I started my business after moving to France countryside with my partner and cocker spaniel. I dreamed of being a Virtual Assistant, choosing my own hours, being able to live and work a nomadic life, discovering France, with my laptop in hand. To do that, I needed to get some regular clients and a certain income coming in so I could earn enough to buy that VW campervan and the equipment we would need to live comfortably! Plus of course, we would need money along the way too!
The first year was difficult. I learnt lots of new tools and platforms. I set up my business in France, which believe me is NOT easy! And I started marketing. I got a few clients, one regular, but mostly project type work. But, I wasn’t building a stable income basis. The work was in peaks and troughs and I was continually scrubbing around for work. This wasn’t the life I had envisaged….!
HERE’S THE THING
I felt like a failure and considered on numerous occasions to go back to the UK with my tail between my legs, and get a 9-5 job. But I’m a determined, some might say stubborn, woman, so I took some time out to reflect on why it wasn’t going so well!
I wondered whether it was because of my skills, maybe they were great for corporate working, but for a smaller, more dynamic business, perhaps they were too inflexible. I also worried whether it was because I couldn’t hustle, I didn’t feel comfortable selling to clients. And yes, these did have a bearing, but I learnt new tools and got better at promoting my business, but still wasn’t growing as quickly as I wanted!
THE REAL REASON
What I realised is that the real reason I couldn’t grow my business was my mindset. I was scared that I couldn’t do it, I was overwhelmed with everything I needed to do and felt like a fraudster. So, no wonder I wasn’t getting much business…. If I didn’t believe in myself, how could I expect people who didn’t even know me, trust in my abilities!
I knew I needed to do something to create a more positive mindset and so I started working on a number of things. If you’ve ever felt like this and want to know how I upscaled my mindset then these 7 tips might help!
Get some easy wins
Once you start getting clients and they’re happy with what you are producing, it boosts your confidence and makes you less anxious. Take on an easy task, something you’ve done before and can do without too much stress. Once you’ve done a couple of these, you will feel happier about your abilities and less like an imposter.
Network with like-minded people
Join Groups and engage with them. Ask them questions and listen to what they have to say. Have a conversation with them, ask for help. But also, offer help…. Don’t make it all one-sided! You will see that you’re not on your own. That other people have felt like you have and have come through the other side.
Get a business coach
As soon as you can afford it, get yourself a coach. They can help you understand your business better. Together you can highlight your strengths and weaknesses, identify your ideal client and build your business model. They will help you reflect on how far you’ve come and help you change your mindset into one that is much more positive
Identify your goals
Think about what you want to achieve in the next year, next 5 years and set yourself some goals. What would you like your business to look like, who would you be working with? What hours would you be working and how much money would you be earning. This helps you build excitement for your business, and motivates you to pick yourself up and do whatever you need to do to reach those goals.
Get a Strategy
Once you’ve set your goals, you need to understand what you need to do to achieve them. This is where your strategy kicks in. Identify the big things that you will need to do and then prioritise them. Look at the different sub tasks and then create a plan for the next 90 days. Any longer than that, it may become overwhelming. After the 90 days there is a chance to review your progress. Understand what went well and where you need to create additional focus. It also allows you to take into consideration any changes in your external environment and adapt your strategy if needs be.
You can’t be good at everything; however hard you try. So, why not get someone else to do the stuff you don’t like or the stuff you’re not good at. After all, its demotivating when you’ve spent all day on a task and feel like you’ve got nowhere! And, if you get paid a certain amount to produce something, then doing stuff that takes you twice as long as it would someone else to do is a waste of your precious time. So, hire someone to design your website, do your social media posting or your accounts. Then you can spend time creating new products that your clients love, or even just take some time out to work on you and your mindset!
And finally, put some systems in place. Automate whatever you can, without losing that human touch. They make take some time to implement and you may have to change your habits, so that you use them properly, but they make life so much easier and give you back loads of time that you can use to grow your business. So why wouldn’t you?!
So, have I bought that VW campervan and am I travelling around France with my backpack and laptop…..? Well, it hasn’t quite worked out like that. We bought some chickens and then some ducks, then we bought another puppy…. I’m not sure any camp sites, however accommodating, would want our menagerie, plus could you imagine us lot in a campervan… more likely we’d need a Winnebago!
But we are happy…. And that’s all I wanted!
If you’ve enjoyed this article, then please feel free to have a nose around the rest. In particular, if you are just setting up your business, this might be of interest 10 things I’ve learned about running my own business
And if you need support or are feeling a bit demotivated and want to join a facebook group that offers advice and will be there for you if you need it, then why not join up below