I was invited to take part in two 4 week courses titled Confidence in business, sitting on a panel of women sharing their business journeys and tips for women who were starting up or in their first few years of business. It was really insightful and I feel I took away as much as the attendees.
There really is something powerful in sharing stories, being truly open about the highs and lows we experience. And I decided to pull together some of the great tips that came out of the sessions.
1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. Only seeking to do what you already know is limiting. The best growth comes from challenging yourself.
2. Learn on the go! – You won’t know everything you need to know before you get started and if you try to, you’ll probably end up not doing anything!
3. There is no such thing as failure, only lessons – when things don’t go according to plan or your venture doesn’t pan out focus on the lessons you can take from the experience. It could lead to a better venture or a change of direction that is right for you; that does not equate to failing.
4. Feed your mind with positive ‘food’ – what you take in, you breathe out. If you are constantly wrapped up in the negative and stressful stories in the press or on TV, they will affect you mentally and physically. Start finding more uplifting materials to read. It’s not about pretending life isn’t happening around you, it’s about focusing on the things that will help you get to where you want to go. Use affirmations consistently (daily) to embed new thinking that supports new beliefs and habits you want to develop.
5. Find ways to bring fun into what you do – when we are having fun our relaxed state helps us to take information on board, thus having a better learning experience. So whatever you can utilise in the way of music, dance, art, humour or anything else that delights you, do it!
6. You are the sum of the people you hang out with – let go of the toxic ones. Whether people are intentionally trying to derail you or are doing so from a place of ‘worry’ it is important you take charge and eliminate conversations with them that leave you feeling washed out and ready to give up on your dream. Find enough people to interact with who will encourage you, support you, cheer you on and help in whatever way they can.
7. Invest in you & your business – Free is great and there are lots of free resources out there but do not avoid investing in yourself or your business; it is part of knowing your worth. Just remember, when you invest, the key thing is to take action (spending money on things and then not doing the work will always feel like you’ve been ripped off but the work is yours to do!)
8. Remember to spend time on the business as well as in the business – carve out time each week to reflect on where the business is in relation to the goals you have set, what needs to be done in terms of marketing, what the numbers are (money in vs money out, what you need to live on, what you can do to generate more income if necessary) and what new opportunities exist (collaborations, joint ventures, etc).
9. Drop the overnight success syndrome – it doesn’t exist! To create success, however you define it, you have to get in, roll up your sleeves and do the ground work. Ask any successful entrepreneur how long it took before they achieved success and what they had to go through to get there and you’ll see that it was rarely (if at all) immediate; it takes years.
10. Get outdoors and connect with your environment – it helps to open your mind up. Ideas are generated, you feel better physically & mentally and it also gives you a break; breaks are underestimated but greatly required.
11. If things are not working out don’t keep on doing the same thing (or more of it) – seek advice. We often get caught up in doing the same thing over and over, believing if we just do more of it things will change. Usually when this happens what is really helpful is a different perspective. This could be where a coach or mentor really adds value.
12. If you have no clients – there is no business! So go find some clients, do a few (note the word ‘few’) free case studies so that you can get opinions, success stories and feedback. This will help you refine what you offer, collate testimonials for others to get an understanding of what you do and how well you do it.
13. Know that you have permission to make mistakes – it is okay to make mistakes, we all do. Again, it goes back to learning from them.
14. Build an accomplishment portfolio – have a folder where you can gather photos, certificates, awards, anything that endorses your abilities. This is the perfect companion on days when you feel down, like you’re not getting anywhere or don’t feel you have what it takes.
15. Retrain – you are never too old or too young to retrain! If there is something you want to do but do not have the skills, find the training that will give you what you need and don’t be put off if you are the oldest person on the course. So what?
16. Keep your mind on the goal – get clear on what it is you want to achieve and keep that image front of mind.
17. Guard your reputation – even when things go wrong. Be confident, honest and professional. Accept responsibility when it falls to you and do the right thing to turn bad situations around (ex. a bad customer experience can be rectified more often than not with an apology and an offer to put right what went wrong).
18. Be you – ultimately it is you people are buying. You will attract those to you who feel a connection through your story, personality or attitude. You do not need everyone to like you to be successful at what you do so spend less time on being the most liked and more time being the best version of you.
A huge ‘thank you’ to the women who gave their time freely to impart their wisdom:
Vicky Ellis – Round the world yacht race Skipper
Joni Farthing – WOTB, Women Outside The Box
Pippa – Coach & Mentor
Carol Peace – Sculptor
Yvonne Bignall – Personal Development Leader
All made possible by Blue Orchid, Bristol – thank you.
It’s great to share…