The Business of Owning Your Business
It’s easy to play dumb. It’s even easier to play small.
But, before you think this is going to be a regurgitation of Marianne Williamson’s famous quote, hear me out.
I have three friends that are all in the process of starting a new business. One, I’ll call her Jane, is constantly referring to her business as “a little side thing”. She regularly tells me “it’s no big deal” and she’s really just doing it to see what happens. (I’ll call B.S. on this right now - no one starts a business just out of curiosity - everyone wants to see their business succeed.)
The second friend, I’ll call her Trish, is an amazing wife. So amazing that she only ever talks about what her husband is doing. If I press her for details about her business, she’ll quickly divert the attention, giving her husband all of the credit and then reminding us all that, if for any reason she needed to quit her business, it would be fine because her husband is the "real bread-winner".
And then there’s the third friend, Louise. Louise has zero business experience. But, nevertheless, she quit her job in order to pursue her dream of working for herself and doing what she loves - painting. Cheerful and determined, Louise is always asking others for advice, listening intently and sharing about her struggles with business and the ideas she has. No, she might not be making a lot of money just yet, but she knows that her business plan is feasible (and exciting).
If you had to put your money on one of these friends for who was going to be the most successful, who in a decade would still be doing what she’s doing right now, which friend would you choose?
If you said Louise, I totally agree.
Jane is brilliant, a super savvy business woman with a MBA in her back pocket. But, she constantly is belittling what she does. She doesn’t sell it when she’s talking with others. So, while I know she’s confident and really does want her business to be a huge success, no one else knows that.
And why would you give your business or send business to someone that doesn’t ooze confidence?
Trish is in the same boat.
She doesn’t own what she’s doing. She talks small, plays small and, therefore, will stay small. When I talk to her, I always feel like she’s just dipping her toes in the pool (and all I really want to do is shove her in and watch her swim). Until she believes in herself and starts to let others know who she is and what she does, her business will never reach its real potential.
Louise, however, is on the right track.
She’s not braggy. She doesn’t seem like she’s greedy for attention. But she does always know how to talk about her business in a way that’s exciting and fun. Louise isn’t shy about her business - she’ll happily share all of the ups and downs. She doesn’t try to hide failures. Instead, she openly asks for help. And, when she has a huge win, she’s eager to share it with us.
Everyone is cheering Louise on.
One of my biggest heroes and mentors, the talented Laura Belgray, has been working with a small group of us entrepreneurs in a mastermind. The biggest takeaway I’ve gotten so far?
If you want your business to succeed, then you have to DO a lot. You have to OWN your business, its successes and its failures, so that your people have no question about what it is you actually do.
Ask yourself this: Do the people who need to know understand what you do?
If not, it means that there’s some incredible potential you’re not tapping into.
By you owning your business, you start to own who you are and what you do. People want you to be a rockstar. They want to admire you and applaud you. They even want to help you. But, if you keep your business a secret, if you’re constantly trying to keep it small like Jane or divert attention from it like Trish, then you prevent it from growing.
Let people know what you do!
Let there be no mistaking who you are and what you can offer!
Let yourself be proud of your business!
The moment you flip this switch, everything will change. Yes, it’s a mindset shift. Yes, it takes some practice and getting to used to.
But isn’t the success of your business worth it?
(P.S. The answer to that last question is HELL YES!)