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  • Jeannie Doherty

The Entrepreneur's Journey

In today's post, I want to talk to you about the entrepreneur's journey, which is the journey that you've chosen to take if you work for yourself. And, I want to talk to you about what that means, and how you can deal with the rollercoaster that it can be – and rather than letting it take you so much on the highs and lows, how you can understand more about what's going on, and how it compares to the journey you haven't chosen, which is to work in a job.

We'll then wrap it all up with how you can use what you learn today to actually do better in your practice, and also do better in your life. That is, to be less stressed, to have less of the ups and downs, and to feel less of the things that I sometimes see in the members of my Transformation Program over The Strategic Bookkeeper.

the entrepreneur's journey

When I see and feel my program members go through the ups and downs, I really think that understanding the entrepreneur's journey that they have chosen, that we have chosen (and all the wonderful benefits and why we did it) – when you understand that, then it's going to really help you to avoid those lows.

I love to say that there are three real big moving parts to success in business, and they are

mechanics, mindset, and productivity.

Mechanics being the stuff you've got to do, and all the things that you've got to do to run your business. Rules of the game.

Mindset, that even if you've given all the mechanics, unless you can master your mindset, everything can tend to fall apart. And honestly, I can give two people the same mechanics, the same great toolkit, and one will have success and one won't.

And in terms of productivity, it's really important as an entrepreneur to time smith. People often say to me, Jeannie, oh my goodness, how the hell do you get so much done? And I've been asked that so much lately that I kind of reflected myself, and it's back to mechanics, mindset, and productivity.

With mechanics, I'm really big on the 5% that does 95%. I don't do all the things. Mindset – I do really well around mindset. And when it comes to productivity, well, back to that: I do the 5% activities.

I'm very, very efficient. I live by a lot of productivity rules, including Atomic Habits and The Science of When. But again, I'm also really good at not doing things when it comes to productivity.

I say no to a lot, and I do not do activities that only give me a 5% result.

In terms of the entrepreneur's journey, it's absolutely a rollercoaster. And what I've observed in my program members who are all over the world and who I'm very close with in a private Facebook group, when they do open hearts and open minds and share freely how they're feeling, I notice the highs and the lows. I notice that all of them, with no exception, go through these highs of I'm getting winds, I'm feeling great. And then the lows that come with something's gone wrong, maybe there's like, they might call it an emergency.

I see them go through these highs and lows regardless of who they are, regardless of whether they're one of my really high achievers, or they're a bookkeeper who's a little more slow and steady – they all tend to go through these. And as I looked and observed and listened, I thought to myself, I think part of what's happening here is that all of us start out in life working in a job.

Most of us that traditionally grew up, we all ended up getting a job. We worked in a job for a very long time, and most of us for maybe a couple of decades or at least a decade, before we ever became an entrepreneur.

We all worked in a job for a very, very, very, very long time, and so

our habits, what we know, and our mindset is around a job.

And so in terms of a job, we go to work, we get paid time for money. We get paid an hourly rate for the work that we do – we don't get paid for outcomes, we get paid for hours. Sure, outcomes are expected, but we're getting paid for hours. We clock in, we clock out.

We're expected to be there at a certain time. We are accountable to someone, whether that's the owner of the business or a manager or whoever. There's someone over and above us. We don't own the business. And at the end of the day, when we leave and we go home, we leave our job behind regardless of the amount of responsibility you have.

And let me tell you right now, I have had so much responsibility in jobs before, but I know as an entrepreneur, there is no comparing what it is in your own business to what it was like when you had a job.

So at the end of the day, you go home – if their business burns down, it's not really you that's impacted. All the risk sits with the business owner or the shareholders or whoever. And in that job, you get the same pay every week. So that is certainty.

There's a lot of structure, certainty is very high, and the risk is very low.

You're getting the same pay all the time, you get four weeks annual leave. If you're in Australia, for example, if you're sick, you have sick pay.

Now, my idea here is that this is ingrained in your mind. You've been doing this for a long time – this is what you got used to, and then you go on to be an entrepreneur.

Now, whether you've been an entrepreneur for five minutes, five years, or 15 years, the entrepreneur's journey, compared to a job, is high risk. Entrepreneurs carry lots and lots of risk. It is far less certainty.

You've got uncertainty, you've got lots of risk, and there's no one above you.

You are wholly and solely responsible for everyone. You can't abdicate all the responsibilities lie with you. You have to be a leader. You have to be a manager. The buck stops with you. Every fail is your fault. Every win is your fault.

I would say that being in a job is kind of being on a train, going at a regular speed, easy peasy. And being an entrepreneur is like a roller coaster.

And when I see my beautiful bookkeepers and business owners alike get down in the dumps and have what I call doona days, I honestly think that it's linked to them wanting the things or craving the things that come with the job.

What I think would be really helpful in terms of our mindset is if we stopped for a minute and we kind of said, okay, imagine that the job is kind of like France. So the job is going to France, and France is beautiful, and being an entrepreneur is like Italy. And Italy is gorgeous too, but they're two very different destinations and there's no point being in Italy and pining for France, you might as well enjoy Italy. That is one way of looking at it.

But the other way of looking at it is simply that when you have the rollercoaster of the uncertainty and all these things, when you get down about it,

stop, take a breath and remind yourself,

this is the entrepreneur's journey and it's the journey that I chose.

Remind yourself of why you chose that journey, and how you get a whole lot of things that being in a job wouldn't give you. Because, I get that it is a roller coaster, and I get that it has ups and downs – I get that it requires a lot more effort mentally and physically than a job will ever demand of you. And so I want to share my experience of my own, my story of going into business for myself, the entrepreneur's journey.

I absolutely worked for other people, worked for my family, worked for lots of corporations, big and small. And when I was working in a job, I really did enjoy the parts of it. I had a job for a while, and then I went back to being an entrepreneur eventually. And in the break between my entrepreneurial journey where I went from entrepreneur to job, then back to entrepreneur, it was funny, I guess I had experienced everything as an entrepreneur.

When I went back to a job, I was listening to everyone around me complain about all these things to do with their job. And all I could think is, this is awesome. I get to come to work and I just do a job – I get the same pay every week. And, I really enjoyed the benefits while I had it because I had perspective that I always wanted to go back to being an entrepreneur. Because, the thing is, I just didn't like the boredom of working in a job.

I found the boredom, like, water torture. I had to be at work at a certain time. I was getting paid an hourly rate regardless of me having a much bigger impact on the organisation. I mean, generally, I was indispensable. Literally. It was like, if anything happens to Jeannie, this place is going to fall apart. But, it doesn't mean you get a whole lot more money for it. Not like if you create something in your own business – extraordinary, you get the financial rewards as well as the wonderful reward, the impact you're having on those you serve.

So when I was in a job, it was like, I get kind of really bored because I don't get to set my own challenges, like big challenges and solve big problems. And I would hunt out the challenges and the problems and I would solve them for other people, but I didn't get to set and solve the ones myself. And on the whole, regardless of how I really felt about decisions made by management, if I thought, that's ridiculous, I just kind of had to suck it up.

I remember once at a job where two people in a department showed me how they completed a task, and I burst out laughing and I said, I will not be doing it that way. And they just looked at me stony faced. I struggled with doing the inefficient. I wanted to do it my way. So these are the things that we don't get in a job – we don't get to do it our way.

We don't get to decide what time we go to work.

We don't get to decide what time we finish work.

We have to run at somebody else's schedule.

On the whole, we often don't get to create anything of our own, and that is a real human need to build and to create.

And when we choose the entrepreneur's journey, we're choosing all these things. Ask most people, why did you go into business for yourself? Well, they were really good technicians. They wanted to be rewarded for their effort.

They wanted freedom and flexibility to decide when they worked,

and they wanted financial rewards.

And so when we become an entrepreneur, I know that those things aren't there instantly, and they are not always there all the time. The entrepreneur's journey is, it can be ups and downs, it can be risk, and it can be really hard work. For a while there, we might find ourselves working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and we think, hang on a sec, I'm working longer hours than I was in a job.

When the ups and downs happen, when you are dealing with all of this, here's what I want you to remember. If, like me, when I was actually launching my passion project this year, The Strategic Bookkeeper – the entire project, my book, my podcast, my program – off the back of 14 years in business, in my bookkeeping practice, I worked 12 hours a day. I worked seven days a week. I missed out on all my favourite Latin dance events.

I made sacrifices and none of it got me down, because number one, I'm not afraid of hard work. Number two, when friends kind of said, you can't work that hard, I thought, they don't get it. They work in jobs.

And me, I'm not really working.

I'm building. I'm creating. I'm investing in something that is going to have an impact on people's lives and have an impact on my life financially and by way of purpose.

So as an entrepreneur, when you have the ups and downs, and I absolutely have the massive ups as well, but I've actually learned to kind of cool them down because when we have big wins, it's great. But I think, the journey is what I love the most.

I remember when I launched, after 15 years of wanting to do this, in the end, the launch, it was great. It was exciting for the team, but it's the journey, and it will always be the journey.

So when you have the ups and downs, when you have to work harder, when you've maybe got to work in a job and you've got to go and build your business as well, no matter what you've got to do, no matter what hours you've got to work, keep in mind that successful entrepreneurs, my friends—

they do the things that others won't.

You need to go the extra mile.

You need to be prepared to put in the hard work and the long work to reap the rewards.

When I work seven days, 12 hours a day in the middle of this year with Covid, with the flu, when I kept going... The last couple of weeks, I've worked a day here and there, go on holidays, spend time with my child, do whatever I want, and then I'll put in the work when necessary.

I love that, and I'm okay with that.

So when you have the ups and downs, I really want you to pause for a minute and think about the journey that you've chosen, and be okay with the pros and the cons.

If you are in Italy, the entrepreneur's journey, and you've decided, I really, really, really would rather be in France, fly to France, go and get a job, nothing's stopping you. You could jump online, you can get a job, and you can enjoy the benefits of low risk and high certainty and all of that thing, if you are prepared to cop all the cons that come with a job.

The key takeaway I want for you here is I really want this to be about helping you to minimise the highs and the lows, and to really dive into the science and art of what you've chosen here.

You've chosen the entrepreneur's journey.

When it gets hard, dig in, grit your teeth.

Celebrate wins, because every win is yours to celebrate, and every loss is yours to accept. You are wholly and solely responsible for the success.

And when things go wrong, it's up to us to say, everything in my business is my fault. Grit your teeth, work hard, and work smart. Don't make excuses – go out and find people like me who can support you. We absolutely do that in for bookkeepers, and for entrepreneurs.

Stop making excuses.

Go out and get help.

Grit your teeth, keep pushing through.

Work hard until a point that you can work smart, until you can learn to scale, and scale your business just like I have done.

Working smarter rather than harder means doing less. Or, the same work for more impact, and more impact is more profitability, financial reward, and time reward for yourself and more impact on those you serve.

I really do hope that this blog helps you take a breath and remind yourself never again to complain in your own mind that you're not in France, because you've chosen to be in Italy – you've chosen the entrepreneur's journey. I want you to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly, because I want you to think this is where I wanted to be so that I am the master of my own destiny.

Now, that also means that sometimes, you just have to work hard and make hard decisions. I always say to my entrepreneurial clients, I won't necessarily ask you to work harder, I am 100% going to ask you to make harder decisions, and I know they're hard. I had to make a really hard one the other day, and I had to take my friend hat off and put my business hat on. These days, I'm black and white and linear. I play by the rules of the game and I play to win, which is something I've really embraced.

Business is very black and white. Especially when it comes to the administration of your business, which is leading, managing, delivery standard operating procedures, administration standard operating procedures – there is generally one way to do things in the backend.

I embraced just doing it the right way and never making excuses.

And I suggest you do too. I really do hope that this post has clarified why you might feel those highs and lows, feeling like, I don't have certainty. There's so much risk. Yeah, there is. Guess what? It's not going away.

You can minimise risk, you can increase certainty, but you've chosen the entrepreneur's journey, and it is a wonderful journey that I will remain on for the rest of my life, my friends. I think it is the most wonderful journey to embrace, to grit our teeth, to put in the hard work, to reap the rewards of the incredible business, the empires that we build, and to celebrate the impact that we have on people globally and their families.

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