The Career Intervention: Lessons From Peers & Other Strangers

October 15th, 2014   •   no comments   

Nearly 5 years into my business and I was slapped with the shocking realization that I had created a great job for myself.

Unfortunately, my goal was to create a great company.

Therefore, I took time off from some regular tasks, such as blogging for myself (still blog for clients, because that’s my business!), to focus on business strategy and process. Not too sexy.

Part of my process was to invite three women who were strong where I felt I was weakest. I invited them to participate in a “Career Intervention.” I was comfortable with my hours and the fairly decent income my job produced. Yet, I knew I should be making at least twice what I was making, and I needed to be more efficient with my time. But I had gone as far as I could go alone.

The women – a banker who had funded hundreds of businesses, a ghostwriter who commanded six figures to ghostwrite books for CEOs, and a woman who had grown her own PR firm from nothing to more than a dozen employees – gave me lots of great advice. One of them even guided our little group through the DISC analysis, adding an unexpected dimension.

Later, I also met one-on-one with about a half dozen other successful women – some who knew me well, some not very well, some personally knew me, others only knew me professionally – to ask them for advice.

As a result, my business doubled over the next few months. Business then plateaued, forcing me to revisit the advice that I had let slide. I’m working on making it all a natural part of my business, but for now it’s still a “practice.”

Among the most impactful advice:

  • Hire professionals – Look at what is a “time suck” for you, but would be easy for an expert – accounting, social media, news clips. I found a retired CPA looking to make some extra money, gave him a $100/mo budget and a list of things I needed to help me improve my biz. These limits have helped me focus on what is really important.

 

  • Always say “Yes,” until you absolutely have to say “No” – If someone asks me if I can do something that I am intellectually capable of doing in my field of work, I immediately say I can do it and that I’m interested. My worries about pricing and timing were causing me to hesitate and prematurely costing me jobs. I now wait until there is an actual problem, such as a time conflict.
  • Dress like you work for the client – Wardrobe is a necessary job expense, even for those of us who primarily work from home. We can lose sight of how important those in-person meetings are since they are rare. I dressed nicer than I normally did, but not as nice as many of the clients I was meeting.
  • Analyze how you get your business, and do more of that – I routinely analyze my customer base, but I realized I had never really done a similar analysis of my networking groups. As a result, I dropped a couple of the groups that occupied a lot more time than was warranted, and pumped up my involvement in a couple more that were leading to actual business.

Lot’s more where that came from, but I also learned to set aside the appropriate time for each task, and wrap it up…even though I can do more, doesn’t mean I should…HARD STOP.

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