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Ordinary People Taking Action
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It’s no secret. I have spent the last four weeks in heavy business development mode. I know this is no different from any other small business owner. Success means identifying need, providing solutions and finding clients. Anyone who says starting a new business is easy, is lying. It’s hard work – exhausting and yet very rewarding.
It’s a three-way-toss-up between my new residence being in a coffee shop, on my computer or on my phone. I’ve spoken to people from 19 different companies in the last month and just as many colleagues and friends. So much networking. That takes an incredible amount of energy – and coffee. If you follow me on social media, particularly LinkedIn, you will see my posts reflect this effort. In one post, I refer to myself as a song on repeat. The song’s name is “network”. Never forget the importance and power of a strong network.
This frenzy of activity has not gone unnoticed by my 12-year-old daughter. The best thing that will come from this venture, I’ve decided, is what I am modeling for her. My daughter will watch me take a huge risk to do something I love. That lesson is priceless. No failure could override the value of what we’ll both learn from this journey.
We have started a new routine in which she asks me each morning what I am doing for my business. Lately, it includes a lot of responses like: “I’m meeting with xx person and xx person.” We have talked a lot about the fact that I am meeting people to get my name out there and to tell as many people as I can about my business. I have explained to her that some of these meetings will bring immediate business, some will bring business down the road, and some won’t result in any business at all. Just because I have business today, I’ve told her, doesn’t mean I will have business tomorrow. The pipeline needs to be full.
She also knows that I write a daily blog post. I’ve explained to her that the purpose of the blog is to drive traffic to my website, keep my name top of mind and with any luck, provide insightful and thought-provoking posts that help others. She reads every post.
Today’s conversation on the ride to school started out like all the others. I explained to her who I was meeting today and why I was meeting each person. I talked about today’s blog post and the inspiration behind it.
Then she said something that surprised me. “Mom, you know, growing your business is like planting a garden.”
I’m not a gardener, so I asked her, “how so?”
“Well, meeting with all these people is like planting the seeds for your garden. You’re planting your seeds one by one, carefully. And then, you’re watering your seeds by following up with all your meetings. Your seeds are carefully planted and you’re watering them really good.”
I smiled as I followed her analogy. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. I am planting a garden. Every connection I make is like a small seed I am planting …. slowly planting.”
Always my biggest cheerleader, she said, “Well, you’re doing a really good job, Mom. Now all you need is sunshine. Sunshine will make your garden grow and Mom, it may be out of your control, but the sunshine will come. Promise it will come. It might not seem like it, especially on a day like today when it’s grey, cloudy and cold outside, but it will come, Mom, it will come.”
That is the amazing advice from my 12-year-old daughter. Her analogy is spot on. When you need a pep talk for whatever you’re working on – whatever you’re growing – maybe my daughter’s words will help you like they helped me this morning.