Reflecting back to move forward
One of the best and worst things about owning your own business is that to help it grow you need to constantly evolve it. This can be reinvigorating but it can also be terribly exhausting. Especially when you are so busy working on the everyday tasks that you don’t have the time or the energy to take in the big picture.
After working for myself now for nearly 8 years I know when it is time to take my foot off the accelerator and reflect on what I am trying to achieve and who I am serving. So, recently I decided to do an annual review of my business. I have been working as a digital strategist and coach for nearly 1.5 years and I thought this was a good time to reflect. I had a solid financial year of clients to reflect upon and while I knew I had hit some goals I really wanted to dig into the trends and reflect on questions like:
- What type of clients did I work with?
- What topics did I love learning more about?
- What processes and approaches did I develop?
The answers to these questions have made me re-calibrate and steer my ship in a slightly different direction.
What type of clients did I work with?
I went back through all my fabulous coaching clients in the past year and immediately one thing stood out to me: 90% of them were mums or expectant mums. When I reflected on this it seemed so obvious. My experience of building a business while raising a family resonated with them strongly and they knew I would be the person who would understand their goals, frustrations and questions. The funny part is that this is where I started my coaching journey – thinking I would serve mothers. But I decided to broaden my audience early on as I wasn’t actually sure if that was my niche. It actually feels incredibly good to find myself back in this place but with the data that proves I am on the right course.
What topics did I love learning more about?
This year I loved diving deeper into several areas, but the main ones most definitely were:
- Social responsibility around business.
- Businesses as systems.
- Time management practices and ideals.
- The breaking down of our old assumptions of the ideal worker.
These are topics I have been drawn to this year but I realised that they were also highly relevant to the mothers I have been coaching. It is not that they don’t apply to everyone it is just that I know these women are highly motivated around these areas and their businesses are deeply affected by them.
What processes and approaches did I develop?
Working 1-on-1 with people over a period like a year really gives you fantastic insights into what your clients need. It is fascinating to see similar hurdles and goals arise time and time again and then using this fresh insight to mold your processes around these. There’s a golden moment of clarity when you take all the ideas and insights you have gathered and synthesise them into something new. I don’t think it is said often enough that it takes time to weave together your knowledge, skills and experience into your own approach. An approach that solves the issues your customers are facing.
This is especially true in the “information era”, where people think they can have their first e-course live when their website launches before they have worked with a single client. Sure, this can happen if you follow someone else’s formula, but what is the uniqueness you bring? What are you offering your audience that no one else is doing? You become another voice in a sea of information providers and the creativity and service behind your business is lost.
This year I built out the pillars of how I work with clients and helped them in a structured way that still met their unique needs. But I also realised that a few of the core parts of my process are highly relevant to mothers; particularly the challenges they face when establishing or growing a business. This is something I want to develop further.
This might all seem obvious to you as I am a mother myself. But of course there are many women who are mothers who don’t focus on this group in their businesses. In fact I have been hesitant for a long time to narrow my audience in this way. How will people perceive my business and what I do? But I know I am already resonating with mums so I need to get out there and actually talk to them! Let them know I meet their needs and tailor my offerings to do so.
So what does this mean going forward?
If you go and check out my homepage you will see that my services have changed slightly. I now work in three main ways:
- Coaching mothers and pregnant women who want to build a business while raising a family.
- Digital strategy consulting services for anyone who needs to make their website start contributing to their business or needs to figure out their digital marketing roadmap.
- Teaching digital marketing at General Assembly (coming later in the year).
These simple changes have given me more clarity around my brand and who I am serving.
Lastly, if you are a mum in business and you are interested in products and services that will help you solve particular problems, please feel free to contact me. I would love to send you a quick survey and have a chat to help you overcome your biggest hurdle right now.