With a 7 year-old daughter and 5 year old twin boys, quiet reflection time is not something I enjoy all that much. But the other night my daughter and I were talking after the boys went to bed, and we got onto the subject of how to be successful. I told her you need three things to win at life; faith, perseverance, and being teachable. “If you’re not teachable,” I told her, “all that perseverance just means you’re stubborn. Like Daddy.” And we laughed and laughed…but it’s true! And it’s also true that if you’re thinking about starting your own business, then you, too, need faith, perseverance, and the ability to be teachable.
If you’re in a 9-5 job and are considering leaving the alleged safety of the nest to work for yourself, you probably have questions or even fears about what it’s like to do it. I know I did!
Working for yourself is amazing, scary, lucrative, exhilarating, sometimes lonely, rewarding, fulfilling, and probably THE number one way to confront and overcome character weakness I’ve ever found. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it absolutely WILL strip you bare of any pretenses or lies you tell yourself about yourself. There’s no better way to find out what you’re made of, to maximize your earning potential, and to leave the legacy you were meant to leave.
There are as many different ways to approach starting your own business as there are business owners, of course. I jumped in out of necessity and figured things out as I went. I don’t recommend that.
There are 4 components to any business…getting the work, doing the work, getting paid for the work, and the reason behind it all. If you’re like most people, you go into the whole working for yourself thing with a SOLID understanding of doing the work, and hopefully a very strong sense of purpose, or reason behind it. We don’t all want to create philanthropic foundations, or give 90% of our money away and still live well, but if there’s not something bigger than you behind your business, it gets very hard to weather the storms that will come.
And the storms start quickly. Because you’re likely SO good at getting the work done, failure is not something you’ve had to contend with much, and not knowing what you’re doing may be more distressing for you than it is for the average bear. Not to be too harsh, but you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable if you’re going to succeed. There will be SO MUCH you don’t know and the sooner you admit it and get over yourself and ask for help, the faster you’ll be successful and living in your purpose.
It’s okay if you don’t know much about marketing, or setting up structures, or finding the right mentor. There’s been no reason up until now for you to know this. But what’s NOT okay is not fixing that problem! Because for your business to fulfill it’s potential (so that you can fulfill YOUR potential), you do need to figure these things out and become as good at them as you are at your area of specialty.
The great news is it’s figure-out-able! It really is.
What I’ve found to be true is that success really does come from a lot of work, trial and error, and the ability to re-calibrate and change gears when something’s not working. It takes wisdom to know when a lack of results requires more persistence or changing gears. Working for yourself means developing a solid process and trusting it, and trusting yourself to make good decisions. It means listening to advice but not taking all of it. It means having something solid in your life that anchors you, so that your identity and sense of worth isn’t dependent on the ebb and flow of your business.
If you’re starting out, I think a good place to start is getting connected to these three things:
• A step-by-step guide on exactly what to do to start a consulting business. One with no fluff and no self-aggrandizing hype…just what the heck to DO to get from employee to consultant.
• A mentor who gets you, supports you, and helps you achieve YOUR goals (the ones that are right for you).
• A plan for your business and life that encompass your values. For example, I want a good income as much as the next person, but I will never sacrifice my integrity or family for it, and I needed the above two factors to take that into account.
We all do life and business differently, but if you’d like to chat about your purpose and business, I’d like to invite you to take advantage of a call with me. You can schedule time with me here. If it makes sense, I can share more info with you about my New to Consulting mentoring program, that will provide a blueprint for you to follow to start and grow your business. No obligation, though. These calls help me too, because they give me insight into what my audience is really looking for.
I hope to talk to you soon!