A funny thing happens sometimes when I’m networking, someone I’m talking to will lower their voice as they refer to another coach, and ask "So are they your competition then?"
While I’m well aware of the benefits that can come from a bit of healthy competition, I just don’t buy into the whole idea that it’s a dog eat dog world out there, and that the only way to survive is to be better than everybody else in the room by prickling, backbiting and muscling into the limelight. It’s just so exhausting and quite frankly limiting. All it does is feed insecurities and breed scarcity. I mean, if there are plenty of people who do what you do, it’s a good sign that there is plenty of demand for your kind of services.
For the past four months I have been working with a bunch of
like-minded coaches, and together we have been supporting each other
through growing our business. Instead of pointing out each other’s
faults to make ourselves look better, or elbowing past each other to
get to the top of the class, we created an atmosphere of collaboration,
camaraderie and abundance. We celebrated each other’s successes and
learned from their example, shared our fears and borrowed each other’s
confidence when our own was low.
And it worked. Over the past four months, I have accomplished what could have easily taken a whole year on my own.
So, in the spirit of sharing, here’s an article I came across recently
– by another coach – which really made me smile.
What You Can Learn About Business from Little Kids
Felicia J. Slattery
Small business success can be hard to come by. According to statistics from the US Small Business Administration, less than half of all small businesses survive after a four-year period. What’s an entrepreneur to do?
I’m about halfway to that four-year mark in my own home-based business. I’m happy to report my business is already profitable and I’m living the lifestyle I want as a direct result of what my home-based business brings to my family. I get to spend time with my little girls, ages three and five doing the "Mom thing" by day, and I get to run my internet-based communication consulting and coaching business after the girls’ bedtime.
One evening it occurred to me that those little girls have taught me a lot about running a successful business. I thought I’d share their lessons with you, too.
Lesson 1: Less is More
When the play room has toys strewn all over the place, deciding what to play with is challenging and my kids jump from one toy to the next, never really getting much enjoyment from any of them. But when the room is clear and they choose just one toy to play with, they’re in heaven. A solo professional wears so many hats– but you can’t wear them all at once. So choose an activity and get it done before moving on to the next thing.
Lesson 2: Everything is Negotiable
When my three year old wants something she’ll keep on negotiating until she gets it. You can do the same thing in your business. Find a way to get what you want.
Lesson 3: Saying "I Can’t" Won’t Get the Job Done
My husband has taught our girls "I can’t" is a "bad word." Now instead of "I can’t do this," my five year old says, "I’m having a hard time with this." And she’ll either ask for help or keep trying herself until she gets it right. Is there something you’re struggling with where you could use some help? Or is it something you know if you keep at, you’ll get there? Whatever it is… you can do it.
Lesson 4: Turn the Box
About a year ago when my youngest daughter was playing with a box-like shape-sorter toy, she couldn’t figure out how to get the square peg into a round hole. But then I saw the light bulb go on when she simply turned the box. She could see right where the square peg should go. Take a step back from your business, turn the box, and get a different perspective.
Lesson 5: Do Things When You’re Ready On Your Own Terms
In March this year, my three year old started preschool. Yep, in the middle of the year. Why? She was ready. What are you ready to do? You don’t have to wait for anything to find success. When you are ready for it go after it.
Lesson 6: Routines Are Good
Like all kids, my girls do best when they can stick to a routine. You can create routines in your business– called systems. When you know when and how things should happen, it’s easy to move forward and watch your systems keep your business going like clockwork.
Lesson 7: Ask Questions (LOTS of Questions!)
All kids ask questions and mine are no different. They want to know why everything is the way it is and what’s for dinner and when we can go to Grandma’s again and on and on. When you ask questions you’ll find answers to things you need to know more about. I like to ask my clients questions to find out what’s on their minds and see how I can better serve them.
Lesson 8: Always Keep Learning
Children are in a perpetual state of learning. Somewhere along the way some people lose that zest for learning. But in business you must keep learning to be successful. Learn what’s new in your field, learn a new marketing skill, learn what works for your clients, learn a new technology, or anything that will help you.
Keep in mind these lessons from children and you too can see success as a solo professional.
By the way, Felicia is an absolute expert on public speaking. If you’d like to learn how speak to your market confidently and effectively – and build your business, client base and cash flow as a result – check out her e-book
Cash in on Speaking: Create Your Signature Speech