A special message to fellow women and those who love them on Happy International Women’s Day

Nothing or no one could have prepared me for the great experience I have gained in a year. I officially launched my business in February 2017, I have had both good and not so good experiences, it has been a steep learning curve and immensely rewarding at the same time.

Today it’s International Women’s Day, bet there is a woman out there thinking, should I should I not. Or maybe you have just lost your job, started a family, and you feel lost and alone because the corporate world can be very unforgiving for us women. I share some of my experience with the aim of inspiring someone you if you are thinking of starting a business and you are not sure yet.

Here are the top Seven things I have learned over the last year.

  1. PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO HELP YOU AS A NEW BUSINESS – You just must find the right help and when you do, treasure those people. Treat them with respect and like diamonds. Ask questions, take their advice, the make your own decisions, be patient, find a role model, mentor or coach, you can’t follow too many experts they will confuse you. Try them out, if their way of doing things doesn’t work for you, move on and find someone else. Ask yourself those two very important question, WIITFM, what’s in it for me? and what’s in it for my client? Lastly, Pay It Forward.
  2. JUST START DOESN’T MEAN IT IS GOING TO BE EASY – No far from it, the first year will be a lot of trial and error. There were days when I questioned myself and wondered what I was doing, not being in a job where I am not the one responsible for bringing in the cash. A job where if I don’t get a salary I can protest. For me, realised going back into the ‘corporate world’ after many years of running my own (not for profit business), yes, a charity is a business too. I realised that I am not employable. I prefer to make decisions about when and where I am going to work; I feel claustrophobic in the big office jungle. Decide what works for you and then make that more to work towards it. The first year is hard, but the results are great. I am loving what I am doing.
  3. CUSTOMER OR CLIENT BASED BUSINESS? You will have to decide from the onset what type of business you want to run. Customers come to you to buy products or services you supply; they know they need it. Clients buy your advice and solutions personalised to their particular needs. Sometimes people don’t even know they need your service, so you need to work harder for your clients, Once, you have them, you nurture those relationships if it works they will become repeat customers and, in the end, they may even champion your business and recommend it to others. They become part of your professional family.
  4. WATCH OUT FOR THE VULTURES – As a new business, every other company wants to sell you the proven thing, their marketing plan, their shiny system, that advert slot, or whatever the new product. I am not saying you don’t buy; you need systems and training to for your business to scale up and grow. What I am saying is that you need systems, you need to market but choose wisely. Most importantly you will make some mistakes and that is okay, at least you tried. I have invested in fantastic systems and support that work, (It systems, a coach and mentors, but I also invested in stuff that I not worked. The best is not to die to regret. Keep going the good investments will always outdo the bad.
  5. READ THOSE CONTRACTS – This is a big one – I am lucky enough to come from a background where contracts are a way of life and small prints are a must, If you miss something in the contract, it could mean losing money or endangering someone’s life. In my business, I have contracts for almost everything. For example, when I conduct coaching, I need to be sure my client understand that I am not a therapist or a consultant in our relationship. They are responsible for their outcomes, I am there to help through questioning and camaraderie etc., but ultimately, they are investing in their energy, that is why I don’t coach people who I think are not committed to achieving what they need help with. I am pleased to refund someone if I feel they are not serious. What I have found though is that some of my clients don’t like reading the contract, or they make up what they think we agreed and this can be a problem, for both of us. My advice; DON’T sign on the dotted line if you are not clear, ask questions. Read the contract and ask questions.
  6. SOME PEOPLE WILL TAKE YOU FOR A JOKE, STAY FOCUSSED – Yes, they will poke fun at you, and they may even not take you seriously, and that is okay. Stick to your guns, give a diligent service. The best way of failing in business is trying to please everyone. Sometimes you just must call it. Move on to the next client who will appreciate you. Sometimes people are shocked when I say not everyone will buy my services and I am okay with that. For instance, I am dyslexic, and English is not my first language. I get a lot of corrections from ‘experts’ in typos and grammar. I can invest in lots of money to pay proof-readers, but I have made a conscious decision that I will not pay unless I need to. If someone can read and make sense of what I am trying to say, that is splendid to me. If however, someone is a ‘pedantic perfectionist’ who thinks I am unprofessional because my brain will not process the typo or grammar, then they can take their money elsewhere. I do my best to share what I know, and there are enough people who will love what I do. Trust me that attitude alone will take you a long way in your first year of business.
  7. LOVE YOURSELF FIRST – There is no approval coming from anyone anytime soon. Put yourself first; You must love yourself so you can enjoy your family and your clients. I know for us women it can be hard to put ourselves first but trust me burnout comes from serving all others before self. Everyone loves a happy person, that person, whether in business or not, will only be satisfied with herself if she loves how she feels and what she looks like inside and out.
  8. Are you waiting for permission to love yourself? Go on; I permit you. Now you can conquer and make the world a better place because you are a strong, loving, and remarkable woman. Happy International Women’s Day!

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