This month we celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week. I was delighted to be invited to join a panel of female entrepreneurs at The Accidental Entrepreneur, an event organised by The Women’s Organisation for women who are wanting to make a leap into the world of self-employment.
This year is my tenth year in business and as with anything, there have been highs and there have been not-so-highs. I have got some things really right and I have also had some spectacular failures. But I am still here to tell the tale.
Just six years ago, the Women’s Organisation had put on a similar event but I was one of the women in the audience. I had only been coaching for a short while and I had made some changes to my business model. It wasn’t working and the phone wasn’t ringing.
It felt as if everything around me was crumbling away and I was so exhausted that I just wanted to give up. I did not think I could pull anything more out of me to keep going. When my Dad telephoned me trying to be helpful, his suggestion that I might be better off getting a manager’s job at the local GP surgery did not go down too well.
As I had sat in the audience and listened to the stories of four successful women in business, I felt a million miles away from where they were. When it was time for the audience to ask questions, my hand was the first one up.
“How many of you have thought about giving it all up and walking away from your business and just getting a job?” I asked.
All four of them smiled and each one went on to share an example of a time when they had nearly walked away from their businesses after making several faux pas. The lady at the end of the panel took the microphone and shared a piece of wisdom that was a real light bulb moment. She said, “so many people give up when they are just one step away from success.”
That evening, I went home and reflected on her words. What if I really was one step away from success and I was about to throw it all away? Inside, I absolutely knew that I was meant to be coaching women. Sure, I had made some mistakes but I just needed to get some help. I could give myself six months to get on track and if I still had not cracked it, I could always review.
I stayed up into the night and made a list of ten people who I knew could help me. The next day, I contacted all of them and set up meetings over coffee. Three months later, one of those coffees turned into a piece of contract coaching work and I was back on my feet.
Of course, at that point I was more than just one step away from success but when I look back if I had given up on my coaching business … well ... let's not go there.
The most important relationship we have in life is the one we have with ourselves. Our working lives are fundamental parts of that relationship. Listening to our inner voice can lead us to living out our true purpose – if we don’t let fear get in the way.
Whether you work for yourself or you work for a company, we all need relationships with people who can help and support us. We just need to ask.
Here are some of my accidental entrepreneur top tips …
- Know where you are heading and everyday remember your BIG why - why you are doing what you are doing?
- Spend time "on" your business not just "in" your business
- Be patient - it takes a while to grow a business and develop trust in business relationships - Sometimes the opportunity we want to have happen right now actually turns out to be a much better opportunity when it comes along at a later date.
- Imposter Syndrome is only some thoughts we have made up in our head - we are all good enough to be anywhere and doing anything we want.
- Ask for help when you need it - not when it is too late.
- Know your value and charge appropriately. Get your figures right but in the lean times don't focus just on the money and bring out the panic monster.
- Developing relationships is one of the most successful ways to grow your business
- Invest in marketing and let people know you have something to solve their problems
- Build in time for you especially in those early stages. You have to put fuel in the engine to make it run smoothly
- So many people give up when they are one step away from success. Don't be one of them
Denise Chilton is an Executive Business and Life coach, accomplished author, speaker and entrepreneur. She worked for in corporate banking for more than 15 years before launching her own coaching business in 2010. She has built a business working with women who want to make a change in their lives, empowering them to experience life to the full.
In 2017, she published her first book Suddenly Single: How to overcome heartbreak and find your way to a new happy ever after. Suddenly Single is a guide written partially from personal experience to help women to heal healthily after a significant relationship comes to an unexpected end.
Denise was also awarded ‘Mentor of the Year 2017’ by the Northern Power Women for her work with women in underrepresented industries like STEM.