Going out on your own, into the world of small business ownership takes chutzpah! You take huge risks, hoping for reward. You work harder than you've ever worked before. You've done the deep soul-searching and figured out who you really are, embraced it, packaged it, and placed it on the proverbial internet shelf.for all the world to see.
Now that you've started, now what? How do you keep your head in the game all while continuing to put the best you forward that you can muster?
Below are some checkpoints I use to assist my clients in helping them build their brands, and maximize changes in their audiences:
1. If you're not having fun, it's not working
In this case, fun translates to feeling inspired, feeling empowered, feeling invigorated. In the military there was always so much dogma about working hard (which is important) but not enough about the importance of the joy of a beloved career.
Entrepreneurs, small business owners, CEO's and even hairdressers, need their work to give them a kick of joy.
In this new era of my life, enjoying what I'm doing is half the battle.
In today's business climate, the businesses and leaders that thrive are the ones having the most fun--look at companies like Zappos, Amazon, Airbnb, and of course, Google.
They've committed to success on their own terms while creating positive environments for their employees, thus creating a perfect storm of maximum productivity and success. Create your own workspace that makes you feel inspired and creative. Most of all, make sure your workspace doesn't take itself too seriously.
2. Are you affecting change?
Successful entrepreneurs know that change (in the form of results) is essential.
Business is largely about working to get the desired results through ingenuity and/or creative persuasion.
Ultimately one's business should not singularly be focused on providing goods or services, but should also aspire to effect change by creating something useful, and showing the world what it didn't know it wanted yet .
If you're not getting the results you want, it's time to take stock of what needs to change for you to have greater impact.
3. It should feel easy and free
In order to thrive, your business needs to have a strong sense of flow in all areas--from communication with team members to interacting with clients. Remembering that "great" work is not about pushing for a desired emotional response, but a focus on talking and listening. It's about the journey.
Taking another page out of the military's record book, work shouldn't evoke that constant sense of drudgery and stickiness as if you're pushing a boulder uphill. Ultimately, your daily doings should have a sense looseness, fluidity and harmony,
4. Don't guess what "they" are looking for
Clients sometimes try to perform in terms of what they think ink their customers or audience wants, stifling their own one-of-a-kind quirks and mannerisms to mold themselves into what "they" might be looking for.
Always assume "you" are who they're looking for and bring yourself to the task, the job, the speaking engagement, to show someone what they didn't know they wanted yet.
Stop making a fetish out of constantly trying to guess what your clients want/are looking for--put something useful on the table and be the answer to their problem.
5. Do your version of it
So many clients ask if they should emulate the brands of already established brands.
Too many entrepreneurs try to copy successful businesses in the hopes of mirroring such success in the market.
Sometimes that works, but copying another person's success is never the way to make millions, or billions.
Doing your own version of a service or product that undeniably has the stamp of your particular blend of magic is the best way to carve an irreplaceable niche.
Building a brand, a small business, or establishing yourself as an entrepreneur, is a long road, but if you're able to meet all the checkpoints in a strong confident manner, you're on your way to living your dream.