It is twelve months today since I decided to 'give it a go' and leave a secure position to start my own business. Here’s what have I learned (learnt) in this time of working for myself and running a business;
1. Business Plan - Everyone says that you need one, 75% of businesses that fail did not have one. I have one but it is only half completed. In my rush to get the business going (and to get some money coming in) I haven't set aside time to finish it. That changes today, I am going to finish it because you need a document that expresses what you want to achieve, to indicate where you want to go, and to show you how you will get there. Without a business plan you will wander without direction.
2. Free stuff - The more you give the more you get back. It's a funny thing and I can't explain it. When I run a free event or offer pro-bono services the work comes back to me. And it is not just because I am out there displaying my services. If I am helping someone I will check my emails afterwards and there will be an inquiry for my services from an unexpected source.
3. Be different - I am very different, ask anyone who knows me. I consult and coach in a way that isn't traditional. I do so in a way that I would like to be the recipient of and I make it about them. I was a practitioner first and then I studied therefore I wasn't swayed by what others taught me. I didn't take the traditional route, I came along a winding road that was unconventional and that is what made me unconventional.
4. Relax - Sometimes I panic. I panic because I don't have enough work, I panic because I have too much work, and I panic simply because I can. It is natural to panic, the brain is wired that way. I now have learned to relax, and the more relaxed I become the easier it is for everyone, including myself.
5. Keep going - I nearly went and found a real job once. I sat back, dropped the ball, I thought that work would come to me. It doesn't and you have to work to get work. Within a few days of applying for a job (and failing to secure one) I was back in the game. A couple of people called me after reading my posts and encouraged me to keep going so I did. Within a week I had work coming in and I am so grateful that it continues to be this way (hence I haven't posted for a few days!).
6. Be open to new opportunities - Always look for new opportunities to add to your business and for new people to partner with. Together Everyone Achieves More. A bit of a lame saying but in business it is an important one these days.
7. Be honest - Honesty is the most important thing that you can do for yourself and for others. If you are dishonest or lack integrity you will quickly fail. Honesty is being truthful, if you can’t do something then say so. Always under-promise and over-deliver.
8. Change - The world is changing fast and if you don't change with it you will get left behind. Look at ways to change, to be different, to add to your strengths and weaknesses.
9. People - You need to meet people, lots of them, as many as you can. It is those people you meet who will help you to get started, to guide you in your business, to support you, and to listen to you when it doesn't go that well. I have been very lucky, I have some good people to do this for me. People are wonderful.
10. Family - Most importantly for me, I have a supportive family. They provide not only encouragement and physical support, they provide emotional support. When I am down, they lift me up. When I am excited, they keep me grounded. When I am lonely, they are there to talk. They are my real business partner.