My work with Julie on creating a vision of my future life and working out what the ‘work’ part of that looked like was the pivotal step in me shifting my focus from what I didn’t want work to be, to what I did want it to be. I finally realised that this was my opportunity to build something that focussed on what I am best at, what gives me the most pleasure and satisfaction and in a way that would fit with the rest of my life.
I love working with people, I love creating order where there is none and I want my work to make a meaningful difference. These were my baseline ‘needs’ around which I would build my offering. From my earlier conversations about going freelance I knew I needed to get much clearer about what problem I was solving for organisations and why I was uniquely placed to solve it. I had resisted getting stuck in to this thinking until I started working with Julie. I knew that what was holding me back was having to ‘sell’ myself to others. Just me. I have a deeply ingrained mistrust of ‘show offs’ – in our family it is pretty much the worst thing you can be after a ‘know-it-all’. Was this going to scupper my ability to win work? I knew I had to get over myself and put the work in to really clearly articulate what I was about. But how?
I used the development of my website to focus my thinking. It was excruciating to write. Pages and pages of text about me, myself and I. But, painful though it was, the process helped me to start to articulate what it was I wanted to do. I sent a first draft around to a whole host of trusted friends and contacts. One constant I have found since setting up on my own is that people are so incredibly generous with their time. Almost every request for a coffee, for feedback, for time, to help me progress this business has been met with enthusiasm and support. The feedback I got from that first draft website offered me so much more than I had expected. In answering the questions my friends had posed I was finally able to articulate what I wanted to do, how I wanted to do it and why anyone would want to pay me for it. From all of this work the name of my business finally emerged, Deliver Grow, and I set myself up as a limited company. That felt like a huge milestone for me. It was official. More than that, I believed in it enough to make it official.
Being a company allowed me to talk much more comfortably about the business. It wasn’t all about me anymore (even though it was!), it was about a company. A separate entity. And I was comfortable talking about what that company could do for organisations. How it could help. Why it was qualified to do so. I will continue to work on my limiting beliefs around success and how I can comfortably talk about it without my stomach turning, but in the meantime I can happily talk about my brilliant business!
I had worried that focussing time on my website was a distraction. It was keeping me merrily busy but was it the right use of my time? I didn’t actually have any paid work and here I was presenting myself as a fully functioning business. It was, I now know, exactly the right thing to be doing. It is what brought my business in to being. It allowed me to go into conversations with people who may buy my services, or know others who may, with a crystal-clear understanding of how my business could help. And within a few weeks, after a couple of false starts (more on that later) I had pinned down my first contract. The work was focussed exactly on what I had positioned my business to do. I was off the ground. Time to start running.
I’ve now got my offering down to a few sentences: Deliver Grow works with busy leaders in the charity sector who are struggling to make progress on the important change projects they have identified due to the multiple demands on their time. We work with individuals and teams to create a clear picture of what needs to be done and the steps needed to get there, providing practical support where it’s needed to retain focus on successful delivery. If you’re interested, you can see what it’s all about at www.delivergrow.com