When you start your own business or website, it is incredibly tempting to start asking questions to make sure you “do it right”. The problem is, most of the time we ask all the wrong questions. Almost weekly, if not more often, I hear the question asked, “is it normal if……?” or ” what are normally expected growth rates?” “what is a normal time frame in which I can expect ___ to happen?” or my personal favorite “I just want to go the normal route that other entrepreneurs do.”
My mom was the queen of self-motivation. A self-starter, and now wildly successful entrepreneur and business owner, she was definitively NOT normal. When we were kids, she decided that the little hallway between my room and my two brothers rooms was boring. But rather than paint it (as any normal person would), she decided to cover the wall with motivational posters. We had a virtual zoo of cute animals telling us to “hang in there”, “bee yourself” and other cheesy motivational lines.
The two posters that immediately come to mind are the two I saw most often, likely because they were right outside my door, at eye level for me. One was a photo that pictured a row of big scary looking dogs, all sitting side by side while one tiny cat sauntered down the lane in front of them. The superimposed text said that “Confidence is Everything”. The other poster that was burned into my memory was of a virtual sea of zebras all running the same direction. They were packed so closely together you literally couldn’t tell where one ended and the next began. Right in the middle of the stampede, a young giraffe was slowly working his way the opposite direction, with his head, held high above the crowd of zebras. The superimposed text on this one told me to go my own way.
I’m guessing you have connected the dots already. What that confident cat and the pioneering giraffe had in common was that neither waited for someone else to define the direction they should go. They didn’t bother to follow the normal route, followed by everyone else around them.
Vincent van Gogh once said that “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.”
Starting a business is not normal. Making your own way in this system isn’t normal. Normal is the 9 to 5 that I am assuming you hate if you are still reading this. So when you start your own business, why do we keep asking what is normal? I’ll let you in on a little-known secret…there is none. That’s why no one can tell you what “normal” is! It doesn’t exist! Every new business is its own animal. If you have a passion, go for it. Then find something that works, continue that way. When something you are doing isn’t working…well, stop doing that. No matter how many books written by self-starters have told you to do that.
Your business is as unique as you are, and therefore…decidedly not normal! Take it and run with it!
Written by Emily Dominguez