Guest blog post by new entrepreneur Natasha Spencer. She is doing a monthly column about the trials and tribulations she has while launching a new business. You can read about Month Eleven here.
So 2015 - what a year! A steep learning curve, but I managed to get through it with the business growing and me managing to stay as far out of the 9 to 5 cubicle as possible. Did I achieve everything I hoped? Nope. Did I solely write about only those topics that inspired, motivated and connected with me on a more meaningful level? I wish. But, am I heading in that right direction? Yes. Am I in a happier position, more aligned with my passions and values? Absolutely.
And that’s the test, isn’t it? If I'm enjoying what I’m doing and I feel that I have made the leap onto the right path as a new entrepreneur than I'm doing something right. Right? Maybe this would not be the right path for others, but it seems to be the right path for me because it feels right.
As 2016 approached, I decided that I would enter the new year with renewed enthusiasm, new goals and fresh focus. And that’s where I have started. Peaks and troughs have certainly happened, but I try to keep a handle on what I want to achieve this year and work towards it a little each and every day.
Here’s how 2016 has been going so far...
You can have a million goals on your resolution list that translate into a billion little entries on your to-do list, but if those are never done then they will remain there next year. When I think about the amount of time I spend watching TV, worrying about too many things and procrastinating, I irritate myself. Why couldn’t I just force myself out of a rut and do the tasks I knew would bring me joy and happiness? Laziness? Yep. Fear? Yep. But here’s the thing I’ve learnt, those same dreams and goals I aspire to reach as a new entrepreneur are still resolutions and on the to-do list. I now just have to maintain the passion I had at the start of the month and not allow lackluster attitudes to take over.
So what does that take? I think it comes down to removing yourself from your own comfort zones and propelling yourself forward to achieving your dreams. Just take the first small step.
As this year got off to a pretty rapid start as a result of a multitude of meetings, calls and deliverables, I was under the impression that relationships would commence, contracts would be drafted and new projects would simply roll onto the books. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is. It’s not that this is impossible, it’s not. But the timescales I envisaged for all these marvellous actions happening was. I was once told not so long ago that getting work with corporate clients is tough. It’s all based on building trust. And I’ve realized that you can’t take the amount of time it takes to earn for granted. Heck, there are people I’ve known for years that I wouldn’t say I trust 100%. And yet, I’ve expected one call or one meeting to produce those high levels of trust in my work and ability.
Learning that establishing a new relationship will likely take several calls and weeks or even months of meetings and conversations, and that this is not a reflection on my ability, is key and has enabled me to take the pressure off myself somewhat and just enjoy meeting new people and telling them about my brand and goals as a new entrepreneur.
This month I have begun to change the way I communicate. This has not been a conscious decision or action, but more likely an indication of feeling more comfortable in telling people what I do and feeling worthy enough to talk to them. I can see that previously, I was talking with a lack of self-belief or nervousness and that’s bound to not feel potential clients with confidence. While I blamed my ability or my offerings, my real problem could have been in my delivery.
And if (like me) don’t feel particularly confident, then live according to my own fallback personal mantra, "Fake it until you make it." If you can’t make those genuine levels of confidence within yourself real, then fake them for now until you cross over that invisible but very real barrier into real confidence.
For more trouble, strife and triumph in the world of a new entrepreneur, come back for next month's installment about my experience as a new entrepreneur hitting her six month of startup experience. And tweet me to share your own trouble, strife and triumph!