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EP #99: How To Embrace Your Entrepreneurial Journey And Develop Resilience

Growing your business is never an easy road to take. Sometimes, it can be hard to see what’s ahead and feel like everything is taking too long. At this point, we start to doubt ourselves, feel left behind and wonder if we will ever make it. You are not alone. Hosts Dan Mendilow and Sophie Kessner share the same business struggles and experiences with you. While it’s easier just to leave it all behind, Dan and Sophie encourage you to embrace your entrepreneurial journey and develop resilience, sharing what it takes to really grow and scale your business and life. Don’t miss this episode to get valuable tips on how to develop the resilience, grit, determination, and commitment it takes to build a thriving business.

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How To Embrace Your Entrepreneurial Journey And Develop Resilience

We wanted to dive into a conversation that’s been prevalent. It’s this concept of understanding what it takes, the reality of growing and scaling, whether it’s in business or in life in achieving whatever it is you’re setting your mind to. What we want to explore, we’ll speak specifically to those of you in the entrepreneurial world when it comes to business wanting to get to that next level and what it takes. All that being said, Dan, let’s dive in.

It’s interesting because when we look out there in the marketing world and you hop on Facebook or Instagram, we’re seeing less of it now, but still seeing a lot of people saying, “I’ll take you from $0 to $100,000 in 90 days,” or people essentially promising magic bullets or magic wands, however you want to look at it. That’s not always reality. It can happen but I think it’s important to take a very realistic look at what the entrepreneurial journey could be. Knowing that yes, you figure something out and you might make a quantum leap forward but you might not, and that’s also okay.

This episode is all about letting you know that it’s okay to have your own way to your success, your own definition of success, your own path to it, your own speed of it. Sophie and I have had a lot of these experiences that are not so miraculous. Sometimes getting successful is not so easy and it’s not so quick, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. It doesn’t mean that something is broken. It doesn’t mean that you’re fucked up. It means that there needs to be a little bit more awareness of what the journey could be. How about we start with some of our own personal stories. Sophie, what’s one of yours?

Being somebody who is a business and marketing mentor and have been in the space for years now, it was not an overnight success. Very rarely, any client story is an overnight success. I think this is something that I want to preface. We see these testimonials and these results. Like Dan was saying, where it’s like this person went from here to there. One of the things that are important is to not look at what happened in the short timeframe, but how have they sustained and maintained that in alignment with their level of fulfillment and excitement. One of the things that I’ll pre-frame here as we’re diving into this is how you’re measuring success. How you’re measuring where it is you want to get to, if it’s the number in your bank account or if it’s so much more than that.

That’s the first thing that I would encourage you to tune into. What is your definition of success with whatever you’re obtaining? What are the sticks that you’re measuring by? In relation to my personal journey, it has been a wild ride. I would say, there have been multiple times where it’s like hitting high highs and then there have been other times where even after hitting those highs, a few months later, it’s been hitting extreme lows. When I first decided to get into coaching, I was still in college. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I didn’t have much clarity. I was nannying part-time and that’s my main stream of income. When I first started, I tell my clients that story all the time when they’re wanting to be impatient and want to charge a lot of money. I’m getting frustrated. I charged the first client that I ever coached $700 for three months of one-on-one coaching. I was charging them $250 a month for four sessions. That’s not including the lack of boundaries that I had, the amount of texting and other random phone calls. I had no business structure in place whatsoever.

I was all heart, no plan. I was excited about the fact that somebody wanted to pay me $700. This is one of the things where a lot of us think that you start in this place where you’re making all of this money, but that’s not the reality of it. I had to build so much confidence in myself and so much understanding of where my skill set lied and where my value was. Not to say that I wasn’t valuable in the sense that my worthiness, but more so the value that I was able to provide for the people that I loved working with. Inside of that first year, I was telling Dan before this that I’ve been so blessed throughout my journey. In the process of me going and growing the business, I ended up meeting my first mentor. He basically at the time was running a million-dollar company working with personal trainers and nutritionists who wanted to scale their businesses online.

He saw my passion, my dedication and my heart about wanting to support people with transformation and identity shifting and all this mindset work. He loved me, loved it and had me intern inside of his business for a few months. Inside of that, he decided to hire me and have me start working with his clients. He was paying me $45 per one-on-one session with each of his clients. In the matter of a few months, I went from my one to two clients that I was so pumped about to over 40 different coaching clients from all over the world making $45 per session. I went from making a couple of hundred dollars a month to doing $6,000 to $8,000 a month at that point. I maintained that for about eighteen months.

Inside of that, what you didn’t see is I was spending 40 hours a week on coaching calls. From the outside perspective, sure it was successful. On the inside respective, I was getting up at 3:00 AM to have a coaching call with somebody that was in the UK because that’s the only time that they could do a call. There was this huge learning experience for me inside of that first year of like, “This is so much more than just about having a shit ton of clients and bringing in a ton of money, especially if I don’t have a life outside of this. There are no boundaries in this business.” I always will be so grateful for that mentor for being the first person to put the trust and have faith in me and give me that opportunity. It was an incredible learning experience of like, “This isn’t the way that I want to do business and this isn’t the way that I want to run my life.”

[bctt tweet=”It’s okay to have your own way, definition, and speed to success.” username=”iamsophiekessner”]

It’s so wild when you think about the early days and that excitement that I had too of, “Someone’s going to pay me $100 an hour?” It’s $100 an hour. It brought me back to one of my first jobs as a paperboy. If I made $40 in two weeks, I’m king of the world. I can buy my own bagels for breakfast. It was so cool and that feeling there, I got a little bit drunk on it and I was like, “Let me see how many clients I can build.” I relate to that. I think that’s part of the reason why I grew so fast, not overnight but I had a multiple six-figure businesses in a year-and-a-half from opening the doors. I hit six figures within six months with no guidance. I’m anti-guidance. The “mentor” had fucked me up more than he helped me. The real challenge came after for me was when I started rolling with it. It was like, “Let’s see how much money I can make.” I did that to myself. Sophie, you had someone giving you clients there and it sounds like it almost wasn’t fully in your control. Do you control how many clients we wanted to see?

I can always say no but I wasn’t going to.

I did that shit to myself. I was like, “I’m going to push the limits.” In my mind, I was like, “Resilience has got to be like a muscle. If I keep on doing this and seeing as many clients as I can all the time, eventually I’ll be able to see even more. I’ll make more money.” I drove myself insane, like bat shit crazy because I would see my clients all day, every day during the week. On the weekends I would do all this stuff that I didn’t have time for during the week, working on my copy, working on my business systems, emails, all this other stuff. I was working all the time nonstop. It got rugged because I was making more money than I ever have, even more money than I made in corporate when I was working in aerospace. I had four different departments under me with international clients talking $11 million to $15 million worth of airplane parts a year. I was making more than that in six months without knowing what the hell I was doing. I was manual marketing.

When you own your own business, when you’re working in a service-based business, the less you charge, the more challenging your clients will be to work with. That is the most PC I could ever think of saying and it’s true. The more you charge the easier your clients are. Now they’re a breeze because they pay me a lot. Back then, each hour was a drain then they were super demanding or they’d flake or they’re whatever. To make things even more challenging, they screw up my schedule. They would get all their sessions and then demand refunds for the progress they were enjoying at that time. I was drained all the time constantly. As you’re reading this, you might remember the times I was like, “I’m an insomniac. I don’t sleep when I’m healthy, when everything is easy and when I’m relaxed.” Imagine what happens to me when I’m stressed the fuck out all day, every day. I was a wreck. On paper, successful in person, I could put up the facade but I was not okay. I did that for a whole year before I realized that it was unsustainable and had to change everything.

MMM 99 | Entrepreneurial Journey
Entrepreneurial Journey: Resilience is like a muscle. If you keep on doing things, eventually you will be able to see even more results.

This is the story for a lot of people when they’re starting out is there is that mentality. I’m sure you guys can pick up on the pattern here between Dan and I. You do as much as you possibly can, as quickly as you possibly can and go as hard as you possibly can to make as much money as possible. We both ran that program. It’s like an addictive sense of achievement in a way, this dopamine hits that you get and you’re like, “This feels so good. This is better than anything I’ve ever experienced.” Oftentimes, we don’t realize that there’s a better way to do it. There are two interesting things I’ll preach from here.

There was a lot of pre-work that went into getting to that place. It wasn’t like we decided one day and then it magically happened. There was a lot that went into building the momentum to arriving in the place to where we started to have that success. For me, I got into the personal development industry when I was fourteen. I was so young, I was such a baby. I look back and I’m like, “Jesus.” I went to these events every single year, month-after-month from fourteen up until nineteen when my first mentor brought me on board. Inside of that, I would spend my student loan money to go to personal development seminars, to go to Date With Destiny, to go to Life & Wealth Mastery and all of these big events.

I spent what I was supposed to be spending on my education, on my personal development and it was hard to get to that place. I had no idea it was coming. It arrived one day because of the work that I had put in and the envision that I had created for myself. It wasn’t like one morning I woke up and I’m like, “I’m going to do this,” and it magically happened. I had this vision and this dream. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I was consistently working towards it and making those intuitive decisions every single day. This opportunity arose somewhere along those five years of being on that path and developing myself personally to be ready to receive the opportunity to then have that level of success and our perceived success. That’s the first thing I want to pre-frame here.

I know you’ve got a crush story here coming too. There was a point where my mentor had his own spiritual awakening. He decided to completely shut down his company and completely pivot. Inside of that process, there was a downfall for me as well because I had become so dependent on him and his company and for my own success. It was where everything financially from me was coming from. I hadn’t established myself a whole lot of my own personal brand. I went through this period of three to four months, maybe even a little longer, after having that success of having no idea what I wanted to do and moving back in with my mom, feeling confused, going through all of this relationship stuff with my partner at the time.

[bctt tweet=”Sometimes, being successful is not so easy and not so quick, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong.” username=”iamsophiekessner”]

I remember, there were points when I didn’t know how I was going to pay bills. I had no idea even after having that success. It was this whole other darkness of the soul until I got clear with myself of like, “What am I going to do next? What’s going to be that next thing?” By the greatest source, universe, God, whatever you want to call it, synchronicity happens again. That’s when I met my second mentor who brought me inside of her company. You noticed a theme here in my journey. She brought me on board and hired me to work inside of her business being her online business manager as well as starting to coach and train under her to run her programs for her.

In the period of eight months, we scaled her business to a $1-million-dollar runway. I was generating anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000 a month inside of her company at the peak of that time until again, there is another massive pivot where she decided to shut down the company. I’ll get into this too, we’ll talk a little bit about this. You’ll see, there’s this trend of getting to this massive level of success that we thought we wanted and then realizing that it’s not what we want. Both of these mentors shut down their companies after reaching that peak and having this awakening. We’ll dive into this. For me, it was like another point of, “What do I do now?” It was another one of those moments of this dark night of the soul and having to realize, “What do I want to do?”

An inside of that, in my personal episode, if you read it, it wasn’t just smooth sailing in that process. There was a lot of other shit that was going on. I was going through the worst adrenal fatigue in my life. I had anxiety and panic attacks through the roof. I was going through this massive breakup. There’s so much going on. Even in the context of the success from the financial game, there was still a lot of stress. There was still a lot of stuff that wasn’t exciting or fulfilling. It’s not to negate the fact that it’s one or the other. What I want to allude to here is that it’s not just the financial piece. It’s building the financial success through also having that and embodiment and that lifestyle that serves it so you can enjoy the success.

That is so very important. Following up on what you said there, for me when I launched into my business, I got to six figures in six months and to multiples in a year-and-a-half without knowing what I was doing, it’s not because I went from zero. You’ve got to remember, ever since I was eighteen, I was voraciously reading, studying and traveling around the fucking world, seeking out coaches to study under direct gurus. I spent months in India on ashrams and meditating in Thailand. I got nine different certifications in that time, all in spirituality, in change work and transformation. I joke about it, but it’s not a joke. I built my business off of manifestation and being good at what I do. That’s it.

There are no business systems, no marketing, no sales. I didn’t know that shit. I had no idea. Even after hiring my first business coach, I still had no idea. Sometimes things take longer. We were talking before we started, the challenge that I’ve been working on for a year and a half. It came time to grow my business and after Yelp removed 32 of my five-star reviews, I nearly had a panic attack because I built everything on Yelp. That was all the marketing that I had. Everything else was a referral. I have no idea how some people found me. When that happened, I realized, “If I want to grow and if I want to truly be secured, I need multiple sources of leads. It’s time to learn all this business stuff.”

I went completely backwards. I think from where most people go, they build their business systems then realize they need mindset and spirituality or whatever to support that. I went completely backwards. Over the last year-and-a-half, I spent $35,000 and went through four business coaches. It’s not that they were bad business coaches. They were super effective at what they did. Their testimonials are off the charts. These are amazing business coaches and yet I couldn’t figure it out. I had no engagement, nothing. I couldn’t write a post to save my life. I couldn’t write copy that was worth a damn. Think about $35,000 in a year-and-a-half. The thing that kept me going through that is knowing that I can’t keep comparing my journey to other people’s. I am a unique and beautiful snowflake. I’m weird. I’m different. I’m all over the place. My issues, my challenges, my history, my everything is mine and so I could not compare.

You look at these testimonials and think, “I didn’t have any online and I went from zero followers to a million followers in half an hour. I made $1 billion in fifteen minutes following this nine-step system and all that other bullshit.” A lot of it is true because people did have amazing results, but like Sophie and I’ve been saying, you don’t know how long they’d been working at it. There’s a very good chance at the next coaching event that I go to or coach and I work with gives me that nugget. I went from 500 followers to 20,000 in three months.

It’s very possible for me, but you’re not seeing that $35,000, a year-and-a-half of anxiety, stress, confusion, feeling stuck and feeling angry and all these emotions of, “Why can’t I figure this thing out?” You only see the three months because that’s what they want. That’s marketing. No one’s going to show you, “Work with my program because what you need is ten years of meditation before you work with me, and then you can make these three months’ worth it,” because they won’t sell a thing. That’s not going to work for them. They’re going to show you what works, what people want. They’re going to give you that dopamine hit.

[bctt tweet=”Fate is a combination of 95% getting ready and 5% opportunity.” username=”iamsophiekessner”]

Remember that you have your own strengths, you have your own process, you have your own things and it’s okay to go through your process because you don’t know. I’m going to butcher this quote, but it’s something like, “Fate is a combination of 95% getting ready and 5% opportunity,” something like that. You put in a hell of a lot of work. You give yourself the ability to receive these opportunities. Opportunities are everywhere around you. Wealth is everywhere. Abundance is everywhere. The question is, are you putting yourself into a place where you can see it, receive it and maintain it? Without that hard work, you can have the best strategy in the world. You can have the best coach in the world and it’ll take you longer.

That’s okay because maybe that’s where you need to be at that moment so that you can get ready for the next huge opportunity. What you want to do is focus on how to get to your next step. Realizing where you are, realizing that your next step might be $1 million or it might not be $1 million. That’s okay because as long as you keep on taking that one step forward, being truly honest with where you are and how you’re feeling and what your challenges are, then you’ll be able to move to that next step. You keep on putting that one foot in front of the other until you become someone’s incredible testimonial of, “I went from this to that in 90 days.” Focus on your journey, enjoy it and love who you are.

The biggest thing that I’ll tune into here for you is illuminating what feels like the core characteristics of what Dan and I both embodied over our journeys. The biggest one is this dedication to our crafts. We from the very beginning, before any opportunities arose before the business even was blossoming was this dedication, this obsession with, “How can I become so great at this?” That was what feels like that preparation, that hard work that then allowed us to meet the opportunity ready to receive it. The second one that I would tune into here is that discipline, to sit down and do the work. It’s not always going to be this super exciting and easy thing.

It can be less stressful and it doesn’t have to be super fucking hard. I do have to allude to the fact that it requires work and you’re not going to enjoy every single piece of it. It’s not always going to be the most exciting thing, but it’s recognizing, “How do I develop the discipline to get myself to move through this process? I know that this is what needs to get done in order for me to get to where I want to go.” That speaks to a few different things. The third one I would say is resiliency. Regardless of the shit that showed up and that continues to show up, it’s this continuous sense of, “What next? I’m going to continue to go.”

MMM 99 | Entrepreneurial Journey
Entrepreneurial Journey: If you can fall in love with the process as much as you’re in love with the idea of the destination, the journey will be much more enjoyable.

Even Dan said, he spent a year and a half going through this copywriting component and trying to figure out how to find his tone, his voice and how to maneuver this piece. It’s that resilience. When it’s not working, you’re not just going to quit and say, “This isn’t for me.” If that is your belief system, then maybe the entrepreneurial route isn’t for you. You have to have a hell of a lot of resilience and be willing to face a hell of a lot of redirection and what some might interpret as rejection and being able to get to where it is you want to go. The fourth thing is consistency. It’s consistently working at your craft. You continue to keep the rhythm, whether it’s a faster rhythm or a slower rhythm, you keep your rhythm, you stay consistent.

You don’t stop. That’s the biggest thing for anyone out there that’s in a season where you’re feeling frustrated, you’re feeling impatient. You’re feeling like, “I should be further ahead,” because you’re comparing yourself to other people’s highlight reels. It’s so easy to dibs. Everyone only always shows what they want you to see. Remember that everyone has their own timeline for success. If you can fall in love with the process as much as you’re in love with the idea of the destination, the journey will be much more enjoyable. Dan, anything else you want to throw in here?

I want to leave you with one other metaphor that I’ve found very useful. Let’s say you’re running a marathon. There are a couple of different things. You see somebody running by you easy and you can immediately wish, “Why is it so hard for me? Why is it so easy for them?” You haven’t seen the years of training that that person put in. You see them run by you. If you focus only on that finish line, your mind will naturally then move to how far away you are from it. You go to how bad your lungs and your feet and your legs hurt. They hurt more and more because that’s what you’re focusing on until you break down. It might take you a lot longer to get to the finish line. You might never make it because of that.

If you allow yourself to enjoy the fact, “I’m still putting one foot in front of the other, this is further than I’ve gone before. I’m doing my thing.” Celebrate every step forward and focus on you, where you need to be and where you are, then you’ll get to that finish line. You might get to it a lot faster than you thought and it will feel a lot better and it will feel a lot easier than if you focused on anything else. Keep running your race. Be patient with yourself. Remember to be self-loving. Throughout this entire experience, you need that. Self-love is not an end result. It’s not nice to have. If you’re going to make it in this business, you need it. Pour that shit all over yourself. Love where you are, love where you’re going.

[bctt tweet=”Opportunities are everywhere around you. You just have to put yourself into a place where you can see it, receive it, and maintain it.” username=”iamsophiekessner”]

As a task, look at you where you are now. Get a real good inventory of where you are now in your life, in your intimate relationships, your business, your health, everything. Look at the next step and start thinking about how can you get there. Forget everybody else, block everybody else out. Ditch the whole idea of how long is it going to take or what is it going to take. Look at where you need to go first and then start brainstorming on all the different ways that you can get there. Find the ones that feel best for you and get an emotion.

That being said, go ahead and take action on this and if you resonate with any of our stories or any of this and you know somebody who needs to hear it, please feel free to share it on Instagram, Facebook or whatever social platforms you use. We always love hearing your stories and your feedback and the shout outs. They mean the absolute world to us. If this episode resonated with you, go ahead and leave us a review and a comment. Give us that beautiful five-star rating if you feel like it. See you in the next episode.

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