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It's Not Just Business, It's Personal!

From personal anecdotes, to business development case scenarios, and all the thoughts in between, Monica shares her insights into what brings success and happiness "when business meets personal."

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Posted by on in Entrepreneurs

I am one of the millions of home-based business owners in the United States.  I have strong feelings and many war stories about the daily challenges that face our special breed of business owner.  We not only deal with our business each and every day if we don't set proper boundaries (yes, it's hard to put down the laptop or put away the papers), but we have the added challenge of avoiding the kitchen, not answering the phone when friends call, and saying no to people who ask us to do things "because you're home all day."  We're tempted by all this and we're distracted by even more; the weather channel, "busy work" projects, and the doubt and fear gremlins that knock on our door regularly.  It's enough to put a Free Spirit* out of business if she's not careful.  (Look up my Peoplemap page if you don't know what that means.)  All this is counterbalanced by the love and passion for what we do and the sheer determination and motivation to keep at it no matter what.

My first experience with entrepreneurship was as a Discovery Toys representative from 1981 to 1992.  I ran my direct sales business while my family was young and eventually had a team of over 40 women.  Monthly newsletters and meetings, trainings and education materials, regional and national conferences, all fit in around having children, being a stay-at-home mom, and keeping the family happy and fed. I eventually earned the trips and the accolades. I built and motivated the team.  I sought inspiration and leadership from the ranks above.  If I only knew then what I know now, I would have grown my business at a much faster pace and had a lot more confidence in what I was doing!  But the world of "coaching" didn't exist outside the board rooms and CEO suites back then.  Now it is part and parcel to most every direct sales business out there.

Fast forward many years and several jobs later and now I run a service-oriented, rather than sales-oriented home-based business.  There are many obvious differences between Direct Sales and Coaching, but a subtle one is that I have to not only create the vision of what I want to offer my clients, I also have to create all the marketing materials (like this website and blog) and I have to sell my "brand".  It takes a lot of work for people outside my circle to know who I am; blogs, publishing articles, offering workshops and classes, keeping an active website (this led to getting interviewed on TV a few years ago for Fox News!).  Business success is decided by brand success and a clear marketing message.  Ergo, my new website and branding! The proof will be seen down the road.

Every business owner with an original idea dreams of the day when people will know who they are.  My five year plan used to include Oprah until she cancelled her show! Now I have to shoot for something different, maybe Better Connecticut and CNN. My wish list includes being a published author (not just my chapter in "Empowering Transformations for Women" but my own book with an agent and publisher), having a column for a national website (coming this summer), and doing a radio show (also coming soon but just a one-time thing for now). It's fun to spend time with my dreams and even more fun to make them happen, but you have to do the first to realize the second!

In the end, being an entrepreneur has been a great gift in my life.  It's given me the flexibility to work while taking the central role in raising my family, it's provided an avenue for personal and professional growth, and given me the opportunity to build something I am proud of.  I am also proud to say I am ever growing as a person- not literally of course, but figuratively (I'm actually shrinking as I've lost over 35 pounds since July!).  We grow into who we are and who we are becoming.  We make plans, get into action, adjust our plan based on our progress and interests, and even change our minds every once in a while.  (I'm really prone to that- the Free Spirit coming through again). I encourage all entrepreneurs to grow their vision, stay aware, make mindful choices, build lasting relationships, and stay in action every day.

Coaching is now my way of life- finding ways to create my life and help others create the lives and businesses they love.

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