I found this photo and posted it online today to both my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. I love it because it’s so tempting to give up when starting your own business. There tends to be a rush at the start. Nearly every entrepreneur I’ve worked with has that early stage where a few new clients pop up easily. I had the same thing. My very first client was the very company I’d resigned from!
You start on a roll and expect things will continue to “fall in your path” continually. Sadly, that is not typically the case. After that first rush, there is a lull. A scary lull. A lull where you ask yourself, “Will I ever find another new client?” The temptation at that point is to give up, get a ‘real job’ and not worry about it again. But those who succeed, persevere.
How you get through that lull will vary. Some will simply hustle and find the new work. Others might market wildly, drawing in new clients. In my case, I was offered the opportunity to be on contract for a short period of time. This allowed me to learn, A LOT, from experienced colleagues while I built a substantial client referral base. Once the contract was done, I was situated well for building my business. That referral base is still my main pipeline of business.
And, then there are the seasonal slow downs. I had a conversation with a colleague the other day and we were talking about how hard it is when starting out to learn that each business tends to have its high and low seasons. For me, that tends to be late summer and during the holidays. People just want to put aside their work during these periods of time. So, as you learn the seasons, you acclimate yourself accordingly. For me, late summer is the optimal time for vacation. Why try and work during the low time? Take a well needed vacation from your work. You’ll come back renewed and ready to help all those new clients that will be starting up their work again.
There are so many factors playing into the your thoughts of giving up. My best advice is to find a small network of fellow entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of, hire a coach who’s been there and can guide you, and look at the offerings of your local SBA. Don’t go it alone, but do keep on moving. Don’t give up. The world needs special gift! #dreambelieveachieve
Just like last week's blog, I've been continuing to think about the things that keep people from starting their business idea.I meet people all the time who have been carrying around a dream of some kind of business they'd like to start. My first question is always, "What's stopping you"? Typically, their first answer is simply "Fear". Yes, there it is. Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of financial woes. Fear of how it will impact relationships with family or children. It's not to be discounted, this fear. It's real. It's scary. So, how do you move past it?
If you're like me, you reach a point where NOT pursuing your dream is far more painful and scary than getting on with it. When I was living back in Washington, DC, miserable, missing Seattle, no longer loving my work, it felt like my entire life had vanished, at least the one I imagined having. It was hard and scary and took time to reach that point. I've spoken before about enlisting the help of a professional; someone who didn't have a vested interest in whether I stayed put or moved 2770 miles away. Most entrepreneurs have had a similar experience. It may not have involved drastically moving across country, but something happens one day where they just KNOW it's time. One former client was laid off from their job, and that experience had them examining their next move. Rather than find another corporate job, chose to pursue a franchise, now operating a successful restaurant. Another had reached the point where the politics at work were simply intolerable, unhealthy and detrimental to his well-being. He wasn't happy. So, he launched his own consulting firm.
Yes, it looks different for each of us. I was speaking last night to a lovely young woman who has a dream she'd love to be living. But getting there is hard. She has to consider finances. I could see she hadn't quite reached the point where she was ready to launch, but she will. And my gut tells me she's going to be a magnificent success! I can't wait to see her start her journey.
So, as the picture here says, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door". Listen to your gut. You'll know when it's time. And if you're having trouble getting there, find a professional to help you along. You'll be glad you did. As Dr. Seuss says, "Oh the places you'll go!".
Stop being afraid and deal with those fears. They aren't insurmountable. You CAN do it! #dreambelieveachieve
I’ve written a lot about the joys of entrepreneurship, and a little about some of the stressors. Something I haven’t yet mentioned is what keeps some people from making the move to running their own business.
In preparation for our upcoming workshop for women thinking about their next career move (Messy In The Middle), my partner Jacquie and I interviewed women on their dreams and what was keeping them from moving ahead. The workshop is for women who are looking at retirement and what that means to them, women who are in the wrong job but not sure what the next step is, and women who would like to start their own business. The #1 response from the overwhelming majority was one word: FEAR.
The fear looks different for each woman. Some fear a loss of status if they retired. For some, the fear is financial. How will they pay their bills as they build a business? For others, it is fear of being too old for the job market. So, they varied, but in each case, it is most decidedly fear keeping them stuck where they are.
I experienced some fear as well. It took some work, but I eventually reached the point where NOT doing anything was far more scary than taking a risk. I got past the fear when I felt I had no choice. Only then was I able to quit my job, sell my house, and move 3000 miles away to return to where I’d come to realize my future would be.
Getting past the fear is not easy. As I see it, you need to reflect on where that fear is coming from and deal with it. What structure can you build to help you move past that fear and start this exciting new chapter in your life? Build a plan that allows you to move forward. Often, this plan is an incremental process. Many entrepreneurs start moonlighting, or have a ‘side-hustle’ as it’s come to be called. You work full-time to keep income coming as you start your business. Then move on to part-time work as the business grows. Eventually, your business becomes a full time gig and you can walk out the door of your last employer and all that means.
So, yes, it’s hard to get past the fear. But you can do it. You need to figure out where the fear is and how to get past it. And you can! That’s the good news. There are many qualified professionals who can help, so don’t be afraid to seek them out. I recognized I couldn’t get here alone, so I sought out a counselor who I could talk to. She wasn’t a friend, or family, and didn’t have an agenda, so I knew I could count on her assistance. Ultimately, she was the one who made me get to where I needed to be.
So, as with all things in life. The things worth having are worth working for. Face your fear, get past it and do what you need to do to live the life you’re dreaming of. There will never be a ‘perfect time’, so just start. Start today. #dreambelieveachieve
I’ve written before about the freedom of being an entrepreneur. That freedom includes the ability to choose what you do each day in your work. It’s one of the things I love most about being an entrepreneur. My passion is making a difference in other people’s lives; helping them achieve the same personal and professional joy that I have achieved. It’s the message behind my tag line: Dream, Believe, Achieve.
So, when the opportunity to develop a workshop with a dear colleague, former boss actually, arose, I leapt at the opportunity. Together, we’ve been researching, planning, and organizing an event for women struggling to figure out that next career or life step. During my work with women being let go from jobs, it became apparent to me that there were many bright, talented, and skilled women who the corporate world was not so supportive of. Some who worked with me made the choice to go into business for themselves, using their talents as they chose. I realized then, that there was a dearth of resources for these women. This became the kernel that grew into the workshop we’ve created.
During our research, we learned there not only who women who dream of self-employment, but there are women who are looking at retirement, but not really feeling it. Let’s face it, we’re not a generation of people who are going to sit on the front porch knitting ALL DAY. No, most of us want to continue contributing in some way.
Both the person with an interest in entrepreneurship and the person looking to make sense of retirement have the same struggles. How do I get past the fear? Where do I start? What do I do? The workshop we’ve developed helps to get people started on this journey.
We’re so excited to be offering this workshop and can’t wait until we meet these wonderful women face to face!
If you’re interested, feel free to check out more about the workshop by clicking HERE.
I’ve shared both the good and bad aspects of solopreneurship. For the most part, the good outweighs the bad. Well, it’s been a month since I last wrote, and for good reason. You see, when everything about your business is on your shoulders, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with some health issues that have had me under the weather, not up to my usual energetic level, and falling behind. On the one hand, there is no boss to get mad at me. On the other, if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
I’m happy to say things are getting resolved and I’m returning to my normal level of work – and it feels great! But, as always, there were lessons learned here that I thought I would share for all you budding entrepreneurs out there.
Andrea made the choice to leave the corporate world in May 2013 to pursue her dreams.