Sitting here in 2020 and looking backwards my life looks a lot different.
After a decade of working with big law firms I started my first business in 2012.
I have a lot better perspective on growing a business now.
I also endured hate along the way. As much as I am a positive person and growing my business has added to my confidence and positive attitude I must admit there is a lot of hate directed by the world to business owners like myself.
This hate tends to come from a small group of people. But it tends to be very strong, painful and destructive. It’s probably stopping lot of business owners and leaders from being what they could be..
I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I have learned so I can better help my clients with their business growth. And, of course, I want to pass these insights onto you, the business owner or leader that might be growing a business or looking to grow your current or next business.
Lesson 1: They Will Wall You In
I was still working for my prior employer when I went to a coffee with a new business contact in Dallas. I remember sitting across the table from him and told him I was leaving my current job and I was ready to start my own corporate law boutique (which is still going strong 8 years later). He responded telling my no one would ever hire me and there was no need for what I was offering.
Thankfully I walked across the street after that meeting to a lunch meeting where I told a former client (that I had been trying to get business from for a long time) that I was starting my own firm. He told me he would hire me for my first project.
I often look back to that day and how lucky I was that I had those two meetings back to back.
It showed me a lot. It taught me different people will have different opinions. It also taught me that some people are just naysayers.
I’ve thought back on that first meeting a lot. When I had tough moments in growing the business I sometimes wondered if the first guy was right.
But he wasn’t right. He was just trying to wall me in. Some people have a head story going on that business is too hard and no one else can make it. And they wall other people into failure with their thoughts.
Now that I know others will try to wall you in I can see it from a mile away.
Lesson 2: Mental Blocks And Artificial Limits Are Real
Not only will others wall you in – they will also work to create mental blocks and artificial limits.
One of my goals, as my business evolved, was to speak and use social media and other strategies (like writing for Medium.com and other outlets that would have me) to allow my ideal customers to know who I am and what I do. It’s a solid strategy with a lot of work involved and by no means a get rich quick scheme.
I was partnered with a marketing expert on a project and I remember we were going through strategy. He told me “You’ll never be like Tony Robbins or whatever and get well enough known that people will call you.”
Here was a so-called expert telling me that I should put limits on myself.
It’s not my goal to be Tony Robbins. While I love his work he’s totally not my style of leader. And I have completely different information to tell the world.
While I am not Tony Robbins, more and more people are reading my work and finding me. I just had a client in Dallas call me and hire me because they read my blog posts. I’ve had people call me and ask for speeches or guest blog posts because they’ve seen my body of work. I’ve generated two coaching clients for 2020 because they’ll seen my work.
Had I listened to that marketing “expert” I’d have put up walls to wall myself in and never built what I have now.
Lesson 3: It Doesn’t Matter How Good Their Intentions Are
Even people with total love, care and respect for you can contribute to these walls going up. I’ve had many very well intentioned people hurt my progress.
For some of them it’s their fear projected on you that ends up holding you back. They hate risk so much that they hate you for being able to take risk.
While that sounds crazy I have found it to be reality.
The Do Business Differently(™) movement was a telling time in learning this. For a long time I had been delivering messages about being unique in business and doing business your way.
While I had the message down I had no visual to go with it.
After much searching one day I stumbled across the idea of wearing unusual suits to open the conversation. With the support of some I started a test.
Some people hated the suits (some loved it). Some called me silly. Or a clown. One business partner kept asking me not to wear my own clothing to their events or for joint appearances.
The nagging from that partner and others – that hated my branding change because it didn’t help their cause – was painful to endure.
The hate almost caused me to go back to “normal”.
But I didn’t. Today I get many speaking engagements, and clients, because I Do Business Differently(™). The people that get it get the power of my message
And those that don’t get it are free to hate other people. And now they can hate my success too.
Lesson 4: Many That Can’t Do Have Advice
One common denominator of the advice – and the hate of my actions – has been who it has come from.
Almost all of the hate has come from people that aren’t that successful. They are caught up in a world of self-imposed boundaries where they hate anyone that challenges conventional.
For many out there, and we need to be watching for them, there is hate for those that do, challenge and achieve.
I can think about a lot of unsuccessful people that have hated my branding or my business growth strategies. Successful people have been supportive or allowed me to be me.
Think about where advice is coming to you from and why that person is giving it to you. Often it’s not love of you but an internal fear that is bringing the advice.
Lesson 5: Love Comes From The Strangest Places
And while there will be a lot of hate as you do the hard work to be successful (perhaps someone stuck in average isn’t happy you aren’t spending social time with them) love will come too.
Some folks will know you are doing the hard work and pat you on the back. Some will become your friends. Some will be your partners and grow with you.
There’s a tribe of us that have been through the fire and been hated. We know this seldom talked about reality. And we respect and cherish anyone else that can survive this very lonely process.
Out of the hate you’ll likely see will also come opportunities for love. The beautiful thing is that many of your new friends and contacts are vetted before you know them.
Take-Away 1: Love Your Fellow Business Owners
If you are reading this and are a business owner or leader that’s been through this, or just know one, know it’s OK to love your fellow business owners.
We are a very unique breed and need love too.
Odds are that any business owner has endured hate.
Look for them and give love. Respect what they have endured.
If we loved our fellow business owners for what they endured and accomplished we’d have a better world. And more business owners would succeed which would be a good thing too!
Take-Away 2: This Journey Is About You, Not Them
If you are feeling alone in your business ownership or leadership journey know it’s very normal.
Many people will hate on you or act to hold you back for their purposes.
This is your life. It is your mission. It’s your journey.
It’s about you, not them.
And find the other business owners, leaders and consultants that will love you and support you. Be a part of that community and get away from the hate of those that don’t have the strength to do it.
NOTE: This article is a piece develop a small portion of the content of the book tentatively called The Journey: Finding Your Place From Entrepreneur to CEO being co-authored by The Our Shawn McBride and Ann Gatty. If you want updates on the book including the possibility of joining our release team or getting one of the first copies please join our mailing list here.
DISCLAIMER: This article talks about legal issues. I am a lawyer licensed in multiple US jurisdictions, but I am not your lawyer unless we have signed an engagement agreement. Please view this material as educational and consult counsel you have retained for advice on your specific facts and circumstances. Do not rely on these general statements as legal advice.
By: The Our Shawn McBride, is the business nerd and long-time business attorney that focuses on changes of ownership in businesses. He works with business owners that know their business is about more than themselves to get ready for their future through keynotes, training and personalized solutions. In furtherance of this he hosts The Future Done Right(TM) Show where he collects, digests and gives lessons and insights on The Future of Business. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
You’ll quickly notice his unusual suits which he uses open the conversation of how businesses should Do Business Differently™.
The Our Shawn is based in DeLand, Florida (between Orlando, Florida and Daytona Beach, Florida) and Dallas, Texas where he keeps offices. You can also find Shawn on webinars or traveling nationally or internationally for speaking engagements.
Check me out at: www.planningdoneright.com
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