How This Simple Secret to Success Changed My Entire Business

 

When you’re an entrepreneur you get to design your business exactly the way you want.

You have choices. You get to choose what products and services to offer, the market that you’ll serve, the method of delivery and everything in between.

A few years ago after attending a conference for women business owners, I came back to my business with a fresh perspective. While reviewing the notes from that weekend, something hit me. I finally realized how much control I was giving away by not creating the ideal company that supports my ideal life. You see, I was allowing others to dictate what my company should be by not honoring my vision that I had for the business. As a result,  I was literally giving my dream away.

Once I wrapped my mind around this, I drew a line in the sand and said to myself, “No more.” It took me looking at my vision and asking myself one tough question. Why? Why hadn’t I created the business and life I love? Why had I settled for the middle of the road when I have a choice every day to be more and do more. And, friend, that’s when things shifted. I stopped letting time slip by and started paying closer attention. I made a list of what I wanted to in life and what I wanted to let go and stapled it to the front page of my journal. With it in plain view, it serves as my reminder of the life I am creating.

It’s been several years since that conference and I’ve turned the game from good to amazing. Some of the decisions that I had to make were simple but many of them were downright hard. For instance,  I cut back hours, ended my office lease, and put qualified people in new roles. I even ended contracts that weren’t a good fit for me.

We’re the decisions easy? Some were. Others weren’t. But all of them were worth doing to create my best life. 

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Three of My Biggest Mistakes in Business

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Like most of you reading this post, I started my business from an idea. I had been laid off from a position that I loved being at for over ten years. The job loss couldn’t have come at a worse time. I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our third child.

Unlike many of you, being a business owner wasn’t anything that I had ever dreamed before I lost my job. But, it was obviously in the cards. As fate would have it, I ended up working from home for a bit helping colleagues (who were already running their own side business) complete small projects.

After having my daughter, I knew that I wanted to stay at home with her. The question for me was how?

As an entrepreneur, there is so much to learn. It’s a different world when you go from being employed by others to being your own boss. We’re good with our technical know-how that we offer clients, but there’s usually a gap when it comes to actually growing a profitable business.

That was me at the start-up phase.

So the first thing that I did was look for help. My search led to a few different resources including services offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE. They were able to answer general questions, but when it came to specifics, they suggested that I enroll in a course to learn how to start a business.

Before connecting with the SBA, getting additional training wasn’t on my radar. In fact, I had no idea that programs to help people develop a business were available. As odd as it sounds now, entrepreneurship was more of an exception than the rule a few decades ago. Nowadays, entrepreneurship has become the norm.

Back to the drawing board.

So I found a program that was meeting this need in my community. I went to the open house and heard testimonials from graduates who were running successful companies after finishing up the program. That’s when I made my choice to sign up, complete the 11 weeks and the rest, as they say, is history.

I was fortunate in launching my business, but there were hiccups along the way. If I could go back and do it all again here’s three things that I would do differently:

1. Collaborate. Start with the idea of collaboration. Working in conjunction with others is one of the fastest paths to growth. My biggest aha came through the power of meetups and business networking. Of course, you need to be sure that there is synergy as you build your network because the energy that comes from being with like-minded people is second to none.
2. Delegate. Hire others to do the stuff that doesn’t make you money. I spent far too much time handling the little things that I couldn’t keep my eyes on the main ones – which is, solving problems for clients. Use time wisely because how you invest it adds up.
3. Educate. Keep learning. Stay up to date with what’s going on in your industry. Lookout for innovative ideas and strategies and don’t just gather information. Use it.

Everyone has a path that leads to success that includes wins and, sometimes, failures. But there is a saying that goes, you only fail if you didn’t learn the lesson. What’s a lesson you’ve learned along the way? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

How to Stay Stress Free During Thanksgiving Weekend and Keep Business Running Without You

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It’s an exciting time in our household!

I’ve been preparing this week to receive family and break bread together for Thanksgiving. I simply love expressions of thanks that we all get to share around the table this time of year. Continue reading “How to Stay Stress Free During Thanksgiving Weekend and Keep Business Running Without You”