As of July 2018, I am celebrating nine years since I jumped into coaching as a career and launching my business. I wrote this last month, but just getting a chance to send now.
When I started my business, I was raw, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! I was on fire after completing 6 months of training with Momentum Education, including a 3-month leadership program that challenged me to push past my limiting beliefs and go for it. The business was one of the results. I started with one client, a website and business cards. Because I was only relying on my gut instincts, it started out bumpy. After a few sessions, my only client fired me. Yep. But because she respected me, she did it in a very loving way.
Over the months to come, I studied more and continued to put myself out there. But I realized that I needed to have a more solid foundation, so I invested in myself – in coach certification training through iPEC Coaching (one of the best in the business, in my humble opinion). This was huge for me, as a newly divorced mom of two, I had years of scripting to put others’ needs before my own. So, taking out a loan to fund my education was a huge deal, but it was a game changer.
Here are the 10 biggest lessons I learned from my first 9 years in business.
- Don’t go it alone. Those of us who are strong and determined are not accustomed to asking for help, but it has supported me immensely in my journey. Find people in the same mode and join or start a mastermind group. Collaborate to gain expertise that you lack, so you can reach the goal faster. Support other businesses. You get the idea.
- Face your fears. No guts, no glory! There were many times in my journey that I was terrified, but I moved forward anyway. Always remind yourself – what’s the worst that could happen? Here’s the thing… not trying is the surest way not to achieve your goal. It comes down to how much do you want it? And will you allow your fears to outweigh your determination to succeed. The choice is yours.
- Invest in your dreams. My first year, and sometimes in the interim, I tried to accomplish things on the cheap. But you truly get what you pay for. When I invested in trainings, conferences, business tools and advisors it always helped me improve on what I was working on – and many times I met people that became instrumental in future endeavors.
- If you don’t succeed, try, try again. Not everything I did worked. Sometimes what I thought was a fantastic idea bombed horribly. No one showed up for the new program. No one responded to my new special that I thought was just perfect. If it doesn’t work – just keep it moving and try something else.
- Don’t be afraid of sales and self-promotion. The only way you will make money is to get someone to buy something. That truly is the bottom line. Even as an extreme extrovert, I have to push myself in this area. You can come up with the best product ever, but if you don’t sell it, no one will benefit, and you won’t make money. Invest in training or a sales coach if necessary. Work to build multiple streams of income.
- Find your tribe. I spent several years operating as a generic coach. I said all the positive things that most coaches say, but I didn’t have a signature or a specific voice. My voice was generic and unimpressive (if heartfelt! Lol) I invested in training and coaching by a fantastic business coach, Denise Hart, who taught me to find my tribe and helped me to narrow my focus. It was under her tutelage that the Just Do You! Institute for Women’s Empowerment was born.
- Network and collaborate. I started naming all the connections and growth I’ve had through networking and collaborating, and the list got too long. So I’ll mention some of the networks I belong to: Radio host: Life Coach Radio Networks, which spawned multiple profitable working relationships. Member of Solace for Sistas, a group of progressive women who support one another in business, life, and have some fun along the way. My good friend and mentor L. J. Sall introduced me to Momentum Education, where I allowed myself to embrace the dream of becoming a coach, and met Sylvia High and the late Robin Lynn. Have volunteered and coached for them since. I also met some amazing coaches and trainers through the Black Life Coaches network, founded by Dr. Towanna Burrous. And who knew 25 years ago that my friend Kim Brown of Minerva Rising and I would collaborate to produce my first solo book project and become a best-selling author? Work your networks and build relationships. They are golden!
- Be true to yourself. There is no one right way to do things. And business experts come at you left and right. Hire the help you need, but also trust your gut and intuition. Honor your inner voice to guide you. Tap into that voice to create your own unique space in the world.
- It’s a faith walk. Being in business is not for the faint at heart! You must be ready to put yourself out there, endure criticism, and face failure. But anything is possible. Keep honing your craft. Tune into God and your own inner compass to help guide you.
- Avoid the trap of analysis paralysis. They key here is to take action. Try something. Adjust. Keep moving forward. Sometimes we want to hold out for the perfect answer, when experience is the best teacher. Similarly, some folks love learning and will rack up a lot of degrees and certifications. At some point you must put your learning into action to get results in your life.
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM? Are you in business yourself, or have a dream that you want to bring to fruition? Let’s talk about it! I offer individual coaching, including 90-minute to 3-hour Power Sessions that have yielded great results. We can work on your vision board, job/career goals or get moving on that business idea. Email me for details.