As a solo entrepreneur, one of the hardest but best lessons I have ever learned was to be prepared for the unexpected. Unfortunately, this lesson was learned very recently – and after a chronic illness unexpectedly forced me to completely stop working on my online business.
As a life coach, Tarot reader, and Reiki master, I had built my business around selling my time. Tarot readings, distance Reiki sessions, one-on-one life coaching, of course, all required me to be physically available and mentally focused for my clients. Unfortunately, it’s challenging, if not downright impossible, to provide any of these three services if you are not feeling well, and your ability to focus is non-existent!
From what I understand, I am not the only online coach, creative, or other online professional who also works this way – particularly during the first one or two years as they are beginning to build their business.
For me and my online business, things had been going really well. After almost two years devoted to building my business, I had a growing number of satisfied clients, repeat clients, and referrals…and then, last year, the unimaginable happened.
I was knocked out by an illness that left me with so little energy that I could barely think straight, plus a a brain fog that left it impossible for me to concentrate or focus. If you are curious, you can read more about my illness and diagnosis on my Meet Anne page.
To say that my business suffered is an understatement.
Because of my absence my clients disappeared and referrals dried up. I could no longer provide the services my clients needed and were willing to pay for. I stopped promoting myself. I couldn’t even concentrate enough to participate in Facebook groups! It didn’t take very long for my business to disappear completely disappearing my income as well.
It also didn’t take very long for me to realize that I had made a huge mistake with my business.
Despite the advice I had been receiving for years, I had put all my business efforts and energies into building a business that required my physical presence in order to survive. I stubbornly (or fearfully, I’m not sure which) resisted this advice and, much to my current regrets, I put no effort into creating either products or programs that could generate income without my needing to be physically involved with them.
After all, building a business and dealing with clients was time consuming leaving me with, what I thought was no time to do anything else – like create programs or products. I really should have made the time.
Through my recent experiences, I have also learned that chronic illness, particularly an autoimmune illness like the one I have, never goes away. Symptoms are always there in the background of your day-to-day life, ready to pop up unexpectedly and wreck havoc on your life.
So business lesson finally learned – the hard way.
Right now, all my effort and energy is going towards refocusing my business, and building sellable products and programs.
If you have a chronic illness that is running rampant over your life, watch this space. The phoenix is getting ready to rise up and fly again!!