Being a mum running a small business can be lonely sometimes.
Did you know that small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK, 47.% of private sector employment and 33.2% of private sector turnover. That’s incredible, isn’t it? What is also very impressive is that five million businesses are what is termed a “micro-business” i.e. they employ 0 to 9 people. In fact micro-businesses account for 96% of businesses, as well as 33% of employment and 19% of turnover. Your micro-business slots into the SME (Small & Medium Enterprises). Lots more facts available from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
If you have been used to working in a corporate or in any other size business, you would have been familiar and comfortable working as part of a team. Yet when you set up your own micro-business, perhaps as a coach, a freelance trainer, an accountant, shop-owner, or photographer … you will be working very much on your own, except for your clients. One of the reasons that people like to set up on their own is to have more independence, more autonomy, more freedom. Fantastic rewards! However these come at a price.
What happens when you are working hard but you come up against a big challenge or fundamental decision. Some decisions are easy; others are not. Supporting business women to make life-changing decisions with ease is my specialist area. As human beings, we want affirmation from others; approval of our work, our expertise, our decisions. Often you don’t get that when working on your own. It is up to you to plan your day, when to take a lunch break, when to finish early, when to work late. In the corporate world, there is somebody taking care of your basic human needs. When it is your own business YOU are responsible. For everything.
In the early weeks and months, if you are struggling on your own, feel like you are going round in circles, lacking clarity and focus, and don’t know where to go next, you really miss the accountability and support that was an intrinsic part of working in a larger organisation. When you set up your own business, you do it because you believe in yourself and your abilities. Or you have a vision and a dream that pushes you on. However when you work hard and success is slow at first, even the most confident mum finds herself suffering from lapses in self-belief and confidence because quite honestly running your own business can feel lonely and isolated. Nobody to second-guess your decisions and ideas.
How do you get support for the big decisions and help to overcome the scary challenges? This is the strategy that has worked for me:
- A network of support. Business-owners, like me, who are brilliant at what they do. We share ideas, challenges, and successes. We offer feedback and ideas. Some of these business-owners could be seen as competitors. Others are not. Many of the challenges we face are similar: marketing, how to ensure you get paid on time, social media presence, legal complexities, blogging, branding – is it congruent, mindset and more.
- Work with a coach. I have worked with a few coaches on different aspects of my business. Read more about some of the coaches I have discovered here.
- Personal development & training, for example my formal coaching qualifications, ongoing supervision, specialist marketing advice.
- I am selective about what I do myself and what I outsource. For example, I pay an expert to do my accounts. If I take 10 hours to achieve something that a specialist could do in 2 hours, I see it as giving back 8 hours to my business which allows me to focus on my areas of expertise.
- Invest in a mastermind. A significant investment however worth every penny. I trained with one of the best US trainers on best practice Mastermind Groups and joined Suzanne Dibble’s first mastermind . My business has grown INCREDIBLY – beyond my wildest dreams. I have learned, evolved, grown in confidence, developed a more entrepreneurial mindset, created amazing connections, and now have my own personal cheerleader team. It is like having my own board of directors. Since joining my first mastermind, I have been runner up in the UK Expert Authority Challenge 2014, nominated Entrepreneurial Mum of the Year, ran a successful online conference, The Confident Mother, interviewed Dame Sarah Storey and former Minister Jo Swinson, participated as a panelist numerous times on BBC Radio Kent, enjoyed multiple speaker opportunities, collaborated with a national training company to develop a series of confidence in the workplace podcasts and written a book.
What about you? How do you get support for your business? How do you ensure you are held accountable? Who second guesses your decisions?
I run a regular online learning sessions for mums looking for back to work or business confidence. Sign up here for reminders so you are sure not to miss out.