If you’re an entrepreneur, especially a solopreneur, you may find yourself feeling a little out of your depth. Accustomed to being a recognized expert in your chosen field, you’re now realizing you need a different skill set and maybe a different mindset to get through the day. It may sound daunting. But what if I told you there are only a few pillars of success which, if mastered, will enable you to easily grow your business?
Belief: Know you own the success mechanism for entrepreneurs
You read that right. You already have it. You don’t need to buy it, learn it, or earn it.
You just need to believe that you were born with a success mechanism. All animals, including humans, are born with an automatic success-seeking mechanism.
Non-human animals have two basic goals: To survive and to reproduce.
Watch the squirrels. They “know” they must gather and store nuts for the winter. Watch the birds. The swallows leave San Juan Capistrano, California, every fall, fly 6,000 miles to Argentina, and faithfully return to San Juan Capistrano each spring. And, most mammals give birth in the warm spring months when the soil is fertile and prey is abundant. None of the animals are “schooled” in how to do any of this.
We humans have a built-in success mechanism, too. But our goals are greater than surviving and reproducing.
Nonetheless, we’re pre-programmed to succeed with bigger endeavors. As Florence Scovel Shinn says, we aim to achieve health, wealth, relationships, and self-expression.
But if you don’t set goals, you won’t achieve them. That’s why I offer a Goal Planning Workshop every quarter. (Most of us do better by breaking our year into 13-week increments.)
In his book, Flow, Csikszentmihalyi spent a good deal of one chapter describing how goals are inextricably linked to feedback. We can’t just set a goal and assume we’ll hit our target the very first time. We may need to shift and steer and re-try, based on our mistakes. Or, stated otherwise, our success-seeking mechanism is guided by our feedback mechanism.
“Belief” is perhaps the most under-rated but most needed pillar of success to help you easily grow your business. Activate yours today.
Productivity: Set priorities and boundaries
Yes, it’s all well and good to talk about priorities. But we need the discipline, persistence, and commitment to actually do those priorities and set those boundaries each day.
Two books have influenced me in this area. First, Set Boundaries, Find Peace helped me to realize that entrepreneurs (and all others) can gain control of their productivity and situations by setting boundaries that are neither overly strict nor overly porous. Free to Focus helped me to realize that entrepreneurs who are fragmented — doing “everything” — can’t think clearly enough to make any progress.
Do not overlook the importance of setting boundaries and priorities. This is foundational to activate the success-seeking mechanism that helps you to easily grow your business.
Marketing: Rev up your airplane’s “right engine”
Walking, running, or driving isn’t the fastest way to reach a goal. As entrepreneurs, we need to fly.
In his book, Marketing Made Simple, NYT best-selling author, Donald Miller, talks about a business being a “plane” where marketing is the “right engine” (and sales are the “left engine”) that enable your business to fly higher and higher.
Entrepreneurs often assume that “marketing” is putting up a Facebook ad or a YouTube video. For sure, those tactics can work well. But marketing is about strategy. It’s about using not only the mechanisms for spreading the message, but also, finding and delivering the right messaging about your product or service.
Almost every day, I coach entrepreneurs who make the most fundamental mistakes in marketing and messaging. They have lots of words, and often, beautiful colors and designs. But without good messaging, that won’t be enough to get prospects beating a path to the business owner’s door. I give the business owner simple, practical tips that can be implemented immediately. Without those simple tips, their “right engine” isn’t working, and their “fuel tank” (cash flow) soon goes dry.
Blogging: Be heard in a noisy world
Notice that I didn’t lump “blogging” in with marketing. That’s because most people don’t consider blogging to be part of marketing, but it is! Blogging gives you the ability to create impactful messaging as often as you wish.
One source reported that blogging helped to increase organic traffic by 372% in just 5 months! That’s very compelling!
Blogging is nearly free. Sure, you need to pay for your site, spend your time, and perhaps pay for stock images (if you can’t find them for free). But by and large, blogging is a cost-effective way to gain credibility, attract potential clients, and easily grow your business.
I could go on and on about the benefits of blogging. But when I started blogging in 2016, I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t have clear, consistent, compelling content, so it didn’t work in those days. Honestly, at first, I was talking only to myself!
Yet, as Joan Didion famously said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” Yes, that rang a bell for me! By blogging, I found out more about my products, my services, and my clients. And myself!
Learn: Get expert help
I once heard NYT best-selling author Michael Hyatt say, “I always got the very best help I could afford. Sometimes, that meant checking a book out of the library.”
Every entrepreneur needs to learn and grow. That means investing in ourselves. Investing time (and if it’s more than a library book, investing money) for resources. An obvious resource is a coach. But let me be quick to say that when you connect with a group of like-minded colleagues, you’ll find other “mini-experts” right there in the same room with you. You might be in a course, or in a group that’s online or in person. But formal or informal learning is a major pillar you’ll need to embrace.
I invite you to follow my blog for more ideas on how you can easily grow your business. You can build a sustainable business, escape the daily grind, and pass on the business and its profits to your family so they can live a better life long now, and long after you’re gone. With defined goals and priorities, clear messaging, and your inborn success-seeking mechanism, you can make the measurable progress you’re looking for and find unending deep fulfillment in the future.
This post was first published on my Medium blog—follow me there for the most up-to-date entries!
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