I'm noticing a little trend going on in the self-employed business owner world. The trend is opting out of being coached or mentored. The reasoning behind the trend goes something like this:
- I was in a coaching group or did workshops this year.
- I learned a ton of content.
- I got overwhelmed and didn't implement the action steps as the year went along.
- Now what I need is to work alone and implement, implement, implement!
- I thus don't need or want to spend money on another group, I need to just get things done on my own.
I'm 100% all in when it comes to small business owners needing to move forward and implement what they've learned in a workshop or a coaching group. After all, great ideas stuck inside your brain don't make you a dime. And I'm a 100% believer that if you have gone to a workshop or participated in a group it's smart business to use what you've learned there and make money to reimburse what you spent as a participant. In fact, I teach my own clients that a good rule of thumb is to make back 3 times the investment. If you make back only 100% you've just stood in place, so that's no good! Triple the investment and the money you've spent was arguably a good investment.
But……thinking that you will go forth and implement, day after day, on a consistent and determined basis might be more a fear of investing in yourself further than it is a true belief that's all you need to do. What I hear underneath the “I need to go it alone and implement” is often more a money shortage or a guilty feeling that is masked by “I'm smart and I should be able to implement all this stuff I've learned by myself.” And underneath that is “I'm not worth investing more, or my business idea isn't worth investing more.” To all that I say “bull hockey!”
Here's what I know to be true from 15 years of owning my own business and from working with hundreds of small business owners.
- Many of us (women in particular) felt guilty in the first place for doing a coaching program and secretly worried about making the money back.
- One way to punish ourselves for “making a bad investment” is to stop ourselves from investing more with the excuse “I've not made back the first money I spent.”
- We then punish ourselves further by saying “I should just buckle down and implement what I've learned by myself” – and sometimes we do that to appease spouses, family, or friends who have dogged us for spending money in the first place.
- We might be secretly feeling pretty unconfident about our business or our business idea and not REALLY sure we can make it fly. Or, we've lost the enthusiasm to work for ourselves because we've figured out that it's not as easy as it sounds, but we don't have the courage to admit that in the face of having paid for some type of workshop or coaching program.
- Small business owners tend to be passionate and creative types who need a supportive community for inspiration and motivation. Many of us have fabulous ideas but we are not necessarily great self-starters. Thinking we “should be able to do it on our own” and actually being able to consistently “do it on our own” are two different things. There's no shame in that – it's just the way most of us happen to be wired.
- ALL business owners need a group that has their back. You better believe big, zillion-dollar earners have the “pack that's got their back.” In fact, most have both informal (friends who are also business owners and will shoot them straight) and formal (closed and confidential roundtable groups, executive mentors, etc.)
- Implementing alone often means missing related products or services that are low-hanging fruit and easy to monetize. No one thinks best in a vacuum.
- Implementing alone also means missing out on serendipitous contacts, dinner-conversation ideas, opportunities for joint ventures, on-the-fly invitations to speak, and being knowledgable about new technologies or trends.
Women are really bad at denying themselves of opportunities to build business relationships and contacts under the guise of “I shouldn't spend the money and I don't have the time.” For the most part, men don't do that. Women isolate themselves and hide their fear, pain, and shame. And doing that has not, does not, and never will help you build a business that you can feel confident and proud of – one that gives you the life you secretly really, truly want.
If this describes you, I'm here to call you out. Don't assume because you have not YET recouped your investment in a workshop or coaching program that you won't – sometimes it takes several years. Don't fall into the “stinkin' thinkin” that you really should just take your briefcase and go home because you've tried a program or a workshop, it didn't really work quickly, you felt overwhelmed, or you frankly let events at home get in your way, and gave it such a low priority in your life that nothing got done. Quit putting YOURSELF and YOUR DREAMS off for someone else. Build for yourself, then turn around and extend a loving hand to others. Draw your line in the sand, stand up, get the support you need – we all need — to build and run your own businesses and take action. You'll take action when you feel supported. You won't take action when you are home alone with your tail tucked in between your legs like a hound that didn't catch its squirrel.
Disabuse yourself of the believe that just because you've invested in yourself and haven't made it pay off that money was wasted, is lost, or will never be made back. Disabuse yourself of the believe that you can get up every single morning and hit it running, day after day, with no one to have your back except family and friends who half-way don't expect you to really make it anyway. Disabuse yourself of the belief that you're not worth more and your ideas aren't worth more – that the life you secretly see for yourself isn't really achievable.
I am never without a coach or a program to participate in. Sometimes I need it more than others. Sometimes I really wish I didn't have to participate that day. Sometimes I get incredibly creative ideas that make me money, ideas I would never have thought about on my own. Always, I have “a pack that has my back.” I'm living proof that it might take two or three years to make back what I've spent. Living proof that isolation doesn't work when you're working for yourself.
If you're female and need a “pack” you can read about and apply for my brand-new 2012 Business Mentorship Program. I'm excited to once again be offering a small group mentorship program, for sure. But I'm more excited for each and every business owner to find their place to be supported and challenged, and to believe that they deserve to have that place. Should you go it alone as an entrepreneur? Based on experience, training, and personal experience I can tell you that 99.9% of the time it's not a good idea.
For the Business Mentorship Program Description click here.
For the program's application form click here.