Why running your own business is like a personal development course

Personal Development Growth

After 10 years of running my own business, and working with hundreds of women business owners, I think that running your own business is an intense personal development experience. Most often this is not what we expect when we crossover from our jobs into entrepreneurship.

We are always learning from things that happen when running our own business and there may be times when we are caught in difficult situations, but once through them, we realize we won’t have to learn that lesson again!

As Karen Silk, founder of Capital Staffing International Ltd, remembers in her very early days of her business; “I got caught within the first year of trading with a bad debt, which with hindsight, I was an innocent, when they were saying the check is in the post, when they were saying the finance director’s not here, we can’t get it signed, these were all things obviously with experience I would have realized they were all bad signs.  It taught me a very tough lesson, as I lost the money but I have never lost any money since.”

Yet it’s not only the external experiences that encourage us to grow and learn new skills and approaches, but it is also how we operate internally that is challenged.

Our confidence can be ambushed, as we now have to sell ourselves, walk into a room of strangers at networking events and muster the courage to do those things that we know we must if we are to grow our businesses.

Even if we used to do all of this when we were working in our previous jobs, somehow, doing it under our own business banner can be intimidating. We can feel even more judged and uncertain of our strengths. Our inner voice gets louder, dissuading us from action and causing us to procrastinate.

Running your own business is a very rewarding and exhilarating experience but in reality it’s much harder then anyone tells you.  What is it really like to run your own business? Is it really the entrepreneurial dream? Do customers come flocking to you as soon as you open your doors? Do you have the time to create the life of your dreams?

Sadly not. I’ve spoken with many Corporate Crossovers® and consistently I was told that no one realized just how hard it would be to start their own business and then to make it viable. Having your own business and making it a success will call on your deepest resources of resilience, commitment to the idea, your energy and tenacity…but don’t worry, it is certainly worth all the hard work!

Running your own business involves a steep and continual learning curve and you must accept that you don’t know everything and that you will, feel stretched on all levels.  Ask advice from the right people if needed, act on it, learn from it and move forwards. Seek support by creating a trusted network who will be experiencing what you are.

As one Corporate Crossover shares; “If I were offered the best job in the world with another organisation I wouldn’t take it. I’ve been on this journey for so long and had too many adventures not to see it to its conclusion. The tipping point is just around the corner. And I want to be in a position to inspire the next generation.”


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  • ApexStrategy

    Great post. I agree that being is a business is a continual learning process. Especially in the early stages, you can save a great deal of money by investing time in learning about things like marketing and accounting, rather than paying someone to do it for you. And CONTINUAL is the key, with advances in technology business practices are constantly changing, if you want to be the best you have to make time for self improvement that will keep you ahead of the competition.

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