Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Cate Moore @Tru_Vitality. Cate is a regular contributor to the online publication of Eligible Magazine, author of the e-book: The Best Kept Secrets of the Beauty Industry, and inspired owner of Tru Vitality Clinic. Cate has chosen to make a statement with Tru in the heart of Toronto, opening a progressive medical spa with a holistic approach to discovering, redefining, and celebrating the unique beauty in all of us. She believes that her future success with Tru will not come from her years of experience in the medical industry but rather out of the wealth of inspiring and vibrant people that surround her every day. She is boldly “redefining authentic beauty”. For more information, visit www.truvitalityclinic.com
SmallBizLady: What made you decide to start a business in the middle of a very successful career in the pharmaceutical industry?
Cate Moore: I couldn’t quiet that nagging voice inside of me that whispered “you are living comfortably, not courageously Cate” any longer. It started to get louder and louder until it became so loud I couldn’t ignore it anymore and started to talk to those close to me about my ideas. I believe the tipping point, for so many of us, is in having the courage to talk about our thoughts and ideas out loud, with people we trust and will hold us accountable…that is the scary stuff. It is a conscious choice we make to put our ideas (and ourselves) out there, not knowing if we will be supported and encouraged in return, but taking the risk anyway because we believe our ideas are worth trying. It is a vulnerable – and often an uncomfortable position to be in – but there is no way through that but through it.
SmallBizLady: What have you found most challenging about becoming an entrepreneur?
Cate Moore: I actually spent some time considering this question before walking down this road…I tried to anticipate what I might find tough and what it would cost me relationally, financially, and physically. The one thing I did not give much thought to was what it might cost me mentally/emotionally and ironically, that has been the most challenging part of this journey. I knew it would take a lot of money, hard work, long hours, and busy days being pulled in multiple directions but I did not anticipate the mental and emotional drain I would experience. I became aware of my very obvious ups and downs when it became overwhelming, and I instinctively knew the way I was feeling wasn’t sustainable or healthy. I knew if I couldn’t manage the emotional side of this ride I would not have the emotional capacity to get my business off the ground.
SmallBizLady: How did you learn to manage the mental and emotional drain and is it still a challenge?
Cate Moore: I talked to a close mentor and friend about how I was feeling. Although I was afraid of appearing weak and incapable, I openly admitted my struggles to my mentor, knowing it was better to be transparent and honest so I could get the help I needed. My desire to make this business successful and learn to manage the ‘mental game’ was greater than any pride issues I may have had (in this example, anyway!). My mentor admitted he had concerns too and while it was painful to hear him say that, I also knew he was right. We openly discussed the kinds of things I was ascribing emotion to or taking personally and had regular banter around when that was helpful to do and when it was useless or damaging to do. I have to say it is not the kind of thing one grows out of overnight and managing my emotions and mental energy will probably always be a challenge for me, and I am ok with the challenge as long as I am getting better at handling it. And at the end of a long day, I also rely heavily on the support and comfort of my family where I can truly be myself, even and especially when I have emotionally charged days.
SmallBizLady: How do you stay positive when you are having an “off” day or when you start to experience the mental drain of being an entrepreneur?
Cate Moore: It is not always easy for me to see an “off” day coming, but the more I am aware of what circumstances or situations drain me, the more effectively I can manage it when they do; and as times goes by, I am able to see the “off” start to evolve sometimes.
I think so much of success is about practicing healthy habits and creating an environment that fosters your success. I know, for me, I need to be physically healthy and exercise is an important outlet for me. I also know that I tend to be critical with myself, so I am trying to be patient and gracious with myself when I have “off” days. Sometimes it is as simple as taking 3 minutes alone to breathe deeply and reset, calling someone I trust to vent, or just making sure I get adequate sleep.
I am also a strong believer that the best solution to any problem is to avoid it in the first place and so I try to start my days as focused, grateful and positive as possible. As with most things in life, our experiences tend to be a reflection of us…and I accept that there will still be days when despite my best efforts, I won’t handle them well.
SmallBizLady: We have talked about the mental and emotional drain, but what has been the most mentally rewarding?
Cate Moore: For me, it has been the complete privilege of having the opportunity and support system to see my ideas come into being…in a way that honors authentic beauty and the brilliant, inspiring people in my life. I have these quiet moments (often) when I am completely overwhelmed by the unwavering belief others have in me- it is almost too much to receive and I cannot choke back the tears…I just let them flow, and flow….and flow.
SmallBizLady: What lesson is taking the longest for you to learn?
Cate Moore: I have this bad habit of trying to do everything on my own. I don’t like to outsource anything. And it isn’t because I believe I can do everything better than those I outsource it to. It is because if I admit I need to outsource I feel inadequate; like I should have somehow been born an expert on all things. It is an unreasonable expectation but it is real for me. It’s a pride issue that does not serve me well and one I just have to get over if I want to be successful. I am learning (albeit slowly) to be excellent at what I am excellent at…and to outsource everything else. My mentor has taught me this.
He has taught me that I can outsource just about anything. I can outsource marketing, strategic planning, loan applications, or someone to manage a challenging contractor; I can even outsource someone to help create my brand and vision if I can articulate what it is I want to create. But what I can never outsource is me – and only I know the intricacies of my vision. Only I can make the decisions that will ultimately actualize that vision…and if I am tapped emotionally and mentally, I have threatened all of and undermined myself. I am learning this lesson rather slowly.
SmallBizLady: What have the mental challenges taught you about yourself and your business?
Cate Moore: The mental challenges have taught me that real life is rarely black and white, but often in the grey. Decisions are much easier when you know what you believe; there isn’t much room for debate when you have drawn your line in the sand…problem is, beliefs evolve and change and life happens in the grey. So much of what I counted on to be black and white was not – from business relationships to financial expectations to marketing practices. The experiences of the past year have forced me to draw my line in the sand both personally and professionally. I have learned that I crave authentic, honest relationships and, for me, that means being as transparent as possible. I have also learned that my personal and professional relationships are very different and should be treated as such. I have had a tough time finding (and defining) the line between where I end and my business begins. It all feels very personal to me because I know why I am doing it, what I am passionate about, and how badly I want it, but I am learning that what is personal to me is not always personal to others. What matters to others is our ability to have a positive impact on them, to meet their needs, to feed them-mind, body, and soul. And that has to matter to me if I want to be successful.
SmallBizLady: How have you managed the mental/emotional side of balancing work & family?
Cate Moore: Healthy, honest conversations around expectations and boundaries are not optional if you want to succeed in any part of your life, they are critical.
This is especially true when trying to balance the needs of a new business and the needs of the family that love and miss you. My husband and I have conversations around putting boundaries in place that honor our marriage so we come through the next several years relatively unscathed and stronger for our children and families. We talk about what he needs to take care of the home front so that both he and our children always feel like they are part of this new adventure. We hold each other accountable so neither of us ever felt lost in our marriage. We need to have these conversations so that I know when things are starting to become unbalanced or unmanageable for our family. My husband, loved ones, and children even have permission to tell me when I am not honoring boundaries without me ignoring their comments.
We still have weeks where we know it will be hairy, but we always talk about how to best get through those times and that has made it easier to love each other well & stay close as a family throughout this process.
These conversations always take courage to have but it is so important if we want to love well.
SmallBizLady: What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Cate Moore: ~ Surround yourself with people you trust and admire and who love you enough to always tell you the truth…and then go for it, with everything you have and are.
~ Let your fears inspire you, not cripple you. Your fears are a gift; they show you what really matters to you, at your core.
~ When your belief in yourself wavers because you are tired, drained, or overwhelmed…borrow from others. It is ok to admit that you are running on empty. And know that wavering in your belief doesn’t mean anything but that you wavered. Don’t read into it, we all get tired.
~ Having the rare opportunity to realize a vision is no small thing. Try to see it for what it is: an honor, an adventure, a learning experience, and an invitation to challenge yourself & discover your gifts.
~ Know in your deepest, most sacred space, what your vision is – and then articulate it simply, clearly, and with passion. It doesn’t have to be short, but it has to be meaningful and honest. That is what inspires people.
~ Know that becoming an entrepreneur is like having a baby or getting married-you can read everything on the topic, get advice from everyone you know and it will help with your learning curve…but the only way to truly understand it is to dive in and do it. Anticipate that becoming an entrepreneur will be a roller coaster and commit to the ride…knowing that the ups always follow the downs…and try to have fun!
SmallBizLady: If you had to do it all over again, would you?
Cate Moore: Yes, but…(there is always a ‘but’)
- I would be a little more patient and gracious with myself along the way.
- I would sit back, observe more and say less.
- I would spend less money on useless things (my mentor calls this ‘stupid tax’). I have spent my share.
- I would trust people only after they have proven themselves to be trustworthy, and not before.
- But the best part is that I would choose the same brilliant, authentic, talented people who are in my life right now – cheering me on, loving me, kicking me in the ass when I need it, letting me emotionally borrow from them when I am spent, believing in me so much that it’s absurd! That group of people wouldn’t change at all. And that makes me smile.
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Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is America’s #1 small business expert. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. She writes a weekly column on social media for The New York Times. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works and the ebook: How To Become A Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.