In March 2017 entrepreneur Rachel Maunder was guest speaker at the University’s Female Entrepreneurs Network. Rachel spoke about her business journey and had a few top tips for for new business owners, which she has kindly agreed to share with us in this blog.
How do you make your own story all about your audience?
If you’re ever asked to speak to a group and tell them about your own journey, remembering that any presentation should always be about your audience can make this a challenge.
One way to do this is to build your story around the lessons you learnt along the way that might also be relevant to your audience.
Here are my 10 top tips for women who have either recently set up their own business or are thinking about it.
- Most people are more approachable than you think. Don’t be put off by their apparent confidence or the fact that they all seem to know each other. Be brave and introduce yourself, ask if it’s OK for you to join them, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If someone you meet is further on in their journey than you, on a similar path, don’t be afraid to ask them how they did that and how you could move further down your own path.
- Say ‘yes’ first and then either figure out a way to deliver, or graciously acknowledge that you’re not the right person for the job. Make the most of your experience and learning and believe that you can do it.
- If you’re between a rock and a hard place and you can’t do anything to change your circumstances, then change your mind. Find a way to reconcile your situation be acknowledging the learning from it, that it will pass, or whatever moves you forward. Staying stuck, angry or resentful won’t serve you well in the long run.
- Ask yourself whether what you’re doing is taking you in the direction you want to go, or is aligned to the end result you want. Even if you’re at a stage of compromise, where you also need to be doing something that isn’t aligned (e.g. a job you need to pay your bills), make sure you are also doing something, however small, that is taking you towards your desired outcome.
- When you have a difficult choice to make, perhaps whether to take a new job or not, or whether to follow a particular path or not, one method that has worked well for me is this. Sit with a ‘yes’ for 24hours, telling yourself and those around you that this is what you’re going to do. Notice your own feelings and the reactions of others. Then do the same with a ‘no.’ Usually by the end of the 48 hours you’ll have a clearer sense of which course of action to follow.
- Recognise your own strengths and preferences, how you get your energy, what kind of work suits you and what your preferred style of working is, etc. Ideally take a psychometric profile test. Knowing all of this can help you decide on what path to take, help you learn to respect other people who are different from you and how they can balance your skills and contribution, and also help you manage yourself when you’re faced with tasks that take you out of your natural flow and comfort zone.
- Be prepared to invest in yourself and your business. So many people are put off coaching and mentoring because all they see what seems like a cost. It’s tempting to believe that you can make just as good progress on your own. My own experience is that by working with a coach or mentor you not only achieve what you want to achieve much more quickly but you also widen your horizons and opportunities because of everything else that comes up during that process. The fee is more of an investment than a cost because it will pay you dividends.
- Surround yourself with people who are supportive of you and your aspirations, who have similar goals and attitudes. If you can’t move away from the people in your life who aren’t supportive or who drain your energy and enthusiasm, learn to recognise that this is all their stuff and that it isn’t about you.
- Follow your passion. Being in business on your own is tough, at whatever level you aspire to be. If you don’t love what you do, if it doesn’t light you up when you talk about it, you will find it hard not only to inspire prospective clients to work with you but also to find your way through those tough times.
If you’ve found these tips useful and would like to find out more about the background story to them, or would like to find out how I could help you then please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more of my blogs go to www.rachelmaunder.com/blog