A business or a life-long job? Which is it for you?

guy-with-ball-and-chain1Here’s another extract from my book… to be launched late July…

 A business or a life-long job?

‘Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.’

–          John Maxwell

One of the first questions I ask when I present to business groups is: ‘Why are you here? Why are you in business? Why on earth have you left the security of a job with regular pay to start your own business, with all the uncertainty this holds?’

I always get similar answers. Mostly, people say they don’t want to work for someone else. They don’t want someone else’s culture. They don’t want to be told how the way it should be done. They want to be in control. They want flexible hours and to spend time with their children. They want to be able to go on holiday when they want. They don’t want someone telling them how many weeks’ holiday they can have a year. They want to do something they really love.

These are all honourable reasons for starting a business. But, ironically, many business owner-operators end up with the complete opposite. They find themselves with little control. They discover their clients have the control and will often demand they work longer hours than they ever did when working for someone else. Most small business owners pay themselves less than they would be paid working for another company. Crazy, I know, but it’s true. You go into business for freedom and control and end up working longer hours and earning less. Sound familiar?

Many business owner-operators don’t take holidays. They start their business believing they will be in charge of their own holidays, but they find they don’t go on holiday at all. I met a woman who owned a chain of motels with her husband. They hadn’t been on holiday for five years. When I asked her why she got into the motel business in the first place, she told me it was for the lifestyle. Go figure!

If you pay yourself too little, work long hours, and don’t take decent holidays, you can feel resentful. Worse, you can fall sick and be unable to carry on. A high percentage of businesses fail (and by fail I mean they stop; the owner gives up) within five years of start-up. Disillusionment gets the better of them. They go into business to set themselves free and find themselves with a virtual chain around their ankle. Not surprisingly, they decide they don’t want to do it anymore.

But that’s not going to be you, is it? Most people who fail to achieve financial freedom through their business do not have the right mindset. By the time you have finished this section of The Liber8 Factor, you will know how to develop this mindset and increase your chances of success.

The story of Julie and Fliss

I was having coffee with an old friend one day. Julie is an amazing lady who had started her first business and built it over 20 years until it was bought by a huge multinational group. She became wealthy and continues to build her wealth through angel investing and mentoring start-up businesses. She has a wonderful life. We discussed how special it was to be able to spend quality time with our kids after school each day and how we enjoyed helping other people learn to build a quality life through business.

We got to talking about a woman we both knew. I’ll call her Fliss, for the purposes of this story. Fliss opened a business at the same time as Julie. She is a dress designer and opened up a little retail store in the town where she lived. Twenty years later she still had that small shop and she was still making the dresses. Fliss was no better off financially and she still had to keep designing and making the dresses to sell in her shop. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that as a life choice and as far as I know, Fliss is content in her life. I don’t want to appear scornful of someone doing something they love. If you’ve got a talent for design and you’re happy with a small retail shop in a small town, there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you are aware that this is where you are at. But what worries me with the owner-operator mindset is that Fliss, like so many other owner-operators, will wake up one day and won’t want to do it anymore. As much as she loves designing dresses, something will happen that changes her ability to live off its income, for health reasons or, more likely, because she’s lost the passion for it. The danger of not having a plan to sell is that she can end up with a business worth nothing to anyone else, meaning she’s stuck with it. What will she do for income when her desire or ability to make dresses is no longer there?

Let’s look at the situations of these two friends. Why did Julie go one route and Fliss go another? The key difference was the mindset. One knew she wanted a business she could sell and create a lifestyle where she never had to worry about money again. The other wanted to make pretty clothes. They both made their choice; probably without even realising they had done so. Fliss chose to employ herself in a job she enjoyed. She did not choose to build a business.

We make choices every day. The most important choice is one you may not have given much thought to – until now. Are you choosing to build a business that will pay you back or are you choosing to work for a living? By reading this book and completing the exercises, you are making a choice to do something different. And that’s a great start!

For about The Freedom Mindset and an exercise on assessing and addressing your attitude to wealth and money, you’ll have to buy my book when it launches late July.  To pre-order a copy just email me at laura@liber8yourbusiness.com

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Creating tools to set you free

Guest Blog – How to get 2000 Facebook likes in less than 12 months

By Jody Worsfold, Chief Cupid, Romantic Gestures

I once heard the saying, you can’t sell a secret.  With that in mind I set out with a mission to tell Kiwi couples about my business; Romantic Gestures.

Romantic Gestures has a big heart and a small budget so the key for me was to reach many people for little cost.  Social Media seemed the way to go, what I lacked in budget I made up for in commitment!

I think that was the biggest key to going from a handful of “likes” to over 2000 in approximately 12 months – commitment.  I made the decision to focus on Facebook for 12 months – without expecting anything in return.  I was simply going to give value by posting interesting facts, tips and topics on the subject of love.  Sure, I promoted my website too, but not so often that I came across as an infomercial!

At first it was like telling a joke and being met with silence – awkward!  I would post something and wait for someone to hit that magical like button or even better; the Holy Grail, share my status only to be met with silence!  However over time things started to change – I attended a Facebook Course and learned to ask questions, use images and take note of the best days and times to receive engagement from your fans.  Finally it was working; the numbers were increasing – slowly.

Once I started to feel comfortable with Facebook and the content I was posting I ran a competition.  This is a great way to increase your likes – my first competition rocketed us to 500 likes very quickly.  It cost me $250.00, and was the best ROI I could have hoped for.

My tips to running a successful competition on-line are:

1/  Make sure it’s a good prize – a cake of soap won’t cut it!

2/ Research Facebook’s rules and follow them

3/ Promote your competition on Facebook, run it via your website.

4/ Collect contact details in return for entries

5/ Encourage your fans to share your competition but don’t make it an entry requirement (Facebook Rules)

I now receive an enquiry or website registration from Facebook at least once a week.  When I post a blog or a new venue on our Romantic Getaways page our web traffic spikes and most importantly people talk about us!

My fan base grows organically by 3-5 a week.  From time to time I use paid Facebook advertising.  I love it because I can target people within my target age range in a relationship living inNew Zealand.  My fan base grows by 10+ per week when my ads are running again a good ROI.

My advice would be to sit down and think about the following:

1/ Are your customers on Facebook.

2/ What can you talk about that is relevant to your business and most importantly interesting to your target market.

3/ If you don’t know what you are doing, get help to set-up your page so it looks professional

4/ Remember that it’s a social platform not a networking one.  Your tone should be like you were meeting and chatting to new people at a party, not a business meeting.

5/ Stick at it – you should be posting daily, at the very minimum once a week.

6/ Have fun!

My last word is to answer an often asked question:  How long do you spend on your Facebook business page each day.  The answer is; between 30 and 45 minutes – I’m sure you can manage that!

Love Jody

P.S For inspiration on all things romantic follow my page:  www.facebook.com/romanticgestures you will be welcomed with open arms!

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.