Back in 2008 I was working with Susan Tollefson, a time management specialist, to figure out how I could increase revenue and expand my business. At the time, in addition to my consulting work, I was doing contract work as a business consultant for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). I liked the variety of clients, but it required a large chunk of my time every week. From the get go, Susan recommended that I curtail my SBDC hours. She made this suggestion because the hourly fee I received from the SBDC was less than half of my consulting rate and the amount of hours I had committed at this lower pay rate was hindering my ability to grow.
I was totally resistant to following her sage advice and had excuse after excuse. Why? It was simple: I had made a contract with myself to cover my monthly mortgage doing work for the SBDC. It was one of the few revenue streams I had control over and I was scared to let go of my SBDC life raft. I was so invested in my belief system I wouldn’t even consider her recommendation! Sound familiar?
Fast forward to 2009, at which point I enrolled in graduate school. I knew I would have to make adjustments to maintain my business and manage the demands of being in school. I still did not want to give up my SBDC revenue stream but, the economy was in a downward spiral and as a government program, there were a lot of cut backs at the SBDC. I was no longer being allotted the number of hours I needed to meet my financial goal (mortgage payment). My dependable revenue stream dried up so I made the decision to resign.
It took me about a month to realize that the smart time management consultant had been right all along! Duh! The moment I let go of the SBDC commitment, my business began growing and the first year of graduate school I had my best year ever! The second year was even better! I look back and see how I was so much in my own way that I stalled my business potential. Consider this admission “Another True Confession from the Biz Diva.”
I am a very good consultant and I often see exactly what my clients need to move forward in their business, just like Susan knew the action I needed to take to meet my stated goals (more ideal clients and increase in revenue). I knew at the onset what I wanted the outcome to be but refused (yes, refused) to heed her advice.
This scenario reflects what I call “the curse of the universe” i.e., the cobbler’s children have no shoes. We often are really lousy at doing for ourselves that which we do so well for our clients. Coupled with putting my head in the sand because I was so attached to my belief system I wasn’t willing to do something different, the result was a big zero! Maybe a -1! A set back that likely wouldn’t have resolved itself as fast if the matter hadn’t been taken out of my hands (cut back in my hours).
How can we get out of our own way?
1. When you hire someone to help you, remember that you hired them to help you!!
2. Ask yourself “Am I able, as well as willing, to make the changes I envision?”
3. Identify what’s in your way and talk about it!
4. Weigh the pros and cons and start taking baby steps into the unknown.
5. Stay strong! Change is not for the faint of heart.