by Natalie MacNeil
For anyone who knows me, they know the thing I’m most passionate about is helping women entrepreneurs do amazing things in the world. That’s why it pains me to know that while women entrepreneurs are starting far more businesses than men, our male counterparts are outperforming us again and again. I want to see those statistics change over the next few years and I’m on a mission to make that happen. I hate to make generalizations but the more I travel the world working with women entrepreneurs, the more similarities I see holding us back.
The choices you make…
I usually find that people in an unhappy position are usually there because of a decision they made, not someone else. Sometimes it is hard for people to recognize their errors and take responsibility. We get comfortable with pain and just ignore it or blame it on someone else.
The reality is that while someone can indeed cause you pain, most of the time it is you allowing them to do it! Have a partner that is driving you nuts? Feel overwhelmed? Quickly losing steam? Read below for some tips on what might have happened and what to do about it now. And don’t feel bad. I can only offer this advice now because I have made some of these mistakes myself!
Business partners are not for moral support.
What I mean to say is that going into business with your: husband, mother, brother, aunt, cousin or even your best friend will lead to disaster most of the time. Why? Because pre-existing feelings of trust and companionship are not how to choose a business partner.
Having said this, I do encourage you to work with a partner and I dedicate many pages in my book to describing what to look for.
Don’t give the milk away for free!
There is an art to promoting a business, product or even yourself with free things. “Free” is a great attention grabber and when deliberately applied it can be a powerful motivator.
However, women seem to want to give away much more than they can afford. It’s in our nature. Sure, it makes us feel great at that moment but what about a week from now when you’re drowning in responsibilities and pulling out your hair? What about when you pull your earnings sheet and find you have been making a whopping $7.50 per hour for all your hard work?
Learn to rein it in. Don’t be too quick to give big discounts or offer free service. Learn to do this and you might suffer a bit in the moment but be greatly rewarded in the end. Besides, if you hit your goals you can have all the money and free time to spend on people that you wish!
Too many women are working IN their businesses, not ON their businesses.
You have not tasted the sweetness of business until you can step back, delegate and grow. If you are spending all your time with your head down in the work, where are you being the boss? How are you expanding your business?
This is a hard lesson for most and it will burn you out quickly. If you can’t figure out how to get out from inside your business you need ideas, perspective and a bit of consulting probably wouldn’t hurt.
No matter how much you hate numbers, you can’t ignore them in your business.
What was your revenue last quarter compared to this quarter? What are your current, monthly operating expenses? What was your net profit last month?
If you can’t quickly look up these answers, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Intelligent, informed decisions beat educated guesses every time. Take control of your business by getting a clear understanding of your finances. If it overwhelms you, hire a bookkeeper or look for a solution quickly. Hobby shops guess, businesses know.
Don’t settle for less than your fullest potential.
Many women need to be dared to dream big. You may not think it but you could be selling yourself short in the dream arena! I have to ask too many women, repeat¬edly, “But what does your business look like in your wildest dreams?” Would you believe getting an honest answer is like pulling teeth?
The reason to dream big is motivation and passion. Have your end goal be something that truly excites you and then stop at nothing to achieve it!
If you want to get all fired up about your business, I invite you to check out my free video training series for entrepreneurs, available until May 14th, 2013. Check it out here.
Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award-winning media entrepreneur, Amazon bestselling author, and the Founder of SheTakesOnTheWorld.com.