Starting a business is like starting a family. It’s new and overwhelming, and there’s almost never a perfect time to start. You’ll have thoughts like, ‘I’m not old enough’ or ‘I’m not young enough’ or ‘if only I were better prepared or knew suchand- such first.’ And it’s so easy to doubt yourself, get trapped in feelings of fear, or to feel like an imposter. But if you can embrace the newness, the I-don’t-know-ness, and go for it anyway, then you’ll open yourself up to so much growth and opportunity.” These encouraging words of Rachel Brownlow Lund smartly portray the essence of entrepreneurship, which is all about taking action. From Freelancer to Entrepreneur An avid entrepreneur, Rachel began her entrepreneurial career by starting a ghostwriting company during her last semester in college. She called it Rachel Brownlow Ghostwriting, and for the first couple years, she made a go of it as an independent freelancer, hustling to generate new clients and leads.
“I knew next to nothing about entrepreneurship, but I was dating someone at the time who was interested in entrepreneurship, and I had several friends who had started up small businesses and side-hustles,” says Rachel. Without those connections, she suspects she would have continued on to grad school or applied for a job, as many of her fellow college graduates were doing at the time. Fortunately, after some encouragement from her entrepreneurial friends, she took a leap and registered for her first DBA.
Over the next few years, she grew from the solo Rachel Brownlow Ghostwriting into a boutique ghostwriting company called Your Written Word, where she and her team worked on nonfiction books, blogs and articles, helping small business owners position themselves as thought leaders.
Becoming a freelancer and then an entrepreneur has been a series of big challenges and growth opportunities for Rachel. To this she asserts, “No one is born knowing how to network or hire staff or write copy or be an effective saleswoman. But you stretch, and you grow. You pivot, and then you grow some more. And all the while, you continue to impact more and more people.”
An Idea of Me2Lead
Currently, Rachel runs her company Me2Lead, where she helps women grow their businesses through strategic power positioning and business leadership coaching. She mentions that if she had created a 10-year plan for herself when she started her first business in 2009, it probably wouldn’t have included Me2Lead. “At that point, I was still figuring out a lot of fundamentals around business and leadership for myself,” she says. “I never dreamed I would be in a position where I could help other women grow their businesses.”
Yet that is precisely where her entrepreneurial journey led her. After years spent honing her business acumen through hard lessons, mentorship, coaching, business incubators, masterminds, hundreds of business books, workshops, online courses and more, she began helping friends fast track their own successes in entrepreneurship. Discovering that she had both talent and passion for helping women grow their businesses, confidence and visibility, she started the coaching company Me2Lead.
Initially, Me2Lead began as a side-hustle to prove out the concept. When Rachel discovered that she was helping clients achieve some really extraordinary results in their businesses and as leaders, she enrolled in a coaching certification program and then went full-time.
“If someone had told me back in 2009 that what I do today was an actual job, I would have been like, “wow! Can that person coach me?” she jokes.
Challenges Are Part of the Process
For Rachel, impatience has always been one of her biggest challenges. “I want to do more than I have energy or hours in the day to do it all,” she says. Even with diligent planning and prioritizing, things almost always take longer than she would like.
With growth, also come challenges. In Rachel’s opinion, challenges aren’t so much eventual as they are a daily part of business. “New levels, new devils,” if you will. To overcome her own challenges in business and life, Rachel finds it helpful to work with her own business coaches and to stay plugged into an environment of entrepreneurs who are further along than she is. Often, they’ve already seen the challenges she is encountering in their own lives or through working with clients and can either offer advice or assure her that what she is going through is all part of the process.
Keep Track of Everything
According to Rachel, work-life balance hardly exists. Instead, she tends to feel that everything comes in cycles. She has cycles where she feels supercharged, productive and on top of her game, and then there are times when she needs a day or two to zone out, watch Netflix and just not think. These days tend to come after a big speaking event or a conference, so she has started to build them in to her calendar. “Perhaps that’s its own form of balance,” says Rachel. “Because everything evens out in the end.” The two things Rachel has found that have worked wonders in keeping her playing at a high level are what she calls her “morning formula”, a document she has created around her goals and ideal self that she reads each morning, and her daily trackers. She tracks everything, from sleep, meditation and gratitude to her diet, output and how much she reads that day. She also has another tracker for business metrics. “I realize that for some people all that tracking may sound excessive,” she says, “but it keeps me accountable.”
It’s All About a Desire to Help
According to Rachel, a growth mindset, a grateful heart, a desire to help, and the belief that there’s a solution to every problem are vital attributes every leader should possess. Secondly, when it comes to selling information, whether that’s through coaching, consulting, writing a book or creating an info product, one often hears the advice to “make your mess your message.” Rachel also finds it true, as she believes most people tend to teach what they have personally gone through themselves. “It’s because they went through those struggles and learned how to adapt that they now have valuable information to share with others” she says. Through her lens, this is what entrepreneurship, leadership, and guiding others is all about.