Being an entrepreneur is one of the truest tests of inner courage and personal leadership out there.
And that means paying attention to what we’re learning—and what we’re UNlearning.
This is the second part of a three-part blog series called Real Talk from Real Women.
We turn our attention to learning lessons. What you’re about to read is real talk from real women. I’m grateful they shared their stories here.
And I’d love you to add a comment under the article. What are you biggest lessons from 2013 and why? What have you learned? What have you Unlearned?
Without further adieu, here are some big lessons from 2013:
Francine Portelance, www.theEnlightenedSuperwoman.com
The #1 thing that has made the greatest impact on my business this year is working with a mentor, someone who has already attained the level of achievement I strive for.
Hiring a mentor or coach and deciding to invest in yourself is a leap of faith. The decision to get support and guidance in specific areas, whether in business or life, is like accepting a challenge to grow in new ways. It opens the gateways to new possibilities, new relationships and new resources that were not readily available before. It certainly feels magical!
Hillary Rubin, http://www.hillaryrubin.com
I've learned to tune out what others are doing and focus on what I'm here to contribute to the world.
To trust the fear inside when I want to do something and may not be sure about the 'how to do it' and know what I need will show up in one way of the other.
To laugh at mistakes and not take myself or my business too seriously.
Margo DeGange, M.Ed, Women of Splendor, http://www.MargoDeGange.com
I've learned that even when you are big on knowing how to focus, there is still room to focus even more! Being able to focus on a clear marketing strategy aligned with what you are really all about allows you to help more people and make more and greater sales.
Nadine Nicholson, ABC, CPCC, www.MeJane.ca
My biggest learning lesson in 2013 (so far) was when I realized how I was selling my services was not feeling authentic to me. In the past, I’d offer group training programs with a full scale online launch to promote the program, generate interest and accept registrations. While it was exciting women entrepreneurs were coming from over the world, something just did not sit right with me. I didn’t really know many of them. If people happened to find me and like what I was offering, they decided to register. I was not in the driver’s seat of being able to choose who to offer my services to.
Now, for my ideal prospects to work with me, they first apply to qualify for a one-on-one GET CLEAR Strategy Session with me. All networking and marketing efforts in my business funnel to the strategy session. I offer eight strategy sessions each month. Only when I’m 100% confident the person is motivated to make the necessary changes to achieve their desired future and that I am the right person to help her get there, then and only then, do I ask if she would like to know what going forward together would look like, and then I choose to offer my service. Now, after re-engineering my business model, I’m in the driver’s seat of my own business and I’m a better, more authentic service provider.
Christina Workman, Amethyst Answers, http://amethystanswers.com
Probably the biggest lesson I learned so far this year is that I am far more experienced than I give myself credit for. Although I have only been doing web development for a short time, I have soaked up an amazing amount of knowledge. I realized this at a conference as I listened to some well-respected colleagues give their presentations and discovered I already knew lots of what they were discussing!
The best part of this realization is that it helped me with another lesson...charging what I'm worth. I have always undercharged, but this year I have made huge strides in charging more and getting my rates more on par with my talents. Not undervaluing myself is the first and most important step in not undervaluing my services.
Deb Boulanger, Live a Whole Life, http://www.liveawholelife.net
I've had one really big lesson so far in 2013: I've learned not to strive.
I found myself at the end of May just trying too hard to grow my business. I was invested in every decision a prospect made whether to engage me as their coach. I felt like I was selling all the time and trying way too hard.
I took a two week break from the business to get some perspective. That's when I adopted the mantra: No Striving. When I meet my ideal clients, and we are meant to work together, I will know it and they will know it.
After I adopted the "No Striving" mindset, clients began coming to me. It was really amazing.
I think that was one big lesson. There may be more, but that's what bubbles to the surface.
Carole Audet, All Write Source, http://www.allwritesource.com
My biggest lesson of 2013 so far has been learning to push past the fear of being seen, or putting myself and my business out there in a bigger way. I'm used to being the 'behind-the-scenes' person so putting myself front and center was out of my comfort zone. But, having done it, in the form of publishing my own magazine, was inspiring and motivating--not scary at all.
I also realized this year that I needed to stop looking for the next best solution to my marketing challenges and to actually implement the tools and techniques that I have already been taught by some fabulous coaches. As Larry Winget says, "Knowledge is not power. It is the implementation of knowledge that is power."
Victoria Melchor, http://www.victoriamelchor.com
I realized that I am living in the middle of my worst case scenario, or Plan B. Consequently, the idea of achieving the life I want for myself led me to yet another realization: If I want to have this life of my dreams, Plan A, I am going to have to step up my game and give 110% to get there.
Kim Page Gluckie, MPowered Marketing, http://www.howtoblogforbusiness.com
Slow and steady, consistent clear communication PAYS OFF! I have been practicing this, and teaching this as THE marketing mantra, since I started my business 5 years ago. I believed it and have seen the successful outcomes many times big and small many times, but in the first half of this year it was crystal clear how powerful it is from how EASY growing my business became.
The other big lesson I internalized deep enough to actually truly learn it once and for all is to let go of old wounds. Business is not personal, and I can take business issues that don't work out as personal. Letting go of the wounds and reframing them allowed me to have more freedom to create the best work I've ever created for my clients and workshop guests.
Keri Christensen, Spire Coaching and Consulting, www.spirecoaches.com
1. It isn't always about me. (Sometimes, people behave badly for reasons that have nothing to do with you, it is all about them.)
2. It is always about me. (If I'm not taking care of myself, I don't have enough to offer to others.)
Fon James, Fon James Enterprises, LLC - The Emergency Business Coach, http://www.fonjames.com/
Lessons are always abound if we pay attention to our traction. Two of the biggest lessons I have learned in the first of 2013 are 1) detach myself from the outcome and focus on serving. When I focus on being of service, I don't worry about what "I" will get, but my focus is more on what I will give. It is better to give than receive and I have learned that in a big way this year. The 2nd lesson I have learned is completion is better than perfection. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist and I realized when I just do the work without it being so perfect, it's more impactful and reaches more people than if I hoard it until "I" think it's perfect. In all instances, I have learned that what I have is enough.
Barbara Austin, Sweet Dreamz Design, http://www.sweetdreamzdesign.com
First, I finally realized that copious excuses were getting me nowhere fast, and that to see the success I wanted, I would have to OWN my attitude and actions. It feels awesome to leave the excuses in the dust and make headway!
I've also begun to see failure differently, as just a bump in the road - as opposed to a roadblock. So, instead of running *smack* into failure and going down for the count, I trip and stumble but then get right back up and keep going - ready to jump over the bump should the same one come up again down the road.
Tanya Hartz, The Fire Within Acupuncture & Wellness, www.fireacupuncture.com
Join a cause that supports your profession, and its development.
June floods in Southern Alberta called out to my compassion. Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) is a brilliant global volunteer service providing immediate disaster relief and recovery to communities that are in crisis resulting from disaster or human conflict. The organization is committed to treating all who have been affected - survivors, first responders, emergency personnel and other care providers.
Kimberley Wiggins, A Time To Shine, www.facebook.com/kimjwiggins
The biggest lessons that I have learned thus far in 2013 are:
1. That I can dance to the beat of my own drum and I should never feel guilty about that.
2. Having momentum is essential to whatever you do, without it you don't have the will to be persistent and diligent. Momentum drives the train.
3. That all things come full circle. Life is an amazing simple thing and repeating that circle is what creates half of the excitement.
Mallory Hainey, mallyjohainey, www.mallyjohainey.com/
Lesson one: blind spots have to be removed in-order for the big picture to be seen AND attracted.
Lesson two: there can and should be a certain playful and elegant feeling when we are attracting our grandest goals and desires.
Lesson three: in order for our desires to actually "come to earth" we have to take one step at a time. This combats the feelings of how in the world am I going to do this!
Why? I fought a career that didn't fit me-for three years but I felt stuck. I cleared some internal programming and everything unfolded with a certain ease and beauty to it. I resigned as a school teacher, developed my online business, and prepared for the most important job of my life-motherhood (he is due in July :) all within the first half of 2013. I did this because of the lessons.
Christie Halmick, Jewels Branch, http://jewelsbranch.com
I’ve learned that when you level up in your business and life not everyone will understand why you’re changing or want to come along on the ride. That can be hard to process, but eventually it all shakes out for the better.
I’ve learned that I am very ambitious and will work super hard to get where I want to go.
I’ve learned that in order to create my best work and serve my clients to the best of my ability I have to take care of myself and keep my creative well full. This means sometimes my ambition has to take a break so I can recharge.
Renee Shupe, Redhead Business Solutions, http://redheadbusinesssolutions.com/nadine
My freedom can also be my crutch. As much as I love having the freedom to choose it can make it easy to go and do the things that I consider is more "fun". Stay focused on my end goal is important to choosing the projects, events and tasks that keep me on my path is important.
Even though I'm a solopreneur I still need support. Making the decision to find support whether that be for helping me in a strategic level or a tactical level. I am only one person and doing it all myself isn't possible. I need those sounding boards and support to move forward.
Rhonda White, Soul Freedom & Money, www.soulfreedomandmoney.com
Big Lesson #1 - By remaining prayerfully open, listening to my intuition and paying attention to what I was seeing in my imaginations, I didn't leave my job at the end of 2012 like I had hoped to. I wasn't ready because I wasn't confident enough I had all the pieces in place to launch my business. I had been praying for a year to be laid off with a severance package so I would have more time without money worries to devote to creating a viable business from scratch. I was glad I trusted my process because I was laid off on February 7th with a severance package! It was just what I needed to gain further momentum in launching my business.
Big Lesson #2 - Fast forward a month into being a first time entrepreneur. I found myself discouraged and frustrated and I couldn’t put my finger on why. After a month of listening carefully to what my feelings were trying to express, I discovered I didn't like working alone and what I needed was a team again. So I started networking and attracting like-minded people into my life that I would want to team up with.
Loralee Hutton, Her Portable Biz, http://loraleehutton.com
"Think Less, Act More"
Simply writing on my blog & telling a few people that I want to do something scary, every day isn't quite enough. The mind is powerful & can easily distract you from goals and dreams, to keep me safe. Instead, when feeling inspired I need to take action immediately. Every one of my successes so far in 2013 have come from inspired action that I "thought about" for less than 24 hours before implementing.
"Do Something Scary"
Fear of rejection, making mistakes, looking like a fool in front of my peers and worry that I may let people down has kept me from doing big things for the past few years. This year when I challenged myself to continuously do something scary (or courageous), I didn't realize how many times I would need to set aside those fears. I have in fact let people down, made mistakes and felt like a fool. Surprisingly, I didn't die of embarrassment.
Cheryl Bigus, Euphoric Roots, http://EuphoricRoots.com
1. Plan. Set goals, then work toward them by taking small consistent steps.
2. Make every effort to ditch the negativity and doubt in my head when things don't go as expected.
3. To focus on the value I can provide through my content, to the women I work with.
Why? When I start to focus on the numbers in my business, I lose my creativity and I don't find I am as effective in my overall mission.
After reading these ladies’ thoughts, in the comments below, share your own answer to: What are you biggest lessons from 2013 and why? What have you learned? What have you Unlearned?