Hi, and welcome to this new series that I’ll be publishing once a month on Mondays.
I have a few reasons for posting this series now.
The first one is that over a year ago, I started supporting private practitioners to get into the marketing mindset, so they can get the clients they want and that need their support.
The second reason is that I’m reading a book called The Business Book, in which I’m learning how to grow my business further, and thought I’d share my learning with everyone.
I’ve also joined an Author Academy that has given me a new tribe to rely on and lots of resources to develop my products and services further.
If you’d like to find out about these, click the affiliate links below:
It all starts with an Idea
Do you sit sometimes and think things like:
“I know a lot about this topic, I could offer some services around that”
“Ah that’s a great idea, but how can I get that idea to help others and bring me income in the process?”
“I want to do A, B, C ….. Z, but just thinking of all the work it requires, and all the ideas I have, I’m already overwhelmed”
I have had these thoughts, and some of them have required a mindset change on my part.
Patience and perseverance have also played their part.
I still have many ideas that haven’t come to fruition. I’m working on them.
If you’re like me, you have lots of things to do on the side of your self-employment / entrepreneurial life. Sometimes these things help, other times they make us stop, take stock, regroup and figure out how we’re going to move forward.
Every new idea comes with a risk.
It’s scary to put ourselves out there and either succeed or hear crickets (note I didn’t say fail).
Succeeding is just as scary as hearing crickets or seeing hay bales go across your screen…
According to the authors, we must combine our idea with entrepreneurial spirit.
This basically means that we are willing to take a risk by developing our idea and creating great products and services with it.
Development of a new product or service means we might have to start learning new skills, how to use new tech, do some research on the things already on offer, as well as plan, plan, plan!
This takes time and effort.
If you’ve got life stuff going on – health issues, physical or mental, people to look after, another part time job to help pay the bills – it might mean that it will take longer to develop this idea.
I know I’m struggling with regrouping right now and realising that my time is limited and I need to look after myself.
My priority as ever are my clients – counselling, supervision, tutoring, coaching and content. My energies are invested in them on the days I offer these sessions.
The rest of my time is for admin and rest. Depending on how I’m feeling, rest might take precedent over admin. I might do the bare minimum some weeks.
When we have limited time, but a willingness to support more people than we can in our one-to-one sessions, it feels like everything is urgent.
Prioritise and Be Realistic
The authors propose to have realistic propositions, which includes having an idea and then thinking “finance”.
Now I’ve grown my one-to-one service in a very frugal way. I’ve tried the Facebook Ads and Wordads, but I did those at a time where I didn’t have an audience and it flopped. I might give them a go in the near future, when I have courses and other products on offer and have the capital to spend on them.
Social media is a great way to market yourself for free, and I’ve taken advantage of that possibility. It’s meant that I can put content out there and support the general public and colleagues with great content.
So, the authors suggest we consider whether we need a lot or a little capital, or maybe we don’t need much to start with.
Consider what you need. For example, counsellors might want to pay to be a member of BACP or UKCP, NCS, or any of the others out there. Also being a part of directories will help them get clients. Networking events might cost some money as well.
Start with what you can afford without getting into money worries, and grow your capital for these activities as you grow your business.
If you’re going to the bank to ask for a loan, you’ve got to have a good business plan.
It is easier to get a loan if you’re employed (I know this from personal experience – I got a loan when I was on a 30hr permanent contract, without much fuss…but got denied a loan a couple of years later as I was part employed, part self-employed). Check with your bank what the requirements are if you’re self-employed!
Financial backers will look at your idea and figure out if it’s profitable.
If you don’t require much money to get started, then go for it! If you’ve thought it’s a valuable idea and will benefit others, then why not try it out!
Do something different to stand out – see what’s already out there
Finding out what’s already out there and what will make your products or services different is key.
I say this to people attending my Practical Steps to Blogging Online Workshops:
Nobody knows what you know, how you know it or present it to them. It will be valuable to the people that need to hear your message.
You will already have an edge because of that.
How else can you make yourself stand out?
There is lots of advice out there from business coaches and it can get confusing and daunting as some will say do A B C and others will say definitely don’t do A B C, it doesn’t work!
My best advice on this is, read what they have to say, and do what feels congruent for you.
What works for them might work for you too, or something else might come up that really helps you build your offering reach.
An important thing to develop is the Know, Like, Trust Factor. You can do this in many ways, but the key thing is: (metaphorically) shout that you exist!
For example, if you create an amazing website, but nobody knows about it, you’ll never sell or get clients. You have to guide people to your site to get the business you want.
That is a subject for another post, but promoting yourself is key!
The authors suggest that, once you’ve established yourself and your product or service, it’s time to maintain sales and figure out how you’re going to grow your business in the short and long term.
Don’t allow your business to get stale. Keep innovating, finding new ways to do things.
I’m in the process of starting podcasts, vlogs. It will take time but I’ll get there. I’m pacing myself but I have an idea of where I want to get to.
I am also starting to do workshops online and offering other things like courses (also will take time but I will get there!)
All of this has meant a huge mindset change and re-adjustment.
I’m being kind to myself whilst I readjust and figure out how to do this and grow my business offerings further.
The authors also talk about hiring people.
Now, I got into private practice to work by myself, be my own boss. But I’ve become so busy that I couldn’t do something that I enjoyed any longer, but needed to keep doing in order to keep “top of mind” on social media.
I’ve hired a VA that schedules my social media posts. I have the final say whether I want to change an image or some of the text, but in general she’s doing most of the work. I only spend like 10min (rather than 3hrs) a week on these posts.
It’s freed so much time!
I’m sure she could be doing so much more for me. It’s a mindset change to have someone do stuff for you, so I’m working on that at the moment.
For now I’m happy to keep my social media posts going!
A final note on all I’ve said above.
Self-Care should be key when building and developing your business.
If we don’t look after ourselves, we won’t be able to do any of the work we are dreaming of.
If you want to find out more, I’ve got a very practical book called 20 Self-Care Habits, which comes together with a free Facebook Group, coaching sessions (paid), and in the future some new products and services.
Reference: The Business Book: Sam Atkinson et al. (2014). Big Ideas Simply Explained. Dorling Kindersley Limited, pages 18-19