Is there a best or worst time to start a business?

Before founding her own company, Dori Roberts had a stable job as an engineering teacher. She was very passionate about teaching engineering to kids, so much so, that when she learned that her own two kids (who were 5 and 7 at the time) love what her high school students are doing, she also wanted to start teaching them young. This is one of the things that inspired her to start an after-school club, providing a venue for kids as young as 4 years old to learn about engineering in a fun way.

One of the club’s first events was a summer camp where she was expecting 15 attendees, but in turn, had a total of 50 participants. Getting even more inspired by how much kids and their parents love and enjoy her program, Dori wanted to quit her teaching job and focus on her business—Engineering For Kids—full time. However, there’s a little circumstance that she had to really consider and think carefully about—she was a single mom and had two young children, and all these happened in the middle of a bad recession in 2009.

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“You’re crazy. This is the worst time to start a business.”

This is was what people told her. They probably have a point, but Dori didn’t listen to them and instead, proved that they weren’t exactly right.

“Even though we were in the middle of a bad recession, I think parents were careful to spend their money wisely,” Dori said. True enough, the bad economy didn’t hinder the growth of her business. More and more kids and parents, and eventually, franchisees, became interested in Engineering for Kids, allowing it to grow to 150 locations in over 26 countries at present time.

A bad economy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the worst time to start

Like Engineering for Kids, several other companies both big and small were founded during a recession and thrived despite a bad economy.

A very popular example is Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates in 1975 when both unemployment rates and gas prices were very high. And of course, Apple, which was founded during the 1970s but had its resurgence with its release of the iPod in 2001, despite that year being in the middle of the “dot-com crash” and the year of the September 11 attacks.

If we reflect more on these examples, you’ll probably wonder, is there really a best and worst time to start a business? The answer would probably still be yes, but whether it’s a good or a bad time, wouldn’t really depend as much on the state of the economy as it would on the entrepreneur.

Evaluate Your Market before Deciding Whether It’s A Good or A Bad Time

In Dori Roberts’ case, despite the recession, parents were willing to spend their money to enroll their kids in her programs because they were able to appreciate the value that they and their kids will be getting in return. So aside from asking yourself how committed are you to reaching your business goals, you also have to ask yourself a few other questions:

How badly will people need or want the product or service you’re going to offer?

How much time and money will you have to invest before you’re ready to sell?

How many people will potentially purchase your product or service?

What makes your business unique? If there are other businesses offering products or services similar to yours, what additional value can you give to potential customers, making them choose you over them?

These can be some of the questions you ask yourself instead to help you evaluate your market and decide when is the most opportune time for you to start or go full-time.

Listen to Dori’s interview with me HERE to learn more:

So whether you’re new to entrepreneurship and wondering when is it best to start a business, or if you have an existing business, and looking to open a second, or a third one, keep in mind that as long as you’re creating and delivering something of value, and as long as you truly understand your market, the answer to when is the best time to start a business, is whenever YOU DECIDE it’s best to.

Don’t let circumstances or what other people think keep you from moving forward.


How to eliminate drama from your life for good

When something frustrating happens, it’s natural to go out and garner support around how we were wronged.

When we see injustice, of course, we naturally come to the rescue of the victim.

When we feel disadvantaged, of course we get angry and defend ourselves. It’s important to stick up for yourself and fight for what you deserve… right?

eliminate business drama

These are examples of very natural reactions to frustrating situations. What most people don’t realize is that they also tend to create a trap of ongoing life drama that is very hard to move out of. The default viewpoint for many of us is that there is a victim, an aggressor, and a rescuer in each and every one of life’s challenges. But also incredibly limiting to our own success at work and in life.

The problem is that even when situations change, we always seem to arrive back at the same place of being in constant conflict, trying to rescue someone else, or being the victim. The subconscious ego believes this is the way to navigate life and get what you want.

Yet, this can be one of the most destructive ways to live our lives. There is “always something” in our lives that creates an endless cycle of unhappiness. We just can’t seem to figure out why there is never a constant flow of peace and tranquility in our lives.  Life is about being constantly stressed, full of anxiety, and missing joy.

How do we get wrapped up in drama?

A friend recently shared The Power of TED with me, a very easy read that explains how this drama-filled dynamic dis-empowers us from getting what we want out of life. We believe that by assuming the victim role, we will be supported. By helping others who are in turmoil, we will become very important. By “sticking up for ourselves” we will get our way.

In my past, I spent many years where I would get caught in the middle of drama, particularly as the role of the rescuer.

I desperately wanted everyone in my life to be happy and made huge compromises while self-sacrificing my own needs as well. It felt like I could never do enough, and would drop everything to cater to those who were upset. This activity constantly absorbed my attention away from growing my business, living my life to the fullest, and taking care of our customers. And guess what? The demands of those who were creating the drama only increased, creating havoc on the business.

Over time I found that feeding the drama just made it continue, and many times worsen as it bred entitlement in company. Agreed-upon solutions to problems were only temporary fixes and then the drama dynamic would resurface or show up in a different form. At times I would move from rescuer to victim from feeling like I couldn’t win, or I’d match aggressive energy in a non-productive way which fueled gossip. No matter what my response was, the precedence was set by my constant rescuing. 

Then, within a very short period of time the people in my world shifted as I switched career paths.  Some stayed in my life, some inauthentic relationships turned – and it was the very best thing that could have taken place. It allowed my business and life to shed negativity, for me to refocus on growth and positive action, and for those who remained to shine.

Through this tough experience, I learned an incredible life-long lesson. I now see myself as the creator of a solution, coaching others into their own solution, or challenger of the status quo in difficult situations…. always keeping in mind the greater good of the collective effort. 

Every day empowerment becomes an embedded value in the work I do. Whether I am consulting to a national brand, or I am coaching a small business owner, I conduct open, honest communication with a sharp focus on the greater mission and vision we are looking to achieve together. My role is to care for the business by driving strategic initiatives in a way that honors my values, keeps others accountable, and then the business (not me!) takes care of everyone in it.

As the this new energy has come to the surface, absolutely unbelievable business opportunities have emerged I could have never dreamed of and positive people simply just showed up – as if they are magnetically attracted to the joy that is radiating from my life. 

This has allowed us to move into growth mode with a positive, happy work environment. I’ve happily hung up my “Rescuer” responsibilities. And you know what? The company I work with and for have exponentially catapulted forward as a result. There has never been so much excitement and unity around the future vision for our organization. 

When you meet the top performers in life, business, sports (and every single guest on the Joypreneur podcast) you’ll find that they see themselves as creators of their circumstances. They use techniques like visualization, strategic planning, and affirmations to set their intention on the results they want to produce.

They will challenge and coach the other people in their lives toward a shared desired outcome, all while empowering them to be better versions of themselves. And they will never get stuck in the middle of other people’s drama. The find a way to rise above it, seeing themselves as the creator of their own circumstances instead of emotionally reacting to every challenging situation in a way that feeds it.

As I’ve assumed the role of creator and shifted my leadership techniques, I now see myself as a coach, mentor, and challenger of limited thinking. This is not in replacement of belief system I have in God, but as a facilitator of His good work. Servant leadership is my mantra, and empowerment has become the tool for from which to take flight.

Question: Have you ever found yourself in an endless cycle of drama, or know people who do? How did you break out of it at home or in your work? Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear.

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    How to Develop Resilience In Business

    Do you ever wonder what allows some people to sail through entrepreneurial challenges while others to lose sleep, freak out and break down?

    Is it that some people never have huge problems, while others experience unlucky setbacks?

    Probably not.

    As you grow as an entrepreneur, things that freaked you out years ago may now seem like no big deal. You’ve developed the confidence to handle what comes your way, and you know that behind every really stressful thing is usually an opportunity to figure out something even better.

    I think about this with my own children – every time my first born made a peep or fell down I’d nervously jump to make sure he hadn’t broken a bone. By the time my second came along, my response was a consistent, nonchalant, “he’s fine.”

    In the early stages of growing a business it’s very easy to react to stress in that first child way. You haven’t had any experience doing this before! You lack confidence in bouncing back from a setback. Little bumps and bruises feel like huge disastrous situations. You watch your business’s tiny details, just like worrying about every little aspect of your first child’s life.

    This hyper-attentive tendency can be draining. And this Performance Mindset can really cause more trouble and worry than necessary. When you adopt a Performance Mindset, you may find yourself avoiding challenges, getting frustrated easily, and feeling threatened by the success of others.

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    A Growth Mindset, on the other hand, allows you to adopt a belief that bumps and curves are a certainty. It’s all part of growing a business! You’ll embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.

    See, it’s not that some entrepreneurs shoot from ground zero to the top without challenges while you’re left facing issue after issue. It’s that their mindset and attitude toward the lessons those obstacles provide is different.

    When you find yourself getting trapped by a Performance Mindset, consider three steps:

    • 1. Get back to your why: why you started in the first place. why would you let this little blip keep you from your dreams and passions?

    • 2. Consider what you can learn from it and move forward with it as a opportunity to grow.

    • 3. Take note of your ability recover faster each time as you develop confidence in your resilience muscle. Keep a journal and be grateful for each piece of progress you make.

    We want to model this for not just ourselves, but for our teams as well. What we want is for them to realize it’s ok for things to not go perfectly, and with each setback we become better with the right mindset. This helps them to develop and learn from every experience – creating an organization of thoughtful leaders.

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      Making room for gratitude

      Last summer when I was growing my first little garden, I noticed one of the tomato plants had grown past the small wire structure I had built for it. The branch started to drag, the stem was bent, and the tomato on the end of the branch began to whither. I immediately ran to the garden store to create a larger, stronger structure – taped the stem back together – and voila!

      Soon, more tomatoes began appearing. Small green beads at first quickly grew into nourishing red plumps of deliciousness!

      Surprised at how well the plant responded to my harried repair, I realized how similar life is to my little tomato plant. Our stems are growing fast, and it’s hard to keep up. But when we take the time to notice the things supporting us in our life and acknowledge our thanks, we too can blossom and thrive. The benefits of gratitude create a foundation from which great things grow.

      But how do we create habits of gratitude?

      Recently, I was mentoring someone who lamented about not getting the level of support that she felt like she “should” have from her family. Yet, there were incredible support systems she was surrounded with, people all around her cheering for her, meetings she was invited to but not attending.  People were literally throwing themselves at her in support – all of which she could barely see the benefits of because she was so busy worrying about what she wasn’t getting.

      It reminded me of so many times when I couldn’t see what all that was right about something going on in my business, and could only hyper-focus on the pieces that weren’t working.  Which in turn created more energy around what wasn’t working, and in turn generated more negative outcomes. 

      In life we steer where we stare. 

      Once I learned how to be appreciative for all that was positive, mainly through a disciplined gratitude practice, abundance began to flow.

      Studies show that a daily gratitude practice is the single easiest and quickest way to shift our overall level of happiness and produce the greatest results in our business. Being grateful for what we have, instead of focusing in what we do not, enhances our relationships, businesses, and level of life satisfaction. Nothing, absolutely nothing, takes us from grim to joyful as quickly as gratitude.

      In our busy lives – how to we make room for gratitude? Here are a few ways:

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      1. Make it a habit: I write my three most grateful moments in this journal every night which takes all of about three minutes. And once you do something for 30 days, it becomes habit.

      2. Schedule time: In the last few years I realized I not only need to schedule blocks of time with other people when I would like to discuss a topic, but I needed to do it with myself as well! I use my ideal week calendar to determine which days and times I’ll spend journaling about gratitude.

      3. Focus on the positive: Choosing in each moment what to focus on is also an incredible way to shift your gratitude.

      Are you upset that you must endure a hardship, or are you optimistic about what that challenge teaches you?

      Are you thankful for someone’s gift to you (time, money, support), or are you resentful that the gift wasn’t delivered in the exact way you had hoped?

      Are you grateful for a situation that pushes towards a new idea, or new truth about yourself, or upset about how uncomfortable that makes you?

      Are you upset that someone let you down, or are you grateful that they were honest with you about their feelings?

      Gratitude makes everything and anything possible. There might be some days that it’s hard to find something to be grateful for, but if you can find one small thing… even if it’s a pretty leaf you saw on your way to your car, your mind shifts into a part of your brain that immediately induces joy.  Make this a daily habit, and suddenly joyfulness goes from being elusive to every-present in your life.

      Question: What ways do you introduce more gratitude into your daily life? Leave a comment below!

      Are smart women disempowering themselves with perfectionism?

      Do you want to be empowered or do you want to be perfect?

      Seriously. Ask yourself this question right now. I would imagine that in your head you believe that you can be both. In your heart I expect that you know the truth. It’s one or the other.

      And if you are truly interested in being successful AND joyful in your life, then empowerment and growth are deeply important to you.

      We’ve all followed friends, family, and famous personalities on social media, looking for connection and inspiration… Believing that we are creating “real” conversations and gaining wisdom or encouragement. But in actuality, these “connections” often reinforce the idea that we are only successful and worthy if we show up perfect.

      Every. Single. Day.

      Even the posts about “fails” are done with pretty pictures, perfect lighting, and the ultimate witty comment that makes it all seem sterile and well done.

      As a woman, and a leader in a women-focused company, my optimistic views are interfered with by this duality every day. I’ve seen it’s repercussions time and again. Creative, intelligent, articulate women shutting down when faced with a challenge. They fear that they won’t get it perfect… so they stop “showing up”.

      Truthfully, I’ve struggled with it myself.

      I know first hand what it’s like to be in the grip of toxic fear… being paralyzed because you are afraid of something not being perfect. Or worse… getting upset with others because they are “getting in the way of your success”, when in fact, it’s your own struggle with perfectionism that’s holding you back.

      Know this: Perfectionist thinking will often create the exact opposite of what you want in your business!

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      What’s more, by striving for perfection, we are dis-empowering the new generation of smart and talented young women entering the workforce by micro-managing & giving them all of the answers, instead of questioning, guiding, and pushing them beyond their comfort zones.

      As leaders, we have to change our mindsets and learn to trust that growth produces a better outcome than perfectionism. Punishing mistakes and shaming the individual when they don’t meet our expectations will create a culture of fear and blame. People will learn to hear suggestions as criticism. They will be paralyzed and dis-empowered. Innovation and team cohesion will suffer.

      Instead, we must strive to use difficult situations as learning and growing opportunities for our teams. Ask what people have learned.

      Is there something that we could have done better?

      Is there a nugget of wisdom that can help others?

      Is there an opportunity to improve your product, systems or processes?

      By changing the narrative around challenges and “mistakes,” we change the energy in our businesses and open the door for innovation, inspiration, and true success.

      My advice for women entering the workplace, or looking to make a change in their careers is to search out companies that have an innovation and growth mindset within a team focused culture. Purposefully choose where you can grow and learn the most. Research the company. Ask questions!

      For those that are business owners, continue to strive for growth and learning, rather than perfection.

      In order to find true empowerment and joy in your career, you must be willing to let go of the idea that you are going to show up and do everything perfectly. Ultimately you will grow, learn, and know that you are part of something valuable and worthwhile.

      It’s time to celebrate mistakes and learning. Share your experience with other women. Help to lift them up while encouraging them to face challenges with courage and a can-do spirit.

      Falling down gives us the resilience to go farther and reach higher. How have you bounced back from failure? Do you have any words of wisdom for us?

      Share below or on social media using the hashtags: #ProgressOverPerfection and #BeenThereLearnedThat

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