The past few months I’ve noticed a trend with my clients and new client inquiries. There’s a misunderstanding between what creates a business and what sustains a business. Doing “all the things” doesn’t guarantee success much less than doing nothing does. There seems to be a new culture of fear of failure that results in the inability to take the actual steps needed to create success.
All and all we are getting swept up by vanity metrics. Followers on social media, curated feeds, pretty websites and launch after launch of stuff. These things will keep you busy, stress you out and keep you anxious about whether or not your business is viable, let alone successful. More than who’s following you, how many people open your newsletter or how cohesive your website is -- there are real tips to help you create success this year.
Self-care always comes first
You know the drill. When something is new, it’s exciting — it’s easy to obsess. You want clients, so you do everything in your power to let people know your neon open sign is flashing. You tweet all day, post to IG all week and enthusiastically send newsletters at the drop of a dime. Not to mention your calendar is wide open all day every day, for your new clients. Hour after hour, day in and day out -- you are all about your business.
This is a recipe for burnout. To become the successful business owner you desire, you have to be that person today. The time management, productivity, delegation skills, etc. all matter from day one. This is self-care.
Setting hours, mapping what your business will look like in the beginning phases is self-care. Get in the habit of being intentional about it early, so you won't burn out, or feel trapped by the unrealistic expectations you placed on yourself later down the road.
Passion doesn’t equal clients — but strategic action does
Your passion is what fuels you, it’s what drove you to create your business in the first place. It is the creative energy that lead you to where you are now. I was beyond excited when I completed my LLC paperwork and was in the courthouse filing for my DBA’s.
Little did I realize, simply having a business license, domain name and a well-researched business product — doesn’t equal clients flooding my inbox. Contrary to popular belief; just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. As great as your business is, the truth is — the next steps are consistent and intentional work.
Mindfulness (awareness) is the cheat code for this process. The awareness of where you are now, where you want to go and the steps in between. It’s not haphazard, and it’s not copying what you think your competition is doing. This is where many businesses get lost in the sauce. Every stage of business is different, and what each stage will require from you as a business owner is different. While passion may have lead you here; strategy is what will see you through.
There is no such thing as failure
Simply put: if success is the desired result, then failure is the undesired result. It’s about the factors the create these results, not your feelings about them. I’m not negating that you may have in fact, taken a “fall”, lost a client, missed a deadline, or no one shows up to your event. These situations are real and in real time may feel like a failure, but they aren’t.
Tip: Tie your outcomes to metrics. Track your metrics, study your metrics and make adjustments. Take emotion out of it. You either hit your numbers, or you don’t. When you don’t -- study why and make changes.
Truthfully, failure is a matter of perspective, a learning opportunity. The lessons you take from these experiences are what determine your future success(es). Without a few of these undesired outcomes, you don’t learn hard lessons. Business is about building, measuring and learning — “failures” help you see if you need to pivot. It shifts and molds your business into exactly what your customers desire.
A Few Final Thoughts
Winning at business is not only about clients and money, but the awareness needed self-assess and self-correct as the owner. The more you balance the hard discipline of business (strategy) with the softer disciplines (mindset work) the stronger you and your business become. Look back over the goals you set for this year and see where you can amp up your strategy, your mindset or both -- you and your business depend on it.