What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…
I can’t deny that I’m running low on energy and stamina. I’ve been working too hard and not getting enough back. I’m taking a part time break. What this means is that while the kids are off school I’m doing work here and there, thinning down the agenda. And I can’t be bothered to exercise, make an effort for anything really. I’m ok with just taking a break from all the effort. I’m not even doing much of the reading I intended to do over these summer months. I’m just letting it roll.
But of course, there’s still stuff going on.
Getting real 1 – set your boundaries
I’m potentially going to collaborate with a big consultancy on a strategic alignment project in a large government organization. It’s exciting but I’ve had so many warnings to ‘watch out for those sharks’ that I’m terrified this consultancy will explore my idea and develop their own version. I couldn’t stand the idea that in my desperation for work, I’d undermine my own business by naively sharing my stuff and then regretting it.
I sought a bit of tangible advice from a fabulous female entrepreneur via a network member in the UK. When I asked her about this she said:
“Their time is on the clock. They want to maximise their revenue and facetime with the client and may take an approach to alignment that you don’t like. Here’s what to do:
- Sit and listen – stay on their good side
- Don’t answer questions on the spot – just say “Good idea -let me think about that.”
- As an owner and a visionary, be clear. Know your boundaries and politely stick to them. Say “If you want to engage with us, this is how we do it and what we charge.” If they don’t like it, then don’t work with them.
- Watch out for supplier contracts and payment terms.”
I felt better already. My boundaries are that I don’t want to share my question sets or train their consultants to deliver Mirror Mirror. I have a turnkey solution and will only use trained facilitators of my own.
Getting real 2 – be the go-to person
My neighbour is a ‘millenial medium’. Always smiling. Young, beautiful, 3 kids, and running a spiritual coaching business. I don’t have an opinion on the value of spiritual coaching but I’m always open minded. We went for a picnic with the kids and I asked her for some advice. Without much background, she said this – and I wrote it down:
- You need to relax more. The energy is too tight. Let it go. I see a pearl and a thick layer of resistance around it. If that layer goes, it will grow.
- You’re worried about someone developing their own version of your product. HOW DID SHE KNOW THAT?! If someone does that, it won’t really matter. That’s not the problem. Your worrying about it is the problem. It’s stopping you from seeing new possibilities. Sure, watch out and be alert. Don’t give it away. But focus on connecting with other people and go with the flow, even if it’s not perfect.
- The product is good. The market just needs more information. You need to get it out there.
- You need to BE number one – not just try to put yourself there but internalize it. BE the platform, the go-to person.
Then she pulled out 3 tarot cards – and the relevance of the reading was amazingly relevant. It spoke about my optimism and energy in the past; about the need to be objective and strong today; and the need to be balanced tomorrow. I’m stunned! She’s great.
Getting real 3 – spend in proportion to your revenue
The next day, we were just about to go away for a 6-day holiday, and my neighbour popped round with a book called ‘Profit First.’
“You’ve got to read this,” she said. “Honestly – it’s a quick read.”
The contents were a wake-up call. The book said that many small business owners sacrifice themselves pursuing some dream of ‘growth’ and how it will lead them to a new level. They run their business funding this growth, at the cost of their own salaries and profit, but once they get there, a whole new level of cost takes up the slack.
Basically, the Profit First mentality debunks the notion of investing in the future of your business and chasing the dream of growth at the cost of short term profitability. It advocates spending what you earn AFTER separating off money for tax and at least some kind of owner compensation – which forces a creative frugality that promotes profit first.
Recognising this, I felt uncomfortable and a bit stupid. I’ve been spending on the IDEA of growth but I need to tighten my belt – particularly around product development – and get back to taking a little more time to do stuff myself.
Mirror Mirror aligns people in teams to pull together and deliver on your strategy. The process adds clarity and ownership and takes out cost and risk.