Started from the bottom now we’re here…

I had been an employee for 13 years. All I had known was to be in work. Yes, I always had a creative and I guess entrepreneurial approach to work, creating new ideas, building new products and thinking about ‘what’s next’. But this was always done from the comfort of being in employment. Ever since I was about 7 or 8 I used to always say when asked ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ – “I want to be my own boss and have my own business”. I was 7 or 8 years old – what the heck did that mean?!

But the funny thing is about this, when I finally took the plunge into working for myself following redundancy from my previous employer, my response to the action of deciding to start up on my own was pretty similar – what the heck am I going to do now?!

“Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you.”

Stephen Covey.

The goal of 0114 Marketing has always been to share my ideas about marketing and business development to a group of businesses whose primary skill set is not that of marketing, developing or selling within their business. So if that’s the goal and mission of the business, what did I need to do next?!

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is one of the best reads I took in when on my early steps into self-employment. This was a time when the rug was pulled from under me, there was no paycheck coming at the end of the month and I simply had to create something. Nothing lights a fire under you more than the need to provide for a toddler and a pregnant wife! I knew that I had to step up and out from the ‘behind the scenes’ persona I had been so comfortable with. If I was to help others I must step out – but what did that mean?

Starting with the end in mind is one of the 7 habits, and for me is one of the most important aspects of this powerful book. I encourage you to see more about starting with the end in mind and more about the book on the link below, with a video outlining the principle from a TedX talk I found over on YouTube.

marketing and 7 habits of highly effective people
Start with the end in mind. One of the 7 habits of highly effective people.

For me, I knew that if I wanted to help the number of businesses I had in mind, and help raise the profile of the marketing opportunity for the region, I needed to practice what I preach!

So before I can achieve my goal, what little steps can I take now that will help me work towards it?

The first step for me was to create a brand. With me in it. I was the face of my brand so I need to really share that and put myself front and centre. I had the logo designed and for the first time ever has some professional headshots taken. Then I knew that to start positioning the brand I need to be seen by the market; the business owners of the Sheffield City Region.

After this I know I needed to be able to stand up and talk to a group of people. The only time I did this previously was at a wedding – and it was fearful! So the goal was to help a lot of people. I know to do that I needed to be a) a brand, and b) be able to share my ideas to a large number of people. So my next level up was to gain the confidence and skills needed to be able to do this.

I worked with The Public Speaking Academy in Sheffield to help upskill me to a point I felt more comfortable with delivering and talking to a group of strangers! I remember my first networking event where I had to introduce myself to the group – I was petrified. My learning from the PSA helped me tremendously but it is the acknowledgment of the requirement to learn that I want to share most here.

You must appreciate that if you do what you do and what you have always done, but are not getting results, then why on earth is anything going to improve until you change yourself, or your approach?!

Ok, so I had a basic brand and professional headshots. I was getting over my skills gap and confidence gap with the Public Speaking Academy and now I needed to put my ideas in to practice. I created my own mantra that spurred me on: Set a target where the results from that target outweigh your hesitance to deliver it.

It’s quite a powerful position when you think about it. What makes you nervous? What would supersede those nerves in terms of results? Because then I found that the nerves were channeled with adrenaline. The nerves were there yes, and without the appreciation of why I was setting myself up like this it would have been so easy to just not do it! Doing nothing is easy.

My first steps into presenting and practicing were to speak at events organised by and partnered with the Federation Of Small Business. This was to follow quite nicely with a delivery series for Google. See what I mean by creating something where the end outcome outweighs the opportunity to say no? Google and the FSB were two of my first delivery partners – something I am incredibly proud of. Level Up. Level Up. Level Up.

Are you stuck in the comfort zone?

I knew then as I know now, that I simply will not achieve my business and personal goals if I stick where I am today. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy with this, not allowing myself time to celebrate the little wins and reflect by looking back from where I came to where I am now, but looking forward, what’s next is a real mantra of mine – for better or worse sometimes!

Image source (https://gordonfrankstraining.co.uk/news-and-events/break-comfort-zone/)

I think I operate quite nicely in the learning zone as highlighted in the picture above, and I flirt with the growth zone. When I was employed I found myself (unwillingly) sitting in the comfort zone and the fear zone. I had no reason to do something so could easily find a reason not to do it. I was employed afterall and doing great at work – I couldn’t be missing out on anything like this – it was, well, comfortable!

Stepping out of employment, in my opinion, takes the appreciation that the comfort zone cannot exist if you want to develop as a business and create a lifestyle that self employment can deliver. Am I there yet? Not by some distance! Do I know where ‘there’ is? Yes, I have an idea of what that looks like today, but also understand that these things are fluid, and can change. As long as I have the power to control that then that is all good.

I always reference the powerful question….what next? What is the next level up that takes me consistently towards my end goal? Then I go and do it in a persistent manner.

The pursuit of personal development.

First off, I really enjoy learning new things. I absorb learning from industry thought leaders, read blogs and articles that questions my approach and understanding and am always respectful that there are people more knowledgable than me in pretty much every field I can think of. But my appreciation to learn from others, test and apply this on my own business, and then share with the 0114 Marketing community is what makes the outcome of personal development most rewarding.

My business and my success in it will depend on the actions I take. I have stepped out from the comfortable employment bubble and have a thoroughly exciting world of opportunity in front of me. And so do you!

“People are working harder than ever, but because they lack clarity and vision, they aren’t getting very far. They, in essence, are pushing a rope with all of their might.”

Stephen Covey.

Set a target where the results from that target outweigh your hestiance to deliver it.

Rob Taylor, 0114 Marketing.

Further Reading from the 0114 Marketing blog.