There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them. – Seth Godin
I had never, ever been one of those people who considered running a business – it just wasn’t in my life plan and, quite frankly, never would have been if it hadn’t been for a comment by a lady who had sat in on one of my mentoring sessions back in 2014. She was spending a few sessions with us to get ideas to take away for a mentoring charity she was helping to set up and simply came up to me at the end of her stay to say that she really enjoyed my sessions, thought I was really good and should set up a coaching business.
My response really was to laugh out loud and shriek ‘Me – Never!’ I told her I was very grateful for her kind comments but a business really wasn’t for me and really did think that was the end of it.
But it wasn’t – because the seed was sown and the twitch of possibility began. I would like to say that it was all plain sailing from there in – the reality, however was anything but. From the moment I made my decision to try, to actually starting to get it right was a very hard slog of six months – a hard slog of mistakes, indecision, a steep learning curve and much self-doubt. Some of you will find the process much easier but I suspect others will find it a lot harder.
Many of you will give up and many will regret the decision to even try. I had several moments of regret but here I am, entering my fourth year and so glad that I did decide to give it a go.
I really don’t have all the answers but am certainly capable of generating a vast array of questions that you should ask yourself – and here’s the first one –
And you really do need to ask that of yourself because it is so easy to fall in love with the idea of running a business without actually understanding whether you have what it takes.
My first big question was my age. I was in my early fifties and, though not exactly in the throes of decrepitude, had to consider if I had the stamina to continue to work full-time and start a business. There was no question of giving up my job so any business would have to fit in with what I was already doing, which also included working as a volunteer.
Another consideration was personal qualities – did I have the right ones to be a coach? I knew from years of mentoring that I was a good listener, good communicator and capable of being a good innovator and problem solver but there were likely to be others I needed so it was a case of looking in more detail to see what I could develop and learn.
Commitment and dedication are key to running a successful business and this was a massive point for me – did I have enough to do just that? One big hurdle is that I am actually quite fickle with the attention span of a gnat – I find it incredibly hard to be single minded in pursuit of anything. Although I was very interested I the idea of coaching creativity, I had to ask myself whether it was too much like my mentoring activities to give me another sphere to my working life, and keep me interested. Commitment and dedication require bucket loads of energy and enthusiasm – you need to be able to believe in what you are doing and pursue it tirelessly with passion – so could I do that? Could you?
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again …’ – Which requires determination in droves! The early part of any business (as I frequently discovered!) can throw curve ball after curve ball but you just need to keep going. It’s easy to let a snag put you off of your dream but you need the wherewithal to overcome that and keep yourself firmly on course. Do you believe you would be able to do that?
To be completely honest, I found it an absolute faff to sit down and have a look at myself, and whether I thought I would be good in business. By the time I had started thinking of being a businesswoman as a distinct possibility, my heart was telling me I was a shoe-in but I accepted that this was one of those occasions that my head needed a say-so. That didn’t stop me feeling that I was trying to put myself off before I had even started, which I now see was a good thing but at the time it felt really negative. However, the simple fact is there is much to consider before deciding to start a business – I just needed to knuckle down and get on with the logistics.
It’s wonderful to come up with a brilliant business idea but you need to ensure that you have in place the finely tuned engine to actually run it and, believe me, I discovered that there was much that needed tweaking before I could give it a go.
So do take the time to at least consider what I have said above – it might save you time in the long run and if I haven’t put you off a business life completely, I’ll give it another go in my next post where I cover some of the pros and and cons that I had to consider.