Remember Lucy Van Pelt in the comic strip Charlie Brown? I woke this morning thinking about one of her famous lines, “I told you so, you blockhead!” Lucy was known for setting up a psychiatric booth in the neighborhood offering advice to her friends for five cents per person. Clearly she caught the entrepreneurial bug early but I'm not sure I'd want to get my business direction from her. : -) This got me thinking about how women entrepreneurs need to be cautious when seeking advice, coaching and mentoring on their road to success.
When I first had the idea to birth Smart Women Smart Solutions®, something happened that nearly convinced me to hang up my coaching hat before I got started. I was attending a party with my husband and shortly after we arrived, I ran into an old acquaintance. I could hardly contain my excitement about my new business idea. After our initial conversation, I blurted out my new big idea and guess what happened? I'll never forget it. She had this loud, high-pitched laugh that carried across the room and with a flip of the hand, she said as loudly as she could, “Ha! That will never work! Women will never pay for that. That's why we have coffee meetings and girls night out!” She turned on her heel and waltzed away leaving me there with my glass of red wine and a broken spirit. : -(
Thankfully, my hubby was there to pick up the pieces. He asked me one question: “Joy, is she someone you want to get advice from about starting a business?” No. She didn't own a business and as far as I knew, had never owned a business. In retrospect, I also realized she was known as negative on many life topics.
Be careful who you get your advice, coaching, or mentoring from. Here are three easy tips to help you choose the right person for your big idea:
1. Been there, done that. – It's always a good idea to council with someone who's walked the path you're on. They will have great information about what worked for them, mistakes they made and how to avoid some of the challenges so you get to your goal faster.
2. Glass half-full please! – Get support from people with a positive outlook on life. Abundant thinkers and people who generally see solutions instead of challenges are a breath of fresh air and give you the feeling that anything can be accomplished with the right tools and strategies.
3. She's the Go-to-Gal. – Ask for references from trusted sources about who they recommend in the area where you need help. Request testimonials or case studies about their work with other people. Find out if they are certified or credentialed in a specific field of knowledge.
Everyone needs a “thinking” partner. It's impossible to know all the answers and exhausting to go it alone. Make the decision to reach out and connect with a qualified resource who can help take your big idea from startup to stand out success.
Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.