Being a mum running a small business can be lonely sometimes.
Did you know that small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK, 47.% of private sector employment and 33.2% of private sector turnover. That’s incredible, isn’t it? What is also very impressive is that five million businesses are what is termed a “micro-business” i.e. they employ 0 to 9 people. In fact micro-businesses account for 96% of businesses, as well as 33% of employment and 19% of turnover. Your micro-business slots into the SME (Small & Medium Enterprises). Lots more facts on this available from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
If you have been used to working in a corporate or in any other size business, you would have been familiar and comfortable working as part of a team. Yet when you set up your own micro-business, perhaps as a coach, a freelance trainer, an accountant, shop-owner, or photographer … you will be working very much on your own, except for your clients. One of the reasons that people like to set up on their own is to have more independence, more autonomy, more freedom. However these come at a price.
What happens when you are working hard but you come up against a big challenge or fundamental decision. Some decisions are easy; others are not. However as human beings, we all want affirmation from others; approval of our work, our expertise, our decisions. Often you don’t get that when working on your own. It is up to you to plan your day, when to take a lunch break, when to finish early, when to work late. In the office, there (hopefully) is somebody taking care of your basic human needs. When it is your own business YOU are responsible. And that brings fantastic rewards.
Often though in the early days, if you are struggling on your own, feel like you are going round in circles, lacking clarity and focus, and don’t know where to go next, you start to miss the accountability and support team that was a natural part of working in a larger organisation. When you set up your own business, you absolutely believe in yourself and your abilities. You know that you can do it. But if you keep on working hard and success is slow at first, sometimes even the most confident mum will find herself suffering from lapses in self-belief and confidence.
How then, can you get support for the big decisions and help to overcome the big challenges? Let me share what’s worked for me:
- Over time, I have built up a network of support around me. Business-owners, like me, who are brilliant at what they do. We share ideas, we share challenges, we provide feedback. Some of these business-owners could be seen as competitors. Others are not. However nany of the challenges we face are the same: how to market our business, how to ensure you get paid on time, how to develop your social media presence, how to ensure you don’t fall foul of legal complexities, what’s the best tool for creating a blog, how do we ensure that our brand is congruent with our business etc.
- Secondly, I have invested in working with a coach. I have used different coaches for different aspects of my business. You can read more about some of the coaches I have discovered here.
- Thirdly I have invested in my business in the form of personal development & training, for example my formal coaching qualifications, as well as ongoing supervision.
- I am selective about what I do myself and outsource some of what is required. For example, I pay an expert to do my accounts. I outsource other work too. Yes I could do some of that work myself but if I take 10 hours to achieve something that a specialist could do in 2 hours, I am giving back 8 hours to my business to focus on, for example, marketing my business or doing paid client work.
- I have invested in a mastermind. This was a significant investment however SO worth it. I always knew I wanted to run a mastermind group and have trained with one of the best US trainers on best practice Mastermind Groups. I don’t mind admitting that one of my reasons to invest in a mastermind myself, was to learn about what works and what does not. However joining the mastermind has been an incredible experience and I have learned so much more, developed incredible connections, and found my own personal cheerleader team. My mastermind group is just like having my own board of directors. And I am very excited about launching my Big Leap mastermind which will meet in person for the first time in February 2015.
What about you? How do you get support for your small business without employing a team of expensive professionals? I will share more about my approach tonight when you join me at 8pm for a free webinar. I run a free webinar on the second Wednesday of every month. I’d love you to join me tonight when I introduce brand new the ‘hot seat’ challenge where you can get specific help, clarity and confidence on your current challenges so that you cope with Christmas feeling less stressed about your business. December for some of us may feel like it’s a slower month however keep at it because December sets you up for January, and don’t you want to start 2015 with a big bang rather than a small whimper?
I’d love to see you on the webinar tonight – you can sign up here.