Thursday, April 30, 2009

"I Can Do It!" Oh, really?

I met an extraordinary woman the other week. She owns a farm, with horses and goats, meadows, a pond and herbs. She grows incredible produce and handcrafts fragrant, organic soaps.

She does not have a business card (at least not at the event where I met her and we were two of more than a thousand people in attendance); her brochure is unattractive and lists “new” products for 2003 (I kid you not!) and her web site has that painful appearance of a home-made effort by someone who is not a designer, developer or writer; there is no mechanism for buying the soap.

Why do so many business people – women in particular – think they can do it all themselves? Making the product, keeping the books, finding the markets, selling products and collecting payments, cleaning out the manure, growing the herbs, mowing the meadows, tending to the livestock – and then designing and launching a web site that does nothing for the business?

It’s a puzzle to me. One I encounter frequently.

Another woman, owner of a professional services firm – with employees! -- with whom I had a telephone conversation a day or two ago, confessed that she is “not in love with writing”, even though she does it all the time – newsletters, promotional pieces, her web site and her blog. She’s got it figured out, though. Her passion, she has discovered, is mentoring and inspiring others. She is working towards having an office manager and a few more service providers in her growing business, so that she can go on the road for speaking engagements and workshops. And, she wants to hire a writer (that’s why we had that telephone conversation).

This is the idea: in your business, do what you love best and what you’re good at (“follow your passion”) and farm out the rest. It’s the only way to grow a business and achieve more than middling success.

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