You are good enough to keep your business up. Invest in yourself first, and think twice before hiring a business consultant.
Invest in yourself before hiring a business consultant
A client of mine expressed some major small business regret recently.
She had hired too many business consultants – so many that she had outsourced the tasks she excelled at and enjoyed, and spent way too much money in the process.
The reason she did it was clear: she didn’t think she could do a good enough job on her own.
And while she was extremely frustrated with herself, she vowed to follow her instincts moving forward, instead of getting caught up in the “I’m not good enough” mindset.
Which got me thinking about how many people are out there going through the same thing…
When you start a new business, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed with the number of tasks you feel you need to complete each day
And if you closely follow your competition, you may start to feel stressed out about all the stuff you think you should be doing, but aren’t.
You’ll learn through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. You might even find that some of those items on your to-do list are entirely irrelevant to your business activities.
And you’ll sort out what you like doing, what you are capable of doing, and what’s outside your skill-set pretty quickly.
The persuasion of the consultant
Meanwhile, there will be business consultants eyeing you up, hoping to convince you that you need their assistance. Even if you don’t.
If your business is brand new, you might not be sure what you need yet. Enter the “test-the-waters” stage.
This is when you try new things. For example, a new social media platform for your business (like flipboard, or medium).
This stage tends to be a little nerve-wracking because it’s the unknown. You’re not sure what will come of it, but you do it anyway.
Being unsure of the results may also leave you feeling vulnerable, which is exactly how some business consultants want you to feel.
A lot of them focus their marketing activities on convincing people that the test-the-waters stage isn’t a safe zone to be in.
They want you to believe that not knowing could ruin your business
And they are persistent, working diligently and religiously at igniting dormant fears. Because in that state, you might make a brash decision to sign up for their services.
A lot of the time it’s a long-term commitment too: “I’ll work with you if you give me a percentage of your sales for a year.” Yikes.
Some will tell tall-tales of folks who made millions thanks to their processes. Others will slowly chip away at your resolve with carefully crafted emails tailored to your worst case scenario.
“It could happen to you too,” they say. “But not if you sign up right away”
Why invest in yourself?
Your confidence and determination need to be replaced by fear for things to work in their favour.
Which means you lose two folds: you’ll end up with a dent in your start-up fund and your self-esteem.
I don’t want you to fall into the same pit of regret my client did. So I’m going to give you the heads up I wish someone had given her, and me for that matter.
You might be up against a task that you immediately default to thinking, “I’m crap at that.”
But instead of listening to the fear and instantly rejecting the task and yourself, consider taking some time to learn more about it.
Because if you aren’t patient with yourself, and outsource everything that scares you – you’ll never get the chance to learn.
Which means you’ll never get the chance to become really great at something new.
You deserve the opportunity to learn a new skill!
Chances are, the first time you do something you’ve never done before, it won’t yield fantastic results.
But that’s when you give yourself a pep talk. Acknowledge what you did great. Write a list of ways you could improve.
Do not berate yourself. Be patient, and give yourself a chance to become great, instead of dismissing the idea of it ever being possible.
Believe in the impossible. Invest in yourself before you hire a business consultant
Some consultants make it their business to instigate doubt. For example, I received a rather bold auto DM a couple of weeks ago on Twitter:
“I see you need some help with your social media.”
Well actually sir, I see this kind of stuff everyday: hyper-aggressive marketers, hoping to poke the fear, igniting it into action – even if action needn’t be taken.
And they’re marketing themselves as fixers, which means there needs to be a problem for them to do what they do.
For some consultants, their full-time job revolves around convincing people they have issues.
Let’s be real for a minute: is it helpful to point out a person’s flaws in the first sentence of your first ever interaction?
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to do business with someone who initiated a conversation by pointing out something negative about me.
That’s not kind, or productive.
The truth is, it’s OK to not have it all figured out right away. Trial and error are your friends, not your enemies.
Things change and evolve, and as much as we try to plan, coordinate, and organize our lives, the more often they go in a completely different direction.
So we need to accept the different directions life takes us. That entails accepting that sometimes, you won’t know what the hell you’re doing.
Perhaps after some soul searching and research, you’ll realize you do need to hire someone to help you out. That’s great!
Or perhaps you’ll realize the task is something you have the time, inclination and ability to do yourself. Equally great!
But please don’t make any hasty decisions, and sink a bunch of money into outsourcing during a time of instigated uncertainty.
Bet on yourself before betting on someone else. Invest in yourself before hiring a consultant.
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