Sam Laura Brown
In today’s Community Spotlight, we are sharing all about Sam Laura Brown. She’s a mindset coach, personal development blogger and host of The Perfectionism Project. We chatted with Sam about she created an online space to help perfectionists in every walk of life. Read more to learn about Sam’s journey from starting her blog to creating an positive impact online with her podcast!
Tell us about Sam Laura Brown!
I help perfectionists stop procrastinating and overcome their fears so they can reach their full potential. I'm a mindset coach, personal development blogger and the host of The Perfectionism Project podcast—one of the top self-help podcasts on iTunes.
How did you get started with Sam Laura Brown?
My business was originally called Smart Twenties and began as a personal development blog in 2013, when I was 22. I started it after becoming obsessed with business podcasts and spending months hearing the inspiring stories of online entrepreneurs. I thought that if they could do it, maybe I could do it too.
My business now revolves around helping people move out of the perfectionist mindset (and the procrastination, self-doubt and people pleasing that goes with it) but ironically, it was starting my business that made me realize I had those tendencies. I'd always done very well in school and, at the time of starting my blog, I was getting my dual degree in law and finance (which I finished in 2015). Perfectionism hadn't presented too many problems when I was doing what everyone expected of me and had external deadlines. It was only when I tried to put myself out there and had no one else to keep me accountable that I really started to get in my own way!
Because of that, my business got off to a VERY slow start. For 2.5 years, I only had a handful of page views each week - and most of them were me. I had so much fear around rejection and being laughed at that I hid my blog from my friends and family for most of that time. I was too scared to promote myself and therefore took a 'build it and they will come' approach. Unsurprisingly, no one came. And I spent almost all of my time on busywork.
In April 2016, I got so sick of myself that I finally decided to put myself out there and begin doing all the things I knew I should be doing. It wasn't until March 2017 that I quit my full-time accounting job for blogging, so I still consider my business to be fairly new!
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
For sure my biggest challenge has been me. Thanks to the internet, lack of information and strategies has never been a real problem. The problem has been my fears around putting myself out there and everything that might bring with it—rejection, failure and shame.
While I've come a long way over the last couple of years, with a new level there's always a new devil. I still find myself getting in my own way all the time and am constantly trying to practice what I preach. Having said that—I'm grateful for this challenge because without it, I wouldn't be able to help others with it either. Plus I share my own personal growth journey with my readers and listeners, so it always makes for great content!
What would you say has been one of your biggest “wins”?
One of my biggest wins has been becoming the kind of person I used to look up to. It sounds super corny to say that and I'm cringing at myself a little right now, but the biggest "pinch me" moments have been when I've been the teacher in a situation where I used to be the student. And that I receive emails and DMs from people every day telling me about the positive impact my work, and sharing my journey, has had on their life.
In a world of likes and followers, it's easy to caught up in the numbers and forget that there are real people on the other side of the screen. I'm prone to getting caught up in it too, but I always do my best to remind myself about what really matters in business - solving other people's problems. And perfectionism is a big one!
Did you have any help building your website or did you do it yourself?
I've always had the mentality that I want to know how to do as many of the tasks in my business as possible. This empowers me to move quickly, helps me avoid overpaying for simple tasks and allows me to have intelligent conversations with those I hire. Of course, I don't want to become a bottleneck in my business, but in the beginning stages I think it's important to have a good understanding of all the tasks it takes to run the business.
I've approached my website in that same way. I've also heard dozens of stories from friends and acquaintances who'd paid thousands for their website, only to find themselves without the skills to make even the tiniest updates—I never wanted that to be me! I've used templates since the beginning and have found them to be amazing value for money.
After having my blog for a few years, I purchased the Paloma theme to update the look and feel of my blog. After a few hours of tinkering, I had the website looking exactly how I wanted it to (and I definitely wouldn't call myself a tech person). After I finished my part, I then hired a freelancer on Upwork to help me make a few small customisations to the theme—such as the appearance of my home page. It cost me less than $100 to get my website looking exactly how I wanted it and I couldn't be happier.
Any advice for others looking to start out?
I could write an essay on this but I'll just share a few things here:
1. If you think lack of knowledge, resources or time is the reason you're struggling—it's probably not. So many people spend their time researching the strategies and tactics for success (and watching motivational videos) because that feels easier than doing the uncomfortable work that comes with starting a business. I know because that's what I used to do too! It's easier to fantasize about having more hours in the day than to admit you're not doing everything you can with what you've already got. You truly don't need to know much to get started, I certainly didn't! And there are thousands of successful entrepreneurs who got started with less time than you have now. If you're finding yourself getting stuck on an issue of "how", it's probably fear that's stopping you from moving forward. And the moment that you can acknowledge that is the moment you can begin to move past it.
2. A lot of people try to boost their confidence and escape imposter syndrome by getting formal qualifications. In the world we live in today where fewer formal qualifications are required, the most powerful thing you can do is give yourself permission to start right away. For sure, learn something for the sake of learning it. But don't learn something for the sake of feeling more confident—there are better ways to spend your time and money, and it likely won't cure your confidence problems either.
3. Don't expect to feel comfortable or motivated. It's something that everyone says but most people still think they would be more successful if they didn't have so much fear or they felt more motivated. We all have fear and none of us feel motivated all the time (or even most of the time). You don't need the fear to go away, you just need to learn how to take action anyway. And you don't need more motivation, you just need to learn how to follow through with your plans even when you don't feel like it. It's simple but not easy, and something I'm still working on to this day.