I recently watched a movie called Predestination. It’s a time-travel thriller that had me utterly mind boggled until they dropped a massive plot twist and – BOOM! – suddenly it all made sense.
It got me thinking…
Hollywood isn’t the only place you’ll find massive plot twists; life is full of them too. Much like in the movies, they might shake you up, but they also often give you a new viewpoint that brings with it a whole lot of clarity. My life (and especially my career) has been full of BOOMS! But unlike the protagonist in Predestination, I don’t have the ability to go back and do it all again.
But what if I did?
Well, if I could go back in time knowing what I know now, I’d walk right up to my younger self and tell her these three things – the three things I learnt while growing my business.
Lesson 1: Be True to You
When I started The Support Room a few years ago, I noticed a big gap in the market. While there are dozens of virtual assistant agencies now, back then there were only two or three in South Africa. So what did I do? I dove right in and offered as much as I could. We provided eight services in those days – including admin. Let me be honest with you. I hate admin, but I saw a gap in the market, and that’s what I offered.
If we consider what we do now, admin is DEFINITELY not one of them! I really didn’t enjoy it, but I followed the money instead of my heart. You see, I’ve now learnt that nothing should be done as a means to an end, and if you really hate what you’re doing chances are you won’t make it to the end anyway. So in business terms, that means just because there’s a market for something, it doesn’t mean you need to do it.
BUT, if you have a passion for something AND there’s a market for it – now that’s where the magic happens!
Lesson 2: Write down your goals
This one is so simple, yet SO underrated! How underrated, you ask? There is a common thread in the top 1% of the most successful people in the US: you guessed it, they write down their goals! And you don’t have to be in the US for this to work for you too.
For a long time I was going around in circles, questioning my business and feeling that something was missing. But when I started writing down my goals, BOOM! Clarity. I realised that if I didn’t know where I was going, I sure as hell wasn’t going to know how to get there! But once you have one long term goal, everything else just falls into place.
So here’s my suggestion: Start with a 5 year goal, and work your way down from there to a 3 year goal, 1 year goal and monthly goals.
But don’t stop there. Make goal making a habit. Set a few goals every day and watch how your daily routine turns into a succession of successes.
Lesson 3: Just start!
A lot of entrepreneurs tend to have A-type personalities: we’re driven, but we’re also perfectionists. We often have a fear of putting ourselves out there because our idea, plan or product isn’t 100% yet. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the best you can be, but being too much of a perfectionist can hold you back.
You want your business to move forward, right? The best way to do that is to just get going. Run a survey and find out what people really want, use social media groups to engage with people, start Periscoping, start blogging, vlogging, networking… whatever you do, just start.
As you start, the path will present itself in front of you … and you will find yourself moving forward.
Whether you’re only just trying to get your small biz off the ground or whether you’ve been at it for years, it’s important to remember that sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn! I wouldn’t have learnt these lessons if it weren’t for the mistakes I made along the way, so although I can’t go back in time and change it, I probably wouldn’t even if I could because then I wouldn’t be able to share my lessons with others.
Have you stumbled across these lessons yourself in your business? What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?
Until next time, yours in #BigBizLove
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