Today my blog guest is Riana Avis of The Baobab Way, who tells her own story in her own words:
I started my business in 2012 because the time came when I wanted to make a difference in the world through being true to myself. After being in Information Technology for more years than I care to remember, it became inevitable as my purpose and values diverged from the corporate world I had inhabited for so long.
My business is about personal development. It is about people living a life of ease and grace. We make things so complicated! I have been there myself and it was only when I started admitting I don’t have all the answers and my way is not the only way, that the door for ease and grace started opening.
Let me rephrase that. We do have all the answers. It is just that we are taught to look in the wrong places and rely on the wrong pillars for strength and validation. And it is not until we start questioning it and embark on a journey to rediscover the truth for ourselves that we begin to see and experience the world differently.
A particular community I serve is the caregivers and family who have loved ones with dementia. Some years ago when I had a loved one who needed special care, I saw the gap and lack of help and support for care-givers. There were plenty of resources for the person with the condition and very little for the care-giver and or families. When you are beside yourself with worry about your loved one, castigating yourself for how you are failing them, living on edge all the time because you don’t know what you will have to face and cope with next, it is very stressful on all fronts. So I offer a personal support program for people in that situation.
The best thing about working for myself is the fabulous people I meet; both clients and other business owners. People are truly so gifted and well-meaning; something I did not see so clearly in the corporate world. I discovered people who work for themselves are much more willing to help and share information. And if you work from home, it is a particular treat to have lunch in the garden when the weather is good!
I was surprised at the diversity of businesses, particularly the smaller ones. It was an education to discover what people do from providing services that ensure fair contracts for photocopiers for schools and charities, to networking, beautifully presented individual bottles of wine for corporate gifts, eat right education services… to me it is endlessly fascinating.
The thing that totally shocked me was to realise how woefully unprepared I was for running a business. It very quickly dawned on me that getting another job would be the easy option. Running your own business is a continuous learning experience. One of the first things to learn is where to put your attention. In a world where everything is clamouring for your attention, you have to be clear on what you want and focus on that, otherwise you drown in trivia.
The other thing is, you have to generate your own work. Nobody gives you work; ‘please do this’ and you get a pay check at the end of the month. As a solo-preneur, you have to be the marketer, the salesperson, the manager, the worker and the strategist for your business. Even if you outsource some of those activities, you still need to know what is going on. Fortunately I had read Michael Gerber’s book the E-myth Revisited where he talks about these things. I can also tell you that reading a book and applying the knowledge are two entirely different things!
Early on I concluded that running your own business is the ultimate personal development vehicle. The biggest obstacles are always found within ourselves; overcoming your own resistance, stepping outside your own comfort zone, believing in yourself. I spot my own growth when I am with another business person and I can clearly see they are on a path where I have been; so I know what it is like for them and I can re-assure and help them.
The thing I’m most looking forward to is the day I can call myself an author in my own right. I have already had a taster of what it will be like. I was invited to contribute to a book called Communication Impact by Tracey Huish. It was a great feeling when I received the book, opened it and there was my name in print next to all my contributions. Turns out I was the most prolific contributor. So yes, I am working on my first book.
In the meantime, do treat yourself to a special gift from me. It is full of wisdom with several strategies for feeling good and boosting your resolve in times of change. I have used them all in my life of change. To get your gift, simply go to my website The Baobab Way, put your name and email address in the sign-up box and I’ll send you my e-book 5½ Simple Strategies to Uplift Your Spirit. You will automatically get regular blog updates too. It would be lovely to have you along on my journey as I share what I know, what I am learning and the wisdom of my teachers so you too can live a life of ease and grace.
Follow Riana on Twitter: @RianaAvis
Like her on Facebook: Facebook.com/TheBaobabWay
Riana is a member of my Coaching Club 100. Join Club 100 during August and save 50%. Become one of this fabulous group of women for a very affordable £100 a month. Prices rise to £150 per month on 1st September 2014 so now’s the time to join.