I fully believe that any woman with a passion and a commitment to succeed can achieve anything they wish to.
But saying that, you have to make your own opportunities.
I have met and worked with women who have homeless drug addicts, who when given an opportunity, have grabbed it with both hands and built the most amazing businesses.
And I have also met with incredible women who had an amazing talent and everything they needed to create something wonderful, but they just didn’t follow through due to a lack of confidence and a fear of failure.
Confidence and a determination to do whatever it takes is the key to success. And a lack of confidence can be a real killer as can be the fear of the unknown. That’s why I always start off any work with clients, whether in person or one of my online courses building their confidence and self-belief. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
You can have the best product or service out there, you can know everything there is to know about how to market it to your ideal client, but if you don’t have the right mindset, you just won’t have the confidence to go out there and go after those paying clients.
You may well dabble a little here and there, but you will get sporadic results. You will stumble when asked for a discount and may well end up giving one! You may start to lose motivation when you get rejected by someone and you find out they buy elsewhere.
Getting in the right mindset is critical and the very first thing you need to before anything else when building a business in my opinion. Forget reading up and watching more webinars on how to grow sales through Facebook until you truly believe in yourself and your product and are prepared to stand up and shout it out from the rooftops how fabulous you are.
And once you have that cracked, as fired up and enthused as you may be about creating your own business, it will take hard work, commitment and personal investment on your own part along with self-responsibility for making things happen. It’s quite simply not going to happen overnight.
You will hit hurdles. The unexpected will happen. You won’t always get what you want.
The time will never be right and nothing will ever be perfect.
And this is where the determination and the right attitude will be the difference between winners and losers.
You can sit back, feel that life is unfair and ultimately give up. Or you can decide that you will get up off your backside and keep battling forward.
Putting it quite simply …
The action takers win
And that’s where I come in. I will keep you motivated and inspired to keep taking those small steps forward that lead to great results.
I know how hard it can be when you are starting out and struggling against one hurdle after another. I will be there when you need me, so you need never feel alone again.
If you have a dream, if you have a burning passion, get in touch. You have nothing to fear and everything to gain.
Sometimes, when you realise your industry is becoming saturated with competitors, stop trying to fight against them and think how you can turn this into an opportunity.
I always remember meeting the founders of The Soap Kitchen many years ago when the husband and wife team were starting up from their dining table. Over the years, their business grew as did their competitors.
Instead of fighting against them and getting consumed with worry, they looked at the opportunity this presented. They decided to adapt their business model. Rather than continuing to just making soap, they started running workshops teaching their competitors how to make soap. But taking it further, they also started supplying them with the raw materials.
The business exploded and four years ago they moved from their beautiful, but humble dining table to a shop and separate large warehouse with more than 20 staff. It is now the leading DIY soap making supplier in the UK and Europe.
Today I met a lady who offers a service and has been met with a similar problem. She is in the holistic health and wellness industry and it seems like every other person and their dog is now entering this. Her competitors are growing daily.
She recognised she was having to work harder but not seeing any increase in profits so came to see me. Rather than getting in a fluster, she went through everything with me and we soon realised a golden opportunity right under her nose where she could help others entering her profession. She could teach courses on how to get the level that she had reached.
Create opportunities out of problems
Rather than looking at helping her competition adversely affecting her, she saw the opportunity to create more income. This would also raise her profile in the industry giving her business visibility. She would now be integrating with competitors rather than trying to avoid them.
If you’re struggling with competitors, consider what hidden opportunities are out there for you. Don’t let your initial panic make your blind to these. If you’ve been in business for a while, and other new faces are appearing, take advantage of this . See how you can help them whilst creating a new income stream for yourself.
You might surprise yourself and find you enjoy it whilst significantly increasing your profits.
Outsourcing business tasks can really take the pressure off you when building a business and can help you save time and grow your business to the next level.
However, it really saddens me the number of times I see women trying to build their own successful home business and taking the step to outsource some work, only to be ripped off.
I constantly hear stories, where an agreement has been made only to find that very little of the work needed, is completed. The person hired, basically tries to do a runner with the money. So many times, freelances who promise the earth quickly lose interest or are unable to do the work to the standard required. Rather than admitting their inadequacies and refunding monies already paid, they start to ignore emails, phone calls and Facebook messages.
The person hiring is left with a looming deadline, out of pocket so financially unable to hire someone else and in a sense of abandonment and despair.
Please, if you are going to hire a freelancer, do a few things to protect yourself from the same happening to you.
Agree to Terms and Conditions
Whenever outsourcing any work, before you do anything else agree clear, WRITTEN AND SIGNED, terms and conditions. This needs to include:
- the scope of the work with exactly what is going to be done by whom and when (including any information you need to supply to the freelancer),
- a deadline for the work to be completed,
- how much it is going to cost and
- what happens if either party is unhappy and wishes to cancel.
Do not rely on word of mouth and trust. So many times, agreements have been verbal as a person has seemed so wonderful and the relationship has been on trust, only for it to go horribly wrong. I have known ladies feel embarrassed about asking for T’s & C’s. Really? You are running a business and you need to protect it. If anyone tries to fob you off saying you don’t this, run for the hills.
Read reviews and testimonials
Read their testimonials and contact some of the people who have written them to make sure the reviews are genuine. Yes, it’s a sad world we live in that some people make them up.
Interview them. Yep! You are hiring someone so it’s perfectly ok to speak to them and conduct an interview. Ask them what they would do if they had an emergency and couldn’t complete the work on time. Ask them how many times they have had cancellations or had to refund a client. You can tell a lot from whether they answer quickly and confidently or start to pause and stumble over their words. Listen to your gut feeling when speaking with them.
Start with a sample piece of work
Consider asking anyone you are outsourcing work to, to do a small sample piece of work so you can test out their standards and service. Don’t expect them to do this for free but pay them for a small section of the project that you need help with.
Pay in instalments
Pay in instalments. Don’t ever pay in full upfront. Agree on stage payments. That way, if something starts to go wrong, you can stop your payments until the situation is fixed. Alternatively, you can cancel the agreement altogether (again, make sure this is covered in your written contract.)
Look at payment options
Think about how you pay. If you use PayPal if there is a dispute, and you can prove your case, you should be able to get your money back within a reasonable timescale.
In essence, take time to do your research before hiring anyone and use the checks above before signing on the dotted line and handing over your hard-earned money. I’ve been bitten myself in the past, so I am speaking from experience. It’s horrible when it happens but it makes you much savvier when hiring in the future.
Do you have a story to share on your own experience? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear about it whether good or bad.
Are you aware that having the wrong email address could be losing you business? And no, I don’t mean wrong as in misspelled.
So often, I come across someone whose business I like the look of, I go their website, love what I see and go to the contact page. And therein lies the problem. Their email address ends in @hotmail.com or gmail.com.
But why is this a problem?
It makes you look unprofessional
Firstly, it makes you look unprofessional. Your website may give out all the right signals but can be instantly let down by an amateur email address. Whenever I see one of these email addresses, I instantly change my impression of the company and don’t view it in such a professional light. If you have a specific domain name for your business, use this for your emails also.
You may be viewed as spam
Secondly, if you are sending emails with a @Hotmail, @Gmail or similar, there is a much higher chance your mail will get blocked at the other end. Many companies have blocks on these emails as they have a high chance of being spam. You don’t want to be tarred with the same spam brush, do you? If I ever see an email come in from a Hotmail or Gmail account from a business, I simply delete it.
You are missing a marketing opportunity
Thirdly, if you use a specific email address ending in your domain name when you send out emails to contacts they may just become curious and check out your website. Another simple way of helping drive traffic to your site. I’ve done this before with people I have been in contact with and then become a buyer. It’s a no-brainer!
If you don’t have a professional email address, go set one up now. Usually, you can get one free through your domain provider and it’s not difficult to set up. And if you are afraid of having to check in to different email accounts for both your personal and business emails, you can simply forward your emails to one single account.
Remember, it’s the small things that can make a big difference.
Do you ever have clients placing an order for your products or services only to cancel a while later? There may be a very good reason why.
Yes, that simple act of keeping in touch and letting them know what is happening behind the scenes can make the difference between a happy customer and one who gets fed up thinking they have been forgotten and decides to take their business elsewhere.
There is no better example of this than when I ran my estate agents. Other agents were getting complaints and clients cancelling all the time to switch and coming to me. My clients stayed with me and the business was built on word of mouth recommendations.
Because I kept in touch. I put myself in their shoes and kept in mind how they might be feeling. Whilst my team were busy behind the scenes calling people about their property to book viewings and chasing surveyors and solicitors when a sale was agreed, the homeowner had no idea this was going on. All they had from other agents was silence. I made sure that every one of my clients had a call to update them every single week, even if there was nothing new to say. It made them feel important. They knew exactly what was going on and appreciated the call.
Yes, it took time and effort but the fact that my estate agency soared whilst others were struggling spoke volumes.
The key to stop clients cancelling
Take a moment to think how often you keep in contact with your clients. Are you busy working behind the scenes on the behalf putting together their order or working on a project for them? Do they know this? Are you updating them? If not, then perhaps it’s time to think again about your communication policy. Set up a simple database such as CapsuleCRM to keep in contact with everyone and see how much they appreciate it. This simple step really could be the key to stopping your clients cancelling and going elsewhere.
Just to finish, here are two current examples. Just this morning I have cancelled an order with a local company for having a sign made as they simply have not kept in contact with me and not sent information to me as promised. I have chased them no less than three times and yet they have still failed to keep in contact, and I am now fed up. I have now contacted another company and transferred my order to them.
The other example is with my husband’s laptop which stopped working whilst under guarantee. We took it back to the shop where it was purchased and they promised to fix it asap. That was six weeks ago!!! My husband has called on a number of occasions to get updates and then called again this morning. They said it was fixed and had been posted back. If this company had kept us updated and even let us know it was fixed and on the way back, we may have bought from them again. As they couldn’t be bothered to keep in touch, we have both said we will never buy from them again (and will tell others not to!)
Communication is key
Remember, whatever you do, don’t forget communication is key. If you don’t keep in contact with your prospects and clients, don’t be surprised when they go and buy elsewhere.
Choosing the perfect business idea
So you have decided you want to start your own business but not quite sure what to do and are unsure how to come up with the perfect business idea. Do you have a million and one ideas floating around in your head but unsure how to channel them into a cohesive idea?
Follow these simple steps to help you come up with the perfect business idea that will set you on the path to starting your own business.
In my opinion, there are three key elements to finding a business idea that stands a chance of success:
- Do something you love
- Do something you are good at
- Do something that people are willing to pay for
Simple huh? Well, no, not necessarily. These three points need to have some careful consideration applied. So let’s look at them one at a time.
Do something you love
- What do you love doing?
- What could you do for hours on end and never get bored?
- What really fires you and fills you with energy and excitement when you do it?
Write these down. Jot down your hobbies and interests. Think about what inspires you and what articles immediately catch your attention in magazines or online that you immediately want to read.
And don’t limit yourself to the present day. Think back to your childhood. What did you love doing then but you may have stopped doing in adult life but would love to have the chance to do again?
Running your own business is tough so by finding something that you love, you will find it easier to put in those incredibly long hours and keep motivated during the difficult periods.
Do something that you are good at?
- What skills do you have?
- What achievements have you accomplished?
- What have you won awards for?
- What do you know a lot about?
Again, don’t keep it to the present. Go back to your childhood and remember what you were praised for.
What skills do you have that you could transfer to a new business? You may have been a PA for the CEO of a company and made all their travel arrangements, organised meetings, diary appointments etc so could transfer these skills to become an events organiser.
If you have worked in a restaurant or café helping prepare the food you may have the skills to set up your own cake making business.
I know a lady who used to work in the hair and beauty industry but found herself frequently setting up procedures to prevent accidents. She has now set up her own business as a health and safety consultant for hair and beauty salons.
Do something that people are willing to pay for
So you have decided what you love doing and what you are good at, but what will people pay for?
You love cooking and you have won awards for your cake making skills at local village fetes. So will people pay for your cakes? I know a lady who did exactly this but found a niche in making up cake hampers.
You love photography and are qualified in childcare. So how about being a children photographer? Simplistic ideas here but hopefully you get my drift.
The above steps will have hopefully got you started with coming up with some business ideas.
Once you have come up with your idea, you need to make sure your business idea is solid by carrying out market research, competitor analysis, how you are going to fund your business and reach your customers etc. If you need help with any of this, come on over and join my Build Your Home Business course