Got questions about starting your own business? We’re here to help!
Starting your own business is a massive step and a scary thing to do. You’re going to have a million questions as you try and figure out how to make your dream a reality.
If you need a bit of friendly advice, send your questions to me and we’ll work through it together.
I’m a business coach and mentor – I spend my days working through the practical issues that business start-ups are grappling with.
This article is part of an ongoing series where we’ll be providing business advice and guidance to LGBTQ people embarking on the mission to start their own business.
Here’s some of the challenges that I’ve been working on recently with clients.
How do you balance building a business with having a social life? Dave, London
Instead of seeing holidays, time with friends or loved ones as “time off” I’d encourage you to re-frame it as a form of recharging that actually makes you better at your job.
You can’t function at your best when you’re stressed out and tired so it’s important to schedule in down-time and doing things that you enjoy as an important part of a healthy life. Some of your best ideas will come when your resting and relaxed!
Setting the ground rules
How do you handle requests for free work? I feel guilty saying no. Chris, London
I cover this topic a lot on my podcast “Money, Mindset & Strategy“- have a listen, I think you’ll find it really helpful.
One of my core beliefs as a coach is that if your advice is worth asking for, it’s worth paying for. I’d suggest working on releasing any feelings of guilt around charging well for what you do and moving into a space where you feel more confident about yourself and charging for your work.
It’s taken you time, money, energy and experience to have the knowledge and ability that you have now and you deserve to be well-paid for it. I’m teaching a class on this very topic in an upcoming course, but I’d suggest sending a polite response explaining that in order for them to get the help or service that they need, the best way to do that is to… and then either send a link to book or buy something.
You can of course create free content like a podcast or blog to point people to as well.
Navigating the career ladder
Any advice on getting past the ‘pink ceiling’ at work? Robert, US
I’m not completely sure what you mean by this but I’m assuming it’s to do with how far you can go in your chosen career being LGBTQ?
The first thing I’d want you to look at are your beliefs around this, often the biggest limitations are the ones we place on ourselves. If you’re holding a strong belief that you can only get to a certain point then you might be self-sabotaging by you not putting yourself forward for the things that you want in your career. It could be helpful spending some time and thinking about this.
You could also start some kind of side business or project that’s totally yours, there’s no limit on what you can do with that, especially if it’s online and you have full control over it.
Geting started and maintaining momentum
I keep starting projects and then stopping, what do you recommend for dealing with this? Darren, Manchester
I’d start by taking a look at two things.
At what point do you tend to stop? Is it always around the same time or when a certain issue comes up? Getting clearer on this will help you see where you can do some inner work around things. A good coach, or therapist will be able to help you navigate this process.
Is the goal something that you actually want? Often, we can think we want something when deep down, we don’t. That’s when forms of self-sabotage like this can come in.
An exercise I give my clients is to create a ritual around goal setting and get really clear on what it is that you really want, make sure it excites you, make sure that it feels authentic as well and ties in with your natural tastes, abilities and interests.
How do I put my brilliant ideas into practice and start building a business? I never seem to have time to get started! Mark S, London
If it’s important to you, you’ll make time.
In order to turn your ideas into a business, you need to do at least one of the following – solve a problem, educate or help people learn a skill, or be a source of entertainment.
Think about how you can package your idea into a product or service that does at least one of those things and then think about who your ideal client or customer is.
Once you’ve got these first steps clear, it’s important to learn how to monetise your business.
You can learn clear and practical ways to create different income streams in your business in my book 33 powerful income streams for your lifestyle business.
You can also get tips on getting focused on your goals in my book 21 easy ways to get organised and focused.
I know that I want to work for myself, but I can’t figure out what type of business I should start. Does that matter? Steven, Brighton
Yes, it absolutely matters. You wouldn’t get into a taxi without knowing where you wanted to go first, would you? It’s the same with business. Always get as clear as possible.
Some coaching questions to help you figure this out:
What do you love to do?
What are you naturally good at?
How can you help people?
Once you’re clear on these, look at how you can turn these into a product or service to offer people.
I want to start promoting my business in a more professional way, where would you suggest starting? Craig, Bournemouth
Do you have a formally written up marketing plan for your business and clear goals? I’d suggest getting the basics in place first as that’ll help you have a clear sense of direction.
Once you’ve done this, I’d suggest exploring different channels and seeing how they work for you – different social media channels suit certain industries better than others.
I’d also recommend networking in your local area, find businesses that also serve your ideal clients and start chatting about how you can support each other and cross promote.
Finally, are you networking? If not, I’d suggest scheduling in networking events and opportunities and making sure that you regularly attend them. I’ve got an episode on my podcast called “High end networking tips” that’ll give you some good tips to work with.
When do I need to get an accountant and professional advisers? Dave R, London
I’d suggest investing in the best help you can afford as early as possible. Working with a great coach or mentor will help you reach your goals much faster, hold you accountable and keep you taking action and moving forward – trying to do it all yourself can be daunting and self-motivating can be hard, especially when you reach a challenging situation.
You’ll also be getting expert advice, guidance and tips that will save you a lot of time trying to figure out yourself.
In terms of an accountant – start getting your books in order from day one, it’ll make things much easier for yourself.
When choosing the right people to work with, always take a look at what areas you feel you need the most help or guidance in and then reach out. It’s worth the investment.
I’m thinking of starting my own business, is it worth me doing some sort of ‘running your own business’ course or is it better to just dive in? James R, Bournemouth
I would absolutely recommend that you invest in great training, support and coaching, especially when starting your own business.
I used an analogy recently of running a marathon. You wouldn’t just jump in, you’d train properly, get expert support and make sure that you were supporting your goals.
The beauty of starting your own business is that you get to design it to work for you and your goals. You can check out my Money Mentoring series on Amazon for coaching and guidance on building your business and creating multiple income streams.
Send in your questions!
I’m here to help – send in your questions and we’ll publish the advice here so that everyone gets to benefit from the experience and lessons that we’re sharing with each other.
What’s holding you back from starting your own business? What questions are keeping you awake at night?
Send in your questions and we’ll tackle them together.
For information on upcoming classes & workshops please sign up on my website.
If you’d like to get one on one coaching and mentoring, please e-mail [email protected]