10 Questions to Make Your Business Work For You

On Saturday I went shopping with a personal stylist to pick out the perfect outfit for the upcoming TEDx event I’ll...

On Saturday I went shopping with a personal stylist to pick out the perfect outfit for the upcoming TEDx event I’ll be speaking at on Friday. And guess what? We found it! This woman is absolutely amazing, has an eye for style unlike anyone else that I know.

Needless to say I had a wonderful day. But it wasn’t just because of the shopping – although that did help a lot. What I love most about it was the great conversation that we had. You see Yana started a lifestyle business last year. Her business took off faster, and in a much bigger way than she had anticipated. With fast-growing business often come growing pains. Things that I, too, have been through in the many years I’ve been in business. And things I love to talk about, or help other women with.

Today’s post is somewhat of a summary of our delightful conversation.

Whether you’ve just started a business, or have been running one for a while now, I hope the information you’ll find below will help you. First to understand that you’re not alone in your struggles, and that having a business is a lifelong adventure. Then that you are the boss, not only of you, but also – and most certainly – of your business.

Innocence will get you a long way

When I started my first business people called me fearless. I was fresh out of Uni, and kind of lost to be honest. Unlike some of my fellow students I didn’t have a clear plan of what my life was going to be like. I just went with the flow. Did things my way.

Looking back I now know that I wasn’t fearless. Not at all. In fact, if you know me a little, you know how fear ruled my life for a very long time.

What I was is naive.

Starting my first business I had a youthful naivety that allowed me to do things I never thought I could. Not because I had no fears, or knew what I was doing. But simply because I didn’t know how hard they were.

I’ve come to believe that this type of innocence is an asset when starting out in business. That it’s better even than being fearless. At the same time, this all encompassing “having no clue at” starting point was also the birth ground of my biggest mistakes. And believe me, I was good at making them.

Enslaved by my own business

I could go on forever about all the wrong decisions I’ve made in business. And I might do so some day, on this blog even. But right now, I want to address what I feel is the mistake that made me the most miserable, for the longest period of time.

When you’re an entrepreneur running your own business there’s really not that many people to blame for your mistakes. In the case of having you work for your business, rather than your business work for you this is definitely true. Still it’s the trap most of us fall into. Apart from the exceptions that never experienced working for someone else before going at it on their own, most of us know what the 9-to-5 feels like, and the rules that apply.

When we start our own business we’re ecstatic about the renewed sense of freedom, right? Nobody to tell us what to do but ourselves, no schedule to follow but our own.

At first everything seems perfect. We’re full of enthusiasm, ready to take on the world. Then of course we need to start “doing business”. Because we don’t have a model of what doing business looks like, we go back to what we learned in our 9-to-5 job, and often we start implementing structures, and systems similar to those that made us leave that job in the first place.

Then a year in we’re miserable, overwhelmed, servicing angry clients. We have no clue how it happened, but we’ve been enslaved by our own business.

Sounds familiar? It certainly does to me.

Your beliefs shape your business

When I started out in business I used a mix of rules I’d picked up in other functions, together with how I thought you were supposed to do business. All those rules I’d whipped up out of practically nowhere came with a bag full of limiting beliefs about myself, and the world.

In order to be successful I believed that…

  • I needed to suffer,
  • I had to work seven days a week,
  • I couldn’t enjoy what I was doing,
  • I had to say yes to every client.

Those are just a few of the many beliefs that helped make me miserable as a beginning entrepreneur. Because the thing about beliefs is that they shape your reality.

What shapes your business are the beliefs you have about it.

If you think you have to suffer to make money, you will. If you think you have to throw all your values out the window to be a successful business owner, that’s how it will be. Not because of some magic spell, or invisible force at work in the Universe (although there’s that too) but mostly because we act according to our beliefs. All the things we do, the decisions we make are based on what we believe to be true.

Someone who believes business should always be fun or someone who believes business should always be hard will create very different businesses. Just like they probably will create very different lives for themselves as well.

#girlboss at work

But the truth is, in business – as in life – there are no rules. As a business owner you get to decide what goes, and what doesn’t. You’re free to choose your clients, your values, your operating hours. It’s not just about being your own #girlboss, or about being able to work from anywhere.

Owning your own business means you’re free to decide every single thing about it.

Sounds simple, right? But why then do so many of us fall into the trap of workaholism, nasty clients, or underpaid work? Why are we working for our business, instead of our business working for us?

Because we simply don’t know we have this power.We often run our businesses the way we live our lives: on auto-pilot, programmed by beliefs we almost never question. So here are 10 questions you can ask yourself to make your business work for you, instead of you for your business.

Once you’ve answered the questions ask yourself if what you think is really true, or if it could be another way. That’s where you’ll find the keys to make your business work for you.

  1. What are my beliefs about business?
  2. What do I think I need to do in order to be successful?
  3. What beliefs about myself are keeping me small? What do I feel guilty about?
  4. What activities are draining me? Why do I keep doing them?
  5. What activities are lifting me up? Why don’t I do more of those?
  6. Do I trust myself enough to be successful?
  7. What do I believe are my responsibilities as a business owner?
  8. What values does my business have? Do I agree with them?
  9. What do I think I need to give up in order to succeed?
  10. Who do I think I need to be in order to be successful?

I hope this post has given you some clarity about the power that you possess to create the business of your dreams. A business that is fun, enjoyable, easy, fulfilling, and successful. The only thing it takes to get there, is for you to design it that way.

Believe me I know, I’ve been there. And I’ve helped many other women do the same.

So if you feel like now is the right time for you to transform your business, I can help. My business mentoring program is designed to do exactly that. So why not start with your free consultation right now by clicking here. I can’t wait to hear all about your dreams and goals for your business!

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