My business journey so far…
As I start writing I’m not 100% sure about why I am writing this post at all to be honest. Perhaps its to stop the whirlwind going on in my head right now. Perhaps its to help others realise they are not alone. I’m really not sure.
Whatever the reason, what I’m inspired to write about is the journey so far in my business. Not the whole story, but the story that starts when I finally had the confidence to focus only on this with no excuses. That was almost two years ago now.
In the beginning I was so excited, and I’ve gotta say after a couple of months of often thinking “what the hell have I done?”, things started to happen quickly. That magical momentum was absolutely happening for me. I had high paying clients booking in, and I was actually making good money. Within five months I was regularly matching my corporate salary each month. In the interests of being completely transparent here I want to say that this has not always been 100% consistent – and actually I miss that consistency. It’s a double edged sword right? Working for someone else you know how much is going to hit your bank account each month pretty much no matter what and there are big benefits to that of course. Especially when you have regular financial commitments – cars, family, children, mortgage. You know the drill. BUT the flip side is that in that space that’s all that will hit your bank account each month. No big high’s or milestones coming your way. Just more of the same – good and bad.
Actually that is one of my big goals for 2016, to be consistently having five figure months every single month without exception. To be better at riding out the year, the school holidays, the breaks, the bumps – everything. Now that’s not just a money thing. The reasons are many. From a family perspective its time for me to be getting back on par with my husband again, the way things were before we had our kids. One of the biggest reasons for this is to take the pressure off him. Plus, it’ll just be better for our relationship for other reasons too, back to more a equal footing and a more even dynamic that I will be happy about. This is just something I personally feel, right or wrong, I totally respect that everyone feels differently about this in their own relationships.
2015 was a whirlwind – in the best way possible. I experienced what it meant to be in that graceful state of flow. I was amazed. I had clients booked in well in advance. I was hugely grateful for my amazing business coach, I completed my life coaching certification. I was doing all the right things and I was receiving what I wanted from the universe. I even went into Christmas with clients booked to start in Feb the next year – one would think the perfect start to the year.
Despite all that I had an interesting start to this year. During the summer holidays, even though I was lucky enough to be in one of my favourite happy places on holiday with my family, I experienced I think for the first time the anxiety and expectation of owning your own business. I just couldn’t relax on that holiday, I couldn’t sleep properly. I didn’t like it. Gratefully, I had some wise women counsel me about the beautiful notion of acceptance because as the year started things didn’t actually get easier! Kids with broken bones, both parents spending time in hospital and having scary tests, just the usual run of the mill stuff. But slowly it was occurring to me that I was becoming overwhelmed with the expectation of the majority of things at home falling on me and at the same time building a business. I felt didn’t have the capacity and I made a decision, with my husband, to just cool my jets a little on the business building until I had more time – next year my youngest little tiger goes to school and that’s where the time will come from.
Now there were some other options I could have chosen here. I could have outsourced more work, or I could have put my youngest into more childcare. The latter wasn’t an option for me. But the former was; and that’s what I should have done. God knows I know how to build the right team. Raw brutal truth time, I have to admit there was some resistance and self-sabotage going on here. Ironic right? It took me until June to take a good long hard look at myself and realise this – and feel the effects of “cooling it” on my business!
Since then I’ve been doing all I can to build that momentum back up again. That includes outsourcing properly whatever I need to. It also includes investing back into my business. Both leaps of faith emotionally and financially.
I’ve also been forced to keep breaking new ground when it comes to my own marketing. I know more than most that what was kicking huge goals two or three years ago in marketing your business is just what’s expected now – that we all need to think about how we can breakthrough the clutter and attract new audiences as well as continue, always, to surprise and delight our existing clients.
I’ve been doing more speaking, more workshops, and more events – something it’s taken me a while to get back into even wanting to do – and absolutely loving it. Truthfully, it’s been a journey back to this space and one that I am so glad I have taken. I can’t wait to do more.
The other journey I’ve been on in my business is becoming clearer all the time on who I want to work with and how I want to work with them. I have learnt a lot about what people really need at different stages of their business. One of the biggest challenges people have when they are starting out is actually just working without accountability. Most of us come to this entrepreneurial space after having worked for someone and we need to learn to keep doing the work without anyone watching over us. I know this sounds really simple but it’s actually an enormous mindset shift that has to happen. They can also really feel the pinch of working alone for the first time and crave that support around them.
As they move on in their business and they are ready to grow, control issues often block the way. Growth can be prevented. Another mindset shift needs to happen.
Then further down the line, when their business is already successful, they can struggle to continue to grow, to think outside the square and embrace innovation as they need to. To keep experiencing the expansion they have grown to know.
The attention my clients need at each of these stages varies. I would say that the further they go on in business the more one on one time they need from me and that in the beginning one of the most important aspects they need is to feel supported. Supported yes by me as their coach, but also by like minded peers who are experiencing the same emotional roller coaster they are. Very similar challenges. A lot of the same questions.
I’ve been really honest with myself and others about the things that I miss working this way – I don’t want to work in my home office on my own every day of the week. I’m not an introvert and it doesn’t serve me best to be alone that much when it comes to my work the way it does for others. Even as I write this I am sitting on my coach around my family rather than be in my office on my own!
I love people – I get energy from being around others – especially others who have the same agenda or goals as me. I like working with and leading teams. I’m really passionate about helping others build their own teams too and I want to do this more and more. This was a big part of my corporate roles and I have so much I can help people with around this.
I realise now I have felt like I want to share this because I talk to people all the time that experience similar shifts and I want to tell you that it’s all normal and OK!
What’s the point of all of this? Building a business is a journey. It is an evolution. It’s not about creating something, setting it in stone and sticking to it with all your might no matter what. Change is good, and can be very smart. That’s part of success in business – being adaptable, being thoughtful, being responsive.
My journey has been great and it has been challenging. There is no doubt that overall I am experiencing a lot of success but there have been failures too. It is still a roller coaster that’s for sure I cannot lie!
What I can say in all honesty – if you haven’t had enough of that in this post 🙂 – I am more certain now than I ever have been that I’m doing exactly what I want to do. I bloody love it! So I’ll be on this ride for the long term and I can’t wait to see what comes next.