BULLieve it and you can ACHIEVE it! Lessons learned in building my business
We are excited to share this inspiring story by one of our biggest supporters and friends, Sheila Amir, on how she grew her business. Over the past few months, we have consulted with her to financially grow her business and she has secured two major backers! Sheila is hosting her own "Dur-Gram Social Media Workshop" on March 24th @ Little Dipper Fondue Durham. Check it out to learn how to grow and monetize your business using social media!
Ooftha. To say I’ve learned a lot since starting my first business 8 years ago would be an understatement. I think the greatest lesson lies in the how and why I initially became self-employed.
Show Up For Yourself Every Blessed Day
Today it comes as a surprise to many why I became self-employed in the first place. No one else would hire me. I moved back to my former-hometown after college and getting all the degrees - I mean all the degrees. It took 3 colleges and 6 years to get 4 degrees: Biology, Pre-Med, Nutrition and Dietetics.
By the time I begrudgingly showed back up on my parents’ doorstep, I was $50,000 smarter and felt that special “just-out-of-college” delusional type of hopeful. I legit thought my stint in the guest bedroom would be 2 weeks tops, inclusive of a 1 week decompression. Like I said, just-out-of-college delusionally hopeful.
I spent months applying for jobs and slowly losing my wild-eye wonder. Somehow, despite everything, I held onto a deep belief in my purpose - to help others through health education. After a few months of working a “just for now job,” I scored a job using my degrees and got my tookas, dog and belongings out of my parents house as fast as possible.
Two years later the clinic where I worked closed with little notice. I realized the stability of government jobs wasn’t always true.
Oh hey square one. Long time, no see.
In a cocktail of desperation and determination I started my own business to bring in funds until I found full time employment. I had no idea how to run a business or that being a business owner now made me “over-qualified” for every job I applied to. What I did know is that if the sun’s up, it’s time to show up. There are many times in my life when no one showed up for me, but I have and always will show up for myself every day that ends in ‘y.’
Turns out when you show up, others follow suit and start to show up.
Confidence Is Not What You Think It Is
Every single struggle I have had in business is because I lacked confidence. And where there isn’t confidence you find all sorts of boastful pride. I was too damn proud to ask for help when I needed it. I felt stupid for not magically knowing how to start a business, every business law possible, wtf scalable meant or how to keep a business running.
How did that work out for me?
Well… I got real skinny and bitter. So, not too well.
Confidence is being able to admit you don’t know it all and move forward anyways. Ask the questions whether they’re stupid or not. And they’re not going to be stupid. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of stupid questions being asked out there, but generally not in reference to business.
Confidence is being willing to get uncomfortable or look stupid in an effort to live your best life possible. And it is the difference between a good life or a life never lived, personally or professionally.
I highly recommend Mel Robbins’ book “The 5 Second Rule.” It’s all about how acts of everyday courage build an incredible life using your full potential.
Also remember that your success, however you define it, is directly correlated to the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have.
Law of Averages
Growing up in a Persian household, which my fam strangely doesn’t like being called, “Growing Up Gawdy,” we had a lot different life lessons than the other kids. All were nature related. As I got older I realized that most of these lessons were the Persian version of American truth sprinkles.
The adage that completely changed my game, once it sunk in 3 decades later, was, “You’re no better than the company at your table.” See this analogy went back to food, which goes back to the garden, which goes back to nature.
Turns out this is true. Studies have shown that your income is the average of the 5 people you hangout with the most. So… this leads to some awkward realizations and moments. Here’s the thing, you can be a honey covered ant magnet, but that’s not going to pay the bills.
It’s uncouth to roam the streets of your city asking people how much money they make as a means of making friends and it’s a real lousy move to unfriend people based on income. What you can do is focus on you and improving yourself. The more you invest in yourself, the more your circle of friends naturally change.
I picked 5 self-made million and billionaires to be my digital friends. Judge all you want, but this completely changed my income, my living situation, my inner-circle and my outlook on life. I listened to their books, I watched videos of them on YouTube and got up to date with their podcasts. If available, I took their online courses. This group of 5 has changed, sometimes expanding and contracting, but I have consistently started my day with a digital friend who inspires me… usually Oprah, because Oprah.
My circle of friends IRL changed as a result of this and so did my interaction with business associates. I’m currently deep into a project that entails interviewing nearly 200 inspirational people from many walks of life. A project I conceptualized, started from nothing and brought into fruition BIG time.
What’s more, I just pitched for financial backing for the first time in my life for said project. Those pitches turned into home run hits. With 2 successful pitches under my belt, I’m ready to go for another home run.
Less than a month ago I had no idea how to pitch. I also wondered, “Who the hell am I to ask someone to pay for my big idea?” I’m now surrounded by friends and colleagues who say, “Who the hell are you not to?”
If Your the Boss then Be the Boss
I knew I was going to be a writer from the age of 8 when I overheard my mom tell my teacher, “I think She will be a great author someday.” Once I did the whole college thing I felt pigeon-holed into exclusively writing health and nutrition content. Once I stepped out of the clinical setting and moved exclusively to writing and presenting, I continued this by carrying the title of health and nutrition writer.
Everything I wrote outside of that niche was for fun. I never thought of monetizing it or sharing it with the world as I was a health and nutrition writer. Heaven forbid I have more depth.
And then one day I wrote my first self-improvement article, got it published with EliteDaily.com and watched it go viral. Slowly a mental shift began to occur. I tried sticking with it as being a mental health article and mental health falls under health and all health goes back to nutrition.
"I wrote my first self-improvement article... and watched it go viral."
Oh, the time and energy we expend on staying small instead of growing.
This kept happening. I kept writing what brought me joy and helped others. It kept going viral and more opportunities started to open up. Next thing I knew I wrote a little something-something for my beau at the time. Definitely not for mass consumption! The fire for being a writer was already burning, no need for a spark. That particular 14 page diddly was gasoline to the fire.
Next thing I knew I wrote my first novel. It took less than 4 months, mostly because I spent every minute I could running away with it. I was too immersed in the process to realize what was happening. I was becoming the one thing I had always wanted to be… well other than 5’10”. I was becoming a writer.
The moment the first draft of the novel was done. I set the laptop down and promoted myself to the supreme position of “writer.”
That promotion busted open the doors of opportunity. I’m not only one of the most sought out health and nutrition writers in the US, I’m also writing a living history book my entire community is excited to read, “The Bulls of Durham.”
Lesson learned: keep it simple and own it!
I’d far rather run with the bulls than be pigeon-holed.