Happy 2 Year Business Anniversary, Mr. Entrepreneur. Yikes! What Did I get MYself into?

 In Career, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Personal Development, Professional Development, TOP 5

Making Change and TRANSITION EASYer on YOURself!
Sharing some ideas and insights on change and transition with YOU!
(Oh! and as a bonus if you can make it to the end. A challenge for YOU!)

Chapter 1: Setting the Stage (a.k.a. The background and context)
On November 30, 2015 I handed in my computer to my former employer.
I had been with my former employer for close to 20 years prior to that day.
I had been receiving regular, bi-weekly paychecks and benefits from that employer
for almost 20 years prior to that day.
I had been receiving regular bi-weekly paychecks and benefits from previous employers
for about 10 years before that.
And now here I was, all excited to venture out and start my own business.
I had only come up with that idea a couple of months prior to that day,
but it just felt right.

I had done my due diligence on the “Do I STAY or Do I GO” front.
And the answer, a bit of a surprise at the time, was a table pounding GO!
Sure, I was a single parent who had two young children to support at the time.
But hey, I had some savings to tide me over.

And besides, I had just recently discovered that my personality matched that of
How cool is that!
I found that out a bit late in the game,
i.e. at age 50,
but better late than never. 😊

I had ventured out on my own a couple of times previously during my career.
But those adventures did not last all that long.
The 2 F’s sent me back to the regular paycheck model very quickly.
The 2 F’s being Fear and Failure.
Or Fear of Failure in my case,
since I panicked so quickly that I did not really give myself time to FAIL.
I missed out at my First Attempt In Learning on the entrepreneur front. ☹

And now, here I was.
Many years later.
No longer single but with a family to support.
The sole bread winner in my own household.
And ready to take another shot at being my own boss.
And for some reason, there was no fear whatsoever at this point.
No fear of failure.
I was so excited.
Maybe a bit too excited?
It felt like this new adventure of mine was my destiny.
I was ready.
Bring it on!!!!

Now, here I am.
Almost 2 years later,
(Happy anniversary by the way 😊)
I have accomplished a lot.
At times, I still can’t believe all that I have accomplished.
Talk about a great learning and growth (L&G) opportunity.
And L&G is my #2 personal value.
Right behind my #1 value which is Family.
My ability to have more control over the balance between
My Business Life Quadrant and My Family Life Quadrant was one of the drivers for my desire
to start my own business in the first place.
One of them.
One of many.

Another very strong motivator was my desire to connect with others.
And help inspire and empower those others to make positive changes in their lives.
At the time, I was in the middle of undertaking a significant positive change myself.
I refer to that change as My Mid-Life, Life Altering TRANSITION.
You can check out my before and after pictures and statistics
On my web site at http://davewcoachingandstorytelling.com/who-am-i/
It really made a huge impact in my life.
I wanted to share it,
And inspire others to make life-altering changes as well.

Well now,
here I am,
2 years later.
Although I am making great progress
The savings are starting to run out,
and fast!

As mentioned, when I look back over the past 2 years,
I can’t believe all that I have accomplished.
Yet, I am still not where I wanted to be.
I don’t have the number of clients I had expected.
I don’t have the number of blog readers that I hoped for?
I have not launched all of the service offerings that I had dreamed of.
How is that possible?
Being Naïve is one theory that comes to mind.
But I prefer,
The following theory;
Not knowing any better because, this is the first time that I have really ever tried this.
And you don’t know, what you don’t know.

I was talking with a much more established coach the other day.
She mentioned that she also experienced something similar when starting up.
A lot of people do.
Supposedly most people do.
We find out just how daunting starting up one’s business can be.
We find out once we have made the leap.
That is when the theory turns real.
Good thing we don’t know any better before we leap.
Otherwise, as my colleague pointed out,
not many people would make the leap.
And many of those people would have missed out on realizing their dreams.
And many of those people would have missed out on a great L&G opportunity.

Oh and, while I am at it,
I have also recently found out that I was mistaken in my belief that I was an entrepreneur.
OOPs! 😊
My Myers Briggs ENTP.A is “The Debater” and not “The Entrepreneur”.
The “Entrepreneur” is ESTP.
And apparently, ESTP’s like living on the edge.
Well, I don’t.
I really don’t like living on the edge.
I was kind of hoping to have a sustainable business model in place by now.
Well, I don’t.
And I find it to be quite scary at times.
It can even be terrifying at times.

What was I thinking when I made the leap?
Was I thinking while wearing a pair of rose covered glasses?
Who knows?
The past is the past.
I am now in the present.
And in this blog,
I would like to share with YOU.
What I am now thinking.
What I am now thinking about my next steps moving forward.
In enabling that vision and dream that had me so excited a couple of years ago.

I would also like to share with YOU
What I am now FEELING.
And as mentioned, that is scared, at times.
My 13-year-old son Shayne stopped me the other day.
And just kind of matter of factly asked me.
“aren’t you scared starting up your own business?”
Well you know what?
Sometimes I am.
Sometimes, more so than at other times.
And those times can be pretty scary and demotivating.
And those are the times that I start to question MYself.
When I start to lose faith in MYself.
When I stop believing in Myself.

I have had a chance to connect with a lot of colleagues and peers over past few weeks.
Some are entrepreneurs.
Some are not.
Some, like me, are starting out.
Others are more established.
I have also read quite a few books and blogs on the topic.
In Section 2 of this blog,
I am going to share some highlights of those discussions and that research with YOU.

In section 3,
I am going to try and summarize all my thinking
Into a Top 5 List;
The Top 5 Enablers of “Toughing it out long enough to make one’s business dream a reality”

And to mark the 2-year anniversary of my business.
In addition to my usual challenge for you in Section 4.
I also have a little something special to share with YOU.
As part of my Happy 2 Year Business Anniversary celebrations. 😊

Enjoy the read!
Have fun with the challenge!

Chapter 2: Exploring the Topic (a.k.a. ideating, reflecting, researching and connecting)

In his book,
“The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It”
Author Michael Gerber shares some pretty nasty statistics.
Supposedly, “1 million people start a business in the U.S. every year.
By the end of year 1, 40% will be out of business.
Within 5 years, 80% will have failed”.
What is responsible for some of those failures?
Supposedly a lack of balance.
Not Work life balance (although I believe it has a major impact),
but a balance in roles.
Apparently, a technical (as he puts it “Technician” role alone is not enough).
Two other roles are also important.
The “Entrepreneur” role and the “Manager” role.
The entrepreneur focuses on the longer-term strategy and vision.
The manager on the shorter-term execution.
I would add that there is another role.
The business developer and closer role.

What does that look like for me?
What are the implications for me?

Re: the TECHNICAL role of my service offerings.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Re: the BUSINESS DEVELOPER role of my business
Connect. Connect. Connect.
But connect in a way that you enjoy doing.
That way, you will want to do a lot more of it.
For me it is connecting through my writing and stories.
I am always looking for other ways to connect.
But this is MY preferred approach.
The one that works best for me.
Re: the MANAGER role (Yuk!)
Simplify. Automate. Outsource.
But stay on top of it.
Before, during and after any handoffs.
Keep dreaming buddy. Keep exploring. Keep growing.

Now, honestly Dave.
Have you been doing all of the above?
Have you been doing enough of all of the above?

To answer the above questions,
I am going to share a few ideas from a fellow blogger, Hugh Culver,
and one of his top 3 lists.
This particular blog was about successfully starting up a new business.
I liked his top 3 so much that I put them on the wall of my office.
My new home office. 😊

Creating a sense of urgency:
I looked upon my first year of business as a bit of a sabbatical.
An opportunity to continue to strengthen
my personal and professional foundations.
And start connecting and exploring what a new business is all about.
So, I can’t say I had much of a sense of urgency in Year 1.
I do now.
My dwindling savings have given me that sense of urgency.
It is as if it is encouraging me to CONNECT more.
To become more courageous in trying new things.
To become more disciplined in finishing what I start.
A lot of the non-value-added stuff and time wasters have fallen by
the wayside.
That sense of urgency has become my new best friend.
“Come on Dave, stop googling and get going!”
“Focus Dave. Focus! Connect Dave. Connect!”

Create capacity
In addition to a sense of urgency,
My electronic calendar has become another one of
My new best friends.
I am scheduling my writing time.
I am scheduling my connecting time.
I am scheduling my time with my 2 beautiful children time.
I am scheduling my time with my beautiful sweetheart time.
And more importantly,
I protecting that time.
They are on the priority list of what gets done.
Unless something really urgent comes up,
I am now getting them done.
The other stuff will just have to wait.
I am creating capacity and I am creating boundaries.
And I am sticking to them.
Despite all the craziness going on out there.

Fail Fast and Fail Often
Fail (First Attempt In Learning)
I mentioned my new best friends above,
Well, FAIL is my new favourite word.
My office has become more of a test kitchen.
And I, a mad scientist coming with all kinds of
experiments to try out.
Some work and some do not.
Some require some re-tweaking. A lot of re-tweaking.
I share some of mine with others.
Others share some of theirs with me.
At the end of the process,
I am left with the ones that work for me.
The others can keep the ones that work for them.
I have found that, like that pair of shoes that fit just right,
It is important that what I am doing in my business
Is the right fit for ME.
Otherwise, things can get pretty nasty,
Pretty fast.

Oh, and speaking of scheduling.
I might want to schedule a little more LISTEN and LEARN time.
I took an oath a while ago
After reading the book, “The Four Agreements”
to no longer make assumptions.
Apparently, most assumptions are wrong
Mine usually are.
Although I no longer make assumptions,
I am allowed to come up with hypotheses to test.
To test in my test kitchen.

A hypothesis is like a point of view or idea that you then try and test.
Kind of like some of the topics and ideas in my blogs.
My way of testing them is to share them and ask for feedback.
And connect with my readers and discuss them.

So, to that end,
If any of YOU have any feedback or ideas that YOU would like to share.
Regarding the TOP 5 list that I am about to share.
I am all EARS if you would like to call me at 514-886-1732
I am all EYES if you would like to email me at daveawalker123@outlook.com
I am all EYES if you would like to comment through LinkedIn or my website.
(in which case others will benefit from YOUR sharing as well)

Are YOU Ready!
Here we go!
MY Top 5 Enablers on “Toughing it out long enough to make one’s business dream a reality”

Chapter 3: Sharing My Takeaway(s) (a.k.a. What I have I learned? How have I grown?)

Dave’s Top 5 Enablers on
“Toughing it out long enough to make one’s business dream a reality”

#1 Do what YOU LOVE
I often joke with my friends.
That if my business should fail.
I can always blame my Mom.
She is the one who,
a long, long, time ago,
suggested the book.
“Do what YOU LOVE and the money will follow”
Well, I am loving what I am doing but
I am still waiting for the money to follow. 😊 ☹
At least to the extent that I want it to flow.
It can be discouraging at times.
Those are the times that I thank my Mom for encouraging me to do,
What I LOVE.
If this were not something that I really loved doing,
I am not sure how I would find the motivation to keep it up.

I find I do my best work,
when I find, what someone close to me refers to as
“OUR flow”. In my case, “MY FLOW”.
When I am in my Flow.
Time just seems to fly by.
I am super productive.
I am super courageous.
I am at my most innovative self.
The sky seems to be my limit as to what I can do.
Now, is there a correlation between flow and doing what one loves?
Well that is my hypothesis.
I am hoping to get plenty more opportunities to test it out.
By continuing to do what I love. 😊

#2 Stick at it. I believe that they call that GRIT and a little Courage comes in handy as well
Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance.
I can’t think of anything that can make someone more passionate
than doing something that they love.
In a way that they love doing it.
Got to love the L-word. 😊
At one point, I was trying to measure it on
What I called my daily passion meter.
I think that I might want to go back to that practice.
Given the importance of passion.
I might want to become more familiar with it and how and when,
I am best able to play to it.

Rome was not built in a day.
The same goes for a business.
Building one’s brand.
Connecting in the marketplace and creating awareness of one’s business,
And creating awareness of one’s self.
After all, as entrepreneur,
YOU are the business.
All those things take time.
It even takes time to figure those things out in the first place.
Lots of time.
And I find that lots of time (not to mention the effort that goes with it)
requires lots of perseverance.
Perseverance. Here is hoping that you are one of my top strengths.
I am going to need you.

Although Passion and Perseverance (a.k.a. Grit) are key enablers.
Don’t be shy to call on YOUR Courage.
Talk about venturing out of your comfort Zone.
Starting up your own business is a good way to do it.
A lot of this stuff is new and can be scary.
It takes courage to give it a try.
And keep at it.
I can still remember the butterflies before my first time on stage.
(my motivational speaking offering)
The link is just below if you want to take a peek.
And no, the sweat was not from a workout.
I was just a little bit nervous. 😊
My first time with a mic in front of the bright lights

Oh, and for ME.
Any discussion around sticking to it, just has to include. 😊
A quick mention of my modus operandi,
And one of my key motivators.

My Modul Operandi (please feel free to leverage it) is;
“How can I make this change EASYer on MYself?”

Note to self. Don’t forget to keep asking YOURself that question!
A lot!

One of my key motivators is;
To have FUN.
What can I do to make this journey fun?
How can I turn my fear on its head and make it fun?

Although as mentioned above,
My FEAR is helping me move faster and stretch farther.
My fear of running out of my savings.
Maybe my fear is also one of my friends.
And maybe a bit of a motivator
And a catalyst in creating that all important
sense of urgency.

#3 Believe. Easier said than done
When I say believe,
I mean, believe in your vision
And your mission
And most importantly,
in YOURself.

When I started connecting with people when I first set out to shape my business vision.
A little over 2 years ago.
I still can’t believe (pardon the pun) how supportive people were.
The input from others helped me shape and continue to
help me shape my business vision and mission.
I have received lots of positive feedback about my website, my blogs, my coaching, etc
No one has reached out and told me that I can’t make a business out of this.
Some people have told me that it will be difficult and will require lots of grit.
But no one has told me that I can’t do it.
No one except for one person.
And that person is ME.

Although for the most part, I am a believer.
There are times when I lose my faith.
My faith in my business and in MYself.
It often happens when I am tired.
Often at night.
It often happens when I have not connected with whatever gives me energy,
In my case, connecting with others.

I start hearing these little voices in my head.
They are telling me I can’t do it.
Their logic is mainly based on assumptions and things that have not yet occurred,
and probably never will.
Yet, I listen to them sometimes.
Sometimes, I listen to those little voices,
The “Gremlins” as one of my colleagues refers to them.

It does not happen often but it happens.
I have a bit of a battle going on.
I refer to it as the battle of the beliefs.
Me vs. the “Gremlins”.
Me and my GRIT against the Gremlins and their assumptions and scare tactics.
Who is going win?
Well, this is my hypothesis, but remember I am biased.
I am going to win.

I am going to win because deep down inside,
Deep down inside me, in my heart,
the strongest organ in the body, I believe.
And the heart is stronger than the head (the home of the gremlins).
So, although I am confident that I will win out.
I believe that I will win out.
The journey will be a long one.
It takes time to set up a sustainable business.
So, it will be important to continue to build positive momentum.
It will be important to celebrate my wins.
It will be important to acknowledge and face my fears.

The important thing is that I keep moving forward,
And in order to so, I find that there is nothing more powerful than in believing.
In believing in Me. In believing in Myself.
And why not? Everyone else seems to.
Everyone except the Gremlins. 😊

#4 Don’t go it alone.
As a coach I am not supposed to offer advice.
As a Martian (Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus)
I am not supposed to offer up unsolicited advice.
But in this case, I am making an exception.
That is how important this one is to me.
Being an entrepreneur, or,
sole business owner, or,
working under a sole proprietorship model,
DOES NOT mean that you have to work alone.
Ever heard the saying “2 heads are better than one”?
Ever heard the saying “want to go fast, go alone,
Want to go far, go together”?
I can’t think of a better way to de-energize oneself,
Than to isolate oneself.
So, don’t do it.
Surround YOURself with others.
Connect with others.
Collaborate with others
Have fun with others.

Set up a peer group
Mine meets monthly.
Join a Mastermind group
Mine meets monthly.
Connect with other colleagues and peers
I do, with lots and often.
Hook up with a Mentor(s)
I have several that I connect with.
Hire some help
Thanks Tishia and Tiffany and Deb for all your help and support,
in helping me get my website and supporting business tools up and running. 😊
Hire yourself a Coach
BTW. The topic for the next call with my coach,
is “validating my priorities for my business in Year 3”.
The take-aways that I am looking for at the end of the session.
What do I do MORE of in order to take my business to the next level?
What do I do LESS of in order to take my business to the next level?
Oh, and a little bit of a celebration will also be on the agenda.
You hear that Shawna?
Don’t be surprised if you see some balloons in the background
of our virtual video session. 😊

Oh, and folks,
while YOU are at it,
don’t forget.
To ask YOUR current clients and acquaintances for
And Referrals!

Remember, Rome was not built in a day.
And it was not built alone.

#5 Don’t forget about YOUR Personal Foundation
Oops! More advice.
Please, with a cherry on top.
Don’t forget to take care of YOUR personal foundation,
i.e. YOURself.

Are YOUR finances in order?
Is the stress of your finances pulling you down energy wise?
or off-track, business focus wise?
Our basic needs often trump self-actualization.
Just ask Maslow.
If push comes to shove for me on the finance front,
I can always come up with an interim, additional source of income.
It might take me a bit longer to get to where I am going.
But, as a close friend shared with me.
God’s delay is not God’s denial.
Delay is not denial.
And who knows, I might really enjoy doing what is bringing in that additional source of income.
And add it to my business model on a more permanent basis.

Are YOUR key relationships in a good place?
Are your thoughts on your next business task?
Or on the difficult conversation that you just had with a loved one?
You will want to be fully present to tackle the business tasks at hand.
And that is hard to do if you are not quite all there. ☹

Are YOU taking care of YOURself?
i.e. YOU!
Are you eating well?
Are you sleeping well (and enough)?
Are you exercising frequently enough?

It takes a lot of effort and energy to start up and maintain a business.
You will need to summon all YOUR forces.
So, take care of yourself.
After all, you are the boss now.
You are leading the charge now.
The buck stops with you.
So, it is important that YOU are the healthiest YOU possible.
Both mentally and physically.

Chapter 4: MY Challenge to YOU (An opportunity for YOU to learn and grow.)
Optional of course. Like everything in Life. YOUR CHOICE!

Are YOU Ready for a challenge?
If Yes, here YOU GO!

My challenge to you involves a FOUR-letter word.
2 of them actually.
Think of something that YOU would really LOVE to do.
But YOUR FEAR is holding YOU back from doing it.
Think of a way that you can turn that fear around,
to the extent that it becomes an enabler for you
to, at least, just give it a try.
What do YOU have to lose?
And who knows?
Before YOU know it,
The momentum might just kick in and,
Make a BELIEVER out of YOU.

Enjoy the challenge!

Oh! and the little something special that I promised to share with YOU.
As part of my Happy 2 Year Business Anniversary celebrations.
Here it is.
It is a code for 50% off of one of my coaching retainers.
An opportunity for us to partner together in taking your business to the next level.
Or any other change that you would like to make in YOUR life!
And save some money (close to $250.00) while doing it. 😊

Here is the code: novspecial (all lowercase). Note: It is valid only until December 1,, 2017
Here is the link to my site to use it:
I look forward to connecting with YOU.

Well, that’s all folks.

I hope that you enjoyed the blog, and,
Here’s to making change, EASYer on YOURSELF!

Career & Business Transition Coach and
“HALFTIME” Life Journey Coach 

Register to receive my new “making change EASYer on YOURself blogs “Hot off the Virtual Press”

MY SOURCES AND RESOURCES Section (in case YOU want to dig a little deeper on this TOPIC)

My way of helping YOU make change and TRANSITION EASYer on YOU! 😊

THE E-MYTH Revisited. Michael E. Gerber

Various Business Start up blogs: Hugh Culver. Keynote speaker. CEO SOS for bloggers. Author. Coach.

The Four Agreements. Don Miguel Ruiz
Link to book                      

Do what you love and the money will follow. Marsha Sinetar
Link to book

Men are  from Mars.  Women are from Venus. John Gray
Link to book

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