This March, we’re celebrating our first two years as an independent small business, offering professional coaching to help clients realize their goals in work and life.
Like any other two year old, there have been teething problems, tears and tantrums – and that’s just been me, thankfully not (all) the clients! But I just thought I’d share some lessons learned, hopefully to encourage anyone else out there thinking of “doing their own thing”, whether that’s making a career change or starting your own business!
- Listen to your self. Babies generally know what they want, and they are able to make their most basic needs felt, well before they can talk. Most of the time as adults though we listen to everyone else, except ourselves, when our gut instinct is more reliable than we’d like to believe. I’ve learned that when you get the urge to do something or try out an idea, then you can always find some way to do it. Being self-employed gives you great freedom to try new things because you don’t usually need anyone’s permission!
- Learning to say no! The “terrible twos” can happen when the child discovers it has the “freedom to choose” (even if that’s not always what the parent agrees with!) However for us adults, we can find ourselves feeling that we have no choice, when really we may just not like the consequences of the alternatives. Sometimes, delivering what a client needs moves you farther away from your long term goals instead of closer to them. Choosing NOT to do something, for your own reasons, can give you the time and space to focus more on what you WANT to do, and the direction you want to take.
- Enjoy the moment. Small children are always in the moment… learning to focus more on the here and now helps you to identify opportunities that you might otherwise miss. During that phone call or conversation, if you’re fully tuned in, you are better able to understand what the client wants and how you could deliver value for them and enable them to reach their goal.
- Walk before you can run – be gentle with yourself – don’t worry too much about what you can’t do yet. You’re doing this because of what you’re good at so focus on your strengths and either address or accept your weaknesses.
- Sharing is caring! Children love the company of others and learn from them. Meet with friends, former colleagues, family members and share what you’re doing – enlist their help, whether it’s promoting your business, providing expertise in areas that are not your strongest points. Use social networks to supplement your personal contact with people, not replace them altogether. You can choose to do this in the short term, perhaps taking those areas over when you’re more confident. Or not! A barter system works well with other entrepreneurs if cashflow is a challenge.
We all have the capacity to act as both the parent (sensible and future oriented, supposedly) and the child (wilful, intuitive, in the moment) – as in most things, achieving your goals in work and life is a balance between the “not so terrible” two!
Whatever you want to do – just go for it – way more people will offer you help and support than you ever thought possible.
Thanks to all my helpers!
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