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15 Life Lessons I'd Tell My Younger Stuck, Struggling, Entrepreneur Self Stop struggling. Enjoy the journey!

By Shannon Kaiser Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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"So you want to be an entrepreneur?" my mom and dad asked, questioning me at the dinner table. A little worried for my sanity and both entrepreneurs themselves, they warned me of the extremely hard work ahead of me.

Related: The 10 Biggest Motivation Killers and How to Fix Them (Infographic)

I had just left my cushy advertising corporate career. I was lost, lonely and confused. I didn't want to return to the fluorescent lights or the set schedule. I wanted freedom to make my own hours and make a massive difference doing what I love.

I carved out a new niche for myself and declared, "I am an entrepreneur." As a life coach, writer, self-help author and speaker, I now view my journey as making sense: the struggles, the lessons, the setbacks. They were all part of a bigger plan. But when we are in it, the struggle can become unbearable.

The first three years of my business were the hardest, not because they were particularly hard -- but because I made them hard with my expectations and attachments to how things should look. I was always trying to get to the next level: the bigger book deal, more followers and subscribers, more clients, and more sales, believing success was tied to these. I had something to prove . . . until I realized I didn't.

Something shifted, a radical breakthrough that changed everything for me. Instead of looking outside of myself, I shifted inward. I thought, "If I want my business to work, I have to make sure I am working." I put myself on a self-love practice, dedicating myself to healing and health. What's self-love have to do with your business? Oh, everything.

As entrepreneurs, we are our business; we put our heart and soul into our work. So, if you don't work, it's safe to say your business won't work as well as it could, either.

When I focused on caring for myself, within weeks my business grew. I hit six figures, landed a book deal with the largest publisher in the world and truly made my business independent, allowing me to work and play anywhere in the world.

Related: The 5 Motivations That Drive People to Choose Entrepreneurship

If I could go back to my younger self -- the one who was always striving; the one who was always naïve, uncomfortable, lost and apt to feel like a failure -- I'd remind her she is doing a great job. That she should keep going and remember these simple lessons:

  1. Fall in love with all the hard work. It pays off.
  2. Your business won't work unless you do.
  3. The more you that you show, the more your business will grow.
  4. Act on your inspiration sooner. Much sooner.
  5. Don't worry about getting "there"; the journey is the reward.
  6. Find a mentor sooner than later. This person will help you learn the way on the way.
  7. Focus on your mission, over money.
  8. You can't be envious and grow your business at the same time.
  9. Prioritize self-care; it's connected to your abundance.
  10. You are always exactly where you are supposed to be.
  11. You'll get that opportunity when the time is right; you are still becoming who you need to be to receive it.
  12. Don't take things personally; it's not about you.
  13. You have to believe it before you see it.
  14. What you focus on grows, so focus on what you want instead of what you don't want.
  15. Take action before you are ready. Confidence comes in the doing and showing up.

What would you tell your younger entrepreneur self?

Related: The 5 Motivations That Drive People to Choose Entrepreneurship

Shannon Kaiser

Author, Happiness Expert

Shannon Kaiser is the best-selling author of Find Your Happy, Find Your Happy Daily Mantras and Adventures for Your SoulShe appears regularly as an happiness expert on AM Northwest and Huff Post Live, and was named among the “Top 100 Women to Watch in Wellness” by the Mind Body Green. She's an author, international life coach, teacher, travel writer and inspirational speaker who left her job in advertising several years ago to follow her heart and become a writer. 

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