You and I graduated 3 years ago now. Life is starting to feel fun again and so is running my own acupuncture business. But there are a few things I want to tell you about what happened in between here and then. It might help, it might not, but here’s what I wish known when we first graduated.
First, it takes a damn long time to recover from school. You won’t even know that for at least 18 months. You will have no idea how depleted you are and how much rest you will need. Stop judging yourself for not doing enough. You’re running on fumes. I can tell you that we are still recovering. I’m just no starting to feel human again. Some of my long term interests (like writing) are just now returning. For a long time it feels like you have just enough energy to get out of bed, go treat people, and try to scotch tape a small business together.
Second: Oh. My. God. You’re not going to believe how many times you’re going to hand money over to people when you first start that business. Over and over and over again. And the details! Seems like they never end. But hang on. If you keep pushing you eventually get through it and things get easier. And cheaper.
It’s kind of like it was when you were first learning herbs, Cat. Remember how grueling it was trying to just learn how to learn single herbs? That was a perfect training ground for how it feels to start your own small business. Then remember how much easier formulas was by comparison? Remember how you seemed to have a feel for why those singles were combined into that formula and how they worked together? After a while running a business gets like that too. You’ve done the details a few times and it gets more familiar, more automatic. It’s not as hard to do these things after a while because you have a foundation of knowledge to fall back on.
Next, stop listening to the Debbie Downers. Yeah. Starting a business is hard work. Yeah. A lot of small businesses fail. But that doesn’t mean yours is going to. And no, small businesses do not fail because they are acupuncture businesses. They fail because people don’t know how to run them. While it’s true, you didn’t get enough education about how to run a business in school, it’s equally true that you are capable of learning how to do it. You memorized herbs in another language for the love-a-god! Surely you can learn business management!
Fourth: Money stuff. Find a good accountant and a good tax preparation expert. This may or may not be the same person. You hate accounting, Cat. Hate. You’re probably not going to develop a love for it. And while we’re talking about money stuff, take some time to figure out your relationship about you and money and abundance. That will save you a lot of grief in the future! And remember that you are an infinite being in a finite body.
And finally, practice mindfulness meditation. It’s simple, it’s effective, and you can do it anywhere. Also, it will help you learn how to be present for both yourself and your clients. They will thank you for it, you will sleep better, you’ll feel more clear-headed, and you’ll be able to hear your intuitive voice with far more ease.
Good luck, Cat! Follow your intuition and your heart and you’ll be just fine.