When you’re starting out in business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by what you DON’T know. You don’t know how to set up a website, design a logo, build an e-list, sell online… the list no doubt goes on, I know mine did!
It’s important to remember what I say next – THAT’S OK! Perfectly normal, in fact. The last person anyone wants to buy from is a Jack (or Jill) of all trades but master of none, as the saying goes. Yes, you need to be the expert, the go-to person, the top brand or representative for your niche. But it really doesn’t matter if you didn’t build the website or figure out the nitty-gritty of the finances, your customers won’t mind about that. They just want to know that you are the top person in your business and the best at what YOU do, and what YOU bring to the party.
Time is at a premium when you are a working mama, and the key to working efficiently is to clearly identify what your best skills and talents are, and just as importantly get clear on your weaknesses. Do you know yours?
Identifying your strengths
First of all, you need to figure out your strengths. Take some time to think about this for a few moments, as you may surprise yourself. Ask yourself:
- What comes naturally to you?
- What do you get lost in, and forget time when you’re doing it?
- What did you play around doing when you were younger that you really loved?
- What do you offer to do for others that they cant be bothered with? Maybe sorting storage out, cooking a fancy meal, or finding the perfect hotel for a city-break.
- What do you do as a hobby or for fun that others would consider difficult, or hard work? Think sewing, illustration, DIY, writing, editing photos, selling on Ebay…
Take a moment to write these ideas down. These are the things that you need to build your business around and focus your time on. Because when you are in a state of flow and loving what you do, it won’t even feel like work! Don’t underestimate how much people are willing to pay for your skills either – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and for every budding chef or baker out there who loves cooking and trying out new recipes, there’s someone who can’t be bothered and without fail pays to get catering in for all their celebrations.
That’s not to say that you won’t ever have to do things you don’t enjoy – just that I’m suggesting you focus as much of your time and energy into making the most of your strengths wherever possible.
Shoring up your weaknesses
So that’s your strengths clarified. You also need to think about your weaknesses. These are the items that always manage to get relegated to the bottom of the to-do list. The things that you hate doing, even if you have managed to get good at them through repetition and practice. Mine would be public speaking – I’ve never enjoyed it, even though over 10 years in various jobs requiring me to do regular presentations has left me with fairly adequate skills at doing so. However I know better than to promote my coaching service through big presentations or giving talks at events, as its just not my thing and always feels too forced. I’m far happier running interactive workshops with smaller groups, blogging and connecting online, and in 1:1 situations with potential clients.
So don’t just assume that things you can ‘do’ are your assets – if you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to use it in your business. That’s the joy of working for yourself; you get to choose!
The final piece of the puzzle: get support!
The first reaction many clients have when I suggest that they get help where they need it is that they can’t afford support. They think of a logo designer, and remember the marketing agency their ex-employer once hired for a re-brand for ££££s. Well forget that – there are plenty of shortcuts you can take to gather a team of support services that don’t require re-mortgaging AND won’t appear cheap.
There are a myriad of ways that you can source support online now. The best one I’ve come across is www.fiverr.com – brilliant for getting jobs done fast and cheap (for as little as a fiver, obvs) such as logo design – there are loads of suppliers to choose from and the quality and turnaround can be excellent if you choose wisely based on good reviews and a quick look at designer’s portfolios. There’s also www.upwork.com, and plenty of others around too. I’d also recommend asking for support in my Facebook Community – its full of talented mums who can offer flexible services.
When you are considering paying for a service the best way to think about it is to first put a value on your own time. So yes, maybe you could spend hours every evening downloading images, messing round with editing software and creating a logo you were semi-happy with. That might take you, say, 20 hours in total. How much money could you have made in your business if you had dedicated 20 solid hours directly into something that makes sales or profit? Say if you are a freelance writer, and you get paid for articles – you could have made hundreds of pounds in that time. Instead, you spent it on something that you could pay an expert to do in literally a fraction of the time, for a fraction of the cost compared to what it would cost you in lost income.
Starts to make more sense to buy in support now, doesn’t it?!
The power of a network
Finally, don’t underestimate who you already know who might be able to help you. Its amazing the number of people who are actually willing to offer support once they know you have a thing going on. I don’t mean begging for help or not paying professionals either – I’m talking about just spreading the word about your ideas and plans, talking to friends, and letting things happen organically.
I’ve had friends offer to spread the word about my coaching, refer clients, put up posters advertising events in their local pubs, invite me to run workshops at clubs they attend – loads of stuff. So don’t be afraid to talk about what you are doing whilst your ideas are still in their infancy and not formally ‘launched’ yet, and you might be pleasantly surprised at what happens.
What are you strengths? And do you need help with anything currently? Ask anyway for help in the comments, and you never know – the universe (or the power of the internet at least) may provide! Feel free to email me too – I’m always happy to help if I can. My details are here.