My company and I have been going through somewhat of a transformation this year and perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learned is about the power of focus. Twelve years ago I broke out on my own as a freelance writer and because I had a deep background in marketing, I provided small business marketing services as well. My policy in taking on new projects as I got started was basically, if I could do it and it paid money, I’d take it on. But as the saying goes, over time I became jack of all trades and master of none. And more importantly, I came to the place where I really wasn’t enjoying my work. Can anyone relate?
So, during the last almost eight years of having small children at home my business drifted along, I kept working part-time, doing my best, and it kept providing some income but there was no sense of purpose or contribution. However, this year with my kids in school and aggressive plans to finish getting out of debt, I decided that I was ready to step it up, decide what I and my business wanted to be when we grow up and get ‘er done!
So, I jumped into my old business development routine, finding, winning and taking on any and all marketing and writing projects I could find. What I discovered is that my approach was not sustainable, not that interesting to me, and certainly was not leading me to finding my true purpose. Plus, it was overwhelming! What was I to do? I had to make some changes! In reading, studying, and praying on the direction I wanted to go for the long-term I started connecting with my beginnings, why I originally got into business and what I’ve always loved most about it.
As a business writer and marketer, I’ve enjoyed most listening to the inspiring stories of successful business women and writing those stories for others to read. I’ve always loved spending time with fellow women entrepreneurs to network, share, and encourage each other. I have always loved most working with women starting their businesses and getting their marketing up and running. In fact, I’ve often prayed to have 10 more clients just like them. I have long had a deep sense of purpose and interest around helping women start, market, and grow new businesses! But, you guessed it…I’ve continued my jack of all trades business philosophy.
Then recently, while reading about the power of focus in a book called Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, I asked myself one of the questions he suggests: “If I could do only one thing with my life (and my business) right now, what would it be?” (my paraphrase)
For me, the answer is:
Helping women start businesses and impart the passion and vision
of their small business to their community and the world.
Serving women starting businesses is something I’ve always been doing as part of my career and my business but has not been my sole focus, until now. I and my business are a work in progress but I hope and pray that my journey will inspire you to focus on what’s most important and be the best at that one thing in the context of the many areas of our lives, as women, that we manage.
I could go on and on about the power of focus and purpose – and likely I will in future posts – but I want to leave you with a parting thought from Essentialism. McKeown offers a quick test to tell whether something is essential and in line with your values; simply, if you can’t answer ‘Heck, yes!’ to the opportunity, invitation, or obligation then the answer should be ‘No.’
So, today I challenge you to ask yourself what are you answering ‘meh, yes’ to in your business that should be a ‘no?’ I challenge you to cut those obligations, opportunities, and maybe even people out of your life and your business so that eventually you can build a life full of ‘Heck, yes!’ Now, doesn’t that sound like a great way to live?
P.S. As a woman, if you can answer ‘Heck, yes!’ to needing some help getting started and marketing your small business, let me know. I would love to help you through it and get you on the right track to success! Also, please visit my website for free resources and sign up for my blog. And if you have a moment, please let me know in the comments below how I can best help you in your business. I’m here to help! 🙂