I said, "Does anyone have any questions for me?"

The response, "Yes Carrie I do. Since you've been in business for over ten years will you share the top three things that you believe have led to your success?"

It was a question I didn't expect so I thought a moment ... here's the answer I shared. The top three things I did to grow my business.

1. Take myself seriously and get support. During the first six months I was in business I figured I could handle it. I thought I "knew" what needed to be done and could just do it. I also decided that, since I was my own boss, I could make all of the rules and have lunch with friends whenever I wanted. After all, one of the main reasons I started my own business was for flexibility, right?

A program I joined about six months after I started my business required me to have a coach. I didn't even know what a coach was at the time. Since then I have ALWAYS had a coach. Some coaches have been better than others. Some were hired for a specific purpose. ALL have been business coaches. In addition to sharing great ideas, helping me get out of my own head, helping me see my business from the outside and providing me with incredible accountability, these coaches have forced me to take my business seriously. It forced me to take notice of myself and to see myself as a business owner and not a stay at home mom with a side gig. I was forced to think like a business owner. When a friend calls for lunch, there are times I say yes (flexibility is still important) and there are times I say no, because I have business responsibilities to take care of.

2. Ask for the business. It took time for me to get the confidence in my skills and myself, but once I realized that the only way to get business was to ask for it, things went a lot better. There are still times that I hesitate but, for the most part, if I sense that I can help someone, I invite him or her to have a discussion about it. Here's the thing, unless you ask them to work with you they will still have the problem that they're having and you will still have no clients.

3. Accept that nothing will ever be perfect. Wow, this one was a tough lesson. I have a Wall Street background. When I worked for the New York Stock Exchange people got fired for making mistakes. It was a very high-pressure environment. The information we shared with our clients and our prospects had to be right.

To be fair, the idea of perfectionism suited me too. I want the work that I produce to be more than just accurate, I want it to be perfect. I want it to look perfect, sound perfect and reflect me, and what I do, perfectly.

Here's what I've learned about perfectionism. It's an impossibility. I look back at the work that I created ten years ago, and even more recently and shudder.

Some of the imperfections are errors that I missed, but most of the imperfections are examples of things that no longer reflect me, or what I'm doing, because I have grown and changed. Perfectionism implies that there is no way for it to grow or improve. You know, I sure hope I'm not perfect right now. I couldn't imagine not growing from here.

This does not mean that you should be careless and not pay attention to how things look and sound and do your best, but I also know that if I had not gone ahead with those imperfect things, I would not be where I am today. I would not have grown and the clients that I've worked with wouldn't have had the experience of working with me.

What would your business look like if you incorporated the three things that turned my business around?

Author's Bio: 

Carrie Greene is a speaker, trainer, coach and author of Chaos to Cash. She helps entrepreneurs cut through the confusion and chaos surrounding them so they make decisions, stop spinning and procrastinating and make more money. Free resources at http://www.CarrieThru.com and http://carriethru.com/programs/chaostocashbook/excerpt/