Solopreneurs Create MORE When we SEE More.
Over the last seven years I’ve been adjusting my paradigm; on life, business and what ‘success’ is for me.
I had an opportunity recently to sit in a group discussion with Sandra Yancey, founder of the eWomen Network.
The eWomen Network, is now a multi-million dollar, global company that Yancey started in 2000. Her overarching goal?
“Connecting the resources and buying power of women entrepreneurs to accelerate growth, abundance and unlimited opportunities”.
Now, I didn’t know much of her story when I first engaged with her at this event, but from the beginning, I knew that we shared some important ideologies.
What I loved the most about this encounter was seeing again, how our business world is changing. All kinds of people are taking all kinds of pathways to create MORE through their business and Yancey is no exception.
She has operations across North America and as I write this, she’s just stepped into Australia.
What stands out for me is that she has succeeded in creating a sense of consistency as she’s grown AND yet only employs 70 full-time people. Which means, she has gotten very creative about how to scale her business without having to ‘grow’ in the conventional ways.
We truly are only limited by the degree to which we can use our imagination.
I wanted to share a couple of the most compelling things I took away, about the woman, her journey and specifically, how she became a coherent, strategic entrepreneur (who started as a Solopreneur) and continues to evolve her business.
Sandra On Clarity
She read an article with Bill Gates from January 2019 about the shifting trends of technology and stated honestly that she didn’t remember anything from the article, except where he said, “Busy is the new stupid.”
Sandra said: “Busy has no relevance, if you are busy on the wrong things.”
She has a clever little statement: ‘be the CEO not just the COE’.
Some of you will read that statement and feel a thud. You will know that this ‘truth’ is for you.
Being the COE – chief of everything – 100% of the time is the plight and downfall of every Solopreneur who wants more. And it was MY downfall for longer than I wished.
If we want to create and experience more – to increase and advance – either as a business owner or as the human within the business, we need to be clear about what’s going to enable it and sometime that means letting go of things, engaging others to help and…
…reconcile how much of our time we will invest in the work OF business (which we Solopreneurs LOVE and do with ease) and how much we will invest working ON the business (what ‘Entrepreneurs’ LOVE and do with ease; YET still essential for Solos).
YES Solos, you wear the hat of delivering your craft, just like I do and, you wear the hat of CEO.
If you don’t see yourself as CEO you will continue to be buried under the day-to-day demands of the business and in my experience, this will masterfully manifest a Life of Work.
We need to see ourselves differently, more clearly and some part of our day and week needs to be devoted to thinking and acting like a CEO.
Sandra said: “the best CEOs in business spend 25% of their time every day learning; taking in new information. That’s 10 hours a week, 2 hours a day.”
Now, what most of you just felt was “Ugh!” how the H-E-double hockey sticks am I going to find 2 MORE hours in my day.
I repeat, you are not going to ‘find’ two more hours in your day! You and I are still living with 24 hours just like everyone else…
We’re doing business primarily on our own (yes, we have resources but you know what I mean). There is no MORE time…
Leaving aside the select few who have cracked the code on collapsing the space/time continuum
This is about creating a different relationship with TIME. Pardon?
Stepping back to see more and open up to more through your calendar, your actions and activities and re-assessing efficiency versus effectiveness; a holistic conversation which I start with Meadow Kenney in this podcast,
Sandra On Relationships
Sandra’s 2019 North American roadshow involved visiting some of her local chapters and was sponsored in part, by Google.
Yes, Google. Why?
In short, the tech giant is clueing into something that we Solopreneurs already know in our hearts and – hold in the palm of our hand – metaphorically speaking.
Sandra said, “Online has become a distractor; and offline is emerging as a disruptor.”
Google is starting to see the shift that I researched about three years ago and share inside a Masterclass: Customer Synchrony Creates More.
That the face-to-face interaction with people is a strategic advantage.
Google is putting themselves into environments where they can create connections with real, live, breathing, human beings. Now, I want to point out that ‘face-to-face’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean ‘in-the-flesh’:
we live in a human world, through digital interfaces
As we think of our customers more and, think of them more as ‘our people’ we build bona fide communities around them and we behave in ways that show that we are all-in for them, which shifts the relationship between them and us.
For those of us building a business who can scale or expand online, we will still be better served by thinking about how to keep building extraordinary relationship
Sandra on being a small business
Sandra said, “Your have the least amount of time, the least amount of impact and the least amount of freedom when you stay small. Stop playing small. Take the risk.”
I came out of the corporate world where I worked with some of the biggest companies in the world – Harley Davidson, The Home Depot, Zappos, Mark’s (Work Wearhouse – for those of you in Canada).
I share this part of my history because when I left corporate I was so fiercely determined on staying small that I couldn’t see how I was impairing my ultimate Endgame.
The life (and business) I envision for myself today are expansive and I was so encouraged to see what Sandra has been able to do without getting to be a mammoth organization.
If you just felt another thud, this is a relationship moment. Something inside the relationship you have with your business has just shifted or is starting to tug at you…
This one hit me hard.
Like an arrow to the heart actually.
and has now become my mantra for myself and for you…
Sandra said, “staying small, does not mean playing small”
I am a Solopreneur.
I am a Strategic and Coherent Solopreneur who works with other Solopreneurs, single-owner Entrepreneurs and sometimes Micro business owners, who want more…
Creating more inside the business can 100% happen
even if we choose to stay small;
but it does happen when we are playing small.
The wisdom and counsel that Sandra imparted remains true for me and I know without a shadow of a doubt that in order to create more and experience more – we need to stop playing small.
I believe that Solopreneurs, Entrepreneurs and Micro Businesses are ‘businesses of tomorrow‘ (podcast).
I also believe we each need to step up and define for ourselves, the way WE want our business to look and feel.
One size DOES NOT fit all.
There are as many ways to build a business as there are people building them and there are universal principles, playbooks and practices that we can use, as we ‘rewrite’ the rules of the game we’re playing.
We get to be CEOs and Craftspeople.
We get to play a strategic long-game AND enjoy playing a coherent short-game.
We get to be strategic, coherent Solopreneurs who LOVE our craft, our community of customers and our strategic advantage of 1:1 relationships with our people.
Sandra on life 360º
Sandra said, “You don’t really know what life is going to serve up in three years, five years, 20 years from now. Build a business that can grow with you.”
Again another bullseye. For me and for many of the people I start working with in times of plenty and in the face of uncertainty.
I get this point SO deeply because of the people who find me, who are reaching beyond the conventional conversation around Business (and life). I go beyond because, at some point in the life and business of every owner, the business becomes about something more and that is a deeper conversation than what we find in the mainstream dialogue.
Sandra and well-known sales guru, Zig Ziglar, shared the same gym. She spoke of how much she admired his knowledge AND his heart. He was warm and generous and insightful. So I think it’s fitting to close with something he would say to her while they were engaged in their respective work-outs.
“Success isn’t for the chosen few, it is for the few who choose it. Choosing success is hard, but being broke and unsuccessful is harder.”
This is one of posts that had depth; figuratively and quite literally. I took you further because it’s the longer conversations that really shape a relationship.