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!
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.
Small Business Smarts: Make Time For Your MOST Important Client!
Paying the bills means getting the client work done! There’s no getting around it.
But, consider this … what happens if you get the client work done and the pipeline is empty?
Maintaining a steady stream of new and repeat business depends on you making some quality time for your V.I.P. client.
Your MOST Important Client Is Y-O-U!
This can be a bit hard to grasp, because when you work on your own site, your own content, your own visuals, you don’t see the immediate return on the time invested. You can’t invoice yourself.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s important to remember that #ROI is rarely immediate. #brandbuilding” quote=”It’s important to remember that ROI is rarely immediate.”]
The effort you put in, the creativity you share, over time, builds presence, trust and expertise. All of this, and so much more, come together to create your brand.
You + Your Business = Your Brand!
Many a small business owner puts hours into creating a mood board, color scheme, logo and tagline. And then call it done when it comes to branding.
[clickToTweet tweet=”When it comes to #brand messaging, a tagline is merely the tip of the iceberg.” quote=”When it comes to brand messaging, a tagline is merely the tip of the iceberg.”]
How are you sharing your message with others? Are you actively bolstering your brand across social media channels? Are you creating content worthy of reading, bookmarking and sharing?
Are you responding to queries and client ideas, on message and on brand, in a timely fashion?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not impressed when replies to my emails, tweets and private messages are answered in a rush well after business hours. I don’t care that you deem yourself a night owl, I’m not getting the best you have to offer when I’m your last task of the long night.
Your brand is the trust you build amongst your clients, prospects and peers. Doesn’t that deserve your best time and energy, your mind fresh and brimming with ideas?
Create The Right Time For YOUR Small Business Success
You should be blocking out time, EVERY DAY, that benefits your business. Time when your mind is fresh, not tired and ready to clock out.
If the hours required to build your business are tedious, you just might be in the wrong business. Your brand and its management, maintenance and continued build should be as exciting as every project you take on for a client.
Your brand and its messaging should not regularly fall to the bottom of your priority or to-do list.
Of course you have to meet and exceed the expectations of your paying clients. You certainly can’t let deadlines slide, nor can you fail to deliver. But doesn’t your own brand, your own business, deserve the same effort, energy, expertise and excitement?
Of course it does!
Sales Seldom Surge Sans Effort …
Selling your small business, your products and services, requires your best efforts. Not the final few minutes before your brain completely ceases proper function.
If you’re sandwiching the social media and other marketing of your small business between loads of laundry, how can you expect it to impress others?
Sales must be consistent to successfully run a business. Your marketing, your branded messages shared, are part of your sales process. They’re the backbone of the trust building necessary to take a lead from prospect to contracted client. They must be consistent, timely, creative, and on message bits of your brand.
That requires a sound, smart and savvy mind. That requires you setting aside the right time, the proper amount of time, the time your V.I.P client deserves.
Your Business Is Your V.I.P. Client!
Are you treating it that way?
So, Solopreneur … Sadly, Sometimes Nice Sucks!
Just be nice. It’s a phrase that regularly graces many a social media article, Facebook wall and Twitter stream. There’s a movement, if you will, backed by many a pretty big name in the digital marketing biz, including a man I admire and infrequently engage with in short bursts of sock strewn banter.
That’s right, I’m talking about the terrific Ted Rubin and his take on “just be nice.”
I’m about to share something that might not be common knowledge!
SHOCKER: I’m actually a pretty ding-danged nice person.
I know, I know. I’ll probably have to prove it to you, over time, but you could ask most of my circle of social peers, and they’d tell you I’m a pretty stand-up gal who’s always willing to tackle a dilemma.
That being said …
Nice Isn’t My First Choice When It Comes To Business!
While nice is, well … nice enough when used to describe a guy or gal – it’s not how I strive to be seen by my peer group or my client base.
Instead of nice, I prefer to be seen as:
- and a slew of other words … all more important to me than “nice.”
Being Good To People Goes Beyond Nice!
Though I don’t embrace “nice” as the end all, be all attribute that many in my social circles, do, it doesn’t mean I fail to see the importance of being good to others. To my husband, my family, my friends, as well as my peers and clients.
Sometimes a little constructive criticism is necessary in order to be good to those with whom you work.
We don’t generally think of the word “NO” as nice. But what I call the “necessary N-O” is often required when it comes to project management and actually meeting the needs of your clients.
Here’s a simple example. It’s certainly NOT nice to turn down a slice of pie when you’re at a family or business dinner. But, say you’ve been working hard to embrace a healthier lifestyle and you’ve chosen to indulge on the entree rather than dessert. Do you HAVE TO be nice and take the slice of pie?
Sometimes being good to people means telling them something they might not want to hear at the moment.
If successful relationships are built on trust, then nice needs to be taken out of the equation.
[clickToTweet tweet=”How much can you really trust someone who sugarcoats every response in a bid to be nice?” quote=”How much can you really trust someone who sugarcoats every response in a bid to be nice?”]
When Nice Simply Sucks!
Let’s be honest. Our attempts to be nice often land us in some serious deep doodoo!
Have you decided to be nice to the client who keeps making change requests and pushing back delivery dates? Guess what? Doing so means the project won’t be completed on time as you slide ever deeper into scope creep.
Have you decided to be nice and not raise your prices for long-term, grandfathered-in, clients? Only to have them nitpick and question everything you’re doing, even though they’re paying almost half the fees you’re charging your newer clients?
Ever thought it would be nice to trade your services for complimentary services? Barter isn’t a bad thing. Until that complimentary service provider disappears without a trace, having taken delivery on your end of the arrangement, while sending you absolutely nothing in return!
I could go on and on with the “be nice” moments that leave you looking and feeling like a sap. But I think I’ve made my point.
Just Be Professional!
Instead of nice, I prefer to make professionalism my intent and purpose.
Professional is often equated with polite, but there’s nuance to the idea of professionalism, just as their is nuance and shades of gray when it comes to being nice.
There’s no single, one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to being good to your brand, your business and your clients. You have to find the level of “being good” that best fits. I deliver my good with a more firm hand than you might. Does that mean I’m not a nice person? Maybe. Maybe not.
But, my bills get paid on time, my clients respect me, and my word of mouth referrals keep going strong. So, I’m pretty happy with the good I’m delivering.
Has Being Nice Ever Bitten You In The Butt?
I’d love to hear about your experiences with being nice, the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Drop me a note in the comments section or chat me up on one of the social channels where I share this publish!
When Limits Are Freeing, Rather Than Limiting!
If you spend time in Facebook groups as you go about your digital marketing day, you probably see various variations on this idea:
Never set limits, go after your dreams, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. And laugh a lot – it’s good for you!
~ Paula Radcliffe
In our society, the women who break down barriers are those who ignore limits.
~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
But I have a different view of limits. I see them as a powerful part of making the most of what you do, especially what you do well! I side strongly with these two quotes from an individual most would deem an expert in his field.
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
~ Albert Einstein
The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
~ Albert Einstein
Limits Are Legitimate!
Have you seen any of the Holiday Inn Express ads? They’ve been running for years now, so I’m guessing you’ve seen one at some point. This is one of my favorites …
Why am I sharing this? Because, as ridiculous as the concept is, if you stop and think about it, you know you’ve come across brands and individuals offering products or services and wondered if they really had the expertise and experience to back their claims.
Would you accept any schmuck off the street as your helicopter pilot? Your surgeon? Your mechanic? Hell no!
So, why do we allow social marketing schmucks and big-talking braggarts into our small business circles? Why do we consort with gurus, ninjas, evangelists and mavens?
Limits Don’t Losers Make!
We all must set limits in order to manage, maintain and grow our businesses. We must also set limits which allow us to step away from our business in order to maintain other aspects of our life, including relationships with family members and creating time for hobbies and activities outside of our business scope.
If we don’t set limits when we’re managing a project, we’re likely to fall prey to scope creep.
If we aren’t deliberate and honest about what we can actually accomplish, we may find ourselves accomplishing little, or worse – nothing.
If we don’t set limits on the length and breadth of our to-do lists, we can become a slave to the list and lose out on anything we haven’t written down.
Limits let us get back to doing what we do well. That’s a good thing, right?
Limits Can Actually Lift Your Business!
When we set smart limits we allow ourselves the room to seek out and seize opportunity.
When I hired a virtual assistant to help with some of the daily tasks that were taking up too much of my time, I then had the time to explore new service offerings and a side project that I quietly “whisper-launched” last week.
Can you do your own taxes? More than likely you could muddle through them on your own. But is it worth it? Is it worth the worry, the time invested and the time taken away from something that actually showcases your expertise? Probably not.
[clickToTweet tweet=”There’s something fabulously freeing about honestly admitting we cannot do something! ” quote=”There’s something fabulously freeing about honestly admitting we cannot do something! “]
We are constantly seeing/hearing that we need to work smarter, not harder.
Legitimate limits are a smart part of working smarter. Limits, boundaries, realism … they’ve all been given a bad name by those I call the positivity pushers.
You can absolutely set smart and valuable limits while still remaining positive about your business and the solopreneur lifestyle. And those limits will let loose the time and opportunity to expand your expertise and increase your reach amidst the types of clients and peers with whom you REALLY want to do business!