Not really. You do this work because you love it, because it makes a difference in the world, because it brings you joy.
I mean, you do get paid. (Or at least, you hope to some day.) You are running your own show, more or less. You may be doing this work as a small project, a baby business you’re exploring on the side. Or you may be working full time and – in fact – feeding your family with the business you bring in.
And that’s great.
But do you think of yourself as a business owner? An entrepreneur? A CEO?
I started my private practice, my first business, over 20 years ago. Since then I’ve started several other smaller businesses at different times. And yet, only in the past few years have I begun to realize that I am an entrepreneur.
In my younger days, just the word business sounded really boring to me, as something somehow insufficient. It made me think of stuffy suits, slick advertising and icky words like (cough) profit.
It certainly had nothing to do with who I wanted to be in the world, someone who made a difference.
But women are bringing a whole new way of thinking to the business world.
We are showing up in droves, and coming from a place of service. We’re beginning to realize that we can develop products and services that help. And we’re figuring out that making money is one way we can have a huge impact, for our family, and for our community.
Running your own business is one of the most powerful ways you can make a difference in the world.
Because when you run a successful business, you…
Pass it on. When you’re making money, good money, you share it in all kinds of ways. It may be the groceries you buy at the local supermarket, the high-end pottery you buy from a local artist, or the sponsor dollars your company gives to a local non-profit. Your success really does support your local economy.
Set an example. You set a powerful example for your children, showing them how to create the life they want, to chart their own course and make their own way. And they’ll learn resilience, as they watch you manage the inevitable highs and lows that come with this life style.
Support other families. As you grow, you will build a team, providing jobs and income for others and their families too. And personally, I love the fact that you have a chance to model for and mentor those you hire, as well.
Act with service. You’re creating a product or service that helps those who buy it. I know for a fact that I impact the lives of my clients in a real, powerful and positive way. They, in turn, are making a difference as well.
You make the world a better place when you craft a business you love.
So enough of this waffling. You are an Entrepreneur and a CEO.
Time to claim it, sister.
Here’s how. :)
OWN YOUR IDENTITY.
For starters, take yourself seriously AS a business owner.
When you introduce yourself, practice saying the words. Out loud. Spend some time journaling about and re-connecting with your ‘why’, the whole reason you do this work to begin with. Then, craft a perfect short introduction where you explain who you are and what you do.
“My name is Sarah, and I own a small business called HappyGirl Photography, where we help teen girls fall in love with their changing bodies and re-build battered self confidence all while having a rockin’ good time.”
CREATE THE SPACE.
If you’re still working from the kitchen table, you’re treating your business like a hobby, and one that has to squeeze itself around homework and leftovers at that!
You’re looking to develop a loving, long term relationship with this business of yours, right? Well, you don’t do that by treating it as a second class citizen.
If you work from home, by choice or necessity, carve out a nook somewhere that is completely and totally allotted to your creative work and the leadership of your company.
BONUS Tip: Get the energy right. Make it a lovely, happy, inspiring place where you want to spend your time.
CARVE OUT the TIME.
If you’re a mom with a house full of kids, or if you’re building this business while maintaining your full time J.O.B., this can be tough. I get that.
But energy follows attention, and whatever you focus on will grow. If your business is an afterthought, something you get to ‘when you can’, that growth will be anemic.
Taking yourself seriously as a business owner means claiming the time to attend to this work.
Create a structure for your time. Set up office hours, and keep them – even if you’re working from home.
And if all you can do is devote 2 hours to this on Thursday nights at 10:00 p.m., then do that. But do it religiously. It’s your Business.
MAKE ROOM for MONEY.
If you haven’t already done this, do it today.
Go to your local bank or credit union, and set up a separate bank account for your business: checking AND savings.
Use the savings account to set money aside for your quarterly taxes. Use the checking account for anything related to your business cash flow.
Treat it as if it were a private checking account from your employer – because it is!
(And would you use her money to buy groceries or anything that wasn’t business-related? Of course not.)
BONUS Tip: Write a check to your business, sign it as being from “Your Ideal Client”. Write a number on that check that is within reach but hard to imagine ever receiving. Stick that up somewhere that you’ll see it every day. :)
There. There’s a lot more, but that’s a good start.
How does this feel to you?
Photo Credit: Chantelle Buffie, by sfupamr on Flickr