Thursday, June 10, 2010

CDAA Workshop: 27. Shoulds and Oughts

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

Do others know us better than we know ourselves?

"You should only see young clients"

"You should brand yourself"

"Everything from your business card, to your invoices, to your web site to your ... should reflect your brand"

"You ought to return calls within an hour"

"If you really want to be successful you have to work evenings and weekends"

"Why did you get a blue business card? Everyone knows people don't trust people with blue business cards". OK, I'm making that last one up, but I've heard all the others, and more.

One unfortunate experience I had was making use of a business mentoring service where the mentor may have been very experienced in selling goods, but apparently had little expertise in the service arena. She insisted I needed a comprehensive business plan before I embarked on my venture, and promptly shot down all my dreams. She brought few new ideas to the table, but managed to belittle all the plans I had. I felt completely demoralized and disillusioned, and seriously questioned my ability to take that vital first step.

Thankfully I had already had a successful tutoring business, which operated for 3 years until I decided to try working for an organization again.

When I began tutoring, friends and acquaintances said it would never work if I only worked school hours. That didn't sit well with one of my values. (ie: it is important to be around after school for teenagers as well as for younger children.) It was something I was reluctant to compromise on. I stuck to my guns and it worked for me. Which is another way of saying that I was somewhat stubborn!

This isn't to say that the world always adapts to your whims. I don't believe in that rose coloured glasses version of events. Crap happens, not everyone can be at the top of the tree, we can't all be "Tall Poppies". But, it's important to trust yourself, try, see what happens, and be adaptable and open to possibilities.


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