreamed of.
You just got to take a chance on yourself.
If it does not feel right after you gave it your best shot, pivot and try something else.
Eventually, you’ll get there.
And some things which might be not right for you anymore tomorrow, are important and true and right in this very moment for you.
It is all an experience you have to go through to grow.
Don’t be afraid of trying.
Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there.
After all, what do you have to loose?
You can always go get another job.
If you have a job right now, you can skip going out with friends for Happy Hour and dedicate some hours during the week to start taking action towards your dreams.
Life can change A LOT in one year.
Heck, you CAN change your entire life in just 12 months!
Think about that.
When I first started, I still worked from a cubicle in an office doing the same thing every day.
12 months later, I developed into a business owner, traveled around the world with my husband and two dogs while loving the work I do for my students and awesome clients and intentionally, building my online empire.
You’ve got this!
Oh and don’t forget to spread the love and share this article on your social media if you’ve liked it <3.
But seriously, I’ve been sort of fretting this day for the past few months.
There is a lot of stigma that society puts on you for turning 30 – especially, as a woman.
Though little rebel that I am, I disregarded it as much as I could.
Instead, I wanted to focus on the things I was already able to learn in this life.
I love reading these types of posts that genuinely share another person’s experience with their readers.
So, in honor of my 30th birthday, here are 30 things I’ve had the honor to learn throughout my 30 years on this planet thus far.
Some of you might have already discovered them for yourself some, you might still experience, some might surprise you and some might make you laugh.
The term ‘success’ is subjective.Define it for yourself and don’t let anybody else’s definition of it define you.
Love isn’t easy. If you think it is, you won’t ever be in a long-term relationship. Love is raw and real, hard and beautiful at the same time.
If you’re trying to get somewhere by yourself – follow some goal – it will take you that much longer if you’re trying to do it all by yourself. It always takes a team effort to achieve any type of goal.
Take risks.Embrace the fear that you feel before taking them. It won’t ever get any easier. But, the discomfort will serve as a reminder that whatever awaits you on the other side of that risk, is worth experiencing.
Self-development is all about stretching those comfort zones. And damn, that can be hard. You will have to push yourself and it won’t ever get any easier either. However, you will develop stronger muscles to push through them. Practice. Don’t shy away from experiencing different things.
Time is an arbitrary concept. Turning 30 and looking at how far I’ve come in my life compared to how much further I thought I’d be at this point when I was mere 20 years old, made me realize that to achieve things faster, you have to fail faster. You have to take faster actions.The action does not have to be perfect, though you do need to take it.
Go through the process of elimination as fast as you can. There are SO many things in your 20s you think you want. You won’t know, unless you actually TRY them out. Say you think you want to become a digital nomad and travel the world, do it. Only then, will you realize if that lifestyle is something to strive for or, if you only want to experience it for a few months before settling down. Too many people spend a lot of time thinking they want something which they actually do not want, nor need.
Self-awareness can not be learned. Self-awareness needs to be practiced.You need to fill up your time here on earth with experiences to learn faster about the kind of person you are and who you truly want to become.
You can achieve anything in life if you stay focused on achieving it and continue to be consistent.Most people give up when it comes to the consistent part and because they seek instant gratification. Don’t. Realize that is is simple math. If you keep being consistent and make sure that you are making tiny progress every single day, there’s no way you wouldn’t get where you truly want to go.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It never is. Because you are you and you are unique in your experience of how you see the world. As such, the grass you are standing on right now is the only grass you should tend towards. Stop looking at other people’s grass’s 😉.
You can make a ton of money and still not be happy. Money does not equal happiness, nor the other way around. Money is just a tool, an energy, we use in this world. Knowing this, you want to make sure to find fulfillment and purpose through the kind of work that you do. Don’t do things just for the money. If you do, you will end up feeling depressed, unsatisfied and lost.
Don’t follow your passion. Passions light up fast but can blow out just as fast. Follow the things you love. Love is what matters in all things in life and business, not passion.
Practice not to make judgements based upon somebody’s appearance. Appearances can change and can be fake. There are many layers to a person. Focus more on learning about and uncovering those layers of a person than to judge them based upon their appearance.
Prioritize the things that are important in your life.There are so many things that will pull you in different directions and distract you. However, you will turn 30 and 40 and 50 much faster than you can possibly perceive right now. Be sure to make the most out of every day and make time for the things that are important to you.
Refrain from giving in to peer pressure if a situation doesn’t feel right to you.There’s no reason to do so and your true friends will respect your decision. Otherwise, you do not need those types of friends.
Have the courage to stand up whenever you witness or face injustice. We need way more people like this in this world.
Be kind. For if you are not, what purpose is there for being in this world?
Dieting sucks and there are so many different opinions on how you should eat and live your life. Everyone is different and unique. Figure out what feels right for you and your body after trying out different things. Do more of that. You are the only one occupying your body, you know deep down what’s best for you.
Do not push your opinions and truths onto other people.There are many truths. There is no point for that and it just takes away from the precious time that you do have in this world. If someone wants to learn more about your opinions and truths, they will ask you.
Life is tough. It is not easy, especially if you want more out of life. Don’t be scared of it. Don’t shy away from it. Jump head first into the wild ocean that is life and learn to swim.
The things that you are trying so hard to gain (if it is money, a romantic relationship, kids, etc.) are going to be too scared to come to you if you put too much pressure on obtaining them. Let things flow.
There are different story patterns that are pre-determined and woven throughout your life. You will understand them looking back. Don’t try to figure them out in advance. Stick to what you can control and have faith that you make the right decisions.
Chances are, you are severely underestimating yourself and the power that you have over changing your life (and other people’s lives) at any given moment in time. Believe in yourself more.Practice doing so.
It’s okay to feel blue, alone and down sometimes. I do too. Quite often actually. The important thing is to let those feelings run through you and acknowledge them. Don’t shy away from them. Accept them but do not let them define you. You still have control over the types of actions you set each day.
Life never works out the way you have initially planned and that’s how it’s supposed to be. There’s beauty in this mysterious uncertainty. Since you can’t control that, just relax into it.
99% of the things you worry about never happen.
If you’ve been having a tough day, the best way to relax is with a great glass of red wine (or two), a great smelling bath (hello essential oils and Lush bath bombs <3) and a fantastic fiction book or movie.
It’s important in life as well as business to pivot if things are just not working out.
It’s NEVER to late to change your life. I thought that because I would reach the 30 milestone and haven’t become a multi-millionaire yet, produced a movie or published several books, I was a failure. You are only a failure if you give up on yourself.Don’t ever do that! Even though you might be 40 or 50 or 80 already, there is still time to make different choices. Let’s do this!
Travel! Until this day, I can best connect with people who have traveled or lived in different countries (or states) before in their lives. Reason being is that they are some of the coolest people that I’ve ever met and some of the most tolerant. They understand how small our own very unique experiences are in comparison to how vast the world is. The more you get out of your own ‘bubble’ you live in, the more you realize what life is all about – whatever that is. Hey! I’m just 30 and still searching ;).
Thanks for reading and be sure to share this blog post if you’ve enjoyed it <3.
And How To Really Get Paid For Doing What You Love!
I’ve been super naive.
You see, when I was this young dreamy Pisces girl, growing up in Vienna, Austria,
My head in a book most of the time (romance novel that is *cough, cough*),
Heart in the clouds,
I thought that I would never do something in my entire life that I wasn’t truly passionate about.
I couldn’t have been more wrong for a number of reasons but to that later.
Fast forward a few years and I had the opportunity to make money from playing the violin professionally while growing up in Austria.
At first, it had been a blast.
Though, it was getting more and more in the way of my high-school studies.
The passion for music – as I was getting paid for it – seemed to become less colorful and it was eventually replaced by the desire to go travel the world; to fully experience what life was all about.
The thing I had not realized until that point was that passions change.
Yes, for some people there are passions that last a lifetime.
For many others, passions change quite frequently, or every few years.
As I am writing this, I am still figuring out why that is so in case you have an opinion about this, be sure to leave a comment down below ;).
Back to my story…
I made the hard decision to stop playing for money.
I cried on the day I quit playing the violin professionally and informed my teachers about it.
For years, I pondered about this decision. Though, would I be thrown back to this very point in time, I would probably do it all over again.
So, I concentrated on getting accepted to an American university and off I went, studying in Hawaii.
There, I realized another passion and talent of mine – writing. I set a new goal for my life – to become a published author of fiction books.
The thing that I do not even mention a many of my friends was that I failed.
I failed to become published and it stunk.
I wrote three entire novels and sent out hundreds of letters to literary agents and publishers.
None of them wanted to publish my novel.
I got one rejection after the next.
The more rejections I got, the further I found myself falling back into this dark whole of not knowing what to do with my life.
Maybe I should start to listen to my father who grew up quite poor during war-ravished Europe after World War 2 and went on to follow a strict corporate career path?
Maybe I should stop dreaming and start taking responsibility for my life?
And you know what?
It was then and there that I realized that even though, I was working and writing and trying to get an agent… I was not really taking responsibility over my life.
I expected something of life, rather than showing the world that I deserved to achieve my goals.
For many more years to come though, I fell back into the same cycle.
A cycle of trying to be responsible and taking on a corporate job to quitting said corporate job and working on living life on my own terms.
Regardless, it seemed like I could still not figure out how to get paid for something I was truly passionate about and it made me wonder about what ‘passion’ really means to us as humans.
My romantic heart started to slowly stop dreaming more and more.
I barely recognized the little girl and romantic teenager I once was.
My heart hardened. I became more angry at life!
Depression and anxiety set in.
The depression I think and the anxiety resulted out of this complete loss of identity.
You see, growing up my mom always encouraged my brother and I to dream bigger. To not be afraid to ask for the moon and the stars.
An orphan that nobody wanted, she was the complete opposite to my father. She desperately needed to dream to be able to survive.
The problem was that we still struggled financially growing up.
I asked myself, what was the purpose for me to ask for the moon and the stars and to dream about them, when those dreams don’t pay the bills?
After all, in this society and culture we live in, we need to make money to survive and to make a fairly decent living.
Yes, money is just a tool for the decisions we are able to make throughout our lives (big and small) but the older you get, the more you can’t help to measure your achievements based on the number in your bank account.
So, I continued to feel stuck and oh, so confused.
What was the next logical step for me?
I tried to be smart and figure out what skills I had that allowed me to add value to other people in exchange for money.
From doing random English-German translation work to teaching the violin, to doing some social media work and copywriting, dang, I did it all.
However, you see, the interesting thing about us humans is that just because we are good at something because we have developed certain skill sets with which we can add value to people and get paid for it in return is like DOPAMIN on steroids,
It does not necessarily mean that we are also in love with said transaction.
In other words, the passion subsides fast.
If you’ve ever been with a hot guy or gal just because you thought they were hot and wanted a quick fling… you know what I mean.
No way would you be able to build up a serious life-long relationship and commitment off of a fling.
This understanding and knowledge, however, did not translate for me into my professional life.
So here is where I got naive.
I thought that reaching the point in my adult life of where I only had to answer to myself (aka, the famous ‘be my own boss’ mentality) and not to some manager that is part of a big corporation, that it would make me satisfied.
Passionate with life.
Well, it did not.
Not all of it.
Because I often times focused so much on the hot guy or gal in the room that was great for a short fling when all I finally wanted was a long-term, meaningful and romance-novel-deep relationship.
Guess with what you can identify a ‘fling’ in the professional world?
Crazy, isn’t it?
So if you’re just going after the money and you are in it for the money for the money’s sake – boy, you’re doing it all wrong.
If, instead, you’re focused on building up the relationship, the money will come to you and just flow ;).
What a paradox, isn’t it?
But it’s true.
So, what should I have focused on?
I should have focused on the things that light me up inside;
That make me get out of bed in the morning;
That make my heart feel all giddy and intoxicated with purpose.
In my crusade to “be free”, I have yet again trapped myself a bit.
This was a realization that I have come upon this past year.
Now, I am making the intentional steps to move my business and my life step by step to something that I feel strongly about and committed to.
One of the things I use to help me do so is to be one hundred percent honest with myself, take weekly self-inventory and be as authentic as I can possibly be throughout my content creation and business operations.
That is the paradox of following your passions.
First, you need to identify a passion in regards to its level of ‘hotness’ and ‘long-term commitment capability’.
Sometimes, you just know before even acting upon a passion.
Other times, you have to act on it first to know.
There is no right and wrong answer ;).
Second, you have to become smart during the process of self-discovery so to speak.
In order to fully discover yourself, I found out that you have to forget about purely ‘making money’ while at the same time, managing your existing money in order to truly create that life of your dreams in the long-run.
I say, challenge accepted.
Regardless, I do believe that there is some truth to the statement that you should follow your passions.
Ultimately though what I think it comes down to is love in its purest forms.
Like I mentioned before in this article, passions so often times subside while when you truly love, you love forever <3.
In order to differentiate one from the other, we are in this constant state of discovery, identifying if we are lieing to ourselves in the ‘heat of the moment’ or, if certain endeavors are really true passions that we want to dedicate ourselves too.
One last realization I want to leave you with, just making a good income is not enough.
Trust me, I know.
There were (and still are) times I make a multiple 5-figure income per month and I still feel somewhat hollow inside.
So, I want to make a new commitment to myself.
And that commitment can be summed up in two words:
Let me know your thoughts about this topic in the comments down below.
I can’t wait to chat more about this with you <3.
P.s.: You might also like: https://corneliapauline.com/2018/02/14/people-succeed-life-others-dont/
Afterwards, continue to ask yourself – always – if your content:
Would I stop doing what I was doing and click on this post?
Does it communicate the right value to the right kinds of people?
Does my content serve a clear purpose?
If you make sure you can answer all of these three questions with a big, “YES!” before publishing your next content piece, you are one more step in the right direction of making your content work for you.
(2) Talk TO them.
Have you ever noticed how much content out there just talks AT us instead of TO us?
There is a major difference right there.
Having the writer of a piece of content talk AT me, almost makes me feel like being back in college.
Though, not only that, it also is a bit predictable.
The writer is playing it safe.
How to change that?
Well, you can do it like I am doing it right now. I’m literally imagining you, sitting right across from me, sipping on an Espresso as well (or whatever other type of coffee drink you prefer) while I am having this CONVERSATION with you about content.
I am talking TO you and not at you.
See the difference?
You can find more tips on this particular point, in this article:
Don’t think you have to appear as if you always have it together.
That actually turns people off.
Instead, work on sharing sometimes the not-so-nice things about your business or day that might be happening to you.
Careful though, you never want to sound negative, whinie or complain. This is just to share a glimpse into your life that might not be all perfect.
Think about any influencer out there that you know and how they do the same?
If it is about missing a flight to get to a conference, having a car tire blow up, a laptop stops working, etc.
This is what makes life, life.
People want to feel this from you so they can relate to your digital persona.
(4) Inject your content with heart.
People can tell if you’re being fake.
They can’t always pinpoint exactly how you might be fake but your audience has an innate sense for it.
The same goes for authenticity and vulnerability.
Your audience can feel it.
Great content has almost like a beating, living heart to it.
The more you improve your skills by writing content daily, the better you get at faster crafting that emotional connection to your audience and getting them to react.
(5) Hello story structure!
You’ve probably heard that every good story that has ever been written has:
And an end.
There’s no way around it.
It’s as natural of a progression as life itself is with birth, life and death.
As a result and even, if you decide to break any other rule out there.
You want to follow this one rule at least.
Every piece of content (no matter how long or short) should have a killer intro, a great and catchy body and a smart conclusion.
Start writing ;).
Whenever I write content, I constantly ask myself how to make this more ‘different‘.
How to even make it a bit weird?
Not in a weird sense ;).
But, in a way that makes people stop and get curious.
I like to inspire curiosity through my work online and on different media platforms.
I encourage you to do the same.
There is such a pure joy in entertaining a person through the kind of content you create.
Oh, and don’t think it has to be crazy or over-the-top.
It can be very subtle.
In the way, you structure your sentences (just like I am doing here to get a point across ^^).
Or, in the way you connect an image with your text.
How you switch off locations for your video or try and dance before going on a Facebook Live.
Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to be bold and daring.
(7) Look at the numbers.
Now this one’s going to be a hard one to swallow if you see yourself as a total creative (a bit like me *I admit it*).
But – chances are – that if you’re reading this blog article right now, you are in the content creation business for a reason.
You are either looking to increase your visibility for yourself or for your business online.
You seek to establish yourself as an expert.
You want to share your wealth of knowledge and serve your audience at a larger scale.
Whatever it is, understand that you have to still look at the numbers.
Now, what do I really mean by that?
I am referring to looking at statistics.
For example, if you run a Facebook Group (like I do and you can request free access to join mine here), you want to regularly (I’d recommend even daily at the beginning) to look at ‘GROUP INSIGHTS’.
There, you will find when and on what days your audience engages with your posts the most.
You can find similar analytics and data insight options for all kinds of different other social media distribution channels.
The numbers will teach you what often times your ego wont allow you to accept.
That some posts simply always perform better with your audience than others.
Dissect what works.
Do more of that and you’re going to do just fine.
(8) Stop looking for answers.
There are so many entrepreneurs, business owners and aspiring influencers out there who are trying to get information from other influencers and successful business owners and entrepreneurs about what type of content distribution works for them.
I say, screw that!
Yes, of course, analyze your heroes and sheroes and see, if you can’t find commonalities between the work that they put out there, specifically in terms of the content they publish.
However, at one point, you just have to jump out of the airplane and trust that your parachute will open.
Because, it will!
As long as you follow all of my other steps in this article, you are going to be fine.
At one point, you just have to do it and you can not wait for anyone else to do it for you.
You are in control of how you are being perceived online.
A big part of how you are being perceived online is through the content you produce on a regular basis.
Stop waiting and trying to get answers from coaches, influencers, etc. about when and how and what you should post.
I’ve always been a fan of, “Just do it.”
(9) The over-thinker.
You are still with me at this point.
However, a tiny part at the left corner of your heart still whispers to you,
“I just don’t know what to write about most of the time!”
Well, dear reader, at this point I recommend visiting the content sourcing platform, buzzsumo.com
You can search for any keyword you like.
For example, I love looking for “news,” “small business,” “entrepreneurship,” “marketing,” and a few more.
Depending on your industry, these will vary a bunch.
What is going to stay the same is that you now have access to a database that will show you the most trending and engaging topics on the world wide web as of that moment you hit enter on that search term.
Have fun and don’t forget to create and not just consume.
(10) Serve on a massive level.
Don’t just half-ass it.
Don’t just have that attitude that things are just going to come to you.
Sure, the law of attraction is important.
However, it is not if you let the control over your life go to that believe.
You are the creator of your life.
Just as you are the creator of your content.
Put your whole heart into your content.
Serve people on a massive level that they have never seen from you before.
Then, do it again.
That’s the kind of attitude I am talking about.
If you are ready to crank up that content game say, “HECK YES!” in the comments down below and let’s disrupt the digital world.
2017, I have to say I’ve been quite in love with you <3.
However, you’ve also been a year during which I’ve learned a few of the most important life lessons yet.
Let me share a couple of the most important mistakes as well as take-aways that this adventurous year has brought with itself:
💡 You don’t always know what you want unless you try it.
I could have also titled this one as, “life consists of different seasons.”
When you get older, there are different things that are important to you than when you, for example, start college.
As a result, I thought that what I truly desperately wanted at the beginning of 2017 was to travel the world.
Don’t get me wrong.
I STILL want to travel.
I IS one of my biggest passions in life.
However, I realized that after coming back from a 3-month Europe and South Korea trip, what I wanted EVEN more than traveling the world was…
To build a legacy of my own.
I always felt that I was meant for more than dying a slow, potentially very uninspiring, corporate death.
That was one of the reasons I got into entrepreneurship.
I almost felt called upon to do so.
I’m an entrepreneur, an artist and creator to my very core.
It was important for me to travel to find out that this is not what I would want to be doing my entire life… so, in essence, to be a digital nomad.
Because I truly believe especially after the experiences of this year, that you need to set roots in order to let that legacy blossom and bloom.
You need to focus.
You need, most importantly, time.
As much time as can get in a day.
You need to look to multiply said time.
So that you truly can grow to your full potential and positively, touch as many people as you can throughout your lifetime.
When you decide to travel the world instead,
You continuously are looking for flight connections, hotels or AirBnBs to stay at, you want to reserve time for sight-seeing, you are dealing with jet leg and more.
What I decided I want to do is to find a better balance with more of a focus on building a legacy while reserving time to travel ;).
And this brings me to my next point…
💡 Instant gratification will only take you so far.
Oh, we truly live in a world where instant gratification is available to us where we look!
One thing that I am struggling with is to resist that call for instant gratification…
If it is focusing on the long-term vision for my life and sacrificing small joys in order to reach my goals,
If it means stop traveling for the moment in order to take my business to the next level and build that legacy,
If it means not spending all my revenue on like clothes or concert tickets, etc. but instead invest it right back into my business to further grow it…
I’ve learned way more in this year than any other to focus on opportunity costs.
I hope you are able to do the same.
Life is made up of small moments.
Each and every decision you make at any small moment (for example, am I going to pick a vegetable bowl over fried chicken and fries for lunch) is going to decide your future.
You are this powerful.
💡 Don’t spend more than you earn.
And yes, this has also somewhat to do with instant gratification.
After talking to quite a few entrepreneurs and business owners this past year (as well as people actually in general), I’ve become aware of the fact of how little people are skilled at managing their money.
Heck, me included.
I would say that both of my parents had a completely opposite view on money – an unhealthly one – and so, I have never learned or adopted smart skills around money.
It does not matter if you make $500/month, $2,000/month, $20,000/month, heck – even $250,000/month in profit.
If you are not putting focus on budgeting and managing your money, you are going to end up spending more than you earn.
And it is very easy to spend a lot of money fast ;).
You probably have a few ideas on your own.
So, the main mistake I have made is that I could have saved up and invested a lot more money from all of the money I have made in 2017 than I have in my accounts at the moment.
Yes, it hurts.
And yes, it’s slightly embarrassing to reveal this.
However, I want to shed some light on it because I think there needs to be a LOT more talk on this topic.
I have met a few entrepreneurs these past few months who’s business makes multiple 7-figure revenues.
However, they themselves, are still struggling to get by each month because of all of their expenses.
Anyway, I’m definitely thinking of writing a separate blog post on this topic and talk a bit more about about my own experiences so if you would be interested in that, just drop a comment down below and let me know.
💡 Stop caring so much about what other people do or think.
I am a nice person.
I like people and generally, I’m a very likeable person myself.
However, when you start reaching a certain level in your business – you inevitable are drawing to you some unpleasant characters or you are even going to piss some people off.
It’s truly inevitable and I am still a bit taken aback by how true this is.
It’s like so many things in life.
You keep hearing about some things but you don’t really want to believe it until you have been experiencing it yourself.
I think this is one of my biggest lessons for 2017 and one I am still going to be taking into 2018.
To stop giving so much about what some people think.
And to stop also focusing on what other people in my industry are doing.
After all, you should be first and foremost concentrating on improving yourself as well as your business.
So if there is one major take-away I can give you it is that consuming content from like influencers, experts, ‘celebrities’, etc. in your industry – ONLY goes so far.
At one point or another you have to shut off all of the noise and just start CREATING.
Put yourself out there, the real you with all of its angles and curves.
💡 Celebrate those sleepless nights.
Growing up, I slept like a marmot.
Cute little suckers, aren’t they :)?
The older I get though, the more I seem to suffer from insomnia.
I lot of other entrepreneurs and business owners do too.
I usually got all panicky when I experienced those.
It seems so… unlike me.
Though this year, I have been trying to embrace them whenever they came.
This year, whenever I experienced a sleepless night,
I wouldn’t just lay awake.
Instead, I got up and out of bed and got to work.
To me, I’ve started seeing that there is a reason to why I could not sleep.
There most often is.
And guess what competes insomnia the most in my opinion?
Taking consistent action.
It quiets the demons.
The further I get in my business, the more strategic I have to be about how my use my time as well as the actions I take.
What moves the needle the most?
What action will have the most impact?
These are questions constantly playing in my head.
And they probably always will.
💡 Stories sell.
Finally, if there is one thing that I’ve come to learn throughout 2017 it is that stories truly sell.
Not only that, if you are open and honest about the way you are telling the stories of your business and life online,
Structure them accordingly,
And publish them on the correct social media platforms,
They can have the power to propel your business to unforeseen spheres.
Since experiencing this myself,
And since working with a few new awesome clients on increasing their visibility,
Upping their sales and revenue game as well as brand awareness through the kind of stories they publish on social media,
I have been playing around with the idea,
On creating a new digital program around just that (and more!).
If this would be something you are interested din and would love to me develop in 2018,
Let me know in the comments down below.
So now, that we’ve got this out of the way…
I wanted to share a bit more abut my 2017 highlights as well:
<3 Trip To South Korea.
I’ve missed Seoul SO much since studying abroad in South Korea about 4 years ago.
I’ve been dreaming to go back, to revisit Yonsei University (my old school), go to all of my favorite places, see my lovely friends again that live there as well as attend the wedding of one of my fellow exchange students ;).
It was a blast and it brought up many memories.Things that I wanted to achieve, things that I have achieved but haven’t thought of doing while I was there.
Friends that I have stayed in touch with and others, not so much because our lives have developed so differently.
Feelings I’ve had and how different my impressions of Seoul were only 4 short years after.
Accepting and adopting to change.
What a beautiful trip and I will be back soon.
<3 Celebrate my 10-year wedding anniversary together with my husband.
I got married when I was just 19 years old.
Not many people know this of me.
It is actually not something I like to advertise.
For years I have received the oddest questions to the fact that my husband and I got married so young.
We are not religious or anything like that.
We did not get pregnant by surprise as teenagers.
We just fell in love.
And it was a powerful deep love.
A love that freaked me out from the first moment it caught a hold of me.
I still remember it to this very day.
Take me back to this moment all those years ago,
Heck! A decade!
And I still would end up making the same choice :).
<3 Going on a trip through Europe with some dear friends of mine.
When you are an adult and especially one that runs a business, you do not have that much time available.
Most entrepreneurs and business owners know that.
So, reserving some time for social activities and simply, to hang out with friends becomes vital.
Friendship, just like anything else in life, requires work.
It does not just happen or is maintained on its own.
You have to put a focus on it.
Stay in touch.
Land a helping hand.
Let us all connect with the people we love in 2018 a bit more.
<3 Believe in the kindness of strangers.
If you’ve followed me on my Facebook Page or Instagram, you know that I have lost my laptop on a train in Poland.
It was an overnight train at that and well, I just forgot it after not sleeping the night before.
Note to self: Never take an overnight train again lol!
So, after receiving some help from my dear Polish friend Aga and lots and lots of patience,
I had my arms around my laptop again in no time :).
Yes, it hadn’t been sold or taken apart as I had feared,
But I received my fairly new MacBook back from the train staff, exactly how I had left it.
Miracles do exist!
<3 Spend some quality time in Austria.
Oh, how I love my home country!
It’s filled with rolling hills, endless fields, flowy rivers, still lakes as well as romantic European cities and cute traditional villages.
Since I built up a digital service-based business as well as this blog, I have been able to fully be in control over my own time.
I am able to work from wherever I please and that, to me, is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.
Even though, I am not going to be traveling as much this next year (because as you’ve read I am focused on building my legacy hehe), I still love to know I have the freedom to go back any time I please <3.
And do you know what makes my time in Austria always sweeter? Visiting my cute little niece.
<3 Starting this blog.
I love to write…
And this is finally something that I have decided I am going to be doing a whole lot more of in 2018.
AND, teaching my clients and students how to do the same to effectively create a life and long-term, sustainable business that they love.
Watch out for an innovative new program on social media and content marketing coming to you in 2018.
Note: Be sure to subscribe to this blog to be the first one to receive future updates <3.
<3 Hitting a new revenue goal in my business.
Finally, my team and I were able to break the $20,000/month mark in revenue.
My goal in 2017 was definitely to surpass the 5-figure income/month mark and I feel pretty dang good that we were able to get this far.
Now on to passing that 7-figure revenue mark in 2018.
I get this question asked a lot by business owners, entrepreneurs as well as my clients.
“Cornelia, I just don’t know what to write about! I sit down and stare at my laptop and nothing funny or interesting comes to my mind that I could write about and publish on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter (or fill-in-the-blank).”
The thing is, if you’ve already gotten to the point of where you have to ask yourself what to write about…
Two things are happening:
You’ve been waiting too long.
Chances are that you have gotten some inspiration throughout the day or even the past week.
You have just disregarded it and when, well… life happened – you forgot about it.
I have an app on my Samsung Galaxy, called ‘Keep‘.
Every time I have an interesting experience throughout the day, I read a book or article or something that inspires me, I have a conversation with a client or a friend that I can share with my Facebook Group or email list, I make a quick note of it.
I have different folders for different social media platforms.
Every time I get an idea, I make sure to at least write it down.
Even one sentence to sum up the idea is enough. A few key words that will help you remember. A potential headline. Such as this one actually.
And guess what?
The interesting thing is that the more you do it, the more ideas will just come to you.
Think of it as being open to them.
Like people who, for example, like children or dogs. Children and dogs naturally flock to that kind of person because they can feel that they are immediately welcome.
It’s the same for creativeness.
You have to make sure to open yourself up and being on the receiving end of it so that you can capture it in the moment.
You’re being lazy.
Nothing in life can be mastered just thinking about it.
Stop with the excuses.
You will have to eventually sit your sweet buttocks down and start creating that Facebook post or that Linkedin article or whatever it is!
And that is the hard part; the most challenging one.
The starting of it.
Once you’ve started, things usually just start rolling.
All it takes for you at the end of finishing up a piece of content, is to edit it to your heart’s content.
Chances are that if you are not at that level of content distribution yet that you wish you would have gotten to already, you are overthinking things.
Don’t get me wrong.
It’s good to think while you are creating a piece of content. After all, you want your publication to be helpful and valuable and plain old, juicy good ;).
Though, you do not want to overthink it.
Trust the creative process.
You see, perfection is boring.
It’s from the little mistakes that we make whenever publishing something that we not only learn from them, but that we also present ourselves as uniquelyhuman to our audience.
Your tribe most likely does not care about perfectly composed literature.
They do care about seeing you take action.
Action propels others to take action.
I hope I am able to have you motivated to take action right now.
Start by recording your thoughts, your conversations and funny occurrences that happen on a day to day basis in your life.
How are these things applicable towards your business? How can other people relate to them and what made you remember them? You will find that you almost always have answers to these questions.
If you don’t, you might want to choose a different topic or story to write about or simply write what it is that you know.
That is the last thing I wanted to leave you with… One thing, one of my favorite writing teachers in college taught me:
“Write about what you know.”
Which, in essence, means that you want to write about things that you know to be true. As such, they can be true and relatable to a certain tribe of people and to some others, not at all.
And that’s okay.
You do not need your content to be liked by every single humanbeing on the planet!
Because what it is that you do is not ‘true’ or important to every single person around the globe. There are people dealing with different things in their unique lives at any given point in time.
Your only job should be to write about what it is that you see as the truth in that moment, what you have learned to be true through experiences, hard work and self-discovery.
The right people for you – also known as your ideal fans or clients or customers – will respond to your published content and like you so much for it.