Learn From These 10 Mistakes, 3 Big So Called Failures, and 13 Lessons I Learned in Business

lessonsI’m curious to know if you believe in overnight successes in life and business? I don’t.

It’s funny, because there’s really no such thing – unless you consider 5, 10 (or more) years put into something to be an “overnight” success.

And I will admit, there are some that happen fast and go even faster, that are based on some kind of fluke or publicity stunt.

You know what I mean, right?

This post is part 1 in a 3-part blog post series all about my experience in building a business on my own terms. I’ll share lessons I learned while building my business, tools I’ve discovered to make it easier, and how to handle one of the biggest issues you are probably facing as you try to build your own business.

Working for yourself & starting a business is one of the most rewarding…

And most challenging things you can do. I believe it’s 100% worth it, and it’s important to be up for everything that comes with it. EVERYTHING.

One of the hardest or exciting parts of it, depending on how you are wired, is the big dish of UNCERTAINTY that comes with it. No one knows really how it’s all going to play out and it’s a lot of experimentation.

You will fall on your face, make mistakes (or mis-takes), have what I call “so called failures”, and learn a lifetime worth of lessons. You will learn more about yourself than any self-help book or course can show you – this may be totally exciting – or super scary.

Own and validate whatever comes up for you.

There will be moments of being disenchanted. You will want to pull the plug, give up and throw in the towel. Most of the time you are in a deep learning curve and have no idea what you are doing. It’s the ultimate challenge and way to grow as a person spiritually.

There will be moments of spinning your wheels with doubt, confusion, and overwhelm. Enjoy every step and when you meet these three, you will feel lost and like you are missing out on the secret formula to be successful, that everyone else seems to know, as you find your way.

There will be moments you will not know how to make it happen. You will want to quit your j-o-b (if you have one) and just go for it – thinking this is the only way to do it, and also be petrified by the thought of, “If it does not work, and I fail, what will I do?”

The list goes on and on, and today, I’m going to share with you the most important parts of my journey to being a Spiritual Life & Business Coach, Coach Trainer, Entrepreneur, Healer, Writer, Speaker, and Artist.

Keep in mind, Sweet Soul, your journey is yours. You cannot have what I have, or what anyone else has, because you are your own person, on your own journey, creating what you wish to have in your life. Your journey to being an entrepreneur, coach, strategist, consultant, teacher, healer, business owner, or (fill in the blank) is unique to you.

(Hint: this is one thing I learned to be a success in life and business.)

My recommendation for you is this…. Take from this post whatever feels right for you, what allows you to see what is possible and give you a sense of being OK with where you are at, and create from there with ease. And have fun doing it!

My 10 Mistakes, 3 Big So Called Failures, and 13 Important Lessons I’ve Learned in Business.

Before I get into each one of these lists, please note mistakes are really mis-takes – so one can learn and have another take or chance. The so called failures are really not failures. They are, again, a way to grow. See them as a success, and both of them are lessons.

My 10 Mistakes or What I call Mis-takes…

  1. Thinking my business was about me.
  2. Taking on clients I knew and felt were not a fit.
  3. Lowering prices to fill a program or work with me as a coach.
  4. Conforming to be someone else and taking steps that felt off for me.
  5. Copying the experts’ step-by-step systems, thinking it will work for me.
  6. Creating programs, products, workshops I think people want.
  7. Being impatient instead of curious to find out what people are really looking for.
  8. Being focused on just making money, instead of focusing on who I was helping.
  9. Forcing and pushing to make things happen – ignoring my process.
  10. Spending money on a VA before I knew what they were going to do.

And  one more… Not paying attention to the breadcrumbs, saying I don’t do that and I “should do this” when I was asked to be a business coach – ignoring parts of myself.

My 3 Big So Called Failures

In 2008,  I had a brilliant idea to call my business, “I Am Not A Mess”, and paid lots of money to trademark it. I saw a big empire like the Dummies Series. I am not a mess for parents, health, and life. It was a strong feeling and I did not listen to my business manager at the time because I knew this was it.

I was wrong.

I hustled, made my yoga DVD, “Yoga Foundations”, it was a success, we sold to Whole Foods, had an amazing launch in a yoga studio and were selling the DVDs pretty well. There were good parts to this.

I had meetings with big companies. They loved the content, yet they kept passing on it. I used my marketing and PR background, and my business manager kept nagging me to drop the “I Am Not A Mess™, but I was not ready to let it go.

I did not see it was my holding so tightly onto the “I Am Not A Mess” title that was the piece in the way until a huge company said this is not for us, later to find out it was the “I Am Not A Mess” trademark they were turned off by. It seemed to be too late when I was ready to let it go, and I learned a very big lesson (you can see it below in the lesson section.)

This cost me thousands of dollars, amazing partnerships, and having investors to create the rest of the series of yoga DVDs. We never made another DVD.

In 2009, as I began to start coaching I was going to help those touched by MS, an autoimmune disease, and help them to redefine their relationship to dis-ease the way I did. I created the “The Living Wellness Kickstart Program”. I had a system: Embrace, Empower, Evolve – and it was solid.

I was sharing my story of overcoming a diagnosis of MS, I was getting press, and was even in Yoga Journal. It was a lot of exposure, but little to pretty much no money. I kept at it. I had a site that was pretty, yet it was not performing, meaning no one was asking to work with me.

They wanted lots of free stuff, free advice and when it came to pay, nothing happened.

I was stumped. I even spoke at the MS Society, a win, and I felt everyone in the room hating on me. There I was standing, looking healthy, and most of them did not believe I “had” it. I never use those terms and was teaching them to say, “I was diagnosed with” instead of “I have”, and they thought I was out of my mind. I left frustrated…and sad.

What I kept meeting after that day was resistance, anger, and how this community was deep into debt as well as not wanting what I was bringing to them.

I even spoke with about 100 different sweet souls on group calls, “Ask Hillary Calls”, souls in pain who wanted to be free and did not have money to pay for medical bills, let alone coaching.

Overall, I felt defeated and all I could see was that I was not able to make the kind of difference I was meant to make. I felt like I failed and knew health coaching, or going in that direction, was not going to work for me.  I had to change directions and had no idea what that was going to be.

In 2012,  I thought I was ready to launch a group coaching program. I saw other coaches, my peers, around me doing this and told myself I had to do it too, if I wanted to be taken seriously and be a success.

I was inspired and had a plan – a plan to do what I saw my mentors do, with videos that lead to opening up enrollment with applications to be in my high-end mastermind. Note: I was still building my coaching practice and teaching yoga.

It had to work, especially since I was spending thousands of dollars using the same talent to help me put it together. The first video was a beauty, inspiring, and we had a lot of people share it, comment and opt in for the launch. I was sure it was a winner…

It was called, YSU: Your Soul’s University. We made it pretty, the site that is. I thought it would fill up easily because I was doing what the experts did. I remember the last day of shooting, where I was asking for the enrollment, talking about the investment (money), and I felt sick. It was the hardest video shoot ever and something was off – in me.

What happened? NO ONE pushed the button to download the application. What was I going to do? I turned to a peer and she suggested I do what works – get on the phone and talk with them. That’s what I did…I had to get on the phone and ended up enrolling them as one-to-one clients and did a short program. It took all my energy and I felt I was pushing the entire time.

I was able to cover my expenses and was going to coach, which is all that really mattered to me. I was exhausted, felt beat up, and sat in confusion (as well as a bit of defeat), for the year. At the end of 2012, I was asking myself if it’s time to pull the plug.

Good thing I didn’t.

13 Important Lessons (there are so many more…)

  1. Holding onto a name is not worth it, be open to the advice and support around you.
  2. Be curious what people are seeking, allow them to be where they are at, and meet them there. Click to tweet…
  3. Let go of what is not working fast and trust the next thing is in you. Click to tweet…
  4. Follow the breadcrumbs – when people are asking for something from you, check in to see if this is something you want to do and are good at doing, instead of saying I don’t do that.
  5. Stop shoulding all over yourself. Stop following what other people do. Thinking you can have what they have only creates resistance to what you want to create.
  6. When you find something that works, keep doing that instead of recreating the wheel each time. Say hello to it being easy and better.
  7. Delays are good. Allowing your process to unfold is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Become the person who will have what you are creating.
  8. Your business, work, art, and creation is not about you. As much as you are doing it, it’s about your contribution to the world, to the lives of those you are here to help, serve, and inspire.
  9. Thinking you know best what other people need, without talking with them, doesn’t work. Being curious, interested, invested in those you are here to help – even when you are figuring it out – is the best, easiest, and smartest way to go.
  10. Taking yourself seriously, being a control freak, and beating yourself up is a HUGE waste of time. Find amusement, have fun, and when it’s not fun ask yourself what needs to shift. Click to tweet…
  11. Doing what the experts say, following the steps without checking in to what feels good for you will help you to learn, fall on your face, and in turn show you there is another way for you.
  12. Look under the hood, see how people do it, what you like and what you’d like to do. Be inspired, don’t copy, and take small steps. Do a beta, test something out, practice, and save your money.
  13. Investing lots of money will not guarantee anything other than you spent a lot of money. Click to tweet…

Lastly, get clear on the core reason you are doing what you are doing. Know who it is you are serving, be interested, curious, and take as much time to get them as you spend on Facebook and social media.

Know your gifts, strengths, what you are great at – even good at, and take the steps that are in front of you. Allow it to be EASY.

Fall on your face, be amused, fail fast and allow yourself to be Ok with where you are at. Keep validating yourself and create from there.

This has been working for me these days and the BIGGEST lesson I’ve learned is this…

To tap into my own information, trust myself, shut down all the noise from gurus, experts and those who “know”, and become intimate with my knowing. This is why I created a free resource for you to start to clear your head of all the stuff you should be doing, and start to find yourself again. Watch the video here…

Trust it, have fun, and move from there knowing it’s an experiment.

Now, I want to hear from you…

I want to know…what your #1 take away or AHA is from this post and how you see that supporting your journey.

If you loved this post, found it useful, please share it with those you know will too.

Thank you for being part of this community, being who you are, and showing up in all the ways you do.

Your Angel of Fire,





P.S. Be sure to come back next week for part 2 of this 3-part series!



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