January 1, 2021
How to Build a Business You Love
Cat Rose’s book on building a business you love is well worth reading every time you want to refresh the direction you are taking in your business. I read it over the holidays and it gently took me through a process to reflect on who I am and what I would like to do differently, through to listing practical steps to make those changes.
I love this inside-outside approach (starting with who we are before launching into what we do and how to promote it) and have used it to create my 2021 business plan. I have never had a business plan before that starts with facing fear. But this makes so much sense, because fears absolutely affect our mindset, and therefore have a big influence on business decisions. As Cat says, if we don’t face up to our fears, we can end up paralysed or stuck in a rut.
I have always flinched a bit at identifying my “superpower”, but working through Cat’s gentle questions helped me to see how this is the driving force for everything that I do for my clients. The questions help readers to identify what they are really good at, what comes naturally to them, what activities make them feel energised, what qualities they bring to an activity, and what other people ask them to help with.
The book then moves on to values, mission and overall goal … these topics can seem like the stuff of big business, to ensure all employees are aligned with an organisation as a whole. However, this version of that process is surprisingly practical for freelancers. Identifying my top six values and experimenting with what it would mean to change their order of priority opened up new possibilities for me.
This process leads the reader on to a review of what they do now that they want to keep doing, and where they want to make changes, one step at a time. Cat stresses the importance of breaking down big actions into micro-goals with set timeframes in order to avoid overwhelm or procrastination. This grounded, small step approach is important for anyone (including me) who has written business plans in the past which are too ambitious and assume too much time is available to implement the plans alongside client work. These types of plans are therefore doomed to failure and disappointment.
The next part of the book encourages reflection on the reader’s ideal clients and what those clients need from them. This leads naturally to the section on promotion, with an emphasis on building trust through content marketing. This is a book for introverts, and Cat Rose shows her understanding and empathy for those of us who aren’t naturally wired for cold calling. The section on self-doubt encourages identification of what is getting in the way of the reader promoting their products or services, and what they can do in response to those doubts.
Where there is a lack of confidence in ability, but still a desire to provide that service or product, the answer is to step up with investment in mastery. I really like this section of the plan. The key message is “when you invest in yourself, and do the work, you level up”. Cat suggests investing 3% of your income back into yourself, to do this. This is a useful guide, but something I have learnt the hard way is that the ongoing investment of time to take in, reflect and implement the ideas from books and courses can be trickier than making the financial decision!
Answering the questions as you read through this book will help you to create a tailor-made business plan for 2021.
Building a Business You Love is available from: