1.  “Preparation” Is Over-Rated.

Please, don’t prepare to get ready to get started to begin to plan. Just get started.  (You can’t imagine how much cleaning, organizing, and re-organizing I did in those first few months…but you should have seen my sparkling desk!)  You do NOT need to get business cards before you get customers. Nor do you need perfect marketing collateral or even a web site (gasp!) before you sell/deliver your product or service. As my good friend L.A. Reding says, “Build the plane while you fly it!” Don’t worry, there will be time to create those other important tools as you go forward. Just get started.

 

2.  Comfort Is Over-Rated.

You could wait a very, very long time before you feel “comfortable”. You might not ever get off the dime because the truth is change is uncomfortable. So what? Learning to expand your capacity to be with discomfort builds character. Besides, you will get some great stories out of the process. Discomfort, Chaos, Uncertainty — these are your new best friends. Welcome them and get on with it. Good news: Thrill, Adventure & Freedom are your other new best friends.

 

3.  Charge Too Much!

Yes, I mean set your prices high. At the very least, charge more than your Inner Critic says you should. Many people equate value with price. Here’s my little story about that:

In my very first sales call, the CFO of a small company asked me about my rates. I cautiously stammered out my price. Silence. More silence. I was sure I had overshot and blown it. The CFO finally asked, “Why so cheap? I mean, is that all your work is worth?” (Time out: how many CFOs would tell you, you aren’t charging enough?!) Embarrassed, I back peddled with some BS about having a special rate for companies their size…blah, blah, blah. Fortunately, he hired me anyway but I have never forgotten that experience.

Words of wisdom:  Henry Kimsey-House, co-founder of The Coaches Training Institute and author of Co-Active Coaching, once told me, “When someone asks what you charge, name the highest number you possibly can, without throwing up!”

4.  Anything You Think You HAVE TO DO to Be Successful, Is A Lie.

In fact, your Inner Critic loves to lie to you and tell you all sorts of things you MUST do to be successful (and uses other key words such as “have to”, “should”, and “can’t”). This causes you to run scared and doubt your abilities. Here are some examples: TO BE SUCCESSFUL…

  •  You Have to Go to Networking Events & Sell Yourself! Seriously? Why? I went to those horrific meetings early on and they amounted to a bunch of other desperate people shoving business cards at one another and practicing their overly-rehearsed 30-second elevator speech. PAINFUL. BORING. After several of these miserable lunches and dinners, I vowed never to go to another one for the purpose of “selling myself”. Instead I went only to the ones that had an interesting speaker or topic. I didn’t even take my own business cards. Guess what? I started getting business without trying because I was relaxed and was just being myself: approachable, not desperate.
  • You Have to Cold Call. No, you don’t.
  • You Have to Have a Business Plan.  Nope. Not unless you are trying to get investors or other funding. Assuming that is not the case, you will do much better to have a good understanding of your ideal customer, some general milestones, and a great sense of adventure. It’s very likely that your original idea of your business will change once you get going. That is natural and you want to be flexible enough to respond and adjust.
  • You have to read this book or go to that workshop or do more research, etc. No. Basically, this reinforces limiting beliefs about not being ready or not knowing enough. Dealing with limiting beliefs is far more powerful and effective than reading a book, attending a workshop, or doing more research.

5.  Get Support.

  • Hire A Coach. I know this may seem self-serving, but you don’t have to hire me. I mean, jeez, everyone and their grandma is a coach these days. Just make sure you hire someone trained, qualified and preferably certified because there are lots of folks who just decided to start coaching without any training.

Scene At Networking Event…unfamiliar person approaches you and introduces himself.
You: Hi…What do you do?
Him: I used to be a Brain Surgeon and now I’m a Coach!
You: Oh really? Where did you get your training?
The Coach-Formerly-Known-As-Brain-Surgeon: I went to Harvard Med School and I coached my kid’s soccer team!

Ok, I exaggerate…but not too much. My point is this: hire someone trained by an accredited school (of course I believe The Coaches Training Institute is the best in the world — really, it is.)  Most reputable coaches will offer a free consultation so you can get an idea of how they work. Chemistry is very important. You’ve got to feel like they are trustworthy and know what they are doing. Speak with 2 or 3 coaches before hiring one.

  • Join a “Master Mind” group – sometimes these are peer groups (free), sometimes professionally facilitated (not free). I was part of a peer group in my early years. We met every Tuesday morning at 6 am. Sounds crazy now, but I wouldn’t have missed one of those meetings for the world! Your friends and family may not be able to relate to what you are going through, but your fellow group members will.
  • Get help from your local Small Business Association – many offer free or low-cost valuable services to get you started.
  • Join an Online Community in Facebook or LinkedIn – there are TONS of small groups and they are all free.

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