I recently crossed my fifth year mark as a coach. It’s easy to remember back when I began studying to become a coach and get my certification. I was full of passion and zeal for helping other people, along with a desire to escape from the golden handcuffs of my last job. For those who aren’t familiar with golden handcuffs, that’s when you have a job that’s paying you a lot of money, but it is controlling your life and you feel chained to it.
In my current practice, I empower ambitious professionals to add at least $10K to their salaries. We do that in a variety of ways, but one of them involves growing their business. A profound statement I heard when starting out was “There’s a thin line between being self-employed and unemployed.” Regardless of what type of business you have, I’ve learned that there are a few things you can do to increase your odds of success and stay in business.
1. Plan your exit strategy/transitions
A lot of new entrepreneurs believe that passion and enthusiasm is enough to sustain a business. They get an idea, toss it back in forth in their mind for a few weeks, and are ready to quit their day job. Unfortunately, that rarely works out well. I usually see that same person back on the market for a new job in less than six months. It doesn’t have to be that way! With the proper planning, you can implement an exit strategy that will help you transition into business ownership. I know this is unpopular to say, but it might mean that you continue to work at your job for another year until you have everything in place.
2. If you don’t have the desire, quit while you’re ahead
50% of business owners I see are truly excited about their service or product offering, and the other 50% are chasing a check. I have no judgment about which person is right or wrong, but I will say that if you don’t desire what you’re doing for 6+ hours per day, really think about that. From my experience, entrepreneurs without a strong desire are quicker to quit on an idea (and/or jump from one venture to another). You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon to start a business, become a coach, or invest in Bitcoin just because everyone else is doing it.
3. Invest in support wisely
At some point in time, you will need help! It’s easy to believe that you can do it all alone since you’ve been successful in the past. I personally fell into this trap as well. Once you come up for air and realize that there are only 24-hours in the day and you are the head of marketing, sales, operations, and client services, it starts to make sense. We live in a time where there is no shortage of coaches, consultants, strategists, and experts who would love to tell you what to do for a fee. For every outside support provider you’re considering, find out: how long they’ve been in business, what they specialize in, and exactly how they plan to help you. Many people get caught up in the look of a website, vanity social media metrics, and slick marketing, only to find out that there was never a solid plan to help them reach their goals.
4. Do your own research
I recommend that everyone do their own research when it comes to studying your business model (how your company makes money), understanding your target market, and vetting your service providers. In this digital age, it is possible to make things appear more viable and important than they actually are. Just relying on one source of information can lead to costly mistakes that can put you out of business quickly.
5. Expand your network
You can’t do business in isolation. For your business to grow, you need a good amount of people to know about you or at least be familiar with what you do. This can be a big stumbling block for the introverts, like myself. Stretching outside of your comfort zone by going to networking events, posting regularly to social media, and attending meetings for professional associations are impactful ways to expand your network. This is a continuous process that is part of a healthy business development plan.
Understanding and implementing intentional change in your strategies, support system, and in your network can help put you in the position to survive the ebbs and flows of business. However, every business is unique (something I’ve learned the hard way). It’s rare to find an exact template or system that works for every situation, despite what a clever marketer will try to tell you. The best business support I’ve received has been one-on-one and customized for my company.
If you’d like to discuss your specific business goals, sign up for a Vision of Success Session here!
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