By MaryEllen Tribby
Today is a very special day.
Today is the three-year anniversary of Working Moms Only!
It was just three years ago that I quit the security of having a wonderful corporate CEO job, working for one of the few thriving organizations in a dreadful economy.
Many people told me I was nuts. They knew that jobs like mine were few and far between.
They were right in saying that the unemployment rate was one of the highest our country had ever seen. They were right in saying that the housing market was in shambles. They were right in saying that the stock market was a mess. And, they were right when they said starting your own business was hard.
But what these naysayers did not know was that having a dream, a real dream that you believe in your heart and soul is stronger than a bunch of statistics! What they also did not know was that I was determined to be that bull in a bear market!
So here I am three years later to share with you the five biggest lessons that I have learned. I want to share my mistakes and achievements so that you can finally start your business this year and learn from my experience.
How It All Got Started
Before we start I want to share something with you. I have NEVER told this story before.
Perhaps it is because the story is so personal, or maybe because the timing just wasn’t right. Regardless all the credit for Working Moms Only really belongs to a lovely woman I met 5 years ago . . .
You see I was speaking at a conference in Paris. I was talking about marketing, specifically direct response marketing and multi-channel marketing.
After a standing ovation and fielding a bunch of questions, I was walking back to my hotel room when a young woman called out my name.
I stopped expecting to answer her marketing question. But with tears in her eyes she simply asked “How do you do it all?” Those six little words changed my life.
Instead of returning to my room, Clara and I went to lovely café and talked for hours.
I learned that she was a marketing coordinator at a local advertising agency. That she was smart, hard-working and driven. She had always dreamed of having her own agency. But now a short, fat, bald man that she loved with all her heart stood in her way. That man was her six-month-old son, Evan.
She explained how terribly guilty she was just for telling me her story. That she resented cutting back on her hours at work because of Evan. She went on to confide in me that she did not feel like she was doing a good job at the office or at home and she wanted to know how I could be a CEO, best selling author, public speaker, wife and of course, mother of three.
When I returned to my hotel room, some three hours later, I did not take that hot bath I was planning on. I did not phone my family as I longed to do earlier in the day.
Instead, I logged on to my computer and went to Go Daddy and bought the URL WorkingMomsOnly.com. Right there in my little hotel room in Paris, I knew that some day I would start and run the foremost community in the world for working moms. I never wanted any working mom to feel like Clara.
I wanted all working moms to know that they do not have to choose between their career dreams and their families. I wanted to let working moms know that in this day and age we really can have it all.
Waiting For Someday
A few days later I returned home to South Florida and for the next two years, I went on living my life. Running a 26 million dollar publishing company, speaking, writing and spending time with my family. But truth be told, Clara was with me everyday. And I kept saying “someday”.
Then the big scare came; the cancer scare that lasted 21 days.
Once I received a clean bill of health, I knew that was my second chance and just three months later Working Moms Only was born.
And, in the last three years, I’ve accomplished a lot. But, I’ve made some dreadful mistakes, too.
Instead of fueling you with a list of hundreds of my mistakes, I used what I’ve learned from these mistakes to narrow down the five best lessons for you to concentrate on in your business. These lessons are timeless and can and should be used if you are just starting out in business or if you are a business veteran.
The Five Biggest Do’s and Don’ts
• Don’t launch your new venture, regardless if it is a new business, a new product, or a new franchise in the beginning of January: I did this with Working Moms Only and boy oh boy – it was a big mistake and great lesson learned. Here’s the deal, you are always going to need help. Starting a new business will be your biggest priority. However, it will not be for those you are counting on. Many people check out during the major holiday season. You may be writing your web copy on Christmas Eve. But, I promise you, your web master will not be available for design issues. A current client who is very successful in his niche wanted to launch a brand new franchise in his company at the beginning of this year. One that requires the content of specialist in an entirely different niche. When he soon realized folks were checking out from work for the rest of the year as early as Thanksgiving, he quickly changed the launch date to mid-February.
• No Bartering: So before getting your business off the ground money may be tight. So you think, I can barter services. If I write copy for someone, maybe they in exchange will build my website. In theory this sounds great. But here’s the hard cold truth. The copy you may offer in exchange may not be needed as badly as you need the website. And suddenly the web person gets a great paying project. Where do you think your site that he is not actually making money on stands? Pay for services. This is the only way to make all your deadlines and have your important tasks completed professionally.
• All Opportunities Are Not Created Equally: Once you are up and running opportunities for all different types of deals will arise. Don’t get derailed. Make sure you understand what any deal is worth to you on a long and short-term basis.
• Vet Partners Carefully: Only work with people who have the same moral fiber as you do. Often the money can be tempting, but if your morals and values are so far apart, the relationship will come to an end. Before entering into any relationship do your research. Go on line and read about the potential partner. Ask around your industry and listen to those you trust.
• Keep Your Advocacy Shinning: Remember you started your business because there was a certain market you wanted to serve. Just because others who do not fit your ideal demographics joined your community does not mean you shift gears. For example, I have men write to me each week. They tell me how much my advice has changed their lives. And inevitably they ask me to change the name of my site because he is obviously not a working mom. My response is always the same. I tell them they are more than welcome in our community. That I am happy my advice helped them. However, my advocacy is for Working Moms. And that is the person I am thinking about every time I write an issue or add a new audio diary or book recommendation to our success club. That is the person that inspired me to start Working Moms Only. So instead of watering down your message, you can always start a new franchise to serve others.
So this year there is no starting over every Monday. Instead let’s make every Monday a building block. That is the only way to improve your life. I have shared with you actionable advice you need to apply everyday.