Leaving the comforts of Corporate America was probably one of the creepiest decisions I’ve made, alongside walking in a bikini and six-inch high heels, and getting married. Sheer, anxiety-laced panic poured over me followed closely by an equally powerful, peaceful calm, which I can only assume was gifted to me by a higher being. “No regrets!” I’ve had a personal mantra since my teenage years when I second-guessed everything I did. Confidence must have been still building in me, because a mentor at the time reminded me that if I was frozen with fear, just take the next small step. Then I’ll take another small step, and then another… you get the idea.
That advice and subsequent smaller steps got me onto the pageant stage, off of the corporate stage, and also supported my growth as a businesswoman, wife, and step-mom. Breaking apart your big fears into smaller, more manageable steps doesn’t remove all of the anxiety. Nor, is it easy! I learned the art of literally throwing yourself out there and having faith that everything will land just as it should. It doesn’t mean everything will land as you think it should, but perhaps your view isn’t the bigger, gorgeous view it should be. Going into business for yourself is a great way to make your passion your life’s work, but this opportunity comes with some sacrifice.
Friends poke fun at me for not knowing some of the latest pop culture names or television shows. No, I probably don’t watch your favorite show, and yes, I’m sure I am missing out. When I do watch T.V., it’s for research for a job or project. I declined more invitations than I would have liked last year, simply because focus and commitment were necessary to plant the seeds of my coaching and spokesperson work. I’ve never been a big shopper, but going into business for myself made me the most efficient catalog/online shopper around. I can do all of my Christmas shopping within two mugs during coffee time.
I keep first things first, and family time is a priority. It gets an appointment. Everything gets an appointment, and this tip makes the list below. It’s that important! It’s a busy time in our household, and no moment gets wasted. For my fellow female small business owners, here are my top Business Building Tips keeping your holistic health in mind. You can follow these while you’re in your current job, or if you’re a full-time mom wanting to start a business of your own.
#1 – Make Appointments for Everything
Yes, quiet time gets an appointment. If it’s important to you, write it down and set a time. I spent too long thinking this appeared impersonal. It’s not. Rather, you’re telling someone they are worth prioritizing and blocking time for. What an awesome feeling to give someone! My workout, reading time, pup walks and play times, dinner time, and social events all get appointment times in my book. If someone needs you during a blocked time (even if it’s your hair-primping time), you say, “I’m sorry, I am booked” and propose a new time.
#2 – Make Gradual Changes
I thought I would love having a flexible schedule, starting and stopping work when I wanted to every day, and it really is. The surprise was how difficult it was to break away from the corporate routine. I didn’t give any thought to the fact I was addicted to waking up to an alarm clock and going to sleep after The Late Show. The anxiety took about a year to ease away. I even drove to my old place of employment once, on the way to a client meeting in the same area. What? At the same time, since I did have flexibility, I over-booked clients in the beginning (I was growing my clientele) and working long days. I got burn out quickly, and grew frustrated. “I’m doing what I want to do now, why am I so over-worked and stressed?” Just because you love what you do, doesn’t mean you want to do it all day every day, either. Gradually alter your routine, your client appointments, and your schedule. Like starting a new health routine, subtle changes can reap huge benefits. Use this tactic with your new business venture.
#3 – Wake Up, Dress Up, Show Up!
Starting your own business doesn’t mean professionalism is out the window. If anything, you need to step it up a notch to win your clients. As a professional spokesperson, I’m used to getting dressed up and ready for show time; however, my role as a Holistic Wellness Coach allowed for a more granola, yoga pants-wearing, big bun hair attire. I will sport this look on a day booked with detoxification or nutritional coaching; however, even on these days, I may dress up to promote my work and business with polish and poise. When you go into business for yourself, you’re a walking business card. Keep this in mind as you prep for the day.
#4 – Vision Boards
Remember mind mapping from school (or maybe from your last staff meeting?) As a business owner, you get to make your own vision board with crayons, paint, glitter, or photos, and post it in your home office. Having a visual reminder of where you want to go will right-set your vision for the day. Self-motivation is imperative as a business owner. You can’t rely on someone else, or a team, to generate motivation for you. It’s all you, girl! (guys too!) A really cool thing is that you can switch stuff around too—goals and visions change all the time. (Like life!)
#5 – Traditional Communication Rocks!
I love thank you notes, coffee dates, and client files/journals. I am grateful for technology, social media, and efficiency tools, but I think traditional communication still has a place in business and relationship building. My business tells a story and it’s cool to sit and reflect on messages communicated and relationships built in one business day. Sometimes, once the day slows down and the sun sets on your hard day of work, you’ll recall moments of appreciation to record and perhaps acknowledge with a note. Don’t under-estimate the appreciation factor with everything you do.
If you have any favorite tips or habits, please share in a comment. Lifting one another up with inspiration and goodness is a great way to make building your own business a little less creepy. Keep up the great work! Lacey