Confession of an entrepreneurial optimist

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I am cruising into my 17th year in business.

Seventeen years of creating things, connecting with people, figuring out what I want to do, what people need  and inviting them to pay me to help them get things done.

It has been fun.

Really, really fun.

I remember when I first started blogging and everything was just so dang exciting.

I didn’t know what I was doing, and had an ugly homegrown Typepad blog.

Every day I would meet a new, cool person who would teach me something new.

Rich Sloan from Startup Nation called me out of the blue one day to tell me he liked my writing and I think I screamed into the phone.

I didn’t have the expectation that I would get 2,000 readers in one month.

When I did my first product launch, I sold three copies at $39. I was ecstatic.

I would watch my web traffic with wonder, looking at the world map and seeing a pin in Ireland or Qatar or Ghana and think “Holy guacamole, someone from all the way over there is reading my blog!”

Of course I  work hard. Some days I am on the phone for eight hours straight, coaching, doing interviews or teaching.

I have huge writing deadlines. The more I grow my business, the more there is to do.

Just this morning, my 5-year old Rosie asked me why I was not a “fun mom” like her best friend across the street. “Her mom is OFF this week on spring break. Why do you have to work?”

“Because I am writing my book, Rosie,” I said. “I work for myself. I don’t always have regular vacations like other moms. But it will be worth it! When I am done, we can take some time off and go to the beach.”

Own the path and enjoy the journey

When I see and hear all the angst from new entrepreneurs who feel pressure to get instant success, I want to sit them down, give them a glass of cold lemonade and invite them to chill out and enjoy the journey.

It is a massively imprudent business plan to expect instant success. And it makes you cranky.

If you only focus on big huge wins, then you miss the daily miracles of the work itself. Like former clients who come from behind and fund their Kickstarter projects with moments to spare. Or clients who work diligently to make a plan to leave their job and start a successful consulting practice. Or even blog posts that make us feel proud to have written them.

Life is complex. Building a business is challenging.

Don’t forget to enjoy it.


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28 Responses to “Confession of an entrepreneurial optimist”

  1. joseph says:

    I love your blog. This really helped me take the first step to starting my business! The expert circle infographic has also helped me tremendously with starting my business. check out their infographic.

  2. Antzhelika says:

    I occasionally stop by to your blog and always get a new batch of optimism and cheerfulness love for what you do. thank you

  3. Jack Stevenson says:

    I can definitely relate to the post Pam. Excellent as usual and inspiring to read!

  4. Lena says:

    Thank you so much for that! I should probably read it every morning. I’m working a day job that I don’t like until I get my graphic design business built up enough to go back out on my own, and I get so impatient. But I have the exact same days you described from early on in your career… I get so excited when I get blog readers from Australia and Iran, or when someone ‘favorites’ my invitation on Etsy. I just need to learn the patience part. That this too shall pass and one day I’ll be able to look back on it as just a memory.


  5. Thanks so much for these inspirational words! Truly.

  6. Max Mendoza says:

    Impeccably perfect timing Pam. Your words provide ease & strength for all of us! This is a refreshing reminder that I know you’ve shared with me before.

    It’s especially vital as I’m now diving into this new phase of my body of work with A Life To The Max. Thank you & hope you are able to enjoy that beach time with Rosie soon enough =)

  7. Thanks for sharing your perspective Pam. I think you wrote in another piece about how it’s great to enjoy the less busy start up phase. I sometimes keep that in mind and try to be thankful for it!

  8. Nate Anglin says:

    Nothing in life comes easy. You caught me, big cliche.

    But the fact of the matter is, it’s true. Since when did we all start to think easy was some sort of predetermined gift to success, wealth, weight loss or whatever it may be. Easy is the adventure to nowhere, because easy is easy. Their is no fun in that. Maybe it’s less stressful, but the fun thing about stress is trying to manage it.

    Be different and take the hard route, not the “easy” one. I’ll put casino money on that the road less traveled will take you to the end of the journey you wanted to achieve.

  9. Nanette says:

    So curious if Wild Money has been published as of yet. And if it has, how to go about purchasing it? Thanks! Great words of wisdom here!

  10. Clare says:

    I’m the person in Ireland who reads!! 🙂 Thrilled to do so. Congrats on 17 years of entrepreneurship – as someone coming up on their first full year of self-employment, I trully marvel at it.

  11. First off I would like to congratulate you Pam on your 17t year in business, this is a huge accomplishment that most entrepreneurs never even make it to. The journey is the best part about being an entrepreneur because you get to learn from all your failures and mistakes and grow as a person.

  12. Thank you for sharing bits about how it was when you first started. As someone just starting to blog, it is nice to hear about your early days. I, too, get excited about each and every new subscriber!
    P.S. I wanted to thank you for teaching a class about blogging for the MBLCT. I learned a lot from your calls. Becky

  13. Lea says:

    Where do you get these adorable pictures from?

  14. Adam says:

    When I see and hear all the angst from new entrepreneurs who feel pressure to get instant success, I want to sit them down, give them a glass of cold lemonade and invite them to chill out and enjoy the journey.

    Ahhhh…I needed to hear that today.

  15. Richard says:

    Refreshing read. After treading water for 3 years and not getting very far I’ve been considering taking a break and finding a job. Reading this is giving me time to reconsider.

  16. amy davis says:

    I am cranky!! I do feel the pressure as a newbie coach to get those clients, have the “perfect” website, write fabulous blogs!!! Thank you Pam for your “glass of cold lemonade” and reminding me to chill . . . and enjoy. I’m trying!

  17. Thanks for the inspiring blog article. It is hard work owning your own business. While my children are grown, I’m finding just taking time for a vacation is almost impossible without feeling guilty or like you have a hundred things to do and catch up on. In the end, it is worth it for sure.

  18. Will Claxton says:

    I’m still a slave to the wage, but won’t be at the end of the year! I’ve know this for a while as my contract comes to an end. But I’m working seriously hard on my side business… so that’s about 70+ hours a week I’m working at the moment.

    Friends ‘jokingly’ say I need to get a life. Thing is, they won’t be saying that when I have the choice to live the lifestyle I want and they are waking up on that Monday morning with the dread of going to work.

  19. Debra Gould says:


    When my little one used to ask how come I didn’t bake every week like the other mommies, I pointed out all the other things we got to do instead that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had my own business.

    Congrats on being an entrepreneur for 17 years! I too am a corporate refugee and have been a serial entrepreneur since 1989. While there are many ups and downs on the journey, I could never imagine trading the adventure to go back to a cubicle (or even a corner office)!

  20. Great post, Pam. It also brought to mind something that our friend, Tim Berry, once said. He said that he and his wife “had to have a comfortable first-name-basis relationship with uncertainty for years and years.” Making friends with uncertainty, and appreciating the little things, is a great recipe for enjoyment. Thanks for the reminder!

  21. Brian says:

    Great post, Pam! This one is a great reminder for me. I started my own business so I could *really* enjoy the journey of my career. But sometime it’s easy to forget that.

    Your post reminded me that it’s more about patience, humility and thankfulness, than some arbitrary result. Thank you!

  22. faisal says:

    A post at the very right time, its not the destination which matters, its the journey.

  23. […] Confession of an entrepreneurial optimist | Escape From Cubicle Nation I am cruising into my 17th year in business. Seventeen years of creating things, connecting with people, figuring out what I want to do, what people This was posted on Google+… […]

  24. “Chill out and enjoy the journey” Great advice!
    Thanks for working as hard as you do to help entrepreneurs.
    And thanks for caring!

  25. Daryl says:

    Right on, Pam!

    The past 25 years on my own have been great fun, too. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

    All the best!

  26. Jeannette says:

    This is such good advice, Pam! And super refreshing from all the input we entrepreneurs get about the importance of hustling and crushing it and such.

    Love you!!