Letting a challenge change you

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Promoting yourself for an award is outside a lot of people’s comfort zone.  Here Lyndsay Henderson reflects on what she’s learnt about challenging yourself since being nominated in the Venus Awards:

I’m very excited to be a semi-finalist for Reading Chronicle Business Mother of the Year in the 2017 Thames Valley in the NatWest Venus Awards – the only category where the public gets to decide the winner. And I’m in great company as Rachel Eden, founder of Holy Brook Associates is a Jackfm104 and Sir John Madejski Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist.

The Venus Awards is a unique initiative founded by Tara Howard in 2009 to recognise and reward local business women across the country. Looking through the list of semi-finalists for 2017, it’s clear that the Thames Valley is home to some outstanding women and their businesses.

Since finding out I’ve made it to the semi-finalist stage, I’ve been reflecting on what I have learnt since starting Stellation Limited just under a year ago. I left the corporate world to set up my own business to give me the opportunity to use my financial expertise to work with small businesses and their owners to help them work towards their own success. Working with my clients on a part-time basis gives me the flexibility and control over my work-life balance.

When I started my business, I was naturally focussed on winning clients and the services I could deliver. What I didn’t consider how far I would push myself out of my comfort zone and how much I would learn as a result! One of my favourite fitness quotes is that ‘if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’ and I think that this is equally valid in business and all life. So here are my top three from the last few months for pushing my comfort zone and what I’ve learnt.

  1. The Elevator Pitch

How can tell people what you do succinctly and in a way that they can relate to. I’m an accountant with a corporate background, I’ve spent a career networking with other accountants who automatically ‘get’ what I do, I also like to get things right. The best way to perfect your elevator pitch is to try it out at different networking events, get it wrong (aagh!), reflect and refine. I’d like to think I’m getting there but as my business evolves I’ll keep working on it.

  1. Say yes…

There’s so many I could include here but as I’m on the subject of the Venus Awards, I’ll go for that. Applying for an award is not something I would instinctively do, I don’t have a marketing background so it doesn’t come naturally to me. Coupled with the added surprise of having to make a video about myself and my business you could definitely say I was out of my comfort zone. What have I learnt? If you think it might be good for your business say yes, be brave and enjoy conquering the fear of watching yourself back on screen.

  1. And say no…

The beauty of running your own business is that you do get to choose who you work with and the work that you do. I don’t like to say no to prospective clients or contacts but I can’t provide excellent client service if, for example, I’m stretched too thinly; so if there’s something that’s not right for you, don’t be afraid of saying no, people appreciate honesty!

The last few months have been an absolute rollercoaster with some real challenges and highs. I’m really hoping to add 2017 Venus Awards finalist to this!  Voting opens on 29 March 17 and I’ll be sharing details both through Holy Brook (@HolyBrookLtd) and Stellation (@stellationFD) so please follow on Twitter for more information.

And, here’s my nomination video if you’d like to learn more: