I work with many business owners and people wanting to start their self-employment journey. Why do I come into the picture? Well, yes, I have established and run small businesses myself, which is important to have lived the experience, not just read about it in a book.
However, the primary reason I am fortunate enough to work with these amazing individuals, is the broader understanding of what it takes to be ‘successful’. Now…..as you know, this term ‘success’ is broad, personal, and aligned to something deeper than the social norm. What I’m referencing here is the ‘modern day leadership’ shift.
For many of my nearly 20 years in the corporate space, I have believed that to attain any idea or image of success, the journey must first begin with ‘self’. In short, the individual must:
- Have a strong foundation of health.
- Have established a lifestyle that supports their journey.
- Have the tools and resources to manage those challenging and stressful moments.
- Have a network of people who are like minded, driven and supportive.
- Have a very clear understanding of their ‘why’.
I feel my journey is not uncommon, and so are my reasons for taking the journey I have chosen too so far. But what are the reasons? What is my why? Does it resonate with you?
- Control – Let’s be honest. If you want to run your own business, there is an element of wanting to have control. By control, I do not mean over people….I mean over direction, image, service delivery, marketing, culture, and revenue! Working in the ‘machine’ will often mean sacrificing this control. There is no right or wrong here, but it is simply a choice or a trade-off. Deep down I know that I am wanting to build something that looks, feels, operates, and delivers outcomes in a very specific way. My recommendation to you is be very clear on what this is before you make the leap from the machine.
- Lifestyle/Flexibility – I had a great conversation with my accountant before launching my coaching business. He challenged me. “JP, do you want to build a company or a lifestyle business?”. GREAT QUESTION. My gut feel was building a company would take me down a very different path of what each day (my lifestyle would look like. The commitment to growing a brand, bringing on staff/team members and going out to market to promote it). A lifestyle business, albeit perhaps less ‘lucrative’ (lower revenue….potentially), enables me to build my time around the other commitments in life that I value such as family, fitness, and travel.
- Personal Brand – When it comes to coaching, relatability is so important. That is, you need resonate, connect, respect, admire the traits and ambitions of the person that you are working with. This was very true for me when I selected the people I wanted to work with. Not to say this is not important as part of a company, especially when in leadership roles, but when you are a solopreneur or establishing a business where you are the face, you are the marketing, you are the sole reflection of your product, I feel personal brand is more prevalent and perhaps relevant, as you don’t have the company ‘banner’ to hide behind. I want to leverage off the things that I value so highly and promote the lifestyle and beliefs that I hold so strong and I live each day.
- The ability to be nimble – If you are working or have worked in a large corporate (the machine), you may have experienced how difficult it is to make change, ‘pivot’ or adopt any new practices or methodologies. Being a small business allows you to try new things, adopt new technology or methods of operating, quickly and often cost effectively. This ability to change fast, I believe, allows you to innovate and serve clients more effectively than trying to steer the Titanic every time.
My ‘why’, my idea of ‘success’ has always been about control, lifestyle and wellbeing. Bringing all the components together to build a business I am proud of and I can say hand on heart I am making a difference. If you have any thought or desire to do your own thing, STOP, REFLECT and apply the ‘why’ filter above. It is not an easy journey, but it’s incredibly rewarding.