For years I had aspirations to run my own business and there has been many reasons why I felt this wasn’t a feasible option.
1. A lack of confidence in my ability to be a business woman
2. Not being ‘qualified enough’, an idea that I lack credentials.
3. Fear of doing it alone and making a mess of things.
4. Worryand overwhelm!
5. I am a Myers Briggs ESFJ…a typical people pleaser, the whole asking for money thing makes me queasy!
6. Getting my message out there – marketing myself…I have no idea!
I could go on, but in a nutshell, fear, procrastination, lack of belief, impostering is what it would all boil down to.
So, what changed?
I returned to work in 2016 on a part time basis around my family commitments. This seemed a good idea until the guilt of not being able to work when the children were ill. I was on a fixed term contract which meant after 3 years I would need to find another job. May be next time the employer might not be so accommodating or flexible around working mums.
So, I started planning in my ‘A’ plan. Updated my professional skills and decided at the end of my fixed term contract I would launch my own coaching practice, utilising my skills and qualifications. Setting my own hours and pay scale. What a nice thought that was!
Knowing all the items listed above would be the very things to hold me back, I had to dig deep and get my mind and my ‘A’ plan lined up.
I spoke to people already in this line of work. How they got started. What held them back. What’s worked well. People were so generous with information and sharing experiences. I have learnt to keep asking the questions from all manner of business people.
Once I had my mind made up, I invested in a business mentor. This turned out to be my ‘ace’ card as 11 months before I was planning on launching own business, I was actually made redundant from my job!
So why did I think I needed a mentor?
To help me fill in the blanks.
I knew enough about the basics of setting up in business. It’s selling a service (which is not tangible) I was having most difficulty with. People would be buying me and my expertise. Faced with this concept, all the above points would creep back in and stop me from taking action on my business or even getting going in the first place. Also, there was no avoiding the fact that doing this alone was a huge factor to whether I would pull this off or not. It meant so much to me not to fail, so I got a mentor on board.
So, playing my Ace Card, my business mentor has
- helped me control my mind monkeys (the voice in my head which casts all sorts of reasons why I was not ready to do this!).
- has held me accountable for the actions I said I would take to move my business forward.
- given me space to explore all my options.
- been a great sounding board and a pool of knowledge
- helped me focus on my ideal client (who knew how important this was!) I thought I could market to everyone…this really doesn’t work!
- got me involved with a community of other like-minded coaches, faced with similar troubles and business challenges
- provided me with essential tools to support my coaching practice
- given me access to ongoing personal development
- taught me how to market myself to be seen and heard by my ideal clients
- alleviated my fears of asking for payment for my services and setting theright fees
- given me ideas for growing my business by focusing on what earning potential I want
- confidence, self-belief, confidence
This support above all has meant that the feelings of setting out on this journey alone and blindly bumbling along were avoided.
- My mind monkeys have been kept under control.
- I do not procrastinate half as much and actually get things done.
- My self-belief and confidence have been aligned and I often challenge and push my boundaries without an overwhelming sense of failure.
Failure is born from not trying in the first place!
Building a business has not been a walk in the park. Getting my first paying customer took time. In fact, it took several months and the one thing that kept me going apart from my mentor was the belief that every action I took to work on my business was getting me closer to my first paying client.
Be consistent with activities every week and understand the importance of maintaining this. When you do, great things happen!
A few months in and many, many hours later, I had my first two coaching clients and could see first hand the stages this took to get here.
Below I explain how. Maybe some of these activities and tips may help you.
1. Get out there, network!
2. Tell people what you do! Then tell them how you can be of service! Ask for referrals.
3. Don’t kill it on social media and be everywhere all at once. Focus on one or two preferred platforms, learn them and be an expert.
4. Let people get to know you. Building relationships is vital to gaining trust. Have integrity and remain true to your values.
5. Where ever you can increase your profile. Ask for recommendations, referrals, testimonials and publicise them.
6. Be prepared to share your expertise and give away tips for others to use. Spotlights at networking and speaking gigs are great for this.
7. Keep a record of all potential clients (a prospect list), maintain contact with your list to continue to build the relationship. Periodically, check in with them. How can you be of service to them?
8. Make sure you always have control of the ball! Never give a potential client the opportunity to get back to you. They very rarely do.
9. Follow up when you say you will.
10. Set your bar and get over it. Then set it again.
11. Be consistent. Some of your actions need to be done daily or weekly. Make sure you do them. Online and offline!
12. Visualise where you want your business to be in the next year and then plan everything in to ensure it happens.
13. Make time for yourself and do activities outside of your business for a healthy mind and body.
14. Remain an expert in your field. Read, attend courses and keep abreast of new developments in you field.
15. Invest in a coach/mentor the value they bring to you as a business person and to helping you remain focused on your business is priceless. I would not be where I am today without the support of my mentor.
Are you a woman who is considering setting up in business for yourself?
Are you a woman already be in business but have lost focus?
I have been there and know the challenges you face and can help you overcome them.
Get in in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org tell me what’s going on, I’ll explain how I can help.
Celebrate your success today!