Let's get real, dear reader. No one is coming to take care of business for you. No one is going to take your hand voluntarily and do all the things that you don't want to do.
It’s not like when you were smaller, and a sad face would earn you a hug and maybe a sweet treat. These days, if you need something to change, the only person who is going to be able to do that is you. I’m going to share a little bit about my early business journey with you in this blog post to hopefully give you some inspiration. It really doesn’t matter where you are now, your past is not a stick to beat yourself up with. You can choose to make a change, and it starts today.
The big difference for me came when I truly understood what it meant to be the CEO of my business. It’s easy to assume that you are that anyway, that you’ll always hold that position because, well, you just are!? Right? You started your business, it’s your baby, your clients come to you and look to you as the expert, so that is you. You are the CEO.
But are you? Do you have that confidence of knowing where you are right now, in your current position?
A CEO has a clear helicopter view of their business. They have a vision for the future; for the year to come and maybe somewhere around three to five years from now. They have information at their finger tips, and they can make informed decisions based on that knowledge, which comes from hard data and experience.
Is this you? Do you regularly take a step away from your business to look at how things are going impartially? Do you even know how?
Let’s think about the numbers as an example. Because that’s my bag!
– Do you know how your cashflow is sitting right now?
– Do you know how many customers you have?
– Do you know the value of your pipeline?
– Do you know how much money your customers owe you?
– Do you know how much it takes to run your business to break even each month?
– Do you know how much you need to take home to meet your own needs?
So, do you?
Someone who is absorbed in the business, even with a certain level of ‘knowing’ that things are OK, isn’t the same thing as owning that CEO title. That’s where I was at the start of my business journey, some twelve years ago now. I knew I was bringing the money in. I knew I had clients. I knew there would be enough work to keep me busy.
But I didn’t know how much I was earning.
I didn’t know how much of that money was mine, and how much I needed to pay over to the tax man.
I didn’t know how long that work would take me to complete, or if there were even enough hours in the day to complete it by the time I had in my head that it would be finished.
Because I didn’t used to manage those metrics. I was busy. I was doing what I had always wanted to do. I was focusing on my clients, which was the whole point.
It was the reason I left had the corporate rat race. I didn’t want to answer to management, sit in budget meetings every month, explain why a piece of work wasn’t completed or not invoiced yet, because in my head I knew it was in hand, and there was a legitimate reason for the delay. But I hated having to explain myself, and, to my mind, working for myself meant that I didn’t need to do that any more. So, stubborn as an ox, that’s precisely what I did.
But I was simply fooling myself.
Mixed in with all of that was my responsibility of managing a home, of being a mother to a five year old, living in a failing relationship and managing my own personal finances, which had been spiralling out of control for some time, and I felt powerless to stop it. So the whole jigsaw puzzle became a big mix of I-don’t-know-what-to-do-now.
But I did know how to work with my clients! So that’s where I focused my time.
But as my daughter grew, and I realised the example I was setting for her, I knew things had to change. I couldn’t keep doing what I’d always done and expect to have anything different than what I’d always had.
So I took control. I started with my numbers. Just exactly how much debt was I in? Where was that money owed to?
Then I worked out how much I earned and I paid myself from my business. What was I expecting that money to cover? Was it enough? Where was it going?
I did the same thing with my business. What was my break even point, and where did I stand with the tax man?
I’m not going to lie, even for an accountant, dealing with your own numbers can be scary as hell. Just because I know how to do it didn’t make it any easier to do for myself. Because we all attach emotion to money, and it means different things to all of us, so it really doesn’t matter where you are, what position you’re in right now, or even how you got there. The power comes from making that choice to take back control. Taking a deep breath, pulling up your big girl pants, and doing it anyway.
Find the time.
Make the space.
Give your own business a name or a title and block the time out in your diary and make that non-negotiable. Even if you have someone breathing down your neck putting you under pressure, that time isn’t available, because it’s important to you.
And make it happen.
Because with information comes options.
Because with decisions comes control.
Because control means you can take action.
And then things start to change.
If not you, then who?
If not now, then when?
Where could you start to make that change for yourself, and take back your power?