This third installment of Conference Goodness was one of the most valuable for me in really setting up a mindset that I'd been lacking and craving for years.
Small & Successful by Emira Mears
Emira Mears is the coauthor of The Boss of You, along with her business partner Lauren Bacon. Both women also run the web design business Raised Eyebrow.
Contrary to the traditional business philosophy that decrees "If you're not growing, you're dying" (which to me really means that if your business isn't growing like a cancer, rapidly and without limits, then you are not going to survive, let alone succeed.), Small and Successful was about having a personal vision for one's business that may not conform to traditional dogma but can be successful.
The most important takeaway from this talk for me was the question: What does success look like and feel like to me?
It might seem that having an open ended definition of success would make sense, that a vague hope of going as far as we can, earning as much money as we can, is goal enough. Emira shared a story that aptly illustrates why this doesn't always work. Sandra Wilson, the inventor of Robeez soft leather shoes for babies, was looking for a way to build a home based business so that she could spend more time with her 18 month old son. When she fashioned a pair of soft shoes from colorful leather for her son she realized that they were helping her son learn to walk. Thus, a business was born. But, it quickly became a mammoth entity that took her away from the creative aspects of making shoes and delivered her into management roles that looked nothing like her original goals. She made a lot of money but was very unhappy with the way she was spending her time. She eventually sold the company and while many in the business world see her story as a soaring success, she was never happy with the way things worked out.
The definition of success is different for everyone
*It evolves over time, changing with the circumstances of one's life.
*Write it all down-Reevaluate our definition of success periodically and write it down so that it becomes clear what we want and when we are getting it.
-Take note of milestones and celebrate them. It's important to realize achievement in the
moment instead of alway looking forward to the next hurdle.
-When we write it down we are much less likely to compare our inner feelings of where we are with the outward appearance of what we think others have.
*Questions to ask ourselves (We are our own employers, negotiate)
-What is the minimum amount of money we need/want to earn, and what is the maximum?
-What kind of work/life balance do you want? How much time off do you want?
-How do I feel while I'm working?
-What tools do I want to work with?
Growing in our own way.
*As your definition of success evolves you may need to consider:
-Staff - Would adding staff to your business allow you to do more of the things that you want to be doing and fewer of the things you don't?
-Increased Production - Does increasing the volume of producing your product or service fit within your definition of success, or do you need to say "No"?
*Saying No - You don't have to be swept up in the tidal force of where your business is headed. You can shape that tide by saying "no" or by saying "yes, but...", "yes, if..."here is what I can do..."
-Saying any of the above can help your business by supporting the perception that you are in demand and valuable
-Defining a set of criteria for accepting new work/opportunities might be helpful in remaining clear about one's goals.
Being our own best boss.
*Get help when we need it, so that we are doing the things in the business we want to be doing.
*Prepare and learn
*Pay self well - budget for benefits, pay, and vacations or they will never happen.
-Remember the Milk - online to do list and task management
-The Boss of You blog - if any of the topics of this post interested you, this blog is a great place to read more!!!