“Where do you belong?”

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Sitting beside me in my home office (or laying beside me would be more accurate!) is my loyal dog Pablo. He doesn’t say much, except when the Amazon delivery arrives then he makes his presence known!

But he is always there. I can rely on him. He needs me too, to feed him and walk him and give him lots of cuddles! This wasn’t always the case. Back in 2017 when I started my business we didn’t have a dog. I didn’t even have a home office. I was working from the dining room table, or the sofa, coffee shops, here there and everywhere.

Nothing new there, I’d been working remotely since 2009 and there were many benefits. Not having to sit on the motorway in traffic for 3 hours a day, flexible working hours, managing my own time etc etc BUT the big difference was I no longer had a team around me.

  • I no longer had a manager

  • I no longer had a weekly team meeting

  • I no longer had colleagues I could call for advice

  • I no longer had targets

  • I no longer had appraisals for my performance

  • I no longer received feedback

There were LOTS of other things that changed too and many of them were positive of course! But there was definitely a sense of loss and yes, feeling lost. Where did I belong?

I struggled with self confidence, I felt uncertain in who I was and started to question myself and my decisions. Was I doing the right thing? Should I get a job instead?

I hear this a lot from my clients who’ve started their own business and struggle with self confidence and motivation. I can empathise with them because I felt exactly the same way in the early years. It’s tough because at the exact time you need to be being bold and believing in yourself to drive your business forwards, there are so many doubts that hold you back!

So what helped me to bounce back? How did I boost my confidence?

4 things -

1. Networking - I know many people find it uncomfortable but honestly it’s vital if you work by yourself. Find a group where you belong. Doing go thinking you have to sell to people! Go along to get to know people. The relationships I’ve built through networking have developed into close friendships. The women from Unique Ladies in particular - it gives me such a boost seeing them once a month.

2. My home office - I know this is a luxury not everyone has but we turned our spare room into an office for me and my productivity improved dramatically! I had a space that was mine where I belonged! I felt organised. I knew where everything was. I could close the door at the end of the day and stop working on my laptop while watching TV at night! Whether you have a room to yourself or just a dedicated space in a room in your house, find the place that works for you.

3. Boundaries - this was the most challenging for me. When I started working for myself I felt like I should be working ALL the time! I felt guilty if I wasn’t constantly working. There was the pressure to bring work in and my personal drive was on overdrive! It wasn’t sustainable so I had to implement boundaries - not working after 6pm; getting dressed for work (I am not productive in a dressing gown!) Not working Fridays - it’s my time to spend with Howard, my friends or family. I do make an exception once a month for Unique Ladies!

4. Being bold - come on it had to be in here! Seriously though, at the start of 2020 pre pandemic, I set my intentions to be more bold and start being a role model for other women in business. Being more visible on social media through videos helped people to get to know me and I built some amazing relationships online. I’ve got some great friends on LinkedIn that I’ve never met who helped me through the last 2 years. This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been bold and put myself out there.

So what can you do to boost your self belief? Do you need to be more bold with your boundaries? Is it time to get yourself out there or make a bold move online?

Where do you belong - it’s down to you.

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