Want to know my story?
When getting going in business it's always easy to see the success of others and compare it to your own, making you feel..... well, inadequate.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received in business is,
" Do not compare another person's chapter eight to your chapter one."
Meaning, you are at a point of development relevant to yourself and yourself alone. Comparing yourself to others is a pointless exercise, because their journey entails different stages of progression.
If you're new to business or changing your focus, growing new skills or developing into new markets - this is particularly key.
In 2013/2014 when I started my first business I was prone to making the "comparison" mistake. For me, big learnings and breakthroughs entailed setting up my first web pages, emailing my first list of contacts, creating and selling my first offer. It was daunting to see peers selling copious amounts of product, winning awards, getting profiled in the press and speaking on stage when I was just figuring out how to set up Twitter and what 'above the line' meant.
Over the next few years, I learned a LOT about business and my market, corporates, by running meetups, events and workshops. Gradually I began to acquire new skills like social media marketing, pitching, submitting proposals and stakeholder engagement.
What started as a fog of confusion, slowly, slowly started to clear as I understood more and more about sales and marketing.
The journey was not easy at all but I began to see that others who made it all look easy, often had foundations and skills that made their "business launch" much smoother. They were at chapter seven or eight in their knowledge and skills while I was laying the foundations and catching up.
You see I started with an English Lit degree and 8 years of teaching English to international students, migrants and refugees. Business was like learning Ancient Greek - a mess of codes and symbols and ways of thinking that I didn't understand. I literally had to learn from scratch.
I saw copywriters and webinar experts speak of 6 and 7 figure successes and learned to note what lay behind this success was often 10 years + of various business ventures, some successful and some not, that laid the groundwork for their current achievements.
Of course there are always 'wunderkind' who at 18 years of age launch million dollar businesses but I learned to look to those who grew their businesses by struggle and learning rather than the overnight successes.
I had to undo some serious self defeating beliefs about money and business before even starting to build routines and disciplines that would make a good business succeed. My bookshelf grew and the number of online courses and programmes I invested in stacked up. Each step along the way I found my confidence grew in small degrees. I was writing my chapter two and three.
In 2017, I risked significant financial burden to myself to host an international conference for corporates to share pro bono and skilled volunteering practices. Only AFTER I had committed myself 100% to the venture did funding and corporate sponsorship come through to the tune of 30K Euro. The exposure and learning from this venture propelled me forward to be invited to global events and to move abroad to continue my learning and professional growth. This was my chapter four and five.
Now fully self employed and running a business that I love, I am still investing in coaching and online courses to develop my skills. I use my evenings and weekends to attend webinars and read recommended books on sales, funnel building, email marketing and more. I can still see there are 100s of chapters ahead of me particularly when I see leaders in my market speak of their achievements and successes.
The difference is that now I see their chapters as something I can write for myself and in turn use this learning to help other business owners solve more and more difficult challenges in their businesses.
No matter where you are in business, success should be measured by whether you are better than you were 12 months ago, not whether you are better than your competitors. With this objective you cannot help but be great at what you do, provide massive value to your clients and grow a successful business.
To your success !