It’s okay to ask for help: 4 times I didn’t DIY my business

Running a business is like owning a house. Being a homeowner for the first time can be tough. There is so much you need to do just to maintain the place. Keep up with it on a regular basis and things can go pretty smoothly. Put it off (and off and off) and it takes what feels like forever just to catch up.

Just like owning a house, when you run a business and maintenance comes up, there are a lot of things you’re going to try to DIY. You’re going to start out by writing all your copy and content or designing your own logo. You’ll draft your own business plan and try your hand at Facebook ads. Thanks to the internet, whether you want to fix a leaky pipe or determine your ideal client avatar, there’s likely an article or video telling you how to do it.

I’m a big fan of DIYing (I do it a lot in both of my businesses), but there are times when you need bring in a “professional contractor” to help you fix your business. Putting duct-tape on the issue is a temporary fix, and never addresses the root cause, meaning your problem will continue or even worse, compound and get bigger!

Good news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. It’s totally okay to ask for help.

Four times I invested in my business

Here are a few examples of when I decided to move my business forward by attending an event or working with an expert.

1. When I needed direction, I invested in Inspired: The RetreatHosted by the wonderful Amber Housley, I met so many incredible female entrepreneurs  and was inspired (quite literally) to take my skills and use them where I can provide tangible value. This set me on a path I am super excited about!

2. When I needed a brand, I went to Megan Martin. I met Megan at my second Inspired experience and instantly clicked with her. When I went back home to Toronto, I looked at the brand identity I had been working on for myself that just wasn’t right. I knew who I needed to call. While Megan doesn’t take on design clients anymore, she offers a wealth of education for creative entrepreneurs and some gorgeously designed templates. One of the loveliest people I’ve had the good fortune of working with, Megan was able to pinpoint exactly what I needed in our first half hour call and saved me a lot of time and energy by nailing what I wanted in a brand.

3. When I needed community and a sounding board, Reina Pomeroy saved the day. It’s one thing to sell my clients – that comes easy enough. Selling myself? That was another ball game all together. Reina is an amazing advocate for the heart-centred entrepreneur.  Another incredible woman I met at Inspired, Reina created The Social Glue Sessions, an intimate mastermind for entrepreneurs just when I needed it. This community has been the perfect platform to not only connect with other entrepreneurs (shout out to my Power Pod, Mariah, Katie and Jen), it’s given me the support I needed to fine tune my business and make big strides in getting over the fear of putting myself out there. P.S. You can join me in round two of the Social Glue Sessions in 2018! Sign up now!

4. When I struggled with my voice, Lauren Carnes gave me back my confidence. As a former corporate consultant, I struggled with talking to my ideal client. I know who she is – she’s a creative entrepreneur who has been at this for awhile and is feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with the current state of her business. But how do I maintain my credibility as a strategist who can grow her business without coming off as a corporate robot? Lauren, who is an incredible photographer is also a formidable communications coach and was able to answer that question easily. With a background in PR, she was able to get me out of my own head and give my content and communications the second set of eyes it needed. She also gave me actionable recommendations on how to proceed. I can now write without staring at a blank text document for 20 minutes thanks to her!

The Takeaway

When I approach a new task, I ask myself: What is the opportunity cost of doing this myself? DIYing takes a lot of time, trial and error so I carefully evaluate whether my time drives more value in my business by doing it myself or putting my time toward revenue generating projects. Every single one of these investments has helped me tremendously on my path. More so, in addition to helping me grow my business faster, I get to support an incredible community of female biz bosses.

If you’re not sure if you should DIY or not, download my mini workbook for a look at how I decide when to invest.

DIY or Not? When to invest in your business.

Download your free mini workbook now!

Where you do and don’t DIY in your business might not be the same, but if you’re in need of an inspiring community, beautifully designed resources to grow your business, an amazing mastermind and an incredible communications coach, I can’t recommend these ladies enough.

Balanced in Business: Defining Your Strategic Vision

 

Having a plan is crucial to success in your business. Sure, you can wing it, but why would you want to? Winging it leads to:

  • Scattered focus. You’re not spending your time on the activities that grow your business.
  • Disorganization. You have no processes in place and you’re making it up as you go along.
  • Money wasted. When you don’t have a plan for growth, your money often gets spent inefficiently or on the wrong things all together.

Does any of that sound familiar? If you’ve experienced one or more of those things as a creative entrepreneur, raise your hand. I definitely did when I dived into launching my first business 3 years ago!

The thing is, a strategic plan doesn’t have to be a 40 page document. Detail is good and your plan should be built out, but if you’re finding yourself off course, completely overwhelmed or just not content with where your business is, you need revisit (or redefine) your strategic vision.

You strategic vision is more than your “why”, it’s the single most important driver of your business. It is your filter for activities you take on, ensuring you maintain focus, have processes and manage your business financials wisely. It’s what everything in your business ladders up to. What do I mean by that? Well, your goals, business focus and values will all be derived from that strategic vision.

You’ve already heard mine. I help creative entrepreneurs achieve balance in their life by building a stable, balanced business that is poised for growth. 

Every time I take on a new marketing activity, build a new offering or invest in another specialist or course, I ask myself if the activity will set me up to help others. You’d be surprised at how many times the answer is no.

Your strategic vision should do three things:

  1. Speak to or identify your audience. Whether your audience is super niche or broad, they need to be addressed in your vision. This helps you remember WHO is at the core of your business. If they’re not mentioned outright, your statement should talk to them.
  2. Have a positive outcome. What are you trying to achieve with your business? How will you change your client’s life?
  3. Be concise. Your vision should be one to two sentences tops and very clear. Avoid using vague terms that are hard to define.

One example of a strategic vision that really stuck with me is by my wonderful friend, Maghon Taylor of All She Wrote Notes. When I met Maghon at Inspired Retreat last year and asked about her business, she said

“I spread happiness through my handwriting.”

I remember thinking how spot on that was for her business as a calligrapher. She clearly defines the positive outcome, her statement is super concise and the phrasing speaks to her audience. Most importantly, it’s memorable (I remembered it more than a year later!) and every aspect of her business thoroughly demonstrates the joy she wants her customers to experience through her work. If you haven’t visited her site yet, you are in for a treat! Her work is gorgeous!

What other examples of great strategic visions can you think of? I have a few more examples in mind, but I’ll use them as I go through the next part of this series on Strategy. Stay tuned to learn how you can leverage values to maintain balance in your biz.

Want feedback on your strategic vision? Go ahead and send me a note, I’d be happy to review it!