My top lessons for creating a business you love
“You have great, untapped reserves of potential within you. Your job is to release them.”
I am often asked what I’ve learnt from building a own business I love and for tips on how to to do the same. I want to share l with you the things I have learnt along the way. This is business focused but applies to any area of purpose within your life.
1. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s possible for you
I was frequently told I would need years of experience to be financially solvent in private practice. I set up six months after qualifying, quit my ‘day’ job (without enough clients to pay the bills) and was completely self-employed a year later. Don’t allow fear, limitations, prejudice and judgements dictate what’s possible for you. You are far more capable than you could ever imagine.
2.Be realistic about timings/money/resources
A lot of businesses fail within the first three years;. at the beginning it’s hard. There seems to be a huge amount of input and little output. For the first seven months I was making £50 a month or nothing at all and had barely any clients and there were months when I made no money at all. It’s taken me years of investment, both of time and money, to build up momentum, reputation and a following. Be realistic with your resources; allow for the time to build proper foundations and have ways to support yourself while you are building.
3. No one knows what they are doing until they do it
I cannot stress this enough. It’s easy to idolise people who have succeeded, comparing ourselves to a polished, established package and think “I can’t do that.” Of course you can’t and nor could they! By the time people become visible in the public arena, they’ve been working for years privately, not knowing what they were doing either. There is only one way to develop competence - practice.
4. Build the trust, add value and people will invest in you
When we are asking for investment, whether it’s someone’s time, to follow you, buy from you, invest in your business, dream or product, we need to earn it. We do this by building trust and proving that we can add value. Trust is made up of these things:
Reliability: do you follow through on what you say you are going to do?
Consistency: is your message consistent?
Authenticity: is your behaviour aligned with your message?
Value: what do you offer and how does this help people?
Honesty: how open and honest are you?
Accountability: are you taking responsibility for your 50% and doing it to the best of your ability?
5.No one is going to do the work for you
It’s great to talk, create ideas, read motivational books, watch inspirational videos - wonderful first steps! But if you want to build something, it needs consistent action and a willingness to keep putting one foot in front of the other in whatever direction we are called to go in. This may not be what you had originally planned but bravery is needed to do it anyway.
6.Prepare to fail
When a child is learning to walk, we don’t shout and criticise them for stumbling; we get excited, in awe of the new stage they have entered. We beat this attitude out of ourselves as adults which makes us terrified of failure, not being perfect and getting things wrong. This causes stress, procrastination, risk aversion and avoidance. When we welcome failure as something not to be terrified of, but as a step to progressing, it makes us braver and bolder in our decisions. Even if you do ‘fail’, you will have learnt what does and doesn’t work, upping your chances of success next time - brilliant!
7.Our purpose quite often comes from our wounds
Whilst I wouldn’t want to relive a lot of my life, as I’ve healed I’ve come to be deeply grateful for the experiences that were most difficult. They’ve given me drive, ambition, compassion, empathy, passion, bravery, enormous strength and the greatest gift of all: to be able to share my learning with others. This makes my work my passion. What has your life experience taught you, what do you wish you’d known earlier? How can you bring more of what you naturally do well and love doing into your work?
8. Feel the fear and do it anyway
When my first website went live, I didn’t sleep for three nights. After I posted my first blog and saw that only five people had read it, I wanted to give up my career because I felt so anxious! I didn’t want people ‘looking’ at me, (hysteria considering I’ve nearly got thousands of people following me on Instagram and have always got a camera in front of my face)! Then there was the terror of my voice being recorded, then videos, then live radio. We never stop being frightened/uncomfortable when we do something new because it makes us vulnerable, but you just can’t let it stop you. When we move through fear, we open up a whole world of new opportunities.
9. Visualise your 10/10
This is a great way of discovering what your hopes/dreams/visions are and programming your unconscious mind. Write out a future ideal day/week. Don’t worry about the ‘how’ or whether it’s realistic and don’t judge, as this has a shutting down effect.
What are you doing?
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
Who is there with you?
What is different than now?
10. Immerse yourself in knowledge of your subject - learn everything you can
When I started I had no idea what I was doing. I had no marketing, business, accounting, experience and my IT knowledge extended to Word! For the first two years I read and watched everything I could, went to networking events, asked lots of questions and found role models who were already doing what I wanted to do. I had to watch the same video on Wordpress for three weeks (painful) before I could build the ‘basic’ website (obviously not basic enough!!). Tough but essential learning.
11.Be clear about your ideal clients/business and don’t worry about trying to please or appeal to everyone.
You are not going to appeal to everyone and you don’t need to. Be clear about your audience and talk to them. Recognise the value you can offer to those specific people; this will be your anchor in all that you do and this is the one thing that has kept me going throughout all the challenges. The more clear and authentic you are, the easier people will be able to self-select and find you.
12. Define your vision and what success means to you.
All our definitions of success will be different and it’s important to be motivated by your own version. Is it freedom, creativity, flexibility, autonomy, connection, deep relationships, the ability to change the world, to like yourself or variety that you seek? What do you want to have, feel, be? Meeting these personal goals makes everything you do satisfying, regardless of the outcome.
13. Find your tribe, support network, and mentors
This has been absolutely crucial to me. When building a business, 100% there will inevitably be times when you have doubts, you want to give up, and you wonder why you aren’t taking an easier route! It’s inevitable. Having a support network who understand the challenges that come with designing your life, is essential. I have business coaching, monthly supervision and a wonderful group of people who are my business go-to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and share in others wisdom.
14. Find behaviours/routines that fill you up, build resilience that help you keep going.
You’ve heard me say this 100 times I know, but that’s because it works! If you do not have things in place that replenish you, no matter how passionate and enthusiastic, you are going to end up burnt-out, exhausted and stressed. I know because I’ve periodically gone through crises until I changed!
15. Stick to a couple of marketing techniques rather than trying to do them all at once and deliver good, consistent content.
There are so many mediums now to market yourself that it can be overwhelming. Just choose a couple and put your emphasis on good content instead that’s consistent. Hootsuite is a great app that allows your forward date your posts, it’s been a lifesaver to me.
16. Enjoy the ride and let the experience expand you
Don’t fixate on outcomes, figures, likes and followers - this is not a true reflection of how successful you are. Even if your dream doesn’t come to fruition in the way you imagined, it doesn’t matter. The process of building something from the ground up will test, challenge, and reveal things you had no idea of. It will take you to places you hadn’t imagined. You will meet people who you may have had no other way of coming into contact with. As you internally expand, your external world will expand with you and everything becomes a little more possible.
Dream big, enjoy the ride.
Love, Ismene xxx