Ok so I am writing this on 4th April 2020 which means most of the world is in the stages of some form of lockdown or isolation brought on by the spread of corona virus, COV-19 or whatever you know it as. Just to make sure when you read this you understand the context to which it is written.
The world as we know it has changed. When the world goes into lockdown the jobs which are seen as essential are those viewed as low skilled and most definitely lower paid. These are the nurses, hospital staff, care home staff as well as delivery drivers, shop workers etc…
In the world of entrepreneurship there appears to be three ways in which business owners are responding to the impact of this pandemic on their business. Most of them appear to fall into the extremes of the spectrum and then there are those few who are going to thrive right now just differently but out of the back of this they will up-level and have created a new wave of clients and tribe members.
So which one are you?
Have you reverted to the ostrich position?
I have seen many business owners who have made the decision that no one is buying anything right now and these aren’t businesses that are forced to close. I have seen therapists, coaches and even course creators who have decided that no one is buying.
Only this week I have seen posts in Facebook Groups where people are declaring how much money they have invested since they have been self isolated. “I have spent £9k on 5 courses to see me through the next few weeks” or “I have invested $60k in a mastermind to up-level my business”. These are just two of the real statements I read in groups today. It is true that many people are choosing not to spend but there are always people who choose not to spend so it’s probably not that massively different. In fact, I have seen a rise of people asking what can they invest in right now to help them step up!
Are you getting sucked into the fear and selling from a place of panic!
At the opposite end of the sales spectrum you have those who have focused only on the fear and who are tapping into this to sell. Now I am not passing judgement here. I think many of those I have seen are not trying to sell out of fear but have used the pandemic in their copywriting and been judged for it.
Yes the time is right for a lot of people to start thinking about online incomes. This is a time when those who are thriving are those who can either operate fully online or who are bringing additional online solutions into their business however, there are those whose business is driven by playing into the fear. How many times have you seen toilet rolls for sale at $30-$40 or people selling homemade masks which may be slightly helpful but are not made of the same surgical materials that they should be. And they are being judged for this, there have been so many negative comments made on posts from people selling from fear.
I am seeing so many local and online businesses right now who are thriving because they have not put their head in the sand nor have they reverted to selling into the fear or from fear. They have stopped, looked, listened and figured out how to PIVOT their business to best serve their tribe, bring in new clients and show that by tapping into what people need that they can make a difference and money!
A real example of this in a non online way is local businesses coming together to serve their communities. Where I live pubs have closed but one of the pubs has come together with the butchers, greengrocers and local bakery to deliver fresh meals to people as well as fresh food boxes with veg, meats and bread. The owners have looked at what people are missing and giving them reassurance that they can step in and assist right now. They are creating that ripple affect and helping other local businesses and helping the community too!
As entrepreneurs they have pivoted and I for one will remember once everything is back to normal and hope to become a loyal customer not just now!
What about online? No one is buying online?
Again, that’s not true! Like I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of people who are wanting to use this time right now to learn, to grow and to maybe even create their own online businesses. We always love an underdog story and I predict there will be many an underdog rising up during this time!
Its time to figure out your purpose, its time to start new daily habits that serve your highest self and come out of this a stronger, more resilient and confident business owner. Even if you are struggling right now, this too shall pass. What can you do right now to build a better business now or when this is finished!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, check out others I have written and if you are already a purpose driven entrepreneur or want to start your own business then join my Facebook group or check out my course which was launched in January spookily called ‘The Time is Now’!
The difference between those who strive for success or thrive in success is in the habits and daily actions.
Growing up many of us heard about the ‘American Dream’ the land of hope and how once moving to America was where people came to enjoy a successful life. Now I am not saying that is no longer true, this is not a political post by any means. BUT with the introduction of the world wide web and the astronomical growth in businesses to move on line the dream life is no longer location linked.
Location Freedom is the new ‘American Dream’.
With the knowledge industry booming right now and the movements being led by the big guns such as Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi to ‘make self education the new norm’ then there are now more than ever flurries of people looking to set out on the entrepreneurial journey with the flame of hope held high.
So, what is the difference between those that thrive or those that continue to strive for success? Habits!
1. Knowledge is Power
One of the first recommendations existing entrepreneurs tend to tell those asking how to start out is to read and not how to set up a business books but mostly recommend books on mindset. Whilst it is shown as such a glamourous lifestyle it takes hard frickin work to get to the level that you can then sit back and enjoy the freedom lifestyle. So you need to have a strong, growth mindset, be willing to learn and listen.
Look for books in your chosen business field (say coaching. I enjoyed The Quantum Leap Coach System by Femke Mortimore as a book to read on specific coaching tools and techniques).
Look for books about building the entrepreneur’s mindset. I liked Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi and his podcast of the same name is good for short burst of knowledge.
2. Anchor in your why
As Simon Sinek is most famous for teaching, start with Why. For me, this is a great starting point but the biggest challenge isn’t just about starting with why its continuing to remind yourself of why you started and why you need to keep going even on the tough days.
Have something visual whether that be a vision board for your business, a photo of your family or even just affirmations on your mirror. Have a place and make time each day to focus on your why as part of your daily morning routine.
3. Prioritise by Passion or Prosperity
Whether starting up or established, as business owners we always have a list of a million things we need to do each day. There are so many tools and techniques on how to prioritise (MoScOw method anyone?) that for me, break it down into two simple top priorities.
Will this action fuel my passion or my prosperity?
Will this make you happier in your business or will it make you money? If its not either, is it an enabler to either? If still no, then why is it important?
4. Refine Goals Regularly
If you don’t have goals for your business then you will never know if your actions are helping you or hindering you. Set yourself clear goals ensure you have smaller goals and associated tasks so you know that everything you are doing is in alignment.
If you set monthly goals or quarterly, then at the end of each week review your activity and look at what you were intending to do next week and refine them. Continuing to review and refine means you will always be aligned to goals and allocating time and energy to the most important activities.
5. Nurture Your Tribe
Wherever your audience or customers are then ensure they still know who you are and put some effort into nurturing them daily. This might mean having a social media strategy and auto-posting but from an audience perspective you are still there, asking them questions and providing value. You always need to be growing your following and nurturing them so when they are ready to buy, you’re the first one that they think of!
6. Have a routine
Whether its a morning routine or night-time routine or both, have some consistency in your routine so that you are grounding yourself, getting yourself ready for the day ahead both physically and mentally. Evening routines are often focused on reflection and gratitude so think about what has the most personal impact to your wellbeing at the start and end to each day and make that a non negotiable part of your daily routine.
7. Have a Strong Business Network
Often overlooked for the value that this creates but collaboration over competition is what will absolutely stand you out from the crowds in this online space. If you are a coach, network with coaches or therapists. Think about those in either the same business or a similar area. This way you can create referrals too. Networking may mean joining actual face to face networking groups or it may be as simple as joining online communities, contributing and being an active member so that you can build friendships. As a solopreneur when the days are tough and quiet, you need to have a call tree of people you can turn to.
In my online community I am starting to offer Power Hours, this will be a chance for people to join in Zoom for an hour of focused effort on whatever they want to do but they wont feel as alone because we are all sharing the experience. Means you can have a laugh, ask a question and share for feedback. To join my Facebook community for Purpose Drive Entrepreneurs click here.
8. Take A Break
A burnt out and tired business owner is not happy and is not going to be able to sustain this level of energy long term. To prevent you hitting that wall you need to incorporate time each day to blow off steam and enjoy life. Yes, I know, controversial for some people but you are doing this to build a life and lifestyle for yourself and/or your family. if you make yourself ill and burnt out then you aint going to reach or enjoy any success. Spend time doing something you enjoy whether that’s with family, going for a walk/run or just watching Netflix. Take 30 mins at least each day to disconnect 100% from your business and business network!
9. Fail Fast, Learn Faster and Repeat
Failure will happen. The most successful business owners have failed so many times but they have chosen to never give up. You fail fast to learn faster. Be eager to fail, and ensure you can reflect, tweak and learn from that failure as it will bring you one step closer to success. Even if you take Facebook Ads as an example, when you first start out you will waste money because you are trying to figure out the right targets, the right key words that connect with the right people. That’s why you run parallel campaigns and that’s why you need to understand the analytics. Not to be technical but so you can recognise the trends and fix what isn’t working. Or hire an expert!
Having an open and growth mindset is about learning and the best way to learn is to fail. So Fail Fast, Learn Faster and Repeat!
10. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!
We will keep the last habit quite simple. What you put intentional energy behind consistently will grow. If you are consistently focus on audience building activities for an hour a day, your audience will grow in size and engagement levels. If you are consistently writing 2000 words a day for your book, you will finish it quicker than 100 words here and there.
When you maintain good habits and a good routine and do this consistently, your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing will improve.
Its the simplest and most difficult habit to maintain but the rewards are limitless!
There are so many business books out there and whenever you ask for book recommendations you get overwhelmed and yes so many have an opinion on what branding is and isn’t how can you know which to buy. Personally, I am one of those people who looks for reviews for most of my purchases, especially if I am buying books for personal and business development. As a coach I decided I would love to recommend only the most valuable and impactful books to my clients.
The first book review is Brand Brilliance from Fiona Humberstone of @thebrand_stylist
At first glance this book is elegant, beautifully laid out
and truly an immersive experience into how truly visual a brand can be. This
book isn’t just a book on branding your business it is an asset for your
business to treasure and to continue to refer to as you evolve and grow.
Who is it suitable for?
Whether you are brand new and just trying to shape your
business or you are established and want a refresh this book covers both types
of business owners.
The photography is intentional and crisp.
Layout is clean and clear.
Insider Tips throughout the book assumedly from clients but these are valuable extra touches that I think add further credibility.
Case Studies articulate what good looks like for each topic covered.
Create a company that plays to your strengths, feeds your ambition and enables you to live the life you want.
The book is split into two parts. Part 1 Brand Clarity covering topics from the philosophy around a brand to understanding your strategy and finally delving into the look of the brand.
Each of these parts does take you through both a journey of information and experience when you consider the guidance plus the examples of each topic.
Part two takes the concepts journaled or shaped in part one and excels them to the next level which is about bringing your brand to life – Brand Brilliance.
The author talks through essentials as well as how to have a website that wins you work which takes the reader on a natural evolution of their thinking.
You’re in control to create a business on your terms, define your own versions of success and shoot for the stars.
As a coach my focus is on helping purpose led entrepreneurs to go from aspiring or new to launched and confident. The great part of this specific niche is that as a coach you watch the magic go from a random thought to a real business. This book is a perfect compliment to that process.
Visualise your perfect day. Close your eyes right now and think of exactly what you would want your perfect day to be. I’m closing my eyes whilst I write this so that I am doing the same. I have read the ‘perfect day’ activity so many times in different books or free downloads as well as doing the full activity in workshops. Hell, I have even held a perfect day workshop in a corporate setting. All different perspectives but the same theme… achieving perfection!
If you have done this I bet the first instinct is vacation! Being on a each sipping pina coladas whilst the sun shines on you. Or watching the perfect sunset like in the image above just feeling the pure love of mother nature at her best.
These are fantastic images for a perfect day, absolutely but they are usually vacation days or millionaire dreams that people have fun visualising but don’t actually believe are in their future. So, the perfect day tool which as I mentioned is widely used as a basis for life coaching isn’t about the perfect vacation or perfect sunset. Its about quantum leaping from whatever your working normal day looks like right now into what you wish and want it to be.
May you sit at your office cubicle with your desktop computer with a plastic plant on the cabinet nearby (because any attempt at a real life plant dies within days in this place) and the plain white/grey wall because your desk is no where near a window and you often doubt if the outside world still keeps turning whilst you plug away for 7-10 maybe more hours a day at this computer. Ok That reads a bit dramatic (or does it?)… whatever your starting point is, the aim of the perfect day is to quantum leap your imagination into what it could be.
So if you are still an aspiring entrepreneur or if you have your business and its thriving, revisiting or thinking about your perfect day is always motivating.
Wake up, where? Where do you want to live? Will you live in an apartment or a ranch or a detached country cottage.
After the perfect breakfast you check your calendar for the day, what lies ahead? Are you a coach or knowledge broker? Do you have calls scheduled with people who have paid 6 figures to work with you? Are you recording a podcast or interview? Do you have a planning session with your VA or team who are pulling together options for your next Mastermind location or are you planning that weekend retreat?
Do you have lunch plans at a networking event?
Maybe you have appointments in the afternoon, maybe a couple of discovery calls with some potential new clients who are interested in your top ticket programme.
Maybe this is more my perfect day than yours, but the point is that you are never going to live that perfect day if you do not know what it is. How can you put a business building plan together if you don’t have the clear vision of the direction you want your business to move in.
Ok maybe you aren’t looking for the big house, big income and big dreams. It doesn’t matter, if you perfect day is filled with 1:1 appointments as a therapist or doing a speaking event at a local womans support group it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is for you is whats important and for you to start to live and work towards that life then you need to know where you are going.
As I sit here today in a newly discovered ‘health cafe’ I find out that they have only been open for 2 weeks and I am kinda blown away.
The consistency in
branding is spot on, from the menu’s, to cutlery jars, bespoke art work and
food. All gives an earthy, back to nature nourished kind of feel. I love that
it’s not full on ‘vegan’ but embraces both meat lovers and veggie (me) and
vegans alike with chicken on a menu next to the jackfruit (totally my new fave
Whilst it’s on a busy
road it’s still got a great little view of the hills a few doors either way and
you would lose that.
Test and Learn
The menu is simple
which is what you need when just starting out. Something that is easy to manage
and deliver whilst being evolutionary so you can shape and evolve as you learn
more about your clientele or customers.
It’s standalone so not
competing for attention but is on a busy road and therefore even without any
big launch this little diamond of a new business is getting new customers
Some people choose to
soft launch a business so that they can get used to being a business owner,
they can test and learn themselves without fearing judgement. Being your own
boss nowadays sounds like an easy way out of something. We all see loads of
‘ditch your 9-5’ or ‘don’t work for a boss, be your own boss’ and it all sounds
so magical and fairy tale like.
Ok one of my courses I
am developing is from ‘business dream to dream business’ because it is possible
but no one said it was easy. Simple possibly.
It can be fairytale
like, but it also takes courage, let me say that again. It takes a bucket full
of courage, a shed load of resilience and even more patience.
Overnight Success is a myth
No business is an
overnight success, yes success can come easily but there is a lot of work
behind the scenes before you press publish on your website or turn over the
‘open’ sign for the first time.
I am sitting here so
super impressed with this business so much that I am writing a blog about it on
my phone because I’m inspired right now.
I’m not a food critic
(well not a published one anyway) but I am passionate about people who don’t
just dream but go for it! Well done to Hannah for going for that dream and
total admiration for such a great job too!
As I sit here in my dream apartment I realise how its not just the surroundings that have changed, but everything I like and stand for.
In the last year I have left my relationship of 10 years and started over. In ‘our’ place we had walls covered in superhero comic book art. I loved my massive Superman print, my rare comic book covers framed to preserve them and even the movie prints we both loved. Our walls were filled with art and pictures that defined us, who we were as a couple. He loved bikes and coffee so there were lots of coffee art and bike prints and bike ornaments. Even our bedside lamps were bikes.
We used to live by the sea so beach scenes were important too.
The pain of separating all our stuff was sometimes not so bad, others heart breaking. I gave away all the superhero prints to him as he loved them more. And weirdly, if we were no longer a couple somehow the things I bought and loved no longer gave me the same feeling.
10 years of your life is a lot and we still love each other, actually it was never the love that was in question. Sometimes love alone isn’t enough.
So, here I sit in my new place. Its literally my dream apartment. I had images for over a year of my perfect home. Whilst i always thought i wanted a house, I didn’t. I wanted somewhere that I could feel safe and inspired.
I sit here typing on my laptop at my expensive dining table because it cost so much I refuse not to use it ALL the time. (my table). I look around and so no trace of the girl who loved to fill her walls with superheroes instead I see 3 Buddha ornaments. I have salt lamps and walls are filled with inspirational words and quotes I wrote and printed myself as shop bought didn’t give me the same feeling.
I can see the table by the floor to ceiling windows where I have all my crystals laid out. It was a full moon last night and well forget the werewolves, full moons are for charging my crystals and the little crystal Buddha I bought for a friend. Must give them it fully charged.
Like who is this crazy person? I don’t recognise myself sometimes. Yes I still look the same (well my hair is longer and blonder I will admit) but on the outside. I am still me. On the inside, well that’s where the transformation really happened.
When people talk about ‘finding themselves’ it always seemed bizarre. It wasn’t until I chose to put me first. Until I chose to live in MY dream home and then chose to embrace mindfulness, energies and discovered crystals. It was only then I realised, actually if you can lose yourself so why does it seem strange to find yourself again.
I love my Buddhas. I LOVE my meditation room (yes I have a room just for meditating). I love my essential oil diffuser’s in different rooms and I love my inspirational quotes, crystals and all that spiritual woo woo stuff.
It makes me feel calm, it helps me stay grounded and feel safe AND above all else, why not! If there is a chance a crystal will emit stress reducing energy then I am all in! Positive attracts positive.
Who needs superheroes? I found the hero in me and I’m OK with that!
So I have a secret, I hate goal setting. Not sure why but I do. It’s not that I doubt my ability to reach a goal to anything like that but goal setting feels transactional and I don’t want a transactional life.
I found myself yesterday sat in front an array of big boxes each filled with the parts to build 5 different pieces of bathroom furniture. I had been ordering them over last few weeks for my mum who wanted to change her 2 bathrooms.
I don’t get excited at the thought of building for pack anything so I had been avoiding going to my mums in the hope that she would get someone else to build them. (joke)
Tools and courage at the ready we started to unpack the parts to our first cabinet. Mum tried to help but with fibromyalgia and arthritis she couldn’t hold a normal screw driver and the electric one didn’t last long before it gave up.
First one completed
After 30 minutes the first one was complete! What a success. Not as awkward as I thought it would be. Mum and auntie keep saying how I learnt from my dad how to be patient and how to build things. This is very true, as an engineer if you ever wanted something dad would say don’t but he will build. And he did. Always.
We continued on and after a few more hours we had all 5 cabinets built. The last one, that was the hardest. The fixtures didn’t fit as well and some of them would literally just pop out if you weren’t touching it. It was a struggle to get that last piece right, like a jigsaw puzzle but someone chewed the final pieces so they don’t quite fit but they are meant too.
Goal Setting v Delivering Value
Goal setting can become more of a to-do list. A tick box action. Yes it takes hard work but when you have big goals it can often feel overwhelming. If I had set goals to build all cabinets at the start I would have felt overwhelmed. Seeing all the boxes was enough.
However I chose instead to focus on why I was doing this. It wasn’t about the transaction of building a cabinet, I’m not a factory. It was the value my mum would gain from starting to see and feel her bathroom changes moving along. I would be successful if I make my mum happy by having at least some new furniture built today. Make a start at least. If I only built one she would still be better off than before.
Why is this different?
If you focus on just hitting a goal or delivering stuff to your customer then your sense of achievement isn’t around whether you delivered the right stuff or how much value it brings. If you focus instead on value, and providing value in increments then your customer will be happier, quicker. Putting the customer value at the heart of your action instead of the action of completing the goal. Doing stuff.
Plus you get a greater sense of achievement from delivering increments of value as it provides motivation to keep going when your customer is happy.
After completing the first cabinet, I was motivated. I knew because I had my dad’s logical approach it was easier than I expected.
Another cabinet down, then another. Then a refuel and break ( with cheese and crackers, yum).
2 more to go, I told mum I was getting tired so maybe only one more today. Which she was fine with. So the second to last was an easy one, just a box basically for a laundry hamper. Done. Simples.
And then just one left. It was dark outside and I was getting tired. My arms were aching now.
Should I stop or should I carry on. I was 80% through all of the building and 80% delivery is great value. However, I am a ‘completer/finisher’ by nature so not finishing the last 20% would have bugged me. So, swig of coffee and back to it. The last one was the most challenging. The fixtures didn’t seem to want to stay put. The screws no longer wanted to be screwed. We got there though. Finally finished the last piece 4 hours after I started.
Don’t set out to do stuff, set out to deliver value first and foremost. It’s not a course you are creating or a workshop, it’s a transformation or a solution to your clients pain.
Be aware of the bigger picture but focus on breaking that down into achievable chunks. It’s far easier to focus on building one cabinet than 2 bathrooms worth of cabinets. So focus on one video, one module and make that valuable and high quality.
Don’t let obstacles be the reason for not delivering. Figure out how to remove a blocker or decide it’s not a blocker. My electric screwdriver gave up and so I used different normal screwdrivers to get each bit done. I was offered the option to give up but my dad never used electric so I knew I didn’t need to either. Sometimes going ‘old skool’ is best. Post it notes on a wall or big sheets of paper to map out ideas or outlines to courses are much better than using new software or fancy tools. Both equally have a place. Always focus on the solution not the problem!
Take a break. All work and no play makes anyone feel dull. Breaks allow us to reboot and refresh.
Remember your why! Seeing my mum happy at her new bathroom furniture coming to life is why I started. Out with the old and in with the new. Keeping your why in mind will help when the journey gets tough, when obstacles get in your way and you wanna give in.
Focus on the value behind the goal, not the goal itself.