What’s Holding You Back in Your Small Business? {And My Top 5 Tips to Help Rock Your World}

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I have to confess, my ethnicity held me back for many years. For 40 years in fact, I felt like a 2nd-class citizen. Being born in Sydney to migrant parents, and growing up in an “Anglo” area, I never quite felt “good enough” (or white enough). As a kid I would have killed for a shop-bought white-bread vegemite-sandwich like everyone else around me. Instead I sported home-made-salami and mum’s home-pickled-artichokes on chunky-pana-de-casa for lunch. However, rather than relishing my differences and celebrating my ethnicity, I slunk into a cycle of unconfidence and under-valuing myself. It was a tough gig.

I have run multiple successful multi-million-dollar businesses since I was 19, and in business I have always been confident. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, being “good” at business has always come naturally to me. My mum always says I popped out at a quarter to nine on a Monday morning, bright and chirpy, ready to do business. And at 6, I was “selling” mudcakes from the window of our cubby-house to any willing passer-by, already a budding entrepreneur.

But even as an adult, at 40, I was not really “owning” my true talents. So on the eve of my 40th birthday (4 years ago) a series of catastrophic events in my personal life led me to an epiphany. And in that place of insight, I realised that my “ethnicity” was holding me back in business and in my personal life too. I felt I had nothing to offer, because I was never good enough, or so I believed. I needed to let go of that “ethnic” chip on my shoulder. It was more of a boulder, and it was holding me back from being who I really wanted to be. I decided I needed to let go of the “ethnic filter” that I was seeing the world through and that was my excuse for not taking the next step in my career. I needed to release myself from the yearning to be like “everyone else”. It was time to grow up. And it was the best thing I ever did. Because in doing this, The Like Effect was born, where I am now able to share what I have learned in my 24 years experience of business and help others avoid the inherent pitfalls of running a small business.

What changed for me significantly on the eve of my 40th birthday, was a realisation that I had the choice to focus on sharing my talents and what I was “good at” with the world, rather than focus on what I wasn’t good at. I made the conscious choice to believe that I have value. And slowly slowlyI started to believe that what I was good at, was worth sharing, and that my extensive experience in private, public and corporate business, could indeed help somebody else.

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This week I have helped other small business owners from Connecticut to Utah, from Sydney to the Gold Coast, from Lismore to Ballina, from Byron Bay to Bangalow, from Mullumbimby to London. And that’s just one typical week for me. And I have to say, that when I see my work in action these days, and I see that I am helping other small business owners kick some business goals of their own, every single week and every single day, I am truly humbled. But the confidence I have today hasn’t come easily. It has been a steep learning curve the last 4 years to be fully myself, and I didn’t get here by accident….

By the way, I am not sharing this story with you as a way of “personal purging”. My blog is not a place for me to vent or dump on you, my precious readers. I am sharing this piece of “personal me”, this side of my humanity, because many small business owners that mentor and workshop with me, have serious doubts about the value of their product and suffer the lack of confidence to price their products correctly (which is a reflection of their own lack of self-worth). And so I have shared my story with you today because one of the major restraints I see every day holding back many small-business owners, is THEMSELVES.

If you suffer from undervaluing yourself (and your products), then you may feel better to know that learning to “get out of your own way” is one of those universal challenges that many small business owners have in common, regardless of culture, country or education. You’re not alone.

Especially as your business starts to grow and expand, your insecurities will no doubt rise up with a vengeance and threaten to swallow you up. Or worse, your weaknesses could bottleneck your business and stop it from progressing and flourishing.

So, tell me, is there something holding you back? A belief that you are not good enough? A habit that devalues what you do? A voice inside your head that drives you to under-price your product and be in a constant cycle of discounting? Are there external forces (or people) bringing you down?

Until you stop blaming your race, education, parents and other external factors, your business will never grow. To truly take-off in your business, you have to believe that you (and your product) has value……

Having overcome this challenge myself over the last 4 years, I can say from experience that having belief in yourself takes some practice, daily practice. And if I have been able to overcome my fears, a shy geeky girl from non-English-speaking migrant parents who felt too uncool to share her talents most of her young (and adult) life, so can you. I can’t tell you how so incredibly empowering it feels to be sitting inside your own personal power. And that once you have felt the bliss of what this feels like, and tasted the sweet fruits that this personal power can yield to you, you will never want to look back.

Along the way I found some simple yet very powerful steps that helped to unstick me from holding myself back in doing what I really wanted to do when I grew up. And finally at a ripe age of 40 years young, I realised that coaching others to be more awesome versions of their already-talented selves and to help other small business owners find the juicer paths in their business, was the path that would bring me most joy and bliss in my life. And because I am a sharing-kinda-ethnic-gal…..

Here are My Top 5 Tips to Help Rock Your World….

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People. Eliminate toxic situations (and people) from your life. While you are caught up with who said what to whom, and which competitor is copying you now, you would’ve missed another golden opportunity to meet a new customer or discover a supplier that could change the course of how you could do things, for the better. *Negativity will only hinder your growth*

Cast Your Seeds onto the Most Fertile Soil. Don’t waste your time being caught up in unfertile activities. Focus on the Juicy tasks, only…

2. Streamline Your Business so that the stressful tasks are outsourced. Also outsource the tasks that you are not good at. For example, if you are not good at book-keeping, hire a freelance book-keeper. This not only frees you up to do what you are good at, it will also make you feel more confident in what you are doing, because you are spending less time sucking at what you’re not good at. *Your time is better spent on strengthening your talents. The more you do what you do, you will grow more confident, as you get better and better at it, every day.*

Sharpen Your Saw – Every Day – Get Better at What You’re Good At. This is where the well of confidence will spring from…

3. Seek Solid Support. From your partner. From a friend. To help you see what you are already great at. To help you navigate the sometimes uncertain waters of the business world. To help you weather the criticisms and stormy events you may encounter. And if help is not forthcoming, seek help from a mentor. You may be a team of one (or three) but you are a team none-the-less, and you are the captain of your ship. So seek out some extra team members to help you run your business. You are not Robinson Caruso, you are not meant to do this alone. And you don’t have to add full time staff by the way, but seeking out some support could be the sanity-saver you need. *It’s okay to seek guidance so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes that countless other business owners have already encountered before you. Learn from their mistakes.*

You didn’t sign up for “good enough” – you signed up for AWESOME. So get the help you need to be a better version of you, so that your business will not only survive, but also flourish into the future…

4. Make a “Dream” board and pin everything on it that you really desire in your business (and life). I don’t mean this in a hippie-dippy kinda-way, I mean this in a visual/inspiring/”these are my goals” kinda way. Because if you haven’t got a vision, then you won’t know which daily steps to take, to bring you closer to your goals. *Having a vision, a goal, a mission statement, whatever you want to call it, ensures that you are only focusing on the tasks that are relevant to your goal. Everything else just drops away as unimportant* 

A Ship Without a Rudder is a Ship Going Nowhere. Having a daily direction gives your business meaning, purpose and a road map…

Which brings me to my last point….

5. Take Focussed Steps Every Day, to bring you closer to your goals….. Change the board around. Remove the goals that cease to be important. Add goals that have bubbled up as being important to you right now. Be prepared that the goal posts may change, and that’s okay. Changing goals is inevitable when you are living a conscious and aware life. So don’t just be “busy” at the tasks that scream for your attention the loudest. Make the conscious choice, every day, to focus on the priorities THAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT, TODAY. *Focus daily on your most important goals and you will find that the accumulation of these steps over the course of a year, will add up to a highly focused, meaningful and fruitful year in business*

Masters Focus on what They are Good At, that’s How They Became Masters. Share your talents, share what you are good at, practice daily, focus on important goals daily, not just “busy” work, and you will reap the rewards…

And if you still don’t believe me, here’s some food for thought….

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I still struggle sometimes with “comparing” myself with other people, but that’s part-and-parcel of breaking the “perfectionist” cycle that I encased myself in. But that’s a whole other blog post….

That’s my 2-cents worth Peeps – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, as this kinda-stuff moves me. And seeing my clients start to really believe in their product and the possibility of their businesses really flourishing online, also makes me feel that I have done my job…… And if I can help even one person believe in themselves more, then I have fulfilled my purpose…..

So if I have helped you rock your world, I would feel as famous as a rockstar if you shared this blog post with your friends in your favourite online space…

Thank you for reading. And here are the buttons to share with….

Read reviews about the awesome work I do, here Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

With Incredible Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

{Both Photos from facebook.com/UnitedHumanists}

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About Francesca

Francesca Esposito-Rose is CEO of SummerHills.com, a successful Australian Retreat. Also Digital Strategist, Business Mentor and Facebook Business Specialist. With extensive experience over many years in corporate and public management and private business ownership, a past life as a geek and too much internet experience to admit in public, she translates Facebook for Business into understandable language that others leave you wondering about. Francesca has a fresh and straight-talking style in both writing and management, getting the job done, quickly, efficiently and successfully.

One Response to “What’s Holding You Back in Your Small Business? {And My Top 5 Tips to Help Rock Your World}”

  1. Omar S. March 14, 2013 11:21 am #

    That’s an awesome point you bring up. I didn’t realise that I could indeed be holding myself (and my business) back. it’s a good point that I may indeed be the bottleneck! this is great inspiration and food for thought but clearly, questions like this that you bring up are essentially very important in moving forward in any business, whatever the industry. thanks again for the smiles and inspiration. and hope. you’ve got a fan in me. i’ll be back to read more francesca.

    Omar S.

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