Archives for January 2013

What’s the One Essential Thing You Must Possess in Order to Create a Successful Business?

mindset blog image

Today’s post is a little different from what I usually write about.  There’s no specific marketing tip or web strategy how-to here, but something much more important to being successful in business.

And that thing is mindset.

[This is a little bit of a rant.  You’ve been warned. ; ) ]

I was recently reminded of this when I had a conversation with a friend who is struggling in her business. She’s trying hard to get it going, but she’s extremely low on resources (which can actually be a blessing), and even lower on self-confidence, which can be a curse.

She asked for advice, so I threw out a few things that helped me get clients when I was getting started.  She rejected nearly everything I suggested, with nary a split second between the idea I pitched and her automatic response, which can best be summed up as some variation of “that won’t work for me.”

To my suggestion to try local networking groups, she responded, “I can’t go to live networking for now.” (No reason given.)  To the idea of reaching out to friends for referrals, “I’ve already asked for referrals and got none,” and to online/social networking, “I’ve tried social media networking, but it hasn’t worked.”

When I hear reactions like this, my first thought is the person is undisciplined and just wants a “magic bullet” of some kind.  It’s extremely limited thinking.  There are no magic bullets.  Or, if you must believe there is such a thing as a magic bullet, believe it’s this:  Taking action everyday on your goals and believing in yourself, no matter what, will create success.

I’ve done the glad-handing, business card-swapping live networking.  I didn’t enjoy it, but I got clients. I have asked for referrals, which I also don’t relish doing, but it worked for me.  I’ve done social networking and gotten leads from it.  I reached out to a very high-profile PR Director of an organization that employs over 11,000 people for freelance work, with my heart in my throat and nervous sweat on my brow, and gotten it.

None of things were easy, and all of them were waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. But I got work.  And now I have a business that supports me.  And have even recently had to turn work away – now that is a place you want to get to.  Which makes the discomfort worth it.

I mean, you have to ask yourself, is your will to be successful greater than your fear of being uncomfortable?  Mine was.  And now I don’t have to work a soul-crushing j-o-b where someone else gets to call the shots in my life.

Of course, some things will stick and some won’t, so maybe live networking won’t work for my friend, but asking for referrals will.  Maybe she’ll kill it on social media or maybe she won’t. You get the picture. But if she rejects everything out of hand with an automatic “that won’t work for me” attitude, then she’s probably better off slaving away for someone else for the rest of her life in a j-o-b anyway.

Because creating a business you love has to start with believing you can.  Even in the face of obstacles.

Now, that kind of touchy-feely stuff usually makes me want to wretch, but in this case it’s true.

And being low on resources?  It’s actually a good thing, because it forces you to get creative and make the best of the limited resouces you already have.  I say this from experience, as I practically wrote the book on being loooow on resources.  Didn’t stop me though.  : )

And  now?

I’m billing 40 hours a week in my business, AND I just got two inquiries today to do some social media and web strategy work which I may have to turn down.

Is it perfect?  No.  In fact, I want to be working fewer hours and enjoying more time freedom.

But where I am now is worlds away from where I was even one year ago, when I still had just one client and a goofy 20-hour-per-week job that had nothing to do with my interests or direction in life, and sucked my soul dry.  But it paid the bills while I was ramping up to where I am now – fully booked, doing work I love, and getting new client inquiries.

And I wish the same for you.

Here’s a quote by Lama Surya Das that helps me when I’m struggling with self-doubt:  Often the Greatest Doubts Occur Just Before a Breakthrough.

And here’s a handy little read on how to stay positive.

In the comments below I’d love to hear your tips for staying positive and getting the work done, or anything else you want to contribute about overcoming obstacles to make your business work.

Go get ‘em, tiger!