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Emerge and Expand Podcast 001: How To Keep Going When It Feels Hard

Well, this isn’t the first episode I thought I was going to share with you. But here it is.

In this episode, I chat about:

  • What people in the online business space don’t really talk about (because it’s not profitable)
  • Why you have off days in your business (and what to do instead of quitting)
  • What choice you need to make that isn’t about all the wonderful things that come with online business
  • Practical steps to keep going even when it feels hard.
  • My number 1 energy and mindset tip that is going to change how you show up in your business.

Also mentioned in this episode:


This is the Emerge + Expand podcast, episode number 1 and in this episode we’re talking about how to survive in business, especially when it feels hard. So let’s get into it.

Hi and welcome to the podcast, I’m your host Katherine Mackenzie-Smith and I’m so excited that you’re here for the first official episode of the Emerge + Expand podcast.

I’m going to be honest with you, right off the bat, that this was NOT the episode I originally had planned as my first one. If you go back and listen to episode 0 which is the introduction to the podcast, you’ll hear me say that I am planning to cover a range of topics around business, strategy, energy, and doing business differently and my intention was to walk you through my start to finish monthly content planning system to kick things off with some practical and implementable strategy.

But as you’ll come to learn about me, one of my life and business mottos is to follow the energy. So that episode will be coming up soon and – if you’re in need of support to create content, you can get started straight up by heading to – that’s the numbers 3 and 0 and grabbing my free 30 Day Content Planner to get a sneak peek of how I plan my content.

So then, what are we talking about in this episode? As I said, where is the energy right now?!  And the energy is in conversations that I’ve been having every day probably for the past month or so with clients, new coaches, and people in my community who are just starting out and coming to the harsh realities of what being a business owner actually is.

And I get it, right?! Probably the majority of us got into business because we learnt a skill, such as becoming a coach, an energy practitioner of some sort, a digital marketing consultant, VA, whatever it might be… and social media has maybe led us to believe that we get the training, decide to start a business, set up a website and an Instagram account and… boom…clients.

But what happens then is once the shine of this amazing dream starts to rapidly tarnish, it can feel very overwhelming – especially at the start – as you’re not just the mindset coach or reiki practitioner.. But you’re also suddenly the social media manager, sales person, tech support, website builder, copywriter and you even have to fetch your own coffee.

I used to joke that no one warns you that the work-from-anywhere dream actually means paying for your own toilet paper and climate control that you never even think about in your full time job.

Since most of us now actually know what it’s like to work from home that doesn’t really apply any more. But there are plenty of other things we don’t see in everybody’s highlights reel of what having your own business ACTUALLY means.

Probably the most common thing that people say to me (and hell I say it myself sometimes) is that we didn’t get into business to do admin and marketing and write sales pages and build websites and have to spend so much time thinking about how to get clients and make money. 

I get it.

And so here is the crux of this episode – like if you just listen to this one thing I’m about to say and then stop listening, I will be totally fine with that. Sit with it, be uncomfortable with it, question it, decide how you feel about it, know that I’ve been in business for a minute, but also like a minute in the grand scheme of the rest of my life exploring this is still not that long okay!?

Alright here it comes, ah shit now I’m worried I’ve built it up too much… Anyway, I’m going for it.

If you find yourself thinking this, if you’re frustrated and annoyed and despondent about all the other parts of business you need to do alongside the thing that you’re actually wanting to do – the coaching, or whatever service you provide…

It’s okay to feel all of those things. It’s okay to have off days and want to quit days and crying wanting to run away from it all days.

That’s the roller coaster of life. That’s going to happen even when you find THE thing that is your soul purpose, the reason you feel that you’re on this Earth in this very moment in time.

Anyone who tells you that once you find your thing, you’ll be happy and fulfilled and never feel like you’re working and all that rubbish… just smile at them and then get the fuck out of there.

So it’s fine to feel that and experience it. When you are saying yes to what might feel like your deeper calling, your soul purpose or just something you are deeply passionate about pursuing, guess what!? It will invite you to evolve into the next version of you in order to have the capacity to receive everything that’s associated with saying yes to that.

And with that often comes some very human messiness. Emotions, healing, revisiting old patterns and trauma that your nervous system has stuffed into a cupboard and shut the door on and you haven’t thought about for 20 years.

So I don’t want to discount or invalidate the real feels that come with every upleveling we do in our business and our life…

But this is the real bit right?! This is THE way to survive in business as I’ve personally come to be with it at this point in my journey.

If all your energy and brainspace continues to focus on what you WISH business was, what you WISH would or could happen so that you didn’t have to do all the things that having and running and growing a business entails, what energy do you have left for actually showing up and holding space for clients, doing what needs to be done, and creating a business that you love based on what you CAN control?!

Let me just say that again…

If all your energy and brain space continues to focus on what you wish business was, what you wish would or could happen, things that are totally out of your control so that you didn’t have to do all the things that your business needs you to do in order to run, grow, and just exist in the world. What energy do you have left for actually showing up and holding space for those clients? 

If we’re focusing all our energy on, oh, I wish I didn’t have to do these things. I wish that I could just post something on Instagram and just have a flood of clients send me DMS and my all time favourite. I wish that I was further ahead. I wish I had this many clients already. I wish I was where such and such is in their business and don’t get me wrong. It is so important that we have goals, that we have things that we are working towards, and that we are putting energy into the things that we really want and desire in our businesses. 

That is why we started businesses in the first place, but sitting and wishing that things were different, that these things didn’t need to be done is not helping us get any further along, build momentum and feel better about are we actually gonna make it thinking about, is this possible for me? How am I ever gonna get clients? Why would somebody work with me as much as it’s such a human thing? And we are dealing with our own vulnerability and our visibility stuff, and we’re putting something out into the world that we’ve potentially never done before.

So let’s be gentle and compassionate with ourselves and then look at what can I do to make this happen? What do I need to learn? Who do I need to become? What am I committing to in order to make this a reality in order to set up systems or automations or outsource things, or find a way to make money that feels really aligned and good for me.

I always share the story from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, about the shit sandwich. And sorry if you thought this podcast wasn’t going to have swears in it, sometimes I get fired up and swears just come out! But in the book, she talks about not focusing so much on all the shiny amazing things but actually what you’re willing to put up with (or as she says it in the book, which shit sandwich you’re prepared to eat). The good things about having your own business are freaking amazing, don’t get me wrong. The freedom, the earning capacity, the creativity and joy and connections and all of the things that you see online.

It’s EASY to make this choice to ditch your full time job in pursuit of your own beautiful business. But what are you prepared to do for that?

And, like Elizabeth Gilbert, every single time I won’t just eat my own business shit sandwich, I’ll be eyeing off yours as well wondering if you’re going to eat that.

And this is so counterintuitive to what we see in the online businessworld. It’s pretty unusual for a business coach to say hey it’s not always rainbows and puppy dogs, it is hard sometimes. And I know the usual business coach strategy would be for me to paint a picture so idyllic that you rush to work with me so that you can have what I have.

But I’m coming to you from a place of wanting to build a false expectation of what it’s like. In actual fact, I want the complete opposite. I want you to know what you’re getting into and be so excited and sign up for this life with your eyes open. 

Because I know the reason so many of you are feeling all the feels about whether this is possible or if you can really make this work and wishing it was different… is because this is the picture that’s consistently being painted for you as to what it should be like and when it’s NOT like that, you think there’s something wrong with you and that buying another course or working with someone else is going to fix you.

Or when you see your friends and business besties out there and you haven’t launched yet, and they’re struggling to get clients, and you’re wondering how you’re EVER going to make it work when you’re so far behind them.

IT is hard sometimes.

 – and, don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I love my business and the work that I do. But I’m not going to lie and say that it’s the easiest path and that every day is Instagram-worthy, hashtag laptop lifestyle.

Your business coach and the programs you sign up for cannot guarantee you success. And I’m not saying this to be a downer. In fact, I’m here to manage expectations because the unrealistic ones we might have from slick marketing messages are making it really fucking hard to keep showing up.

The reality is that there are a million variables – including what success ACTUALLY looks and feels like for you. Which might be different to what you’re currently chasing.

And so I know this is a big topic to tackle first thing, but I know that these conversations keep coming up for a reason. And instead of trying to sell you my program or my 1:1 coaching, I’m not going to leave you here if you’re feeling like this (and if you’re NOT feeling like this, I’m cheering you on – save this episode and come back if you find yourself having one of those days sometime in the future).

So let’s get into some practical steps and practices that might help you on those days. Because I want you to know that I see you and I get it. And also share some things for you to explore so that you rest, you take a break, you don’t quit, or you take a step back and navigate what comes next if you DO decide this isn’t for you – and all of those are okay.

What I’ve learnt in my group program and my membership when we’ve been having these conversations, is that sometimes actually hearing some of these things said out loud can be a huge relief and start to immediately shift that energy.

Knowing that having fears, concerns, worries, and off days are such a human part of the experience and that everyone goes through this from time to time can be a game changer when you’re sitting alone at your computer wondering if you suck.

So that’s my first step. Take a moment. Pause this podcast. Go for a walk and relisten to it. Or bring together some friends to just talk about all the things that are going on for you.

Say outloud what you’re feeling. Give those fears a little bit of air to breathe – because hiding from those thoughts and pretending they aren’t there actually causes more stress to the nervous system – I always find I start to relax when I say something I’m thinking or feeling and then I can move past it.

And then start to work out what’s next.

Do you need a break? Do you need some space? Or do you need to create a backup plan if your launch doesn’t go the way you want? What do you need to feel safe in your business and put your energy into what you CAN control, instead of all the things that you can’t control – which is the outcomes, good or bad, to anything.

You can control how you want to show up each day. And that doesn’t necessarily mean showing up online and being visible, but in reverence for the work that you’re here to do each day, which sometimes is your own personal work that helps you keep the dream alive.

You can control what you do when things don’t go as you hoped. And this came up in my launch incubator recently – a question each and every one of us asks ourselves when we launch something – what if nobody signs up. Or what if one person signs up and I have to run a group program with only one person.

And my answer to this is, well, what if that does happen? Will having a bit of a plan for those what ifs help you feel more confident, calm, and collected to move through your launch? Great. Do it.

With every pursuit, with every new project or skill or life direction we take, there is a learning curve. There are elements that we have to show up for that aren’t the most fun things to do in the world.

And as business owners, sometimes that’s doing a bunch of things that don’t actually have anything to do with the service that we’re here to provide. So just to sum things up, I know this is a big topic. I know a lot of you out there are feeling like this right now, and that it is absolutely okay. To doubt, to question, to wonder, to wish that things were different. It’s okay to be there for a little while, but I truly, truly hope that you can accept that all of these parts of you, all of these emotions that you are moving through are pursuit of your journey with this work that you’re here to do, take some time, take a breath, walk away for a day or a week, whatever you need, and then come back and decide what comes next. Because at the end of the day where you put your energy and your next step, they are the things that you can control. I hope that this gave you something to think about. If you are totally out of agreement with me, that is absolutely fine. I am just one person saying it as I have seen, lived 

And shared experiences with people over the years. If you loved this, please come and let me know. Hey, even if you didn’t love it and you have thoughts, please let me know about that as well. If you wanna revisit this and actually come back, but not have to listen to it again, you can head to emerge and oh one and grab the full transcript, the show notes and a full breakdown of everything I’ve talked about today and make sure that you check out episode two. It is the first interview in the due business differently interview series with my friend and mentor Julie Parker, CEO of the beautiful you coaching academy. Thank you so much for being here. Stick with it. Remember to stop and breathe sometimes, and I’ll catch you in the next one.




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