5 things I wish I knew when I started my business
My coaching business has been many years in the making. For years, I was working full time as a school counselor while coaching, writing and training on the side. I officially left school counseling and launched my coaching business two years ago. Since I’d been working in that direction for several years, I naively thought it would take off. Instead it has grown slowly but steadily with many ups and downs. Looking back, here are a few of the things I wish I’d known when I started:
- It’s all research and development– When you think of everything that you do and try in a business from creating a product to making a connection, it’s easy to be overcome with the seriousness of it all. We lament the failures and beat ourselves up for all the mistakes. I’ve found it serves me better to think of it all as research and development. I learn from everything I do, but especially from the things that don’t work out.
- Relationships are the heart of a business–It’s easy to get lost in creating your product, whether its a piece of jewelry, a training session or a book. But what ultimately sells your product? The relationships that you build. Don’t neglect establishing and nurturing relationships from the very beginning and throughout the life of your business. As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”
- Courage comes before confidence–Few people start a new endeavor and feel confident of their abilities and skills. We’re all learning and challenging ourselves to grow. Don’t wait to be confident before you start. You have to start repeatedly before you gain the benefit of confidence. Confidence comes from repeated actions. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something everyday that scares you.”
- Focus on the goal, but measure progress from where you’ve been–It’s important to have a goal. It provides direction and focus, but measure your progress from where you started, not how close you are to the goal. The goal will always be out ahead to guide you. But attaining a goal isn’t the best indicator of progress. Looking back at where you started is a better indicator. It will also keep you in a much more positive mindset.
- You are always marketing–Too many of us think of marketing as something that we do before a big launch or after we publish our masterpiece. Actually marketing is something that you need to do everyday as you interact with others and discover how you can best serve them. Notice marketing and sales are both about service and helping others, not pushing your product on them. You can always be looking for ways to serve others and the best part is that people will look forward to your calls and your presence if you are serving them. If you are always pushing a sale? Not so much.
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