You are a natural born entrepreneur. You just may not know it yet. After my divorce, I became a successful entrepreneur and a leader in my field. If you ever thought about running your own business but didn't know where to start, read on. It’s never too late to become the businesswoman you were meant to be.
How I became a successful entrepreneur
Before my divorce six years ago, I considered myself an ‘accidental entrepreneur’. I started many small businesses in various aspects of the art industry; illustration, furniture painting, calligraphy, graphic design, and painting murals. I never made much money at any of them, because my family was my first priority. I often put myself at the bottom of my list (sound familiar?).
After my three little ones were tucked in for a nap, I’d grab an hour to finish painting a set of headboards for a client. I was always available to help my comedian husband write skits. I soon became a head writer on Nickelodeon's Weinerville, a children’s TV show we created. It was exciting to work at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. But I was always twisting myself into a pretzel, trying to balance his work, my work, and the needs of our three kids.
Your dream has come true!
Soon after filming Weinerville, my ex said, “You were on national television. Your dream has come true!” Weinerville was his dream, not mine. I had dreams of my own, but I wasn’t yet clear as to what they were.
As my marriage was ending, a good friend told me I was living only a fraction of my potential. She was right. I set out to change all of that after my divorce.
Finding my passion
I trained to become a life coach so I could truly make a difference in other people’s lives. And while the coach’s certification program transformed my life, I still had no idea how to run a successful coaching practice. I was barely eking out a living, but I refused to be another statistic in the down economy. I wanted to finally succeed in business, and I set out to learn how.
I analyzed the websites and marketing emails of successful coaches. I took online courses on how to present webinars and create products. And I discovered a few principles that have helped me achieve entrepreneurial success.
7 Tips for Business Success
- Have a vision and a brand. Before my divorce, I didn’t make my work or myself a priority. I had no clear goals or vision to keep a business going. When I narrowed my niche and became a dating coach, I got clear about who I wanted to help (women over 40). Once I had clarity, I could figure out how to reach those women by submitting articles to get known in my field. I host a radio show about healthy relationships in midlife. I created many programs to help those women find love again.
- Set clear, realistic, resonant goals. I set goals for myself that were doable, clear, and made me want to hit the ground running every morning. I created three packages for writing online dating profile essays, several private coaching programs; from a one-month online dating success program to a three-month love life makeover. Set realistic goals, or you may become frustrated and overwhelmed. I recently created the Last First Date Inner Circle membership program to reach more women for less money. My current goal is to have 100 women in the program by March of 2014.
- Build in accountability. Without accountability, it’s hard to achieve anything. Twice monthly, I have a call scheduled with my mastermind group, three women who support each other’s successes and help brainstorm challenges. I also have a goal buddy, my colleague, Jane Pollak. We set a goal, such as ‘write video script’, and then call each other 3X a week for a quick check in. With Jane's support, I launched a webinar series, wrote 13 chapters of my book, set up my membership program, and achieved other business goals I never would have kept on my own. Find yourself a reliable goal partner and your business will soar.
- Delegate out. You can’t do it all, so don’t. I was doing all my own marketing, writing, editing, and website development. By doing everything, I wasn’t focusing on what I was best at – developing new programs and writing. I hired an assistant to create my weekly newsletter, contact my radio guests, upload new content to my website, and do other admin tasks. When you free yourself up to focus on your talents, you'll eventually earn the most money.
- Be self-compassionate. Running your own business is not always easy. You’ll launch programs that fail. Others will criticize you. There will be times when it feels like you want to give up. Be kind to yourself. If you have passion for your work and you’re making an impact on other people’s lives, don’t give up. Get enough sleep, eat well, and stop being so hard on yourself. You are courageous for running your own business. If you’re overwhelmed, get support.
- Take a step back. When you’re too close to your business, you can’t always see what’s preventing optimal growth. It's good to step back and assess the whole picture. Are you following your big picture goals? Is your vision unfolding as you planned? Are you aligned with your integrity? If there are parts of your business that aren’t working, stop doing them. Check in with your ‘tribe’ of followers and fans. Ask them what they want. And then create something tailored to their needs.
- Let go. If you’ve created your vision, set up resonant and doable goals, built in the accountability you need to follow through on your goals, delegated out the tasks that are not the best use of your time, celebrated your successes, and continually assessed what was working and what wasn’t, you are well on your way to entrepreneurial success. Now it’s time to let go of trying to control the outcome. Good things come to those who don’t give up!
One more thing – success doesn’t happen overnight. So while you’re building your business, you will probably want to have other side jobs to help pay the bills.
If you have a dream to start your own business, go for it. Follow my seven steps, and you’ll be well on your way to living a life of passion and having the career of a lifetime. If you need additional support, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My first coaching niche was working with entrepreneurial women, and I still have several amazing clients who are succeeding at business in ways they never imagined. Remember, it's never too late to run a successful small business. Divorce is your chance to reinvent yourself. Go for it!