Misconceptions about freedom in business

There are two competing views about freedom.

  1. On one end is the soloprenuer – the person who does all the work themselves. If they don’t show up work doesn’t get done.
  2. On the other end is the owner who has structured a business that runs and grows without them. They have a team and structure where they don’t have to show up for work to get done.

Everyone talks about the second option as being a ‘real’ business – that it should be the ultimate goal of every business owner. And that if you fall into the first category you don’t have a business you have a “glorified job”.

That’s such BS.

Being in business is all about the freedom of CHOICE. The choice to do what we want. When we want to do it. And with the people we want to work with.

I was a soloprener for the first 10 years of my business and I loved it! Yes, I had to show up to do the work or I didn’t get paid. But it was on my terms. I set my own schedule. I (mostly) did things I wanted to be doing. I got to work with some amazing clients.

Beats a job any day in my opinion!

I shifted to a leveraged business model in 2009 and had to learn (the hard way) how to shift my role in the company. How to get the right support and structure in place so I could do LESS of certain things and MORE of others. How to become a CEO.

14 years later I am still working. I am still doing. Yes, I take weekends off and don’t work myself to the bone. I have an amazing team that takes care of the day-to-day running of my business. We have worked hard to set up solid systems to create ease for all of us. Any of us can take an unplugged vacation and the business runs fine in our absence.

And I’m still here. I’m showing up in my business.

I want to work. I like to work! And I dare say most of us feel the same… eating bonbons on the beach all day would bore the life out of me in short order. (what the heck is a bonbon anyhow?)

It’s more about doing the right things – and knowing that what we do makes the impact we want to make – vs not having to do anything at all. And making sure that our business serves us as much as it serves our clients.

The best thing anyone has said to me lately… (almost made me cry!)

I hired someone recently to help create marketing content for my Certification Accelerator programs (where I help folks create certifications).

When we were messaging back and forth about getting started she said to me:

“I’ve got your back”

I’m not kidding when I say I almost burst into tears! (And I am NOT someone who cries easily…)

I could feel it. She is ‘in’ it with me. She is engaged and really cares about the work we are doing together. I have total faith that she is going to bring her best to the table.

And it occurred to me… what an amazing gift to offer to our clients!

To say – and mean – that we’ve got their back. In whatever way makes sense for what it is we do and what we offer.

If I can be real with you for a moment – and potentially controversial in saying so…

There is a lot of discussion in our online world about setting firm boundaries and clear expectations. And I am ALL for this when it comes to creating healthy relationships and an enjoyable business.

And yet – there are also times when those boundaries can get in the way.

We stick so firmly to “how it should be” that we aren’t able to meet our clients where they are. This can be especially true in moments of struggle or when things aren’t working out.

To be clear, I do not at all mean to do anything and everything your clients ask for and bend over backward for them at all times. Heck no… been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It almost sucked the life out of me.

But there is something about being willing to go the extra mile when needed. To bend our own rules when things are tough. To be willing to jump into the mess with our clients and help them figure it out. <– THAT is a true gift for any client.

Let’s not let boundaries get in the way of caring! Of doing the best work we can for our clients (within the scope of what they’ve hired us to do.)

Let’s perhaps even look for ways where we can bring a little more “I’ve got your back” into the mix.

I’m curious what comes up for you here. Have you experienced working with someone who ‘has your back’? Does this make you go ‘hmm’ when it comes to how you are showing up for your clients and where you may be able to bring a bit more of this to the table?

It certainly has me thinking as well…

At the end of the day we are all human – and one of the greatest gifts we can give to our clients is showing we care.

What were you doing 10 years ago? (my story)

During my morning scroll of Facebook the other day I came across a post that asked this question:

“What were you doing 10 years ago?”

I paused for a moment and realized – it was 10 years ago that I decided to divorce my husband, and we officially separated in June of 2013.

10 years ago… woah! In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago and in other ways it feels like just yesterday.

One thing I remember so vividly about that time is wondering (and worrying) if I would be able to support myself and my girls fully through my business.

I started my business back in 1999 and up until the time of my separation it had always been both me and my husband contributing to the household expenses.

During my marriage I had the luxury – and safety net – of a spouse with whom I shared the cost of living. We both brought in about the same amount of money and when we separated it was certainly a big EEK to realize…

“Yipes – it’s now totally up to me. Can I do this? Can my business make enough money to support us?”

Spoiler alert – it did and has since then. 🙂

It really hit me when I saw that post the other day – my business has been the sole provider for me and my girls for 10 years now.

This is something to be proud of. To celebrate. In the hustle and bustle of daily life – and the ups and downs of business – it can be easy to forget and really own that I did that. Yahoo me! (pats self on back)

Is there any big secret or words of wisdom to impart here re: what it takes to survive and (mostly) thrive for 10 years in business?

No secret by any means. And any words of wisdom would be things I’m sure you’ve heard many times before. (Although I know we all need reminders of these things from time to time.)

Be committed to making it work. Getting a job was never an option in my mind so it wasn’t even something on my radar in those low “eek” moments (which we all face from time to time.) So my only option was to make my business work.

That being said – I also want to acknowledge that my business was already established at the time of my divorce. My journey was more about how to expand on the foundation I’d already built in my business vs. starting a new business. The latter is a more challenging time in many ways, and it might make sense to have a job or a ‘side gig’ in those early days.

Don’t be afraid of hard work. There are times when it won’t be easy. When you will have to do stuff that you’d rather not be doing. Even as you reach certain milestones in your success journey there will be new and different ‘hard’ things to deal with. It’s not uncommon to see folks get stalled/stuck when they are expecting things to be easier (and resisting the work that needs to be done.)

Become great at asking for help. There is NO way I could have accomplished this on my own. I’ve had the support of my team, my licensed trainings partners and various coaches and experts along the way. As a ‘recovering control freak’ asking for help does not come naturally for me – it was a skill I had to learn.

Have faith. When I think back on the low moments of the past 10 years (and yes, there have been plenty of those… it’s not all sunshine and roses) I had faith in a couple of things. I have faith in myself – knowing that I am a smart, tenacious and capable woman who is good at figuring things out. I also have faith in a higher power to guide the way and to know that we will always be taken care of. I’m not religious but I am spiritual and have definitely leaned into knowing and trusting that the universe/God has my back (when I am willing to do my part.)

I’m curious – what were you doing 10 years ago?

When boredom shows up in your business…

Boredom is simply a sign that it’s time to explore what is next for you.

I used to think that there was a magical place in my business journey where I would “get there” and be eternally content. And once I arrived there everything would be smooth sailing from then on out.

In my 24 (!) years of being in business I’ve come to realize “there” doesn’t exist.

Because we are meant to continually grow and expand. To learn more. To try new things. I’ve landed “there” many times and every single time boredom would creep up. Even if I tried to stop it!

“Come on Tina, can’t you just be content with this?”

I’ve tried to ignore it and just keep on keeping on but ended up feeling like a slowly deflating balloon.

Part of the journey has been giving myself permission to recognize that I’m bored and that it’s totally OK to make changes!

This doesn’t have to mean throwing our business out the door. Even simple changes can free us up to explore more exciting things.

  • Hire someone to take over a key role in the business that you’ve been hanging onto.
  • Bring out a new offer for the folks you are working with already.
  • Start talking about things that you don’t normally talk about with your audience.

One of the best things that ever happened to my business was when I got bored of teaching my Certified OBM training.

First of all it was hard to admit that I was bored – because I loved my students and being a part of their journey! And admitting I was bored felt like I would be letting folks down. But when I was honest with myself I had done the training so many times that it wasn’t challenging anymore.

This led to building a team of licensed Certified OBM Trainers in 2018 who became the lead trainers and took over all the things I was tired of doing. This model has worked beautifully in that it freed me up for other things while also providing my training partners the opportunity to do what they love and build a thriving business around it. (Shout out to my training partners Keldie Jamieson, Shar and Wade Langin & Amanda Hyde-Pierce).

Bored business owners are some of my favorite folks to work with as we get to really dig in and look for ways to spice things up!

I’m curious – what aspects of your business are you bored with right now?

People are still buying (just not the same way)

Most everyone I’ve been talking with lately has seen this trend occurring – especially in our online marketplace.

What used to work for sales is not working the same way as it was a year ago… or even a few months ago.

Put simply, buying habits are changing for a lot of folks.

On one hand, this can be a freaky thing… especially if we (or our clients) find ourselves in a cash crunch based on fewer sales than we were anticipating (ie: a launch that didn’t bring the same results as last time.) Combine that with the potential of a looming global recession that is being talked about daily in the news and it’s easy to think “yipes! maybe people aren’t buying anymore?”

People are still buying… just not in the same way.

I certainly don’t mean to sugarcoat anything here – especially if you or your clients are currently struggling. There are certainly some industries and businesses legitimately struggling right now.

But I do want to encourage you to also look at it from a different perspective:

When the marketplace changes it invites us as business owners to dig deeper, get creative and look at other strategies to bring in sales.

There are a couple of things that I’ve noticed…

Folks are taking more TIME to make buying decisions. Many of us are simply burnt out and tired – especially at this time of year – and we aren’t willing or able to make decisions in the moment. Now if we are used to or expecting the ‘quick sale’ (ie: lots of folks signing up during a launch) this can feel like a big problem.

I spoke with a woman last week who referred to this as the “slow yes”, which I thought was such a beautiful way to describe it. People may need more time to make a buying decision – so how can you work with them through the buying process to honor this, while also not letting them slip through the cracks? A mix of patience, persistence and solid follow-up strategies can work wonders for the “slow yes”.

Folks are being more DISCERNING with their purchases. I see this as a combination of two things – inflation and folks feeling burned by past investments. The cost of living is going up for many of us around the world, which naturally has us looking to be purposeful with our spending as we may not have as much money to spend as we used to. Likewise, if your prospects feel like they have spent a bunch of money before on past programs or coaches and didn’t get anything from it… they are naturally going to start questioning future purchases.

The solution to both of these things is the same – be crystal clear about the ROI that folks get from working with you. What exactly are they going to get as a result of joining your program or hiring you as a coach? Marketing hype is no longer enough to make the sale – we need to be able to back that up with results.

All of this to say – folks are still buying. I saw a post just this morning on Facebook about a live stream where people were buying $70K masterminds right on the call. I have colleagues that are having their best months ever (yes… even in December 😉

The money may not come as easy as it once did, but it is certainly still out there if we are willing to be creative and open to change. If we are willing to put in more effort than it might have taken before.

A loving reminder when things are moving slower than you would like

Let’s be clear… it takes time.

Despite what you see online when someone is sharing how they ‘made 3 gazillion dollars in 30 days’.

Despite what you expect of yourself when you look in the mirror and wonder why things aren’t moving as fast as you thought they would (and then wonder what is wrong with you or what you are missing…. ugh).

Despite what that coach/trainer/consultant may have promised would happen when you followed just ‘7 steps to making moola in your sleep’.

Despite what you might think – or hope – success takes time. Probably more time than you wish it would.

A flower doesn’t spring up the day after you’ve planted it. It needs water, sunshine and nutrients. It needs TIME to become the glorious plant it’s meant to be.

Success takes time.

It takes time to lay out a solid strategy (and then more time to try it, tweak it, and improve it).

It takes time to find and hire the right team, and then time to lead them to do their best work.

It takes time to do great work for your clients. Create new programs. Deliver amazing service.

Success isn’t a race, even though it can feel that way.

Success is a daily commitment.

The commitment to keep going. To show up. Every. Single. Day.

And I promise you – so long as you do that the success you seek will come to life, even if it takes longer than you thought it would.