If I Knew Then What
I Know Now ... 15 Rules for Success In Your Home-Based Business
© 2000-2003 Elena Fawkner
Someone sent me an
email the other day. Supposedly General Colin Powell's Rules for Success.
Now, I don't know whether they really are or not, but as I read them,
I thought they really should be called "15 Rules For Success
In Your Home Business". So, here they are:
Rule 1 - It ain't
as bad as you think, it will look better in the morning
If there's one experience
universal to ALL home-business owners, particularly those running
a business on the internet, it's the occasional feeling that you're
just spinning your wheels, and not getting anywhere. The number of
people who give up on their businesses just as they approach the brink
of success is staggering. So hang in there and remind yourself, when
things look bleak, that tomorrow is another day, things really aren't
as bad as they seem and things really WILL look better in the morning.
Rule 2 - Get mad,
then get over it
OK, I concede this
is more general advice than home-business advice but it applies in
your home business just as it does anywhere else. Resentment and unexpressed
anger really don't hurt anyone but the person feeling resentful and
angry. Have you ever noticed how completely unproductive you are when
burdened by resentment and anger? So feel it, express it (constructively)
and then move on. As the man said, "get over it".
Rule 3 - Avoid having
your ego so close to your position that when your position falls your
ego goes with it
Over the course of
my career I have, from time to time, met people whose identity and
sense of self-worth is so enmeshed in what they do for a living that
they literally don't have an identity outside of their work. Because
they rely on an external source for their self-esteem and confidence,
they find it necessary to continually and relentlessly bolster their
personal positions, often at the expense of others, often resorting
to political maneuvring in the workplace to maintain and improve their
These people are
the 'empire builders' you sometimes find in organizations. They jealously
guard their power base all the while gathering unto themselves more
and more responsibility, beyond the point of being able to do everything
they take on.
Because their identity
and sense of self-worth depends upon their position within their organization,
what happens when their position disappears, such as in a corporate
downsizing? It freefalls.
Don't let this happen
to you. Remember that you are something separate and distinct from
your business. Sure, you can be proud and pleased with your accomplishments
but don't define yourself through them. Your self-worth is something
that comes from inside your human self, not your business.
a professional detachment is more likely to secure the ultimate success
of your business. Detachment brings perspective, objectivity and clarity,
which helps you make better quality decisions.
Rule 4 - It can be
Don't allow self-imposed
limitations to restrict what you can and will do. You can do anything
if you set your mind to it. Well, of course, it must be something
that is within your power - you can't just set your mind on growing
a third arm, for example.
But for anything
that is within human power and capability, the saying "where
there's a will is a way" is so true.
Get into the discipline
of planning your life and where you want it to go. By setting goals
and planning the steps that will help you reach them, you can achieve
literally anything your heart desires.
Rule 5 - Be careful
what you choose, you may get it
Following on from
this, it should go without saying that what you set for your goals
is something you truly want because if you do practice the discipline
of goal setting you will surely get it.
Rule 6 - Don't let
adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision
Keep your eye on
the prize and don't be distracted by what's happening on the sidelines.
Sure, you may not have entered the marathon had you known there were
going to be 1,000 other runners but does that mean entering the marathon
was a bad idea? No.
Make your decisions
based on quality information and what's in the best interests of your
business. If someone else comes along who represents competition for
your business, don't be put off your game. Just run your own race.
There's ALWAYS a way to distinguish yourself from your competition.
Rule 7 - You can't
make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours
IGNORE your mother
when she tells you you're crazy for chucking in your nice SAFE secure
little job to start your own business. Follow your dream, no-one else's.
Rule 8 - Check small
Like the fine print
in contracts. Like the URL in that sales letter you've just put the
finishing touches on. Like your spelling and punctuation. In other
words, pay attention to detail.
Rule 9 - Share credit
You've heard the
saying, "no man is an island". No woman is either. Remember
and acknowledge the people who have helped and continue to help you
get where you want to go. Acknowledge the achievements of others.
Rule 10 - Remain
calm, be careful
Frenzy and recklessness
are hardly the prescription for long-term success in your business.
In the face of unexpected challenges, unexplained downturns in business
or failure to achieve the results expected, recognize that these are
just part of the thrust and parry of business life and use a calm,
methodical approach to the problem.
Don't just react
blindly or chuck away all your hard work and try something completely
different unless a thorough, calm and careful investigation convinces
you that you are completely off-beam.
Calmly analyze your
situation and use your intelligence to correct the situation. Sometimes
a one degree turn of the wheel is all that is required to get back
on course, not a completely new rudder.
Rule 11 - Have a
vision, be demanding
This rule goes hand
in hand with rules 4 and 5. In order to set goals and plan ways to
achieve them you must first set your vision. Think big, be brave.
There is nothing you can't achieve so make sure your efforts are going
to be for something truly worthwhile.
Rule 12 - Don't take
counsel of your fears or naysayers
All of us have moments
of self-doubt or even fear when embarking on a journey to an unknown
destination. If what you have planned for yourself brings with it
feelings of anxiety, nervousness, even fear, pay attention to them
but don't take their counsel.
They are symptoms
of grand thinking, of stretching beyond the boundaries of your comfort
zone. As the book says, feel the fear and do it anyway.
Rule 13 - Perpetual
optimism is a force multiplier
This rule is closely
related to rule 1. Believe that things will work out, that they will
look better in the morning, that everything's going to be OK. Repeat
the words to yourself as a mantra if you must but instill a spirit
of indomitable optimism in your outlook and you will attract success
into your life.
Rule 14 - Sometimes
being responsible means pissing people off
You can't please
all of the people all of the time so don't waste your time or energy
even trying. You have a responsibility to the ultimate success of
your business and to your own personal success. If that means you
occasionally have to say no to people to stay true to your objectives,
do it. If it means you have to alienate some people because they don't
personally agree with what you are doing, that's their problem.
In other words, stay
focused on your plan. If others don't like it or agree with it, too
Rule 15 - You never
know what you can get away with unless you try
If you don't ask
you don't get. And if you don't take you don't get. Leave nothing
on the table. If an opportunity comes along, take it. It may not come
again. And remember, in chaos there is opportunity. While everyone
else is running around like chooks with their heads cut off, you just
bring up the rear and clean up on all the opportunities that are just
lying there for the taking among the chicken scratch.
Hindsight truly is 20/20, no doubt about it. Perhaps, like me, you're
thinking that if you'd known then what you know now, you would have
gone a lot further a lot faster. But as with any form of progress,
it's the journey, not the destination, that provides the education
and creates the experience and, through it, wisdom. And that's something
no book can teach you and money can't buy.
Elena Fawkner is
editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical ideas, resources
and strategies for your home-based or online business. http://www.ahbbo.com