Business Slow? Think Like a Farmer

Use Your Downtime to Plan for the Future

Last week I talked about a client of mine – a real estate agent going through her slow period. Our work during that time focused on thinking like a farmer – but what does that mean in practice?

Do you think all a farmer has to do is wait until fall to harvest truckloads of delicious tomatoes, corn or squash? Think again! That farmer has worked hard all year long to prepare for that week or two of big rewards.

She prepared the ground last fall, following last year’s harvest.

She planted seeds in the spring.

She watered, fertilized and protected her fragile crops from pests, drought and poor weather throughout the growing season.

And finally, after months of work, she enjoyed the results of her efforts near the end of the summer.

Your business works the same way with periodic ups and downs. Many businesses experience seasonal fluctuations tied to other rhythms — the school year, the tax year, the calendar year. In other cases, downturns are less predictable but are nonetheless a part of the ride for a successful entrepreneur.

If you take a page from the farmer’s playbook, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards, too!

Preparing the Ground

This is your brand, your voice, your very presence in your market. If you’re just starting out—like that farmer after her harvest—you’ll spend your time simply becoming known. In other words, you should put your energy into preparing the ground.

Hang out with other coaches in your niche. Join forums where your ideal clients spend their time. Build a website and start your mailing list. This is the prep work that will form the foundation of a solid business in the future.

Planting the Seeds

Your seeds are your content and products. With each blog post you write, every product you create, you’re planting a seed you can harvest later. But unlike the farmer, your seeds will produce over and over again, endlessly.

Look for ways to create visibility for you and your brand with public speaking, being interviewed on podcasts or participating on panels that are aligned with your area of expertise. Get yourself out there!

In fact, you’ll likely find that blog posts you wrote years ago will continue to bring in new clients year after year, with no further help from you. Products can be sold over and over again, or reworked into new offers. Podcasts, videos, ebooks and more all continue to work for you, month after month, year after year.

When you think about it that way, it’s easy to see that planting seeds is a critical part of every business.

Nurturing Your Crop

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just “Set it and forget it!”? Unfortunately, that style of business rarely works.

Consistency is the name of the game here – and it’s what will ultimately lead to success. Be sure that you are sending out your email newsletter every week, or month (or whatever cadence you have decided on). Be sure to do a blog post, or Facebook live, or record a video consistently.

You will start to get a following and people will be looking for you, even if you don’t think they are out there! Remember, gurus tell us that only 10% of your readers or followers ever comment (and I think that number is high!), so you have an audience out there, even if it doesn’t appear so.

Instead, you must spend time nurturing:

  • Stay in touch with your email list
  • Update old blog posts with new ideas
  • Study your stats to improve your traffic and conversions
  • Refine your products as you learn more about your customers

It doesn’t take much effort to update your blog posts or tweak your products, and the rewards can be fantastic.

Of course, being a farmer is a long-term investment. The work you do today may not pay off for weeks or months to come. But with a strong history of consistent “farming,” you’ll soon see that those long-term rewards are paying off consistently as well.

How NOT to Panic.

Fear-Based Decision Making is Bad for Biz.

At some point, every business owner will find herself in a troubling situation. Revenue is down. New clients are scarce. Profits are falling. Just one peek at the financials is enough to bring on a full-fledged anxiety attack.

Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, chances are you’ve experienced that sinking feeling of a business that’s trending downward. How you handle it can mean the difference between continued success and business-killing burnout.

Here’s where a lot of entrepreneurs get it wrong. They start to worry about money, and that worry leads to poor decisions that ultimately have a negative impact not just on finances, but—maybe more importantly—on their own morale, too. I’ve been there many times!

In my experience fear shuts my brain down and keeps me from being productive in ANY area of my life. Here are a few of the fear-based decisions you might find yourself making:

You Take On The Wrong Client

When business is down, it can be tough to keep your ideal client avatar in mind. Instead, you jump at the chance to work with anyone who comes along with a wallet. The trouble with this scenario is you can find yourself with a roster full of clients who:

  • Aren’t willing or able to do the work required
  • Spend all their time telling you why your ideas and advice won’t work
  • Make life miserable for you, as they are not a good fit
  • Drain your energy and make you dread work each day

You Withdraw

You stop going to networking events, stop connecting with your network, stop socializing with your Biz Besties. This is exactly the opposite of what will help you turn your fear into a more positive direction. Getting outside of your own head is the best thing you can do at this point.

You Stop Creating

And who can blame you? With profits down, you have to pull back. You can’t afford to spend time and money creating new programs, or new blog posts, or webinars, so you recycle the ones you’ve already produced – and these may be a bit tired.

Now, this would be ideal if you were repurposing with a positive intent. Turning your eBook into a group-coaching course? Perfect! But that’s not what your fearful brain is telling you.

Your fearful self is saying, “Just re-release this same product again, so I don’t have to have new sales copy written or record new videos.” And, while this might help bring in a bit of cash short-term, it won’t do anything for your reputation or your self-esteem.

Ditch the Fear Mindset

Fear can be a healthy motivator, but it is a terrible mindset for sound decision making in business. Acts of desperation, withdrawal or avoidance can turn a minor dip into a major disaster.

Instead, bring your focus to the opportunity right in front of you: Have a little more time on your hands? Great! What can you do with it? Sales lower than expected? Okay…What can you learn about your customers?

If running a business was just like getting on an escalator, nothing but up from here, then everyone would do it. The fact is that the downturns are a part of learning about your customers, streamlining your processes, and honing in on your ideal client and the services you are really passionate about providing.

If you are letting fear run your show, you are missing the opportunity to refine, and ultimately grow your biz.

Here is what it looks like in practice…

One of my clients is a real estate agent who is in a bit of a lull and starting to exhibit signs of panic. Instead, we are working with the concept of farming. She is planting seeds for harvest later on.

In our coaching sessions, we have mapped out a plan for the best way to productively and strategically use this time to her best advantage. AND (more mindset work here) she’s realized she is lucky to have this time to focus on her business, instead of being caught up in it.

Coming from fear is no way to operate a business, but that’s just what a fear-based mindset can do to you. Better (much better) to hold out for that perfect client, dig into your supportive relationships, and take what you’ve learned from your drop in sales to create that killer program your audience is clamoring for!

Overwhelmed and Paralyzed?

How to get UNSTUCK.

We all fall victim to overwhelm. The trick is to find a way to reset quickly, so you can recover and get back to what you need to do.

Whether it’s often or infrequent, the paralyzing results are the same. Here is what happens to me when I’m in overwhelm (Not pretty, but I’m just keeping it real here, people!):

When I’m in overwhelm, I’m like a deer in the headlights – I am stuck and can’t move. I’m truly paralyzed. I typically spend a lot of time “Spinning “– I can spend LOTS of time in front of my computer doing who knows what. I straighten my desk and organize files. And I convince myself that I’m busy, but I know better. Busy work is busy work.

Or, I become an expert at procrastination. I work from my home office so I find myself folding laundry, doing dishes, cleaning. Anything but working. The busier I stay, the less I have to think about how overwhelmed I am, because I’m….well, busy!

Here’s what to do to nip overwhelm in the bud:

Recognize the symptoms.

I’ve learned to recognize the symptoms, or better yet, anticipate when I’m going to fall prey to overwhelm. Typically it happens in times of transition. I may have signed up too many clients at once. I may have a new hire that I need to train on top of all my other duties. I feel stress creeping into my shoulders and neck, for whatever reason.

I start to look for times when I will likely be in transition and anticipate what is likely to hit the fire, or what is going to need extra attention. But you can’t always do that. Once you notice you are in overwhelm, take action right away with any of the following strategies.

Cut down on your outside influences.

There are gurus aplenty in the online world, all with a different voice and recommendations. I have learned (the hard way) that more input does not equal more clarity. Make some choices.

Whose voices, newsletters, and recommendations do you find valuable and want to continue to follow? Choose at most 2 or 3 and unsubscribe from the rest of those newsletters. Don’t sign up for any more webinars aside from theirs. Or, just give yourself a complete break from outside influences. Do not sign up for any more courses. Keep it simple, sweetie.

Detox your to-do list.

Overwhelm can come from a to-do list that is several pages long. It shouldn’t be. There should be a max of 3 main things you should accomplish in a day. Take a critical look at that list and use the 4 D’s: Do, Delegate, Delay, or Delete, to whip it into manageable shape.

Download The 4 D’s of Productivity for more tips on how to use this powerful tool

Take some action.

If even that feels like too much effort, then just take some action – ANY action and start very small. I find that the smaller the step, the easier it is to get started. Once momentum starts, it’s easier to keep going.

Take an emotional time out.

Read an engrossing book that has nothing to do with work. I’m partial to mysteries that completely take over my brain. Go to a movie if you can swing it. Can you say binge-watch?

The point is to take an hour or two away from your problems — physically somewhere else, if possible. You’ll remember that there’s a vast world out there, and maybe put yourself back in perspective.

Exercise.

Same idea here, but with a personal physical component. Hit the gym. Go for a run or a swim. Take a spin class. Whatever it is that you do for exercise, work it into the middle of the day, so you can separate the difficult morning from the rest of the afternoon.

Not only does exercise count as an accomplishment, but it also fills your system with endorphins that lead to a more positive attitude and go-getter state of mind. Talk about a reset!

Reach out to Biz Besties.

Brainstorm why you are spinning, or just vent a bit. That can also clear your head! Sometimes you just need the chance to talk with someone you’re close with who is completely unrelated to whatever drama is going on in your life.

Just say no.

Sometimes you have to say no. Sometimes you even have to say, “I know I said yes before, but I have to say no now.” Of course, you don’t want to make a practice of this and develop a reputation for unreliability. Still, maybe it’s better than getting overwhelmed and getting nothing done.

Thinking about overwhelm won’t help. You have to take action.

Putting these techniques into practice can help you move out of overwhelm quickly. My favorite is to just take a small bit of action and to let the rest unfold. The longer you stay in this state, the worse it will become. In this case, size does matter, and even tiny steps count!

What Does Gaining 12 Pounds Have to do with Biz Strategy?

Self-Love and Entrepreneurial Resilience.

This is not my usual blog post and may be too much information. But many women may find themselves in this spot. And, it’s as much for me as it is for you.

I had been feeling a tad chubby recently and started the Keto diet about a week ago. (Please don’t send me emails or comments warning me against it, I’m not going to die). I had not weighed myself in forever as the awareness of that number has always made me crazy. I didn’t need that. I just needed to move forward. Similar to the way we need to act in our businesses. (Really, I am going to connect this to biz improvement!)

So I followed KETO faithfully for a week and felt lighter. Go me! I felt ready to get back on the scale and see where I was. Woot, I was ready!

I hopped on the scale and saw that I had gained 12 pounds since I last weighed myself.

What? How could that be? After a week of Keto!

That can’t be me! I haven’t weighed this much for ages, and I didn’t feel it.

Oh right. I had gone up a size in the last year.

Oh, wait. There is a closet full of lovely clothes that did not fit…and I missed wearing them!

My usual response to this new information would have been shame. But not this time.

My response was:

  • Wow – who knew?
  • OK, now I know
  • I have work to do, and that’s fine.
  • I still feel good about myself.

That last one is all about self-love. It’s a muscle that needs to be exercised.

Being an entrepreneur, no matter what stage of business you are in is a tough road. It’s full of ups and downs, failures, embarrassment, mistakes, pivots and “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing” moments.

After 4 businesses, and working with many women entrepreneurs I can say that the best way through all of those down times is plenty of self-love. Being kind to yourself is the way through. Grace, not shame or embarrassment. Taking a deep breath and focusing on the next small steps will get you headed in the right direction.

One of my businesses failed and I ended up in a huge amount of debt trying to dig myself out. (That’s a story for another post.) After a terrible 3 months of shock and shame, I began to forgive myself. I took a corporate job to get the bills paid and went on to start another one.

Another of my businesses was a passion project that I adored. It was geared to the age 50+ woman and was focused on the notion that you could create a juicy life at any age. But after creating 3 courses, a few e-books, and many webinars, it just wasn’t reaching my revenue goals.

After an intense year of effort, I decided to fold it. It was going to take too much time and too much money to turn it around. It was the right business decision (no debt incurred this time!) but I was grieving, and once again, felt like a failure.

After a period of mourning, I took a big step back and reflected on the experience from a lens of self-love. I realized that I had incorporated all of those “life is a blast” thoughts and emotions into my own life and could continue to create my own definition of successful aging.

So I have had huge challenges as an entrepreneur. And I know that the sooner you can exercise that self-love muscle, the better off you and your business will be.

So my challenge to you, you fabulous women entrepreneur, you: Where are you showing yourself kindness? Where and how can you practice more self-love, forgiveness, and positive energy? It’s the strongest tool you will have in your toolbox. Trust me on this.

When Going it Alone is Going Nowhere.

Maybe it’s Time for a Mastermind.

I’ve said it before. We’re not meant to do this entrepreneur thing alone. Personally, I’d be lost without my Biz Besties, coaches and mastermind team. I thrive on the conversations, interaction, ideas and motivational accountability.

Masterminds are especially valuable for that accountability and forward momentum, but they’re not for everyone or for every stage of business.

So who is a mastermind for? And how do you know if you need one for your business? Do any of these scenarios sound like you?

  • If you’ve been in business a few years, you’re likely at a place where you’re no longer trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of business, but need an outside perspective to help you rise to the next level.
  • You are ready to implement some big new ideas and would love some guidance and ideas from others who have gone before you.
  • You’re making money in your business but sometimes (maybe too often) you get stuck in the weeds of working in your business, rather than on

What Are the Benefits of a Mastermind?

We will bring together women from different locations, industries, educational backgrounds, life stages, and experience levels. The whole point is to make space for diverse points of view, which will lead to incredibly creative ideas generated for your business.

Let’s face it. We can all get blinded by seeing things a certain way. Sometimes the approach we took in the early days is no longer working, but it can be hard to let go of the old way of doing things. I can tell you that being a part of a mastermind program has been an absolute game changer for my business. I have accomplished more, in less time, than I ever thought I could.

When you’re in the right mastermind for you, you can start to see your business and yourself through someone else’s eyes as you leverage ideas and support one another.

When you’re working inside your own business alone or with a small team, there aren’t a lot of people who know your business inside and out to help you leverage ideas. With a mastermind, you get the brainpower to do just that.

It’s really an amazing place to be in business and something that, when you show up the right way, can help grow your business by leaps and bounds.

Think about it. How many people in your personal life actually understand your business and what you do? If you run your business online, your family and friends probably give you a blank stare when you talk about Facebook ads, email marketing, client acquisition and the like

There is also something empowering about investing in yourself. It was a big leap when I started thinking of online courses, coaching, and masterminds as an investment in my business (and belief in myself!) rather than an expense. Major mindset shift there.

If you put skin in the game, you are far more likely to demand more of yourself and REALLY get results. That’s been my experience.

Even better, as a member of a mastermind, you also have the ability to share your expertise and perspective with others as you give feedback to your mastermind sisters. You learn about how others do business as you help, making you a better business owner at the same time. It’s a win-win for everyone.

 I’m offering just such a Mastermind starting in September. I’d love to have you join me. Click here to find out more and schedule a call to discuss it.

Work Life Balance – When Your Personal Life Throws Up Roadblocks

Stay Calm and Reframe

Most women entrepreneurs are workaholics, type A personalities, or passion driven to an extreme. I think that is built into our DNA and part of why we become business owners in the first place. But every now and again life throws us curve balls and we need to be able to adjust to our new reality to be able to continue in our biz – and life.

If you are a new mom, a mom again, have an aging or ailing relative that needs your attention or the kids are out on summer vacation, your old schedule may be a thing of the past. Give yourself some grace. You don’t have to be superwoman all the time. Life will go on. Your business will go on (if you want it to) but perhaps at a different pace.

This might be too much information, but since some of you may be in a similar situation, I thought it was OK to share on such a personal level.

I’m the full-time caregiver for my very sick husband. He has had two strokes and suffers from advanced diabetes. As a result, he can no longer walk, has had some cognitive decline, and needs help in almost every aspect of his life.

I love my husband dearly and am happy and grateful to be able to care for him. But this was never what I thought this chapter of my life would look like.

If you are in the midst of one of these roadblocks, or adjustment periods, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Take care of yourself.

I did a post earlier on The importance of Self-Care. People kept telling me this and I’d say, “OK, I will.” But you know what? It’s crucial.

The first 3 months or so after his last stroke, I could not leave his side, let alone the house. But as he began to get stronger I could lift my head and look around. I was starting to feel trapped and exhausted, which did neither of us any good.

I started to plan lunches out with friends, a daily walk (Egad – did I need exercise!), and other excursions to keep my sense-of-self intact. I’m still struggling with this, but getting better at it as time goes on.

Adjust your personal expectations.

This may be specific to me, but I’m used to being a multi-tasking, hard-charging gal, with a lengthy to-do list and lofty goals. This has been the hardest adjustment for me, by far.

I’ve had to re-frame what I can and want to get done in a day since our reality is always changing. I may have several things planned, but if my husband is having a not-so-great day, all plans go out the window. I’m running my business from home and there are days when even my most important business tasks have to be put aside. Learning to “go with the flow” has been my most difficult challenge.

Adjust to your new reality.

If your new reality has some predictability (like kids on vacation from school, as an example), create a new schedule for this time that includes playtime with the kids and enjoying summer with them and scale back your business tasks. Take a fresh look at your calendar.

A good friend who was in the early stages of her 2nd pregnancy and her business admitted that the way she dealt with her reality was total denial. She hadn’t given a thought to how her business activities needed to change once the baby arrived – it was too overwhelming to think about.

We were in a Mastermind together and she was able to get support and ideas on how to move forward in a very positive way from the group. We created a plan for months 1-3 after the baby’s arrival and then 4-6 to help her ease into her new life and still maintain her business, with only a small blip in her business momentum.

Reframing: A key to work-life balance.

Work-Life balance isn’t a “thing”, it’s in a constant state of reframing. As our lives change, so will that balance. The key is to allow ourselves the flexibility to embrace the lows (not very productive, if at all) and the highs (when we are conquering worlds on all cylinders) with equanimity.

The Trap of Working IN Your Business, not ON it

Don’t Get Stuck in the Weeds!

Danger! Danger! Most of us start our entrepreneurial journey with a passion. A passion to serve, to share our expertise, or just for the love of what we do. With that, we jump into our business with both feet, hands and everything else and devote as much time as we can spare for the creation of our baby. But there comes a time when operating from passion and not strategy is going to hold our business growth back – in a big way.

If your desire is to grow and scale your business, then you will need to start looking for other people to do the doing so that you can be doing the visioning and strategic planning.

What are some of the ways and reasons that you are keeping yourself stuck in the weeds?

You LOVE the what of what you do.

There is certainly no shame in that! But if you love it so much that you are still doing the day to day, then there will be a cap to how many new clients and new projects you can take on, and therefore the amount of revenue you can take in.

You like to feel needed.

Looking at a packed to-do list every morning certainly will make you feel like you are needed. It may even give you a sense of security. But is that what creates value in your business and is that the best use of your talents? Perhaps you need a revised vision of how you are needed by providing the strategy and direction for the people who work for you. It’s a shift of focus, but you are needed even MORE at this level.

Chaos becomes your best friend.

When someone asks you how you are doing, how often do you answer “BUSY!” In our fast-paced world, it has become a badge of honor to be “BUSY!” Being super busy can be addictive. And stressful. Be wary of this one, as it’s a great way to reach burn-out fast. You are not doing your business or yourself any good by burning out.

No one can do it as well as you can.

Perfection paralysis or fear of delegation is so common and one of the primary ways of getting in your own way. You are afraid that if you delegate to anyone the task will not be done correctly. You need to accept that there will be many differing ways to get the hoped-for result – not just yours. Be open!

No idea what it would look like if you weren’t the worker bee.

If you have been a solopreneur for any length of time then you may not have any idea of how your business could function any other way. As I pointed out in a previous post, it’s time think like a CEO and move from doing to leading.

In all of these cases, you may be afraid of taking the big leap of bringing in people and creating a team. Bringing on your first part-time or contract person is a big leap to a solopreneur’s identity and can cause a lot of fear, understandably so. Or maybe you have done that and have a small team – maybe even a largish team, but you are still hanging on to too much of the doing.

The skill set you have mastered, and grown so comfortable with to create your business is NOT the same skill set that is required to manage people and think strategically. But you will need a new skill set if you want to grow.

I love helping solopreneurs move into the entrepreneurial realm and start to experience real growth. Let’s schedule a call to discuss your business and how I can help you.

Do You Hate Sales? Then Don’t Sell.

Change Your Mindset: Invitation Only

I used to dread the thought of selling. It didn’t fit my personality; I hated feeling spammy or pushy. I just dreaded the whole process. But business doesn’t happen, and revenue doesn’t come in, without the selling.

The game changer for me was moving from selling to inviting. It’s an offer, not a push. Need a visual? Picture an open hand and an inviting gesture, not a grabbing motion followed by a clenching, yanking movement.  To comfortably offer an invitation you have to have confidence in the value of your offer and of yourself. You have to believe that you can help a potential customer in some way. Help them solve a problem, or grow, or get healthy. You have to really know in your heart-of-hearts that you have a product or service that you know can help your prospect.

You have to be so confident in your value that there is no NEED to push.

What would you do with a friend? Invite, don’t push.

There are so many points in the sales process where, if you shift your thinking to offering an invitation, you are far more likely to get to the next stage.

Invite someone to connect on the phone for a Discovery Call. Or an initial conversation. Whatever you want to call it.

While on the call, once you have assessed their needs and if they are a fit for what you have to offer, invite them to hear about your services.

Invite them to choose among the 2 or 3 options you have presented. (That might sound like this: “Of the 3 packages we discussed, which one feels like the right fit for you at this time)? No pushing required!

Invite them to get started with you by scheduling your first appointment, even before you have collected any money.

If they can’t decide or are on the fence, or have to check with someone (and this is a show stopper for many!) that’s OK! Ask them how long they might need for the decision-making, and invite them for a “circle back” call to decide if and when you will be working together. Schedule that call right then and there.

Both of you want to know if you should continue the conversation or not. If they ultimately don’t want to move forward, or if they don’t show up for the call, that’s fine. They were not the right client for you!

None of these steps are pushy. None of these steps have to feel uncomfortable, awkward, or invasive. Invitations are polite and respectful of you, your product/service, AND your prospect.

Sales can be a comfortable and authentic process that feels easy and natural, just like any conversation with someone new. If you walk away without closing, guess what? You now have a new network contact that you can tap in the future because you chose to invite, not push, your offerings.

Speaking of Discovery Sessions,  I’d like to invite you to join me to explore your business and how we can work together.  Click here to schedule a 30-minute call.  I’d love to connect with you to help you grow your business!

Are you a True CEO? Move From Doing to Leading

Time to Put on Your Big Girl Pants!

In 2003 I had a booming media buying agency. Business seemed to be rolling in faster than I could keep up with. I was a one-woman band for the first few years and loved every part of the business. But now I was drowning! I knew I needed some help, but wasn’t sure what kind or how much.   I had to do SOMETHING!

I hired 2 people – one a second-in-command (now I would call that an Online Business Manager) who took on as much as I could give her. The second was a part-time admin who dealt with invoicing and various back-end details.

After defining their roles and training each of them (which took a bit of time!), I took a step back and realized that a huge amount of work had been shifted from my desk to theirs. That was just what I wanted, but what I didn’t expect was how I was going to feel about it.

I would go home at night thinking:

“If I’m no longer the one DOING all the work – then what value am I bringing to the business? What am I going to do now?”

 It was a major identity crisis for me! I had spent the past 3 years of my business as the DOER. It was what I was good at, and I loved it – perhaps too much, which was why I was struggling now. It was what people paid me for. It was the place I knew best and felt the most comfortable.

And suddenly here I was – less doing on my plate and feeling like I wanted to take it all back because I didn’t know what else to do with myself!

Thankfully I had a great coach at the time who walked me through this and helped me to redefine my identity from WORKER-BEE to LEADER. It was a process to realize that I could still provide huge value by sharing my knowledge and expertise with my staff instead of being the person doing the work.

I find that when people struggle with delegation it can be based on a number of different things, but is often based on an underlying fear of losing their identity. If they aren’t careful, entrepreneurs can default to ‘taking it all back’ simply to hold on to that comfort zone.

If you are suffering from the same issue, here are some ideas:

  • Notice it – We can’t change that which we can’t see!
  • Honor it – Your identity has been the foundation of your success to date and it deserves to be honored! Also acknowledge the amount of expertise that got you here.
  • Redefine it – What new identity will serve the next level of your growth? Maybe it’s the shift from DOER to ADVISOR (like it was for me.) Maybe it is something else.
  • Shift it – This is key! Operate as though the new identity is in place. Make decisions from the position of being a leader. Spend your time in that new identity. It will probably be really uncomfortable to make this shift and the lure of going back to your old identity may be strong, but the only way to make the change is to stay in that mindset until your new identity becomes your norm. And it will happen!

Make no mistake, being a leader requires a completely different skill set than you have been relying on up to now. It may help you to hire a coach for this process. Or perhaps consider enrolling in leadership training, to build your new skills and your confidence.

Realize that this transformation will not happen overnight. It’s like any muscle that needs to be strengthened – It will get stronger if you keep using it.

Get Out of Your Own Way – Pt. 2

Obstacles to Business Growth

Part 2 of 2.

Last week I covered 4 obstacles that can get in your way. This week, I’m finishing up with the final 4.

5. “I have a good sense of where I want my business to go, but can’t figure out how to get there”

This is when growth and transition are the hardest. The processes, procedures and structures you carefully put in place for the first stage of your business may not be right for your next stage of growth.

This is THE time to look outside of yourself for support, direction and new ideas. You can’t possibly know everything! Join a Mastermind or Group Coaching program. Seek one that is a paid program (skin in the game creates a more focused result). If you can, find one that has several members that are more advanced in their business than you are. Be sure you are a bit outside your comfort zone so that you have to stretch to participate. You will grow and your business will thrive as a result.

Find a Business Coach, even for a short period of time (3-6 months is the shortest I would recommend) to help you see beyond your own walls. Others have been where you are.

6. Who am I to….

 Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head at every stage of business, no matter how successful you are. If you feel you need more courses, training, certifications, degrees etc to establish your credibility, spend some time documenting the experience you DO have that create your expertise.

What jobs, clients, life experiences have you had that add up to true expertise? You are valued by the results you produce, not for the certifications and degrees that you have.

7. I don’t have any MONEY!

 It takes some money to start a business. Start with what you can afford, and grow from there.

Seek out Free resources first. There hundreds of podcasts, blogs, free courses, and apps and tools available online. There are groups like the SBDC, and SCORE who offer free counseling. Take advantage of those!

Source for money. There are ways to get money when you need it. The SBA offers loans at a very reasonable rate. Some banks are more small business friendly than others. Friends and family (although those choices can be fraught with issues), or your own credit cards are potential sources for start-up costs.

You can always find a part-time job or start contracting with your area of expertise until your cash flow crunch is behind you. I’ve done it – It’s not the end of the world. It’s a transitional solution to a short-term problem.

8. I’m too late to the party. (It’s all been done before.)

 It has all been done before, but not by you. It’s VERY rare that a business concept will be a one and only. You will always have competition. But you will have your own spin on your niche too. Let your personality shine, develop your own methodology and framework to the services that you provide, and stand out from the crowd.

Each one of these obstacles can be overcome with mindset shifts or changes in your approach to your business. I’m always here to help you figure out how to overcome your obstacles and create and grow a profitable business. Contact me for a free call, and let’s discuss.