If I asked 10 different business owners the same question, I’m sure I would get 10 different answers…

What do you wish you knew 10 years ago in your business?

Even though I’ve been a business owner for 35+ years, I’m still learning.

I don’t mean that I’m learning new tactics or strategies, but I continue to learn about myself and entrepreneurship.

Although I think I could write a whole book on this topic, here are the top ten things I wish I knew 10 years ago in hopes that they will be helpful for your journey.

1.  Being an entrepreneur is hard work… but you need to set aside time for self-care. What I mean is that you have to schedule self-care into your calendar and commit to taking the time. (BTW – I even schedule 2-hours a day for lunch — that way I can get out of the office and go outside).

2.  In order for your business to grow – you have to grow as a person and as a leader. I had to invest in myself for mindset work; business skills and determine my own definition of success! What is your definition of success? Is it specific and written out? Have you built your business to achieve this success? (Most people don’t build their business this way!) How have you grown in the last year?

3.  Some stories we tell ourselves aren’t true! And the stories I was telling myself kept me from growing my business. Very often our inner critical (or itty bitty shitty committee) tells us things that aren’t really true.

For instance, I kept telling myself that I couldn’t possibly coach corporate leaders because I had never worked corporate. I wasn’t one of those former marketing executives from Disney or Coke. Truthfully, I had never worked in corporate so how could I possibly teach corporate leaders anything! However, I was a solopreneur who built several different businesses and always made them profitable.

My inner critic kept me from reaching out to corporate leaders to help them grow & scale their businesses. But when I did – I soon realized that large corporations often have the same problems as the solopreneurs I was coaching.

When I let go of my story, I was able to coach corporate leaders and help them skyrocket profits and get back more of their precious time!

Is it possible that you are telling yourself stories that are keeping you from missed opportunities?

4.  STOP spending fruitless time on social media, free webinars, endless podcasts, downloading every freebie…only not to implement a DARN thing.

Information is just information – it’s nothing if you aren’t implementing!

I did all the above! It was time wasted going down every rabbit hole in every direction.

It didn’t allow me to be me!

Are you just information gathering or are you implementing?

5.  Some people won’t like me (and I’m darn good about that!). The truth is that good marketing should polarize your audience! It should magnetize qualified customers who have values similar to yours.

So don’t be afraid to take a stand; voice your opinion; and build a brand that is different from others in your industry.

My stand – stop chasing the money; focus on your definition of success and build your business so that you actually achieve that definition.

Do you have a point of view that is different from most people in your industry that allows you to stand out in the marketplace?

6.  Not every client will do the work that’s required. It was a difficult lesson for me to learn that even though clients might pay me (their coach), they won’t always commit to doing the work. In fact, I finally gained the confidence to FIRE clients who don’t want to do the work. It’s a waste of their money and my time.

Do you have the confidence to fire a client?

7.  Everyone has a gift, zone of genius, a brilliance! Helping business leaders grow & scale their business is always about helping them see their own zone of genius and to work ONLY in their zone (leaving everything else to their team).

The difficulty with this one is that “it’s difficult to see the picture if you are the frame’. In other words – most often, we can’t see our own true brilliance! Others can.

Are you working in your true zone of genius?

Has someone helped you identify it?

8.  Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable is how we grow. I feel sad when I hear business owners stop making progress because “it feels uncomfortable”; “it doesn’t feel right”.

But I want to be clear here … there’s a huge difference between something that brings you joy & fun and something that is frustrating. Let me explain…

In 2014, I started hosting my own live events entitled “SHIFT” and then wrote a book based on the principles I taught. Hosting those events and writing that book – they scared me to death!!! But my coach knew that ‘teaching’ at those events was my true brilliance! It’s where I shone and how people connected with me.

Are you willing to try new things and feel ‘uncomfortable’?

9.  My definition of success has changed over the years! And that’s permitted. In my early years of coaching, I dreamt of building a million-dollar business so that I could impact ONE million women business owners! However, I soon realized I didn’t need to earn $1M to impact that many women – for instance, writing my books has allowed me to impact more people at a time.

The 2nd part of this is that this January as my husband retired, and I wanted to spend more time with him, I had to give myself permission to change my definition of success! Also, I had to give myself permission to let some things in my business go – for instance, live events and group programs.

Have you given yourself permission to change your definition of success over the years?

10.  Be prepared to constantly be changing! A month or so ago I learned a new word … Kaizen – which is Japanese for continued change and growth. So dear readers, this means not only will you be changing but so will your business. Be prepared for constant change and improvement.

Things that constantly change include:

  • Your marketing message
  • Your website
  • Your social media
  • Your team
  • Your systems & processes
  • Your offers

This doesn’t necessarily mean you create new offers or a completely new website but it might mean tweaking and narrowing its focus!

Have you improved, tweaked, and narrowed the focus in your business?

There you have it… the top 10 things I wish I knew 10 years ago.

Could you create a list like this and share it with your clients?

I’m sure they’d be interested in hearing about your learnings!

YES, YOU CAN,

Diana

P.S. I want to thank my friend Debbie Adams for her inspiration on this post!

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