The change was so gradual I didn’t see it happening. I’m still not sure that I believe the changes are real and will last.
For the past eight years I’ve been on a journey learning how to be a successful business owner. The journey has been an emotional rollercoaster because I had no formal business training or sales and marketing experience. All I had was a desire to help others become successful. I chose to fulfill that desire by helping small businesses resolve their employee and human resources problems.
But there’s a vast difference between being an in-house lawyer explaining employment laws to senior managers and being a business consultant explaining employment laws to small business owners. Lawyers are trained to parse the details and focus on nuances in the law. Small business owners couldn’t care less. They want to know what’s in it for them and how much it’ll cost to comply with the law. After years of practice, I’ve honed my client-centric approach to explaining things.
In the early years, every day was an exercise in overcoming fear of failure as I struggled to find paying clients before the money ran out. To spread the word about my business on my shoestring budget, I began blogging. I’ve been blogging weekly since 2014 and last year I converted some of my material into a book.
As my profile inched up, I was invited to do educational presentations. Although I was terrified of public speaking, I knew that recognition as a subject matter expert would be a great marketing tool for my business. So I began presenting on human resources and employment law issues. Later, I added history presentations. For the past couple of years, I’ve been averaging a presentation a month, including several television interviews on a local business program. I still get stage fright but it seems easier to manage.
Recently, I was reminded that I am a successful lawyer, business owner, and author. Eight years ago, I could not have imagined being where I am today. It’s been a long grind and I still obsess over real and perceived failures. The recent reminder of my achievements helped me understand that I’m struggling to catch up to my own success.
About Norma Shirk
My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy. To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my new history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).
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