How A Strong Business Rolls When Life Rolls Over You
Never since my last kiddo was out of diapers (nearly 3 years ago) have I parented so much and worked so little as I did in the past 10 days.
Yet, in spite of dropping my client load and cancelling every meeting and coffee date planned, parts of my business rolled along in HUGE ways without me.
The best parts continued to work for me – even while I cleaned up the kids’ stomach flu (TMI?). Even while I drove to the doctor twice for two separate kid injuries. Even while I was up at night many times for at least one of three of my kids. Even while I was driving to and from school and gymnastics at random hours to pick up or drop off kids around their flu or illnesses. Even while I was prepping for my oldest girl’s 9th birthday tomorrow, the in-class treats, the after gymnastics mini-party, the wall climbing and sleepover.
My business rolled along even though my husband was out of town at a conference and I was solo-parenting through the Murphy’s Law drama that happens every time he goes away.
The monetized parts of my business slowed truthfully. The frequency of my “presence” declined. My status updates and posts were self-pitying and whining. I haven’t managed to email my news list about an event NEXT WEEK.
Work stopped. But my business grew anyway!
I’ve accepted a new opportunity that is going to become a cornerstone to my work and is such a natural fit that I’m CRAZY excited. I’ll share next month!
I’ve been invited to participate in an event with a likeminded small business owner I’ve been keeping an eye on for a year that will introduce me to a great new group I want to know.
I’ve been contacted by 10 new people I didn’t know before this month how they can connect with me, help me, get involved with me and what I do. So much potential and excitement here!
How did I receive opportunities when I was rolling in the deep (pit of mothering despair)?
I have a good reputation. I have a solid brand. I have brilliant champions. I have worked smart and steady as often as I could for 4 years… and it pays off.
And these three things… reputation, brand and champions… now work for me when I can’t work.
I didn’t ask anyone to do anything for me. (I’m TERRIBLE at asking for help)
I just do what I tell others to do – build a solid brand, be clear about who you are, say what you do and do what you say, have patience and persistence, repeat.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Not for people like me who have a full-time life that often takes precedence over passion for business.
But it happens when you care enough to keep going.
I have worked consistently at becoming known as an expert in marketing online and in real life for 2o years and more relevant to you… as a small business owner for nearly the past 5.
There is no secret. There is just consistent passion and work behind me that allowed this week to work for me, even when I wasn’t working.
Here’s how my business rolled along even when life rolled over me:
- I started blogging with marketing advice and insights to small business while being a full-time parent in 2007. I haven’t stopped.
- I held marketing workshops with really specific, useful advice for motivated solo-entrepreneurs in 2008. I haven’t stopped.
- I’ve grown my fan base and peer community from my living room, via social media (specifically Facebook and Twitter) slowly and steadily for three years. I never stop.
- I’ve championed other businesses owners I love and they love to reciprocate.
- I have consistently made it clear what I stand for – mentoring and teaching small businesses, being realistic and real, sharing and supporting others because it is the right thing to do, building community and connecting with those who think like me.
- I put myself out there with confidence online as frequently as possible, especially as I can’t always be accessible in person or on the phone.
- I had a five year plan – a pretty plan with circles and diagrams (like the marketing maps I teach) – and for the most part I stuck to my plan. No bright shiny objects for me. A plan that I loved then still love now.
- I forgave myself frequently for being imperfect, I was honest often about the hiccups of real life solopreneuring and parenting and I was apologetic when I screwed up (hey, it happens!)
Bottom line, I’ve built a community where people know what I do and like it. They “get” my skills and passions, they know what I stand for and they trust me as the expert they’d like to work with.
And I’m flattered. I’m excited. (And I’m exhausted!)
The flu has passed. Injuries are healing. My husband is home tomorrow. And my daughter is now 9 (the clock just passed midnight).
I’m going to go throw on some Adele to lull me to sleep. (Perhaps NOT Rolling in the Deep.)
I would LOVE to hear how you roll with it and how your business creates success for you even when you can’t be available to it.