It’s been three years today since the birth of my business! Time flies when you’re having fun. And I’ve most definitely had LOTS of fun!
Time to reflect on why I started my business, is it giving me what I want, and what lessons have I learned along the way.
Why start your own business
I started my own business because with two young children at school, I wanted flexibility, independence, and a better work-family balance. I wanted to make better use of the experience and skills that I had developed. I wanted more recognition for my knowledge and expertise. I wanted the opportunity to use my creativity. I wanted equality.
No matter how hard women try, we do not get equality at work. We do not get equal recognition for our talents. We do not receive the support that we need as mothers. And quite frankly, working for somebody else when you are a mother, well it stinks. And YES I know there are great employers out there who do fantastic work to increase their talent retention, to recognise the challenges of working parents, and that it’s not always the mum that does everything, but let’s be honest, in most families, the mother is the default parent.
Quite honestly I wanted more for me and my children; I wanted to ditch the working mum’s guilt. I believed that starting and running my own business was the best way to achieve this.
Am I getting what I want as a mum in business?
Yes absolutely I have more flexibility so that, if I want to, I can accompany school trips. I can be there when my children get home from school to help with homework or read with them.
I don’t have to commute to work on overcrowded trains.
I have more independence – I can choose which projects or clients to work with. I don’t work with everybody that contacts me and I have that choice now.
I have confidence that whatever I work on WILL be high quality because there is only me involved in the creation of reports, products, videos etc. Yes I outsource some of the work, but at the end of the day, my name is on the final product, and the quality WILL be solid. Integrity and professionalism are core values for me, and I need never do anything that I disagree with or feel uncomfortable about.
What lessons have I learned?
- When I first started, I did not know exactly what direction I would take. I knew my own talents and experiences, but I didn’t know which others would find valuable. My business has evolved – I started out helping the business services leaders in law firms (i.e. the non-lawyers). Now I specialise in working with women who want to rediscover their identity and regain confidence. And that is an important lesson – if you are starting out in business, it’s not essential to know where you will be in three years’ time.
- What has surprised me is that the skills that I take for granted, others are willing to pay me for. At first, that seemed a little odd. Why would somebody pay me to show them how to start a business. That’s so easy. Yes, easy for me, but not for everybody. You have to learn to value what is special and unique about you. If you find something easy, that does not mean it is not valuable. Your skills and experience are what people will pay for.
- I work as a coach and mentor and love it. I believe my love and passion and excitement really shines through. I believe it is fundamental that your business is something that you love so that you can be “you” and don’t need to pretend to be somebody else. So you can be truly authentic.
- I really value the business coaching and mentoring that I receive myself. Being part of a mastermind has been amazing – there is an incredible difference between my business a year ago, when I joined my first mastermind, and today. You never stop learning and you need to keep an open mind to continue your personal development.
- If you want absolute confidence in your business success, do what successful people do. Work ON your business not just IN your business. I get my best ideas when I am away from working in the business. That’s when I get true clarity.
- Don’t rush into decisions and don’t go chasing after shiny objects. Think about what you want to achieve, build a vision, set your goals, create your action plan and then GO FOR IT.
- Don’t waste time trying to be perfect. Just get started.
I love what I do. So tonight I will be raising a glass to my successful business. Happy Birthday!
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