Whether we are moms or aunties, we obviously know how to nurture the young beings in our lives so they will grow and develop properly.
In other areas of our lives, where we are trying to grow, sometimes we hold back.
Today’s case in point: a business we are trying to start on the side of an otherwise comfortable life.
Generally speaking, if you are the sole breadwinner in your situation, like Jackie, this post is not for you.
Jackie is a single mom with a full time job that covers her living expenses while she is starting her business on the side. Women like Jackie tend to move faster and make progress more quickly.
Even though it is not easy, it may involve taking on debt or cutting back uncomfortably, Jackie feels empowered to spend money. She doesn’t have to negotiate with a life partner.
She knows that she can reasonably expect her existing salary to continue while she gets the foundation in place for a new venture.
Finally, Jackie knows that replacing the income from her current job is the key to making the transition to working for herself, so she’s more open to taking risks to get there sooner.
This makes for very busy days and weekends, of course. But it is an almost perfect combination of cushion and pressure cooker to add up to a huge advantage, even though it doesn’t always feel like it.
This isn’t just my opinion.
Why do you think the fastest rate of business creation, by a long shot, in the United States is coming from African American and immigrant women? These are 2 sectors of women in the US that are likely already working a day job, see opportunity in entrepreneurship, and need to show progress quickly on their side business because they don’t have much of a resource cushion.
They are showing the rest of us the way.
This post is for women starting a business from a place of abundance - a dual income situation, or a situation where one partner makes good money and the household doesn’t really “need” a second income.
In other words, a nice cushion.
On the one hand, that sounds like a dream scenario, right?
Well, it isn’t always, and especially for women.
The first point is obvious. It can undermine a sense of urgency. Entrepreneur magazine says this of people (not just women) with a cushion:
You’ll naturally consider your startup more of a hobby than a living, and you’ll be less motivated to nurture it to fruition. Rather than being motivated by the sink-or-swim nature of sole entrepreneurship, your safety net will keep you from fully mentally investing in your enterprise.*
The second point is more gender specific. Women usually deal with some level of guilt, self-doubt and fear. I'm not saying that's you. But if it rings a bell, read on.
Let’s say Viv has worked part time for years, and her spouse’s income pays the bills. She prioritized a flexible part-time schedule to accommodate her family's schedule. As her kids get older, she’s ready to scale her business, or perhaps start a new one.
In this case, Viv has more hesitation and reluctance to spend money on the business than Jackie does, because that would mean spending the money that her spouse makes, and likely some of their savings, on her business.
She also has to claim more of her time as her own, time that her family is used to her spending on their priorities.
Those can be hard conversations to have so Viv tries to save money by doing almost everything herself, at odd hours and late at night.
This leads to a tough cycle:
This isn’t growing your business on the side, this is sucking the enjoyment out of a hobby while keeping it on life support.
I’m projecting here, because I was Viv in many ways. I’ve interviewed dozens of women about their business dreams, too, and there are a lot of Vivs out there.
I also see women in dual income relationships who make good money do the same thing. The family takes amazing vacations, but suddenly when it comes to spending money on a VA to support her in a fledgling business, they can’t afford that.
I’m not here to tell anyone how to run their life, hobby, side business, or finances. If you are feeling frustrated or discontented, I am here to encourage you to make your choices and enjoy them, and not let creeping expectations undermine you.
I have heard women in this cycle express guilt over “not growing fast enough”. It’s a catch 22, they don’t spend money on the right things to help get them to where they can grow, or even fail, faster.
Wait, did I just say fail? Yes, I did. No one wants to think that their business is going to fail, especially if they are spending money that they don’t feel is “their money” on it.
But the reality is, sometimes money is not the problem. It’s the wasting of TIME that is the real robbery.
You do want to find out what is wrong with your idea sooner rather than later. If you have a cushion, there is a danger of spending 2 years “working on a business idea” that is bound for failure, rather than spend 6 months in an inexpensive process testing that idea, and move on or adjust if the first version “fails”.
When a side business is a good thing.
There is nothing wrong with a side business. I just talked to a friend in real estate about video for her business.
She said, "No, no! Don't tempt me, I don't want to be any busier than I am now."
That kind of clarity is healthy.
The problem is when our ego (and possibly others) tells us that isn't good enough, we harbor expectations around it being more than that, but in reality we don’t feed it enough - we starve it’s growth.
This is a recipe for discontent. Been there, done that.
1) Accept and enjoy that its a side business, part time for now. Have fun learning and experimenting.
2 ) Go for it.
I encourage you to consider #2.
If you are fortunate to live in the US, sitting on cushions created by education and decent income, and you want to build a business, consider taking on a little more risk to move faster.
I live in Mexico City and have traveled extensively.
One reason I live here is because it is much less expensive for me while I build my business. I chose not to pursue alimony during my divorce even though there was huge disparity between my earnings and my ex-husband's income (partly due to the Viv effect I just described above).
I started over with no source of support outside of savings, side work from online video editing, and fledgling revenue from some new ventures.
I only mention that to let you know I'm walking my talk, I'm not "shoulding" you and suggesting you do something I have not done, and continue to do.
Mexico City is filled with small entrepreneurs and thousands of family businesses. It is inspiring but it is not glamorous. Prices and wage are quite low. The retirement safety net does not exist unless you work for the government or big companies for years - those jobs are hard to get. It is long hours and a lot of hard work to make ends meet. The banks are terrible.
I also currently share my life with a man who grew up here without much money or good social connections. In Mexico, you need one or the other to get ahead.
Living outside of my country, seeing life here through his eyes, has shown me that even with the barriers (racial, gender) that still exist in the US and other developed countries, first world women have incredible opportunities and resources at their fingertips that women in other countries do not.
This is what the immigrants to our country see clearly. The American Dream for them is not home ownership. It is the freedom to start a small business in an environment where the rules are clear, their investment is protected by a functioning rule of law, and they are supported by a healthy banking system.
This is not meant to guilt anyone in the US. I'm also not saying that American women are automatically better off in every way. I like the way Latinas make time for friends, family and leisure. I don’t miss the hyper-consumeristic, over-scheduled pace of my homeland.
It’s simply to give you some perspective and encourage you to consider taking on a bit more risk to move faster.
Because quite frankly, ladies, the world needs you out here, sooner rather than later.
So if you are ready trade in a little cushion and grow your business, check out this post 3 Smart Steps for Women to Move a Side Business to Center Stage.
Dear Ladies: I've talked to many women, I think we are all a little fatigued with the Sell Sell Sell approach online and in our email inboxes these days.
Sometimes its hard to know what to do, especially when you have a lot of questions and the main one is "Where Do I Start?"
Before spending a lot of money on an expensive coach or complex online course with thousands of other people, be sure you are ready.
But how do you know?
One of the first things we do when we want to start a business is look for advice and guidance. This is natural.
But just having a lot of questions does not mean you are ready for most “how to start a business” programs. Let me explain.
If you are looking on the internet, you will quickly come across advice, programs and coaches with huge budgets to advertise. (That, by the way, is not me. Like you, my budget doesn’t have a bunch of zeros behind it!)
There are some terrific resources out there for sure! You are likely on the email list of several of them. I know I am and I’m grateful for them.
The only problem is this: the failure rate for new businesses in the US is at least 50% in the first 5 years.
One big reason new businesses fail is that they run out of money, partly because people spend money on the wrong things, first.
Things like expensive complex business programs with a zillion other people, or high end coaching packages.
I’ve interviewed dozens of women with business ideas. One of them, we’ll call her Andrea, signed up for an expensive, complex business program online. She fretted about it and didn’t want to tell her partner or family.
She dove in, became overwhelmed, and quit, joining the estimated 40- 90% of people who enroll in online courses and don’t complete them.
Not only that, she felt guilty for having spent the money.
This is the opposite of how you should feel when you take the first step toward starting your business.
Why did Andrea have this outcome in a program where so many others take their ideas to the next level?
She wasn’t ready.
The key is you have to be ready.
How do you know?
You DON'T need an expensive multi-week program with thousands of other people or an executive coach to help you answer the most basic questions:
If you answered NO to 4 or more, than the answer is no, you should not sign up for an expensive coaching package or business education with a zillion other people.
The odds of your feeling lost, overwhelmed and quitting are high. I have talked to several women who have had this experience.
I don’t want that to be the outcome of your first baby steps with your DreamBiz idea!
You can find out the answers to all of the above in about a month, without spending a ton of time and money you don’t really have.
How do you find all of this out in an organized way, when you are working full time and don’t have a budget with lots of zeros and money falling out of your pocket?
The DreamBiz Test Drive miniseries - A FREE, 5 part video miniseries of short videos and some helpful downloads that walk you through the 5 steps to lay a very SMART foundation of the most important pieces of your business.
The total series is about 30 minutes long, you can binge watch it on your lunch break if you like.
We talk about you, your customer, your network, your Boss Mindset, how to visualize your business, and how to take your idea on a playdate.
You can sign up here: DreamBiz Video Miniseries
THIS IS WHAT IT IS NOT:
This is not a quickie offer to get you into an expensive coaching package or business education program with thousands of other people.
We are not selling anything with this offer at the end of your miniseries. There is no invitation to a sales webinar coming your way tomorrow.
If you want to join our small online Facebook group community after your miniseries, awesome! Feel free to ask us for the invitation, we would love to have you but we won’t be bugging you to join.
You won’t receive a deluge of sales emails from us or from other people - "influencers" - selling a course for us. Seriously, is that what you gave your email address to them for? So they could help yet another person sell something to you and profit from the referral?
We will put you on our email list to keep in touch. If at any time you don’t want to hear from us, simply unsubscribe or let us know and we’ll do it for you.
Thanks so much for reading through this. We hope you enjoy the miniseries if this seems like a fit for you.
Oh, and like I mentioned, my budget doesn’t have a bunch of zeros behind it. The wealthiest coaches dominate the online ad space - have you noticed you only see the same 1 or 2 coaches or companies in your feed?
I’m not complaining, that’s business, right?
One way you can help our mission to let women know they have everything they need right now to explore the important fundamentals of their business idea - for free - is to share this with a friend who might benefit.
Here is the page to sign up for the Video MiniSeries
All my best to you and for you -
The full DreamBiz Test Drive course is closed right now (and by the way, is not expensive or crowded with thousands of other people, either.) We will respectfully keep you posted on future course opportunities later in the year.
I hope you have had a great week. I’ve been settling in again after the holidays. I wanted to share a quick story with you. Well, and a secret, too.
I’m wondering if you do this too:
I have some dream goals I write in the margins of my sensible plans, because I’m not sure how they will manifest...
Which really means - I’m not sure I should even ask for it -
Which really means - my fear dragons are hissing and telling me I don’t deserve it.
One of my dream goals is “global entrepreneur”. I wrote it, sort of off to the side, during a goal-casting session 3 years ago on a mountaintop in Montana, house sitting with 2 sweet yellow labs, fresh from ending a 26 year marriage, no permanent address for the first time in my life, trying to come up with a plan for what was next.
I had no idea at that time that I would now be living in Mexico City - with a bona fide apt lease, a 4 year residency card and a guapo Mexican.
I had no idea that I would be accepted into a fabulous program for women entrepreneurs and meet a woman from South Africa.
And of course I had no idea back then that I would see with her last month when I was in London, where she is based. She has projects and contacts all over the world. We talked about possible collaborations in Mexico. She’s agreed to mentor me with one of my projects in the US for 6 months.
After she left I just sat there, thinking, “Did that just happen? Did I just have a business meeting in London?”
How about you?
When was the last time you had one of those “Am I here, now?” moments, when your reality perfectly lines up with your purpose?
I returned to Mexico City, pretty much the opposite of London - colorful, chaotic, messy capital of the New World.
I was met at the airport by my sweet man, who, since the first time we had coffee a few years ago, still looks at me like he can’t believe I’m real and refuses to let me carry my bags.
He drove me home to a spotless apartment with soup on the stove. I ended a very long day and trip with extreme gratitude for a comfy bed and his warm presence, too.
None of this has transpired according to a rigid “plan”. I don't know why, but the key IS in the planning, even though the plan changes often. Eisenhower said, "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
That is because we don’t have a crystal ball or control over the world, but we do have control over our actions.
Oprah is a fabulous inspiration - she is a master at striking a balance between long term vision and being fully present in what is happening right now.
So, now I do have a long term vision that informs my short term plans. I have been planning with intention since that day on the mountain top in Montana, and staying flexible when things go off track for a bit.
There are 2 ways to stick to your plan to reach your goals:
I’m offering free Mirror Your Brilliance sessions through January 19. I've had some questions about what that means.
What will we do in your session?
Everything starts with your “why”. That is why I’ve included my favorite chart of values. If its been awhile since you did a values check in, take a look and pick your top 3.
Lets talk money, shall we?
Now don't get stressed, I know its December! Hello Uncle Visa!
I have good news for you though.
First the bad news: It costs between $3000 and $30,000 to start a business in the U.S. And, the failure rate for new business is about 50%. (source: US Small Business Administration)
One of the reasons businesses fail is that they run out of money, sometimes because they spend money on the wrong things at the start.
Here is the good news: In the DreamBiz phase, you do not have to spend a lot of money to get the most important information you need to know BEFORE you start your business.
Information that can reduce your risk of failure.
Information like "What does my customer really want? What is my competition? How do I really feel about this idea after all?"
There are SO many things you DO NOT have to spend money on at first.
This can be confusing because we get advice that we need this, then that, and then more of all of it.
So, to simplify we have created a visual of the Business Box. You should spend almost all of your time in the pre-business phase OUTSIDE of the Business Box.
We’ve prepared a short fun video to explain. We hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post them up in the Facebook group.
I hear this all the time - "I’ve never started a business before."
Or, "I don’t have any experience so I’m not ready."
Yes, it can absolutely help to have experience, not doubt about it.
But think about it, if we all had to have experience to start a business, there would be a serious shortage of new, cool businesses out there!
Martha Stewart had no experience in magazine publishing. Jessica Alba (The Honest Company) had no experience with selling consumer products and now her company is worth over 1 billion dollars!
Those are big examples, of course. But I know you could walk around the shopping district in your town and find small business owners who had no experience before they started.
In fact, that is exactly what you should do. Why?
What does experience give you? Knowledge and contacts.
You can acquire knowledge. Even more quickly, you can start to get out and meet people in the field that you are interested in.
Tony Robbins advises us to find someone who has done what we want to do and learn from their experience. Makes sense, no?
Lets see, you know how to be curious, ask questions and take some notes, right?
Then you have all the experience you need to get started right now.
I talk more about growing your social capital in the video above. Oh, and how it might grow your social life in a really interesting way, too! It did mine!
Well here you have a mini-case study and a bit of a Fail in action.
A few weeks ago we did a soft re-brand from DreamBiz Test Drive to DreamBiz Blueprint and ran a couple of promotions under the new brand.
The thinking was that DreamBiz Blueprint would speak more directly to what is going through the minds of our audience - are they really thinking, "Gee, I wish I could test my idea"? Or are they thinking, "I wish I knew where to start" - something a blueprint implies more clearly perhaps than a test drive.
We did not go behind the scenes and change all of the course materials, all our social media "handles" (accounts on FB, Twitter etc) or much else.
That's what made it a "soft" rebrand. Why?
1) honestly, part of it was a lack of time to implement all the changes
2) lack of conviction that the new name would be measurably better.
Here was the strategic error:
Its OK to play out a hunch. Try to keep the process like, well, a mini test drive - we tested only the logo change and name for a couple of promotions, and not everything else in the business associated with the name. We'll still use the term blueprint as a generic description for the step by step nature of the course.
Viva la DreamBiz Test Drive!
You are sitting at your desk, or on your couch, looking out the window, wishing you were working on something that was engaging and making a difference but not sure where to start on your ideas.
We have all been there. Every idea starts out fuzzy and unformed, confusing because we are looking at something we don't have all the pieces to yet..
Try not to let that energy have the last word. Take a few minutes and get inspired by women who have started small and found success.
I particularly loved this video, its from a series called My Business Story. It has an unexpected zing related to her first client that might cause you to tear up, but that also beautifully illustrates a point that can be hard to see, especially if the view is from your couch or cubicle.
When you build a business around your inner gifts and passion or motivation, the energy that flows through your business becomes a vehicle for connecting to others and the world in ways you will not expect.
Do you have a story that inspires you and keeps you working toward your DreamBiz? If so, let us know in the comments below.
On a girlfriends' trip to Sedona, the convo of course drifted for a bit to our dreams for the future.
I was impressed with my friend when she said, "You know, I have always been drawn to the Southwest and thought for a long time I might want to retire here. Now, with some recent changes in my life, I'm thinking, why would I wait? I could start to look into ways to move here sooner!"
Bingo. Exactly. Right On. Damn Straight.
The key is small steps. As this video talks about, no one goes from A to Z in one step. NO ONE. What you want to do is avoid being the person that won't even take the tiny step to B because you can't see Z.
Here is the interesting thing - if you knew exactly how to jump into the life you want, you would have already done it, right?
So think of the exploration process as just that - exploring. Here is a link to a blog post with some great tips. You could compress this timeline into 6 months if you've been thinking about transitioning into the Boss of Me for awhile now.
The DreamBiz Test Drive is different because it SHOWS you what will work about your idea before you dive in, gives you 4 steps to test your idea, the shows you how to AVOID the 3 biggest reasons new businesses fail. all this BEFORE you spend a lot of time and money on an official business launch.
Our FOCUS on the early, or "ideation" stage, and on COLLABS for you makes us different. The video above talks a bit more about that.
There are literally thousands of sources of information for people starting businesses. I should know, I ran across at least a couple hundred of them in my own journey of exploring my ideas.
What I didn't run across was one single resources that made sense for the stage I was in at that time - with a few ideas in my head, very little clarity about where to start, and no organized way of testing the waters before I dove in all the way, spending a lot of time and money "starting a business.'
You may have seen this graphic already on the website or on our Facebook page:
It illustrates many of the activities in the Business Box - these are the areas you will find lots of advice about online. Yes, they are important but most of them are logistical tasks you need to take to start a business - I think of them as Phase 2 activities.
The place to spend your time getting clear and getting organized is outside the business box - which in reality are the areas that matter, first. You can find out a lot about your business idea - BEFORE you start your business. The video below tells more:
What is your biggest challenge in getting started? Let us know in the comments below.
We are offering webinars about the DreamBiz Test Drive next week. You can learn more by visiting our VIP Portal.