I recently worked with a woman who was just launching her redesign business. When I had asked her why she thought she needed a business coach she said that she was not ready to begin her business, but wanted to be ready, with clients, at the end of 90 days. As a business coach, one of the first things I do with a new client is assess their business as it stands today, in order to establish the areas in which we need to focus.
As we went over the assessment, I became more and more puzzled as to why she wanted to work with me. Virtually every item listed under my “launching your business” category had been successfully completed. In fact, she had several items completed that I have listed under my “been in business a couple of years” category!
So again, I asked her why she wanted to work with me. Again she responded with, “Because I am not ready.”
After very little conversation, it was obvious she was not going to be ready any time soon. It wasn’t because the business aspects of her work were not covered; it was because she was hiding behind her tasks. The things she “had to do before she could possibly start her business.”
It is very easy to get caught up in the tasks of running your business. Aside from the fact that you actually will be designing for a client, whether you are doing real estate staging or a room redesign, you also have to act as sales manager, marketing manager, bookkeeper and administrative assistant. Don’t forget web designer and public speaker. So put together your to-do lists, and dive in, and in, and in.
There is a reason that large companies have departments to handle the various aspects of a business, because each facet, management, accounting, sales, etc. is a full time job on its own. Especially in the beginning, we typically don’t have the luxury to hire these tasks out, so we take them on ourselves.
I have found that it is very easy to use the “business” aspect of our work as a great big procrastination tool. It’s not as though the individual pieces don’t have to be done, because in fact they do, but the question to ask is “when?” When do they need to be done? Is it really necessary to have a three-page full color brochure ready before you tell all of your friends and neighbors that you are in business? Do you have to have a full blown computer accounting software program before you can accept a check for your services? Hiding behind business tasks is a very easy thing to do. I find that I do it most when the task I really should be doing, the priority task, is a task that I just don’t want to do: for example, invoicing clients. One would think that collecting for your services would be terribly exciting, but for some reason I find the task tedious, and have to use all kinds of tricks and techniques to actually find the motivation to do the work.
I tried to impress upon my coaching client that she could launch her business today! Right now! She could e-mail all of her contacts, and let them know she was open for business. She could call her five closest friends and ask them to call their five closest friends. She could pass out her beautiful fliers in her neighborhood this afternoon! We also talked about how you never can be, nor should you ever really be ready. There is always something new to try and something new to do, so have faith in what you have done to date and get started right now!
It turns out she was right after all. She wasn’t ready. And she has yet to launch her business. But you always have the opportunity to just jump in and go for it.