Small Biz Smarts: Passion, Smassion! Smashing!

Small Biz Smarts: Passion, Smassion! Smashing!

I hope you see what I’m doing with the title. A little play on words when it comes to passion and small business. LOL.

Before the negative commenting commences, I’m ABSOLUTELY not smashing passion as an important part of your business success. It IS important. But I would love to smash the myth that love for what you do is all you need to make a successful go of your product, service or other offering.

Follow Your Passion …

but put in the EFFORT!

I have a passion for tennis, but that alone hasn’t helped me rise to the challenge of playing against more skilled opponents. What has? I’m so glad you asked!

Drills

Practice might not make perfect, but it can certainly make you feel more powerful. The more you engage in an activity, the easier it becomes. I didn’t immediately have a strong overhead (although my backhand slice did come quite naturally, LOL). I put in the time and effort to build technique, racket speed and consistency.

I’m not talking about just hitting the courts and goofing off. I go to dedicated drills where I know I’m going to be put through my paces.

You have to do the business drills, too. Come up with systems, test them out, and tweak them until they work almost by rote. Habits, both good and bad, take a while to develop.

Practice really does make possible, if not perfect. Sure, you’ll swing and miss sometimes. But it’s practice that makes it possible for you to hit the sweet spot more often than not!

You’ve Gotta IGNITE and IMPLEMENT!

Passion can certainly warm up prospects, show your dedication to your craft, but it’s not enough to spark a sale. What have you got to light a match under anyone currently sitting on the fence?

How are you passing along or paying forward that passion? What makes you stand out within the crowd of loved up on their business solopreneurs?

The feels are great, but prospects and peers looking to collaborate want you to share the “reals,” the realities of what will happen if they choose to work with you.

Love for business and awesome ideas aren’t going to get you anywhere without implementation. And that means putting in the work, dealing with the breaks and bust-ups (because no launch is hitch free), and delivering on what it is you love.

Reality Rocks When It Comes To Small Business!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Isn’t it time we stopped pandering to the pinkly perfect notion of the solopreneur gig?” quote=”Isn’t it about time we stopped pandering to the pinkly perfect notion of the solopreneur or small business gig?”]

The fabrication that it’s all superstar red carpet premiers, gold thumbtacks and glitter strewn artfully across our desks, unicorn kisses and pots of gold at the end of a rainbow?

You bet your sweet bippy it’s THAT time!

How about we share the joys of coffee spilled across keyboards, the frantic blotting with paper towels followed by blasts from our hair dryer?

Isn’t it time to share the fact that we often stare at the window beside our desks and ponder the resounding crash of glass as our computer sails to the ground below?

Glamourous? Right! Did you get in the shower today? Comb your hair? Brush your teeth?

Running your business isn’t a ride on a soft, puffy cloud dancing across endlessly sunny skies. It’s more like a ride on a careening roller coaster, sans safety harness, hanging on tight as you never know which way it’s going to twist, turn and toss you about at any given moment.

And, really, that roller coaster ride, while often unnerving, is what makes it all worthwhile in the end!

Embrace The Idea Of “I Can’t”

If I see one more passionista posit that we need to remove can’t from our vocabulary, I’m going to punch her passionately in her perky little nose!

Guess what? You can’t do everything. And guess again! If you pretend you can you’re going to let a client down when you fail to deliver.

The necessary no is part of doing business. Nodding your head and numbly agreeing to take on tasks you have no time and/or talent for is a surefire way to set your small business on the road to crash and burn.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Isn’t it better to delegate than to disillusion your client? #realyourealbiz” quote=”Isn’t it better to delegate than to disillusion your client?”]

Passion, Smassion …

Yeah, loving what you do can certainly make the solopreneur gig great.  But the skills that pay the bills have little to do with love, and a whole lot to do with education, practice, willingness to work hard and the perseverance to push through the rough patches.

Solopreneur Smarts: Find Someone Who Will Dish It Out!

Solopreneur Smarts: Find Someone Who Will Dish It Out!

Anyone who has spent even minimal time on this blog knows that I believe in the balance of reality and positivity.

That’s not to say that I’m not a positive person. I betcha bunches of bucks that if you ask almost anyone I’ve ever worked with, you’ll be told that I’m actually quite nice, upbeat, perky and, GACK, positive!

I just prefer to pepper my positivity with a heaping tablespoon of reality.

The Solopreneur Gig? It Ain’t All That Glamorous!

Part of being real with myself, my clients and my peers means I’ve got to admit that there’s no easy button when it comes to branding, digital marketing or digital design.

Sure, there are tools and systems, templates and tutorials, available to make much of your day to day doings a little less fraught with frustration and freelancer foibles.

But that giant red easy button, unlike the R.O.U.S. in the fire swamp, just doesn’t exist.

And much like Westley needed to get the shit kicked out of him by that lumbering rodent, sometimes we, too, need more than a pat on the back and a gentle reminder to remain positive.

Sometimes You Need A Kick In The Ass …

Not A Consoling Pat On The Back!

The best coaches I’ve ever had were those who had no problem blowing the whistle on me if I was lazy, failed to use proper form, or simply didn’t have my head in the game.

We all need that same honesty and willingness to “tell it like it is” when it comes to our business mentors and accountability partners.

As busy solopreneurs we need more than sugar-coated, syrupy kudos and lackluster laments when things aren’t going so well.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Solopreneurs often need a healthy dose of no-nonsense reality! #realyourealbiz” quote=”Sometimes what we need most is a healthy dose of reality, delivered in a no-nonsense fashion.”]

Sometimes we all need to be asked one, or more, of the following questions:

  • Who told you it would all be easy?
  • Is the hustle worth it?
  • Do you still love what you’re doing?
  • Have you thought about taking a break?
  • Where’s your plan?

Passion & Positivity Aren’t Enough

Here’s the savvy skinny. No matter how much you love your products or services, no matter how passionate you are about the hustle, you’re going to find some days more difficult than others. You can’t wing it with passion and a positive outlook.

The hard work and the hustle never go away. The early mornings and late nights don’t disappear either. Sure, you can plan a bit better and you can certainly learn to better manage your time. But when a big gig is on the calendar, and you’re going it solo, the work has to get done.

That means sometimes you have to skip a family dinner. Sometimes you have to get up before the crack of dawn on, GASP, a Sunday!

Sometimes The Solopreneur Gig Sucks!

And we really need to be reminded of that suckitude from time to time.

You’ll sometimes fight through lowest of lows on your journey to the highest of highs, including your first sale, your first speaking gig, your first rate increase, etc.

You want your clients and prospects to be open and honest about their needs, their expectations, right? Why wouldn’t you want the same from your peer group, your business partners, your mastermind group, your coach or mentor?

Sometimes you’ll have to take off the rose-colored glasses and view your solopreneur gig through the reality lens. It won’t be perfect. It won’t always be pink and pretty. But it will always be pretty ding-danged sweet when you remember you’re the boss!

Dear Email Marketer: More Than One Send A Day? Unsubscribe!

 

Dear Email Marketer: More Than One Send A Day? Unsubscribe!

Today I unsubscribed from the email list of a pretty big name in the digital marketing space.

It wasn’t that his content isn’t good. I like his writing style. It’s got a little edge to it, a little bite.

It wasn’t that I don’t value his expertise and clout in the digital marketing field. For the most part, I think he walks the talk. He’s fessed up in the past to his own failings and foibles on his way to big name success.

So, what was it?

He didn’t value my time and productivity.

My Inbox Is Busy Enough, Thank You

I don’t care how awesome you believe your launch, product, service or special offer to be, you’re not quite as important to my inbox as you’re telling yourself in the mirror each morning!

My time is just as valuable as yours. My clients expect me to produce, as I’m sure yours expect the same from you.

That being said, I don’t have time to wade through your multiple emails, all touting the terrific and testimony around your latest product or service launch.

You’ve really only got one chance to sell me, though I understand the need for need to send follow-ups, last chance messages and reminders.

Send Smarter, Not Harder (Or More Frequently)

When you send me more than one email in a given day, you prove to me that we have no relationship whatsoever, no matter how tiny and tenuous.

You see me only as potential dollar signs, another sale to mark in your books.

I don’t need a minute-by-minute blow by blow account of the sales progress of your new product. I don’t need multiple messages reminding me that the sale is “almost” over. Nor do I appreciate your efforts to guilt me into giving up my hard earned dollars.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Send smarter emails! You’ll stand a better chance of wooing my wallet.” quote=”Send smarter emails and you stand a better chance of wooing me to open my wallet.”]

Frequency is easy, especially with automation. Consider, instead, carefully crafting a message that actually sways me, rather than sending meaningless missives that clog my inbox. That hard sell hullaballoo is only causing me to staunchly submit my unsubscribe request.

Email Access Is A Privilege, Not A Right!

Access to my inbox is pretty sacred. I don’t allow just anyone access.

I’m quick to unsubscribe if you don’t take my time seriously. There are plenty of worthy and worthwhile lists to which I can subscribe. You’re not the only fish in the pond. So you’ve got to swim on the side of right or there’s the potential you’ll soon find yourself belly up, at least in my eyes!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Silly marketer … access to my inbox is a privilege, not a right! #emailmarketing” quote=”Silly marketer … access to my inbox is a privilege, not a right!”]

Treat your time in my inbox as a privilege and you stand a good chance of staying on the nice list!

Solopreneur Struggles: Sharing & Support Require Honesty

Solopreneur Struggles: Sharing & Support Require Honesty

I don’t care what the passion and positivity princesses are pandering! Running a business is hard. And it’s about time we admitted it openly and honestly.

When we sugarcoat and try to simplify the running of a business (how many marketing and entrepreneurial articles have you seen this week stating that something is easy, simple, quick, painless?) we do a disservice to those budding entrepreneurs and new business owners looking for real and valuable advice.

I applaud the savvy solopreneur who is willing to share the hardships that go with the hustle. Who isn’t looking through rose-colored entrepreneurial glasses. Who’s willing to admit some things are a struggle.

It’s not easy. It’s not simple. It’s certainly not always fun. And it’s time we admit that.

I’m Often Tired

I have never been a great sleeper. I am one of those people who honestly can’t nap. I feel physically ill unless I can sleep soundly for hours. And sleeping soundly for hours during the day would mean even less sleep at night.

Whether your struggling or succeeding as a solopreneur, sometimes we just can’t sleep. We could be working on a tight deadline, getting up earlier and staying up later in order to meet project and client needs.

When you’re juggling a lot of projects it’s hard to shut down at “end of day.” With smart phones permanently attached to our hands, it’s too easy to check Twitter mentions or email one last time. The very connectivity that can propel our business also ramps up our brains to the point that we can’t shut down. Even when we do power down our computers, tablets and phone, our minds keep whirring.

There are differing opinions on whether or not you can catch up on sleep. Whether you can catch up or not, is largely irrelevant in the now. I think we can all agree that when we’re feeling fatigued, we find it harder to do our best work. Especially, at least for me, when working in a creative field.

My Social Is Sapped By The End Of The Day

I spend all day creating, building, and maintaining relationships. With peers, influencers, prospects and clients.

When it comes time to step away from the work I’m decidedly disinclined to do anything social. I find myself wanting to curl up under a blanket on the couch watching mindless TV re-runs so that I don’t have to think about anything.

Needless to say, this can put a strain on your relationship with your spouse (or other type of significant other), friends, family and even you peers who are more inclined to shake off the day with a social activity.

Delegating Isn’t Always A Slam Dunk

We’re often told that we can make our solopreneur success a given by smartly delegating the tasks we don’t want to do or aren’t capable of doing. Sounds easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy, right?

It’s NOT!

First of all, you can’t just dump work on a new delegate. You’ve got to train him/her on the process, the procedure, the best practices. Depending on what you’re delegating this can be a pretty colossal undertaking. In fact, the early stages of delegating don’t save you time, instead it eats up time in huge gulps.

AND, if you’re delegating client work to a VA or intern, you’ve got to educate your client on the arrangement. You can’t just pass them off to a newbie with no notice. Not if you want to keep them!

The Free Fallacy

We’ve all fallen prey to the allure of the freebie that can do the job without impacting our bank account. We decide that our bottom line depends on never letting loose with a dollar. And that sets many of us up to fail.

It’s imperative to wisely invest in your business. Expenses matter. You’ve got to carefully control them in order to keep your business running in the black.

It’s important to remember though, the free solutions might save dollars, but they often cause solopreneurs to spend more time. For many of us, time is money. So, shelling out smart dough to save time often saves more money than the freebie.

Systems Don’t Set-Up Themselves

Smartly set-up systems, protocols and procedures can absolutely save you time and speed you toward success … in the long run. Notice that ellipse. I placed it there purposefully for the pause. Systems set-up helps you in the long-run, but the set-up takes time, tweaking and testing. Which adds to your already full plate.

Consider one relatively simple system, setting up your email to auto-sort and occasionally auto-respond. The key word her is set-up. You have to set up this seemingly simple system. And the system has to work for you.

Setting up folders for client emails only works if you actually notice that there’s a NEW message. If it’s not going to your inbox, you’ve got to set up a schedule and train yourself to check more than your inbox.

Don’t get me wrong. Systems can seriously save a solopreneur. But they don’t come out of a pretty package ready to go, customized for your clients and your projects. They require set-up. Then the set-up has to be tested. And often tweaked.

Solopreneurs Struggle

We all have talents upon which we are trying to capitalize. We’ve started our business in order to do something we love, something that adds value, something that sustains both us and our clients.

But the solopreneur gig just ain’t all that glamorous all the time! It’s often exhausting and stressful. It’s often a struggle. It brings with it the ups and downs, the joys and woes of any complicated endeavor.

I hope that in sharing our struggles we can bolster our solopreneur brethren, giving them the boost we’ve often needed when the day to day becomes daunting.

Please share some of your solopreneur struggles. Through honest sharing and support we can build a community of successful, well-sorted and seriously kick ass solo biz owners!