The day was so perfectly planned. I was starting an all new women’s small business club. I had run them a few years ago and I had been asked incessantly to start them up again.
I wanted it to be something different. Not just one of those networking groups where all that happens is that everyone is simply waiting for their turn to speak and hand out their business cards with no real interest in anyone but themselves. I wanted this to be a fabulous group that would grow together and support each other so that everyone came away with something positive each time.
I had obviously sold this idea as the group was oversubscribed within a few days of me opening up bookings.
And one lady, an existing member of my Small Business Kit, was prepared to drive for 3 hours in able to be able to attend!
As she was coming such a long way and didn’t know the area, I suggested she come to my house for 9:30 am and I would then drive her to the venue.
I had visions of her arriving at my home and seeing what a super sophisticated woman I was in all my perfect make-up and beautiful clothes and she would admire my domestic goddess status with my wonderful home being so perfect and welcoming.
What happened was ……
I woke up on the morning and started to load the car with a flip chart. display board, refreshments etc. It was only at this moment in time I realised I was going to have to create a Houdini type of act to be able to fit this all in the back of my car! After much faffing, grunting, groaning, pushing and shoving, it finally all went in.
However, I was left looking like I had been dragged through a hedge backward!!!! It was not a pretty sight!
I dash back into the house and check the time. It’s ok. I have time to shower, wash hair and then come down and vacuum the carpet of blonde dog hair from my Labrador who has started shedding her coat in the last 24 hours (only someone who owns a Golden Lab will understand the absolute blizzard of hair they can create just from one 5 second body shake when shedding their coats!).
Off upstairs I go and start the water running. I am just putting my foot into the shower when the phone starts to ring. Should I ignore it? Yes? No? Of course, I can’t ignore it. It might be the lovely lady on her long drive who is lost. I dash to grab the phone and no, it’s not my lady. It’s a family member who is ill at the moment.
Wrenching with my conscience of needing to be there for her but also conscious of time, I let her know I am busy and need to dash. But she really needs someone to talk to and I can’t not listen. Over 45 minutes later, I manage to get in the shower.
Oh, s***! I’m seriously running out of time.
I get out of the shower, check the time and realise I only have half an hour before my lady is due to turn up. Time to start getting slightly hot under the collar.
And then it happens. THE DOORBELL RINGS!
No!! It can’t be. It must be the postman.
I dash downstairs in old (but incredibly comfy) dressing gown, old faithful, but seen better days’ slippers and a towel wrapped around my head. Yes, it’s worse case scenario!
My lady has arrived early!!!!!!
I let her in and was in the middle of explaining my predicament when blonde bombshell Molly (my Labrador) comes bounding out to say hello. She instantly jumps up and sheds a few pounds of hair all over the beautiful poncho that my guest is wearing.
Cutting the story very short or we would be here all day, there was only one thing for it. I hustled my poor frazzled guest into the kitchen. I told her under no circumstances to take her shoes off or she would end up with feet resembling those of a yeti from the carpet of hair on the floor. I then thought sod it, showed her where everything was and told her to make us both some tea whilst I went and got ready.
Eventually, I made it back downstairs, although needing another shower due to antics of the morning so far getting me somewhat hot and bothered.
We sat down together in the kitchen and started to greet each other properly and sip out tea.
Then all hell broke loose. I saw the cat trying to catch a fish out of the pond in the garden. I stood up but the dog got there first. The ensuing chaos could really make a comedy sketch. The cat has a fish, the dog is now chasing the cat, I am now chasing the dog and my poor guest is sat looking on in astonishment.
I’m a fake!
Hell. My cover really is blown! I’m faking this super sophisticated domestic goddess status. My life is generally chaos!
Eventually, we got to the business club and I simply had to relay the story to the other ladies.
And do you know what? I think they loved me all the more for it. One lady said how she followed me and listened to me because I was so real. She loved the fact that when I did my live videos my dog would suddenly bounce into view and on more than occasion knock the camera over.
They loved that I wasn’t sat in perfection with the humungous vase of roses, the bone china, the stilettos, hair done by (hang on, who is a top hairdresser these days?) and picture-perfect makeup. They could relate to me. And that made me so happy.
I simply don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be me. Chaos and all.
And do you know the best thing? My lovely guest is coming back again next month. Yippee!!!!
Have you had a perfectly planned day that went pear shaped? Share your experience below and let me know I’m not alone!
Let me take you back in time. This week, I was having a sort out and came across the following diary entry. It was certainly an emotional read looking back.
29th October 2007
10 months ago I woke full of enthusiasm and ready to take on the world. I had so many ideas and was fully energised to turn them all into a wonderful business that I could run from home and that would give me the income I had always dreamt of.
I would be able to work when I wanted, from where I wanted and to my own rules. No more being told where I had to be, what I had to do, when I could take a break or when I could take a holiday.
Profits from the business would go into my pocket, not that of some faceless bodies sat in their ivory tower. I would sing to my own tune and have both the financial and time freedom that I had always craved.
And here we are today, nearly 12 months down the road. I have endlessly worked more hours than I ever have. Weekends off with family are a distant memory and if I do get to spend time with them, every waking moment is worrying about the lack of sales and diminished bank account.
I have started numerous programs and flitted from one to other without results.
I have watched endless webinars, touched on what they have taught me, but never really put them fully into action, or if I did, the results didn’t come flooding in as expected.
I have about 16 unfinished business books my bedside as I jump from one new idea to the other.
This morning I woke up feeling exhausted, drained and tired of trying so hard for so little return.
I’m tired of making excuses to my husband that the money will come in time
The first thing I did was go online and skimmed through available jobs and now just want to cry. I don’t want to go back there and admit defeat.
But maybe it’s time to face the facts that perhaps I’m simply not good enough and I don’t have what it takes.
Why does everyone else make it look so easy whilst I struggle so much?.
So, what are my choices today? Do I keep struggling on or do I admit defeat?
I just want to sit down and cry. I just want to let it all out to someone who will listen and not judge. I don’t want another ‘discovery call’ with a coach who is simply out to sell me something. I just want someone to understand what I am going through so that I don’t feel so desperately alone.
Phew! There we have it.
This was an entry from diary back in 2007. A lot has happened over the last 10 years. But does this resonate with anyone else out there today? If this is you, I beg you, don’t suffer alone. I have been there and done it. I am one of the lucky ones who has come out the other side. But it wasn’t easy. (I had to go back and get a 9-5 job after this entry but came back fighting again with many lessons learnt).
I got suckered into to paying for ‘high level’ coaching that simply wasn’t worth the money and left me feeling more deflated than before. I spent a small fortune that I couldn’t afford with promises of great returns that never came to fruition.
I know what you are going through.
I run my business today because I genuinely want to help people. Believe it or not, it’s not all about the money for me. I am in a privileged place now where money isn’t an issue for me. Yes, I still like to earn enough to afford me the little luxuries in life but I also have the flexibility to give something back.
So if you are suffering, come have a chat with me. I will listen. I won’t judge. I will help if I can and if that is what you want. There will zero sales spiel. That is not what this is about. This is me giving something back.
As a lovely lady said to me recently:
“You’re support and genuine caring is much appreciated in so many ways – thank you – I am gaining confidence by the day, I am continually making progress and continually remaining positive x x x.”
Drop me a message in the strictest of confidence if you would like a shoulder to lean on or an ear that will listen.
Right then ladies. I have had a few calls for help just lately from women who are setting up their business or in the very early stages. They have come to me as they are feeling so overwhelmed when going on social media and seeing how many others there are doing the same as them and who are more experienced and more qualified.
This awful realisation is stopping them dead in their tracks and leaving them feeling deflated and like they ought to give up now.
When you do look for Facebook groups, DO NOT get put off by the more knowledgeable and qualified people than you. Take inspiration from them. If they can do it, so can you. Think how they got to where they are and be determined to get there as well. They had to start somewhere and inevitably, when they started they would have had the same issues as you. The difference is that they ploughed on regardless and remained absolutely determined to get where they are today.
Also, in your industry, people buy people. They will choose who they connect with and who they feel comfortable with rather than who has the most letters after their name. Think about what qualities you have that your competitors don’t. This could be quite something as simple as your location, your age (does a 70-year-old woman really want to be advised how to do her make up by a 20-year-old? – maybe, but quite possibly not), your positioning in the market place and a whole host of other reasons.
I once decided not to use someone purely because of her voice. Yes, it sounds crazy but her voice really grated on me and I just couldn’t listen to her. Accents can also play a part here.
And at the end of the day, think about how many people are out there who need your service. They can’t all be served by just a couple of people. There is more than enough work to go around for everyone.
So, stop being self-defeatist before you have even started. List all your qualities and start to keep a list of all the reasons that people WOULD deal with you rather than focusing on why they wouldn’t.
Come on. Start to believe in yourself because quite simply, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
Is this a sign of confidence or madness?
I am talking to myself!!!
Oh dear! Do you talk to yourself too?
I have found myself more and more frequently talking to myself.
When my family come home at the end of the day, they regularly tell me I ramble on randomly and they have no idea what I am talking about or who to.
I apparently seem to be getting worse over the years which I can only put down to working from home on my own with no one else to talk to but myself.
I find myself reprimanding myself if I make a mistake with something. I jump up and do some whoop whoops when something goes fantastically well. I tell myself off out loud when I find myself procrastinating. I tell myself to buck myself and that I CAN do it when faced with a particular challenge that I am struggling with.
All to the amusement of my faithful dog who joins in at times of excitement as she misconstrues this as being time for a walk!
This all sounds rather innocent but the frightening thing is I realise I am turning into my mother. She constantly talks to herself and it used to baffle me as to why she did it. I thought she was turning mad and now I am doing the same thing.
So, why do we really talk to ourselves? When I started looking this up on the internet the word ‘psychiatrist’ and ‘counselling’ popped up too much for my liking along with feelings of loneliness etc. People in movies who talk to themselves have been portrayed as being eccentric and suffering mental illness.
As I only talk to myself at home and not out in public (I think!!), I don’t really believe I am going mad (although many would argue with me). I just like to believe that talking to oneself is thinking out loud.
I found a note from a study conducted by Dr Adam Winsler of George Mason University who deduced that children who talked to themselves were more confident and participated more actively during class compared to their more introverted peers. He deduced that by chatting with themselves, they were able to put their problems into perspective and reflect upon their actions.
So that’s the theory that I am sticking with!
Tell me, do you talk to yourself when working from home?
I do my best to support small independent traders, so just recently I made several purchases from members of my Facebook group along with a few from promotions I had seen in other groups, all of whom were small business owners.
I made a point of letting people know I had purchased in order to help boost their posts and help promote their business.
The response I got was quite varied.
The first lady I purchased off and left a comment for, saying how excited I was to have placed my order and was looking forward to receiving my goods, completely ignored my comment. Not even a like even though I had tagged her! However, a comment below mine got an instant response from someone who was obviously a friend as she said she would drop the order over when they went out for drinks later.
How did that make me feel?
Ignored (obviously) and that my purchase was insignificant and not of any value to her.
A few days later I received my product and that was that.
The second purchase that I left a comment for did manage to get a ‘like’ but no reply or further interaction with me.
How did this leave me feeling? That she wasn’t really bothered by my purchase either. Another example of how not to create raving fans for her business.
Again, product received but this time with a card asking me to rate the business on social media. Hmm! Now then. As I had been ignored previously, would I take time out to do this. Maybe, maybe not.
How to create raving fans
Now take a moment to compare this was another purchase further along the line.
Here I did exactly the same. Completed the purchase and left a comment on their promo post whilst tagging them so they couldn’t miss it.
The difference in the response I got here was so far removed from the first couple.
Hallelujah!! Someone cares!
I had a reply to my comment thanking me so much for my support and that she was as excited as I was about sending my purchase to me as I was in receiving it as she knew I would love it.
Between my order and my receipt of the same, the lady kept me fully updated via email. Again, I received an email thanking me for my order and with an expected dispatch date. I then received a lovely email saying how my order had just been lovingly wrapped and taken to the post office so would be with me soon.
When the order arrived, it was beautifully packed in tissue paper and tied with a piece of ribbon along with a business card that had a handwritten message on.
How did this purchase make me feel? It made me feel valued and warm and fuzzy inside that I had supported a small business that really appreciated my support.
Out of these three businesses, who do you think I will return to when I go to make future purchases? Which ones are creating raving fans and which ones aren’t? I’ll give you one guess.
The moral of the story here is that if you are going to promote your business on social media, then get social! If someone takes the time to make a purchase and flag up your business to try and support you, then at least have the courtesy to respond to them. It only takes a few seconds to say thank you.
Remember, it’s now what you say or what you do, it’s how you make people feel that matters and will determine if they return to you to buy from you again or not.
Does this resonate with you? Yes or no? Leave a comment and let me know below.