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The Paradox of Entrepreneurial Freedom

We’ve made it to the very last day of 2020 (finally). While it had its difficulties and uncertainty, I hope you found success and prosperity in your business this year. Or perhaps you started something new, like so many new entrepreneurs I’ve had the privilege of meeting.

Either way, here’s hoping 2021 multiplies success for you. In order to help you get there, I want to share one of the most important principles I learned on my journey to building a seven figure business.

Before I understood this, I held myself back without knowing it. Once I got the hang of it, I experienced a breakthrough in business like never before.

I’m talking about the paradox of entrepreneurial freedom.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, success gives you freedom. But achieving success requires sacrificing some freedom up front. The more freedom you sacrifice on the front end, the more you tend to enjoy later. The entrepreneur who disciplines themselves like others won’t, eventually gains freedom that others don’t. 

By the way, I recently started a new podcast series called “If I Had to Start Over,” delivering hard-learned lessons on the way to freedom and fulfillment in business. Check it out!

Why Freedom Requires Responsibility

Think of it like being the leader of a nation. Generally speaking, they’re the most “powerful” person in the nation. They should be able to do what they want, right? Wrong. Along with power, they have more responsibility than anyone else in the nation. They have little to no  personal freedom, and more obligations than most people can handle. Uncle Ben, Peter Parker’s mentor, said it best: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

When I first started my business, I thought power would give me unlimited freedom. To some extent, that’s true; I had more control over my schedule than ever before. But if I squandered that freedom, I’d go broke and need to go back to working a job.

So, the more deadlines and responsibility I created for myself, the more success came. I ended up surviving, and then thriving. This led me to gain the classic staples of freedom, like my choice of vacations.

When you lay down freedom on the front end, you gain it on the back end.

Here’s the secret: Treat everything like an investment, including your entrepreneurial freedom.

How To Wisely Invest Your New Freedom

If you’re new to business, then the following concepts will sound like dirty words: discipline, deadlines, and accountability.

Repulsive, I know. However, when you submit yourself to them, you’ll soon discover they were the keys to your freedom all along.

  1. Discipline

In the past few years, I’ve seen a resurgence of popularity for the benefits of discipline. Discipline helps you even when motivation cannot. While motivation resides in your emotions, discipline resides in your will. Discipline, discipline, discipline. It’s all the rage!

So, how does one gain more discipline? When I started out, it felt like instead of an iron will, I had an “aluminum” will at best.

I soon discovered that discipline has nothing to do with your strength, and everything to do with your habits.

You must learn to switch up the story you tell yourself, about yourself. Change your habits by tiny increments, one at a time. Add new healthy habits onto existing ones (Example: Writing down three things I’m grateful for when I look at my planner in the morning). 

  1. Deadlines

If you think that becoming your own boss means freedom from deadlines, then you’ve got another thing coming. If anything, I have more deadlines now than ever before.

The difference is who sets the deadlines. I set them based on what works for me and my business, rather than having a boss set them for me. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Give yourself deadlines for pitching new clients. For completing weekly projects. Every month, set new goals and limit your time to accomplish them.

This works because people tend to use all of the time they have at their disposal, for better or for worse. For example, if you give yourself an hour to reach out to a potential client, chances are you will get it done. But if you give yourself a month to do it, chances are that you will wait until the end of the month; therefore delaying a simple task by three weeks.

If you set tighter deadlines for yourself, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish. 

You can even set micro-deadlines, such as ten-minute increments, to accomplish things that usually take an hour. Try it out!

  1. Accountability

We’ll take a deeper dive into accountability next week, because I think it’s the missing piece for many entrepreneurs heading into the new year. For this week, let me put it into brief, certain terms: Without proper accountability, you are doomed.

Either you will become the ceiling of your own business, or the floor will fall out from under you.

You need something or someone outside of yourself that helps keep you on track. It could be a group, a business partner, a mentor, or even Siri.

Though it feels like you’re just adding on more chains, the practice of discipline, deadlines, and accountability will lead to more freedom down the road. You’ll watch your business stay afloat and thrive, while other would-be entrepreneurs have to go back to their day jobs. When you start to experience the lifestyle you wanted all along, you’ll know you’ve set yourself free.

For more guidance on creating the lifestyle you want, check out my “What’s the Secret?” Podcast!

About the Author
Tom is the host of What's the Secret podcast and co-founder of Offlinesharks.com

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