There are many of you out there who have been considering starting your own business for some time now. You have an idea, a passion, something that you would love to be doing full time rather than what you’re currently doing. So I thought that on the anniversary of my first year in business I would share with you what my experience has been. What I have learned and what I can suggest for those of you who one day may be launching a business of you own.
Lesson One: Your Business Can’t Outgrow You
Whether you’re a life coach, a tradie or a web developer, your business can only be as efficient and effective as you are. If you struggle to get to meetings on time, if you lack interpersonal skills, if you are not up to date with the latest information in your field, YOUR BUSINESS WILL SUFFER.
So many entrepreneurs just keep on doing, doing, doing without stopping to ask themselves, ‘what area do I need to improve in?’ Find out what skills your business requires of you and make sure you are continually improving in those areas. If you discover that one of those skills is not in your zone of genius, that it drains your energy and you hate doing it, outsource it so you can give more time to those things that you are good at and that you can leverage.
There are some areas that you can’t outsource, your emotional well-being for example. This responsibility starts and ends with you. Therefore, it is up to you to put supports in place to make sure you are well taken care of emotionally. If you are a highly disciplined person you may be able to rely on yourself for this, but most people need external support and accountability. Examples of this are personal trainers, mastermind groups and business coaches.
I have a business coach and personal coach because I know that the fastest way to get results in my business and personal life is to have intentional one-on-one support that is tailored specifically to me and where I’m at.
If you are serious about growing a business your first priority must be to invest in yourself.
Lesson Two: Be Patient
Many new business owners have BIG dreams and BIG goals that they want to achieve in their first 12 months. This is both good and bad. Good because the enthusiasm and motivation means they get a lot done. Bad because if they don’t get to where they thought they would be by now, they give up.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Bill Gates
It has been estimated that over 90% of small businesses fail within the first five years. Not because the business idea is bad but because they are not where they expected to be within a certain amount of time. This results in feelings of frustration and hopelessness and the belief that ‘it’s impossible’. When of course it is possible. It just takes time.
If these individuals had a ten year plan rather than a twelve month plan I believe many of them would still be in business. I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs drop off not because they weren’t making money, but because they weren’t making as much money as were expecting by now.
Having patience and setting a long term vision will keep your morale and motivation high. It’s not about what you achieve in the first twelve months of business but what you achieve in your first ten years of business.
Lesson Three: Be a Problem Solver
Genuine problem solvers can be spotted a mile off because they are curious about people and how to help them. Problem solves are generous and trustworthy and generally have more friends, more career success and more financial success because of their eagerness to go the extra mile.
Every single person on the planet has problems. No one is exempt from having problems. If you are someone who is good as solving people’s problems you will always have people around you. This is especially handy in business.
Being a Social Worker it had always being in my work philosophy to be a curious and generous problem solver. However, the power of this value came to light when I was speaking to one of my workshop attendees.
After the event she pulled me aside out of earshot from the other attendees to ask a question. She was very frank and stated that she wasn't interested in career coaching. I was eager to learn from her what the biggest problems she was facing were. After an hour of coaching/discussing her current work situation she came out of the blue and said, ‘actually I’ve changed my mind, I want to work with you.’ Wow! I wasn’t trying to convince her to become a client, all I was trying to do was help her solve her problem.
My final piece of advice is that whatever you do, make sure you love it!
I have always loved working one-on-one with women, helping them achieve greater job and life satisfaction.
One of my favourite client stories is Lisa. She was referred to me by an existing client who worked with Lisa in an inner city accounting firm. Lisa was originally a little hesitant about coaching but she saw the big difference it had made in her friend who was now much happier since changing workplaces as a result of coaching.
Lisa had envisioned a very clear career trajectory for herself in corporate finance but as time grew on she was becoming less convinced that this was the right job for her. During the six week coaching program, going through values, personality type and core needs, Lisa decided to pivot her financial career in a new direction. Before we finished working together she secured a job more in alignment with her values and that paid an extra $10,000 a year. Within her first two weeks of the new role she was booked on her first business trip to the United States - aligning with her passion for travel and adventure.
More than anything, in my first twelve months I have learned the power of possibility through the achievements of my clients. They have accomplished huge outcomes such as moving to Germany to study at a cutting edge university, secure a bigger and better paying jobs moved to the pacific islands with an international aid agency etc. Without their boldness and willingness to take a chance, their dreams would never have become a reality.
I’m so thankful that I took the leap and launched into business 12 months ago. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing my many courageous clients step outside their comfort zone, overcome their fear, and achieve more of what they are truly capable of.
If you have been thinking about launching a business or making a career change but not sure where to start, I can help. Book in your FREE discovery session to overcome those limiting beliefs that are holding you back from going after more job satisfaction.
Start the journey today.
If you are feeling lost or stuck in your career direction, check out my FREE 4 Step Guide to 'Get Unstuck'. It contains 4 quick and easy exercises to help you go from thinking in circles to having a clear plan moving forward.