I'm guessing a few years back your dream of running your own business looked a little different to today. You were excited about being your own boss, having freedom to choose work and clients you wanted, not having anyone tell you what to do. You might have had dreams of taking time out as and when you wished, and even of earning money from courses in your sleep. After all, that's what people talk about don't they? The entrepreneurial dream.
Fast forward to today and some days (and these are getting more frequent than you would care to admit) you wonder why you are bothering. It’s hard work! And you increasingly feel that effort is not being rewarded. You're not averse to hard work, but you want something to show for it!
If this is you, you don't need to remain stuck working long hours for little progress, I'm going to walk you through an exercise that will help you get yourself back on track.
What did you set up your business to do?
We all have our own unique reasons as to why we set up our own business rather than continue down the employment route
- Maybe you retrained and saw private work as the best route?
- Maybe you needed to earn AND look after family?
- Maybe it started as a side hustle idea that grew into a full time business?
Whatever your initial reason was, it has got you this far - and kudos for getting here. You started the business and are a few years in - so let’s do a check-in - how are you feeling about it? Has everything gone to plan? (Was there even a plan in the first place?!)
When my business just wasn’t working for me
Even the best plans need adjusting. I’ve always had a vision for every business I have set up. In 2014, my focus was on helping expats set up a business that worked for them, as that was the path I knew well. It was a great intersection of my business and life experiences, and one that I was sure could move and grow with me, as it was based on running your business online, and using the internet to connect with clients. That’d been my life since 2006!
The ability to help fellow expats sell their expertise from wherever they lay their hat filled me with joy and opportunity as I could see a whole series of coaching programs and products that would suit this market, as well as personal connections to key businesses already in the space. The business grew and garnered many testimonials from happy clients.
All was going well, until the point when we, as a family, had decided to repatriate back to the UK for a host of reasons, that all looked optimistic and great. I had no idea that coming home would mean losing my business as I knew it.
I didn't expect to fall out of love with my freedom-based business.
Coming back to the UK after spending 14 years abroad across various countries, was a huge culture shock. My social bubble had changed from being surrounded by lots of people who “got” my life to being surrounded by people going off to the 9-5 work.
No longer being surrounded by fellow expats meant that my ready source of clients dried up as I was out of sight and out of mind. I hit a period of “re-entry depression”. Talking to expats reminded me too much of the life that I had left behind and the lack of friends I had at the new location. I just couldn’t bring myself to “market” to that audience anymore.
Businesses change over time
I had to pivot my business, and package up my expertise in a direction where I did feel connected with again. This is one of the best aspects of running your own business - it changes with time. You are in control of the direction you go in.
Never forget that you are the captain of your ship!
What’s important is to recognise when your business is no longer working for you, and to adjust accordingly… even a small 5 degree pivot can sometimes be enough to get you back on course.
Tweaking, listening, adapting, changing are all a natural part of a business and often for the most successful businesses, an annual re-evaluation task.
Reconnect with your why
When you realise something is “not quite right”, it’s a good time to reconnect with your why - why you started your own business in the first place.
For me that was about sharing my expertise and connecting with fellow entrepreneurs who had a passion to change their little piece of the world… and to also inspire my daughters that they can do anything they put their minds to. The world is full of possibilities.
Now that sounds all very grand… but there was a base need as well. I wanted to earn my own money, not be reliant on my partner’s income. I want to have control over my own destiny and know that if something bad happened tomorrow to my partner, I could still support my family, on my expertise.
I had spent years being the quiet power behind other business owners, designing and marketing their business ideas.
And that was when my pivot hit me. I wanted to help other quiet women who had amazing business ideas, package up their expertise to sell online. The end result was the same, but the audience was different.
Suddenly I was re-energised as the alignment came back. Can you see how a small shift in focus can make all the difference?
- What was the reason you started your business?
- Does it still hold true today?
- Do you need to change anything so your business gives you the life you wanted?
What does the future look like?
As you revisit the beginnings, also look to your future once again with fresh eyes. The world is changing at a rapid pace, and with it the possibilities for new opportunities are opening up every day.
Where before people found things unimaginable… they are now common place.
Before 2020, no-one saw a world working from their living rooms… and now many are thinking that they don’t want to return to the old ways.
- What does the future look like for you in your business?
- Have you adapted, pivoted your services in the last year?
If you would like a fresh pair of eyes on the opportunities open for your business, one that can create the flexible lifestyle you dream of, one which gives you options to make the dreams real… then let’s get together for a Blue Sky Strategy Session, where we will sit down for 90 minutes and map out the future for your business, that is fully connected to your why, so your business provides the life you always wanted.