2011 | My Business Year | What Have I Learned? Part 2 – About Myself & Business

I’m sharing my musings on business success and internet marketing on 2011 and if you click the link to the left there, you will see the image that’s been on my computer desktop all through 2011.  That icon has kept me on track during 2011 and I would like to thank Bud Cardell from WhatConsumesMe.com for creating it.

Over the last few, and over the next few days I’m going to share my thoughts about my business year over 2011 including the answers to the following questions.

These questions were originally asked of me, in his ezine, by my mentor Rich Schefren, and you can subscribe to his excellent ezine here >>>

You can see the posts about the earlier questions by clicking the links above.

Here goes with what have I learned about business, business success and myself in 2011.

I Get Inspired By Listening To My Mentor Coaching Others

I never used to think that listening in to others being coached was as valuable as you being coached yourself, and to some extent nothing beats a good personal 1:2:1 laser coaching session. 

However, my mentor hosts just one Q&A call a week, hundreds of people get on it, you put your hand up if you want to speak and you wait your turn, listening in to the other questions if you have got any sense.  When it’s your turn, you ask your question first, then he asks any questions he needs to help him answer yours.  You can go back in the queue but when he gets to the last question, the call is over.  It’s very efficient.  If you miss it, you can download the audio and later on, the transcript. 

I learn as much from listening in to him coaching other people each week, as I could from anything else I can think of.  I used to hate audio but now I love it.

I get ideas for what I can do in my business, I get inspired by his kind but direct questions and laser thinking, and sometimes, I don’t need to ask a question myself, because I can hear his voice inside my head.  Now that’s the sign of a good coach / mentor!

You Can Get Paid For Who You Are, Not What You Do / Make

I was a bit obsessed in the early part of the year with the idea of building a Local Business Marketing Business.  Well, building a new business of any kind actually.  I wanted to build a real-world business with an office, staff, clients and turnover. 

Why?  Because when my virtual business, The Money Gym, which felt so real but was very virtual, was put on mothballs, I felt like I wanted to build something more traditional, more safe, this time, somehow. 

Then I came to my senses and realised that office, staff, turnover and service clients are a nightmare.  Commitments, leases and spiralling expectations that are never quite met no matter how much you try.

My coach / mentor asked me what I could become world-class at, effortlessly, and I realised that it was writing, speaking and coaching and that none of those needed a real world business as a framework around them. 

I can get paid for who I am, rather than what I do for people.  Who I am is a writer, speaker and a coach and I’m good at all three, fairly effortlessly, having done them for over 12 years now.

He also gently pointed out that he had grown a multi-million dollar coaching business and that he did that with minimum staff, initially.  Did I not consider that a “proper” business then?  Point taken.

And he also pointed out that, if he could, perhaps I could.

That I Can Change How I Feel 

I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life either trying not to feel anything or pushing down how I feel.

Having written many times about our difficult childhood and it’s effect for both positive and negative on my siblings and I, I’ve also written many times on my various blogs – more times than perhaps I should! – about the ups and downs of life as I’ve gone through my personal and business success journey, but one of the things I’ve learned this year is that I can actually change how I feel.

How do I do that?  By journaling in my Moleskine Notebook.  Yep, just by writing things down it stops it all swirling about in my head and makes me feel better.  I just keep writing until it’s all out.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that I really need very little to be happy.  I prefer to be free than encumbered with possessions.  Bear in mind I’ve been lugging around the contents of a 12 bedroom hotel since about 2005/2006 and until recently had only managed to get that down to a 5 bedroom house with double garage.

All I need is a nice tidy bedroom with a comfy bed, a hot shower daily, a nice place to work, a clean and warm environment.  Lots of time with my kids, a good tv show, great feedback from clients, a game of Texas Hold’em with my regular poker buddies, dinner with best girl friends and visits to the Tuesday night Jazz Jam.

That My Own Experience Is Better Than Any Mentor (But You Do Get Further, Faster, With One!)

I spent the best part of last year searching for answers. 

The problem with taking personal responsibility is that you can’t blame anyone else and therefore the only person to blame for things that go wrong is you!  That don’t feel so good (but better than blaming others as you grow in the process!)

Tormenting questions rolled through my mind and drove me half mad.  What could I have done differently?  Where did I go wrong?  What should I do next?  How can I be better / smarter / more clever to avoid it happening again?  How can I make sure I’m never in this business situation / this much personal pain again?

I talked to everyone I know, both close to me and fellow entrepreneurs and mentors.  Eventually I ended up feeling like I was being pulled in so many directions and that really, nobody else has the answers for you!

You have to delve deep into your own experience and realise that only you can say what is right for you to do, in any given situation.  You really have to learn to trust your gut and learn by your own mistakes.

That’s not to say that you don’t want or need a mentor, but you must be careful who you choose.  Ideally it should be someone who has actually done what you want to do, on a practical level, but you must still realise that you can’t always do things EXACTLY as they have done them because you are a totally different person to them.

Early last year I said to several people who are very successful and whom I like and respect a lot “Look, I’m starting again from scratch, I can do it right this time, and quicker than ever, so just tell me what to DO!”

The answer always drove me mad and it was “Nicola, you KNOW what to do” to which I would reply “No, I don’t or I would just bloody-well go and DO IT!”

I finally realised that they only know what made them successful, but that I have to find my own way again. This uncertainty is a killer for many aspiring entrepreneurs. 

You can follow someone’s step by step plan, but you will do it differently because you are not them.  You must be ready to roll with the punches, keep bouncing back and never, never give up.

Becoming A KPI Can Be Done More Than Once

When I built the whole concept of becoming a Wealth Coach and then created The Money Gym I was instinctively doing something, back in 2003 or so, that, last year, Dan Priestley rather brilliantly called becoming a Key Person Of Influence or a KPI.

Sitting in Daniel’s seminar in the early part of last year made me realise that if I did it once, I can do it again, in another area – internet marketing.  And furthermore, I realised that I was needed there, because when all the shiny box, push button madness wears off there will still be people who will want to learn how to either market their businesses online or who will want to build an online business.

And they need someone like me, who has genuinely done that, to show them how and steer them clear of the scams.

That Being Alone Doesn’t Mean Being Lonely

I’ve always been surrounded by people, first my family and three siblings, then sharing houses and flats, then living with my husband and kids, then my sister, her husband, my husband and ALL our kids, then my family and hotel guests…then another funny little family…..I’ve never liked being alone and I equated it with being lonely.

12 weeks in my beloved Stoupa in Greece taught me that you can be alone, without being lonely. Of course, skype, Facebook, Twitter et al help with feeling connected and if all that fails there is always a book or the TV. 

Bit worrying when you realise you are talking to the TV though!

I also learned that you will only turn yourself inside out on a Sunday looking at all the people doing so-called “normal” things that people do on a Sunday and that many of them would LOVE the opportunity to do whatever they liked.

You can choose what is normal for YOU to do on a Sunday.

Just Because I Could, Doesn’t Mean I Should!

Just in the last few weeks of the year I was offered two amazing business opportunities.  They were both exciting and who knows what diving into each could bring.  One even looked like it had bigger potential than the other and could even help one of my family members too.

But when I sat back and thought about the concept of getting paid for who I am (and what I can do effortlessly) rather than what I COULD do, if I pushed myself, and what that would do for someone else, with no guarantee of a return for me, the choice became obvious. 

One was a perfect fit, for ME, and one was not.  Thank god I held back and had time to realise. 

Blimey, I must be growing up!


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  1. says

    I like the ‘what could you become world class at effortlessly?’ question. It had me thinking, and my answers were similar to yours. Writer, coach/mentor, speaker, teacher.
    Of course, what I do with that info is another question.
    Probably time to start signing into Rich’s Q+A calls again.

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