It’s all about you…
You are absolutely integral to your business in the early days, and depending what it is that you do, possibly always. You should keep this at the forefront of your mind in all areas of your business and life.
When you are self-employed, your business is likely to be on your mind 24/7 and you’re going to have to sell yourself/your ideas/your product/your service to make it successful. When your livelihood relies on it, you will eat, sleep & breathe your business.
If you don’t love what you’re doing and have a strong passion for it, then it will show. If you don’t believe in your business then what makes you think others will? Plus, who wants to live life doing something they don’t enjoy? It’s never too late to change what you are doing, or had planned to do, and that’s the joy of being self-employed. If you don’t have any passion for what you’re doing then start adjusting your plans right now.
When starting any new business venture, or when having to sell yourself to others, it really helps to draw upon past experience and how that has helped you reach where you are today. This can also help demonstrate your authority to others which, in turn, builds trust in you and your products or services.
Start to think about all the experiences you’ve had which have got you to where you are now – past jobs, training and education, places you’ve lived, people you’ve met. It doesn’t matter if it relates to what your business ideas are or not. And don’t discount the experience gained by being a mum either. That can help provide invaluable business skills such as patience and negotiation.
No matter what your passions are, or experiences you’ve had, you have a unique set of skills which will help shape your business and drive it forward. Yes other people will also have many of the same skills that you do, but it’s much harder to find other people with the exact same range of skills as you. This is going to help you stand out in your business. Sometimes it’s easier to think about all the things we’re not good at, so get into the habit right now of thinking more positively about the things you are good at and the skills you possess.
Luckily skills can be learned so if you know there are some you don’t have but want or need for your business, don’t worry, you can build them up. One key to success is to always be learning.
You may have studied for years; you may have never studied before. And the importance of formal qualifications will entirely depend on the type of business you want to run.
Some membership bodies or insurers may require you to have certain qualifications. Such as a vet or an accountant being fully qualified for registration with their respective membership body, or a hair stylist being trained properly in colouring before insurers will cover them. In some instances you wouldn’t be allowed to legally practice without certain qualifications or training, for example, teeth whitening is illegal for anyone outside of dentistry to practice – despite many beauty therapists being duped into buying training then offering it as a service.
If you’re unsure about the qualifications you need for your business ask people who are already doing it, just approach people directly or ask in forums or groups where they’re gathered. Most people are happy to share advice, even if you’re a direct competitor. Modern day business is more about collaboration than competition.
You can also find out what qualifications (if any) you might need by purchasing the Business Opportunity Profile for your business, or by taking a look online at the websites of any membership and professional bodies for your industry.
With general qualifications is also important to remember that they are not always needed, lots of well-known business people left school with little or no qualifications yet have gone on to build successful business empires.
Lord Alan Sugar famously struggled at school and shortly after leaving started selling car aerials and electrical goods out of a van in London – Only Fools & Horses springs to mind! After several business ventures, and successful TV series, The Apprentice, he has amassed a fortune of £1 billion.
Founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson had poor academic performance due to dyslexia but is now one of the biggest worldwide icons in business and enterprise. Qualifications are not everything.
We all have different personality types and this will affect how we work, how we interact with others, how we cope with difficulties and change, and even how we cope with success.
Being aware of your own personality type will help you to better understand these issues, and can make planning how you work a whole lot easier if you’re going with (rather than fighting against) your personality traits.
You can take a free online personality test which accurately identifies you as one of 16 different types. Simply answer the questions as honestly as possible, trying not to dwell on the answers or put too much thought into it – trust your gut reactions! Once you have the result you can start to use it to your advantage.
Values are ideas and principles which you believe in. They sum up what you really stand for and what matters to you as an individual. Being clear about your values really aids decision making and makes life (and business) easier.
When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you’re satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your values, that’s when things feel wrong. This can become a real source of unhappiness. Which is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important. Our parents shape our early values when we are children, but your values may change over time influenced by friends, work colleagues, companies you’ve worked for, places you’ve lived, cultures you’ve experienced, partners you’ve had relationships with, and other experiences you’ve been through.
You may not have realised it but your values run through everything you do, from parenting to friendships. And your business should be aligned with your own values for the best chance of success.
What’s your personality type?