One year ago, I sat at my computer with a belly full of fire, enthusiasm, and uncertainty as Happy Fish Tarot went live. There were nerves. There was a shitload of fear. But those were trumped by the magical feeling that I was doing it anyway. That I was coming alive. That I was actively putting myself out there, taking a chance, and creating what I felt called to create.

Throughout the course of this past year, I’ve felt like a hero embarking into a wilderness full of thrills and free-falls and everything in-between. I’ve been presented with countless challenges and gifts (and I know this is just the beginning). It’s been a crash course in business, of course, but the business has also required me to learn deep lessons about myself.

In no particular order, here are eight lessons I’ve learned during my first year in the heart-centered entrepreneurial wild west. I offer these tidbits up in hopes that they might provide fuel if you’re also working to blaze your own trail. Full steam ahead!

1. Trust the pace of your expansion.
It is easy to lose sight of your true purpose if you are trying to dictate when and how your results come. I’m learning that growing a business is much like growing a garden. You plant a seed and tend to it. You can’t force it to blossom overnight. It might not grow at the same pace as the neighbor’s garden. Steeping yourself in the funky energy of impatience will only clog things up even further. Do what it takes to stay rooted in the belief that you are expanding at the right pace for you.

2. Everyone will want to tell you what to do. You get to choose when to listen.
Rather they have a business or not, chances are you have no shortage of people in your life who are keen on telling you what they think you should do. Some of this advice will actually be good. Some of it will be well intended, but won’t resonate with who you are and the type of business you want to run. Some of it will be straight-up stupid. You don’t need to stubbornly refuse to listen to any input, but you don’t have to take on board everything that is offered. Your business is an extension of your soul – do what feels right to you.

3. You WILL be tested.
Your endurance. Your grit. Your dedication. Your integrity. Your compassion. All of these will be tried. Your business is a gift from the Universe. Your business is in the world to serve others, but it’s also here to teach you about what you’re made of. This really is your hero’s journey, and it isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. You can find guidance and support from others on a similar path, but you will ultimately be called to face these challenges for yourself.

4. The term “heart-centered entrepreneur” is not contradictory.
It is okay to want to serve the world and get paid. It is okay to seek an energetic exchange, in the form of money, for the good you do. Open your heart to giving AND receiving. Consciousness and cash can coexist. You’re allowed to want to make a living doing your own thing. It is perfectly feasible to start a business and keep your integrity, too.

5. Give freely of what feels good to give.
If you’re running an online business, you probably do a lot of blogging, social media updates, and emailing. When it comes to your content, give what feels good to give. Talk about the things that are fresh in your mind. Be excited about what you are doing! Create free content for your people just because you want to. Write about what matters to you. People can sense it if you half-ass a blog post or a Facebook update. The things that are pertinent and hot on your mind always make the best creations.

6. Experiment, experiment, experiment.
The coolest thing about steering your own ship is you can try lots of things. You might launch a new series on your blog and find that you get bored of it quickly. That’s okay! It doesn’t have to be set in stone. Think of everything as an experiment. Tinker around to see what types of services you enjoy offering, and what your clients resonate with. Play with different social media sites to see which ones you enjoy. Try things. Lots of things. Experiment. Over and over.

7. Hang out with like-minded people.
Starting a business launched some major evolutions in who I am as a human being. Not everyone ‘gets’ the fervor that comes with being a driven, passionate business owner. Not everyone gets what a big effing deal it is to you. Not everyone knows what it is like to feel like you are on your own strange, mystical hero’s journey. It can get lonely out here. Finding a crew who relates to your path is essential.

8. “It’s not about you, it’s about the people you’re serving.”
Running a soul-centered online business requires an open-heart. This means you have to get comfortable showing up and sharing. Boundaries are, of course, crucial. You must share in a way that still feels safe. But I believe what people crave the most these days is genuine connection. You serve people when you are able to be vulnerable. The blogs and videos that required me to push past my ego have been the ones that resonated the most with other people.

I’m still working on getting fully comfortable with being the face of my business. My ego tries to create a barrier between “me” and my work. This is why it is easier for me to write than to film videos. This is why it is easier for me to use the name “Happy Fish Tarot” instead of my own name. My ego thinks that if I don’t have that barrier, I’m making everything about me. However, I’m learning that I need to continue to get comfortable with putting myself out there. Not out of vanity, but because I am required to show up fully in order to give fully. As Nathalie Lussier says, “it’s not about you, it’s about the people you’re serving.”

Honorable mention:
One of the most surprising things I’ve learned this year is how much I enjoy talking about business. In fact, I still have a giant list of lessons I considered including in this post! This is something I’ll likely talk about more in the future, especially if it’s something you are interested in (leave a comment and let me know). For now, I’m gonna conclude by singing Happy Birthday to Happy Fish Tarot – I love ya to the moon and back, baby.

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