When running your online business makes you feel like a rat on a hamster wheel

Building a business shouldn’t be all about you. There are times when you have to tune your ears to the outside world to see if there is anyone worth listening to. Or to just get away from the madness of it all.

These days are forcing me to take my health seriously. Yes, I am a writer who is constantly exposed to the latest marketing strategies and trends in the copywriting industry. My inbox is full of 100+ emails from enthusiastic entrepreneurs wanting to close the sale or share great value, as we fondly call it.

Interestingly, I read all of them! Always wanting to study a technique or rank the effectiveness of their strategies. Oftentimes, I find myself getting snarky and wonder if my “click” would drive their email open rates through the roof so that they can use the data for marketing purposes.

To cut the long story short, these “activities” eventually lead me down the rabbit hole of envy, comparison, and rob me of every last thread of inspiration worth hanging onto. Not good.

So, instead of hugging your laptop, getting slain with envy, and praying for inspiration to come, I have discovered some pretty amazing people I want to share with you.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 people to listen to when you’re feeling uninspired and unpopular:

1) Jen Carrington

I discovered Jen in early 2015 and have been in awe of her brand ever since. Jen is a content and creative mentor who helps purpose-driven creatives make things happen in their creative lives and businesses: on their own terms, in their own way, and by their own rules.

Much of Jen’s philosophy is about making space for more, doing work that matters, and overcoming the fears and mindset issues that are holding you back. Her work doesn’t define success for you; in fact, she talks against going against your own values in pursuit of public validation from others.

Sundays are my favorite because at 4am, Jen’s email hits my inbox and I can’t wait to open it.

2) Caroline Kelso Winegeart

Caroline is someone I just discovered and has quickly etched her way into my heart. She stands out from the rest not only because of her big and bold brand colors, but with the lengthy and personal letters she sends to her community every Monday. Think of it like newsletters on soulful steroids. Yea, that’s her line 🙂

Caroline’s newsletters taught me the how to channel my strengths as a talented introvert through lengthy, intimate letters. When I read from her — when she talks about the pain of untapped potential, I’m not reading another marketer’s emails; I’m reading from a friend I haven’t seen in years but who somehow knows my struggles, fears, and aspirations.

When her most beloved subscription service ended, she called it her most beautiful failure. But this stood out to me more:

I know it. It hurt to send emails and refunds and to feel like I was disappointing people. But with everything in me I will fight the instinct to feel shame or self-doubt around making this decision. — Caroline

3) Mridu Khullar Relph

2 years ago, I nursed the idea of becoming a freelance writer and seeing my name in national publications. I was going to send lots of pitches but being the chicken that I was then, I stood on the sidelines until the impulse to become a writer became so strong I couldn’t ignore it.

First I discovered Mridu. Then I discovered her 30 days, 30 queries course. And ever since, the thought of sending queries/pitches has never left my mind even though I still consider myself a chicken.

Well, a few months ago, Mridu sent a letter that changed the way I think about success. In the letter, she addressed the anxiety of not reaching the top as fast as she wanted and openly talked about her struggle with depression (something I know too intimately).

Instantly, I gained strength. I stopped thinking about how many failed pitches I’d sent. Suddenly, I stopped wanting to be superhuman. Rather, I marveled at how easy it was to connect and refuel over failures.

4) Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

How do I begin to describe Liz? I can’t do her justice with my words alone. Neither can I capture the essence of Liz’s magic with images. What you should know is this: when it comes to creative living…work that isn’t defined by boundaries, rules, her profound wisdom on inspiration, creativity, and curiosity is sought by almost everyone in creative writing.

In a nutshell, Elizabeth takes the melodrama away from what you do. She talks about loving the chapter you’re in and doing creative work regardless of how you feel or how much you make. Regardless of how much you get from it.

Bonus: Listen to her interviews on YouTube and you’ll soon get a feel for what creative living feels like.

5) Laura Belgray

Finally, a little sunshine here!

I like to think there is a snarky comedian with a I-don’t-give-a-darn attitude living inside of me. But nobody lives this life better than Laura, a copywriter who not only teaches you how to write non-sucky copy — jumbo style, but also gives you the copy cure to enlarge your profits. Again, jumbo style.

Marie Forleo, John Lee Dumas, and other entrepreneurs have given Laura the stamp of approval but that isn’t what gets me. It’s her authentic storytelling and wit. Her wit…oh God. Laura takes away the tension that comes with being an entrepreneur. You have to read her emails/blog posts to find out why I’m gushing about her.

So, there you have it. Here’s to hoping your week is full of fun, purpose, and laughter, as we continue to learn how to thrive in spite of life’s bitter lemons!

Originally published at medium.com