By: Kamelia “Mia” Poppe, Esq.
Welcome back to my four-part blog series, Leveraging Your Financial Capital into Freedom, based on my podcast with financial planning guru, Stacy Francis . Thank you for joining me for Part Three of my four-part series.
Today, I will share my five tips for entrepreneurs on how to utilize a concept that is novel to many: Valuing Yourself.
First, I would like to take a moment to capture the key points in my prior two blog posts of this four-part blog series.
In Part One, From Divorce to Divorce Attorney. My Journey to Manhattan, I shared my personal story. My clients trust me with the most important details of their adult lives: the painful details of the demise of their marriages. I operate in personal transparency and empathy. I often use my own experiences with my two failed marriages to develop a strong personal relationship with my clients and use these experiences to provide them with a tentative blueprint of the possibilities in and outside of the courtroom. Part One culminated in the following tips:
- Work Hard
- Keep Smiling; and
- Never EVER Give Up!
In Part Two, The Three Tenets of Success That Have Made Me a Successful Matrimonial Attorney Entrepreneur, I summarized the tools and practices that have helped me achieve success and fulfill my life purpose:
- Locking into a Faith and Value System
- Finding Yourself “Hype Queens”
- Establishing a Solid Work Ethic
No One Will Value You Like “You”.
Albeit the notion that no one values you like you seems intuitive. However, in application, it is far from intuitive
No matter what you value most, family, time, relationships, etc., an employer’s values will likely not align with your own. Entrepreneurship provides a path to leading our careers and work lives with one’s own values.
Starting my law firm remains one of the quality decisions that I’ve made in my life. Why? Simply put, no one values me like me. I have considered value and my personal value proposition often. I thought on these important questions or notions:
Am I committed to working hard and providing niche legal services that begin and end with “caring for clients”?
Am I as smart, talented, and charismatic as other successful business owners / leaders?
Would I write me a blank check for my salary?
Am I unwaveringly committed to pay for performance, regardless of how much pay (to me) that would result in?
Would I ever pay a man more than a woman for doing the same work?
In asking myself the above, repeatedly, I remain grateful that I made the decision to “bet on myself” and start my own law firm. The one thing that I would have done differently is aggressively seek out a business partner. I believe in the synergy of two heads being better than one. I value partnership and I value collaboration.
Whenever I have the privilege of meeting and speaking to entrepreneurs contemplating starting their own businesses, I offer these five tips to help make sure that he/she has the right state of mind, expectations, and framework for success.
#1 Bet on Yourself
Self value is my path and journey, to recognizing and acting on my intrinsic value, or the value that I “bring to the table”. We should all give careful consideration to our individual paths and journeys and how we enhance our own self view, first in our own eyes and then in the eyes of others. Understand your worth and your special skill sets. This could mean valuing your own skill sets and embarking on a new journey utilizing them.
#2 Consider Partnership
If I could change one thing when I started my business, I would have found another female work partner at the commencement of my journey.
When you start your own business, you’re everything from the janitor to the CEO. And as I get older, the more I realize how valuable is the adoption of the “work smarter, not harder” mindset. Working with a partner is one way that we all can work smarter.
Find someone who shares your same level of integrity, desire, and hunger for success. Synergies and collaboration can do wonders for a business.
Think about how nonprofits fundraise. They don’t send one person out to raise money. They form a committee and leverage the collective’s experiences, connections and skill-sets to raise that money. Consider taking the same approach to starting your company.
While working with a partner will have its own set of challenges, the ability to multiply and optimize time,effort and skills is invaluable.
#3 Put Your Business Plan on Paper
Treat your business like it is a Fortune 500 company. This means that everything can’t live in your head. Put it on paper. Create a paper trail. Do your research, define your product/service, establish your brand identity, track key performance indicators, and identify your exit strategy.
When things are on paper, they’re real. And your business is real, no matter how small it may be when you start.
Putting your business on paper holds you accountable and allows you to measure and adjust your business strategy more easily.
#4 Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate
This is one of the most important pieces of advice that I share with aspiring entrepreneurs. Heed this advice tenfold if you are married.
A lot of times, people commingle funds. If you commingle funds, you are setting yourself up for a massive financial mess. When finances are commingled, it’s hard to tell if you’ve paid yourself, how much you’ve paid yourself, and if your business is financially healthy.
If you are married and get a divorce, commingled funds create a whole host of problems that end up with someone in the relationship severely losing. Valuations will be difficult. Determining salaries will be hard. And, your divorce will end up costing you much more than it should.
#5 Invest in Marketing
There are many types of marketing, but marketing can be a key driver of success for your business. I’m not only talking about digital marketing and advertising (although those are very important). I’m also talking about relationship marketing.
To be successful, you must put yourself out there. You must meet people, build connections, and sell yourself. I tell all aspiring entrepreneurs to join a local networking group. These types of groups can become an invaluable revenue-producing channel for your company. When marketing, always remember your brand, the brand “You”.