This article is for anyone who feels trapped in a cycle of under-earning and doesn’t know an honorable way to get out.
It’s for people who aren’t in it for the money, and yet want to thrive. It’s for people who are frustrated or turned off by marketing and sales practices that are aggressive, elitist and manipulative.
It’s for you if you refuse to value profit over people or principles.
And I hope it shakes you up.
What you hate about business is an invitation.
If icky biz practices were the key to earning a decent—even thriving—living as an Accidental Entrepreneurs, this article would be over now. You could go home and accept under-earning as your destiny.
But icky business practices are not the key to earning a good living. For heart-centered accidental entrepreneurs, the key is personal transformation.
Every one of those icky business practices is an invitation to personal transformation. To challenge your limiting beliefs and prejudices. To become more self-aware. To engage more fully in life as a creative practice.
Stay with me now.
Ickiness is in the eye of the beholder
The problem with most business practices isn’t that they are inherently icky, it’s that you encounter them in an icky context. A context where profit is king, clients are consumers, and image is more important than substance.
You’re not making that up. A great deal of business is conducted in that context.
But you are in charge of the context for your own business practices. You get to choose—if you are willing—the context for doing the things that will lead to profit from the work you love.
You can choose to do effective business practices in an authentic and honorable way.
But it takes courage.
Choosing the context starts with facing your shadow.
We wouldn’t be so sensitive to the negative context of business if it didn’t resonate on some level with our own shadows. Speaking for myself, I have had to face my own envy, greed, and competitiveness, to name just a few traits I’d rather not have.
These shadow traits are pretty much universal. The fact that they exist in you is not an indictment. What’s needed is to engage them, bring them out in the light of day, so you can choose whether or not they run your behavior.
And when you choose not to let them run your behavior, you get to apply business best practices authentically, creatively and honorably.
Facing your shadow is transformative
Facing your shadow is transformative. You become more transparent, more honest, more real. Self-awareness heals old wounds and projections. Your relationships, including relationships with prospective clients, improve.
And along with inner transformation come outer results. You become more pro-active in planning for profitability. You start thinking strategically, knowing you can do that and still be a kind, compassionate, honorable human being. You take action in your own self-interest knowing that it will bless others.
The first step: Ask, “What if this didn’t have to be sleazy?”
The first step to transformation is simple. When you find yourself reacting against a business practice, ask yourself, “What if this didn’t have to be sleazy?”
For example, you might read a sales page online and react against what seems like (and could be) hype. Ask yourself, “What if what I am reading is honest? What would have to be true for me to believe that?”
Perhaps your answer is that the writer would have to be sincere. The offer would have to deliver the promised results. And there would have to be ways to verify the accuracy of claims.
Those are all things you can control when you write your own sales page. You can choose to live up to those standards and still write compelling copy. You can use proven marketing methods without hype to help your just-right clients make an informed decision about whether or not to buy.
You get to define the context, and everything you do to market and sell will reflect that context.
It begins with the willingness to be transformed.
I’m not promising that any of this is easy. It’s not. But when you are willing to engage your own shadow, to be transformed on the path to profitability, you will amaze yourself by what you can create.
What practices push your buttons?
What business practices push your buttons? What shadows are you being invited to engage? And what becomes possible then? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Editor: Brianna Bemel
hot on elephant
The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. These People are Rare Gems—Keep Them, Fight for Them, don’t Give Up on Them. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? Jon Stewart makes first appearance since retiring—”it’s not your country.” Waylon shares 10 transformingly beautiful Quotes about Love. My Marriage had to End—for my Life to Begin. 40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years. Why your Yoga Goals are (Probably) Irrelevant, if not Downright Dangerous. The Day I Stopped Running.