The best strategy for your business is free. This strategy simply requires you to want to change the way you think.
Tell me, are you doing the same things over, and over, and over again? Are you frustrated with how your business is performing? Are you worn out and feeling down? Perhaps it's because you keep doing the same things and not charging forward or learning something new. Changing the way you think will change the way you perform. Gosh I am smart. I honestly don't know where I get this stuff from.
It's time to change your tune and be eager to learn something new.
So if you are frustrated with where your business is now and determined to make it work, it's time you start thinking differently about your business. It's time to reinvent yourself, your work and your marketing strategies. Handmade brands that are succeeding don't do the same old, same old. They aren't afraid to create new products and seek out new opportunities and new markets. They aren't afraid to try something new and different to them. Don't stick with what is familiar.
It is possible to overcome adversity by first believing in something, getting rid of the excuses and taking action. I know that you can do this. I believe in you!
Life is hard, and not fair but if you don’t do something, don’t have faith that it will get better, it won’t.
We all have struggles in life. Some might be bigger than others, and we all move through them. Sometimes with tears, a few beers, or even a really good cry (I love pillows for this) but we find a way to move on and grow. This is life. The ebbs and lows of our daily life can either break us or teach us. The life of a maker and creative entrepreneur is tough. Trust me when I say this. I know all too well the late nights, endless days that seem to drag on forever. It's hard to be a stay at home mom, let alone a stay at home working mom with a full time branding business.
Life can throw us some really frustrating curves sometimes but I have learned that in order to get anywhere you have to change your mindset.
For me, I look to my Maker. The man upstairs so to speak. The one who, I believe has already written my path and has my very best interests at heart. Because of this belief I know that nothing can stop me. My desire to serve my family and serve my creative community drives me forward. You see, I believe that anyone, in any circumstance can push through and come out bigger brighter and a stronger person on the other side.
I believe that it's time to change your mindset. Find something positive in your life and hold on because it will pull you out. For me, that is my God, my Father, and my ultimate Maker. Now you may not believe in the same things as me and that is ok. I am nut the judge or the jury, but I do believe that without changing the way you think about life you will have a really hard time finding your way in business.
1. Believe In Something
It doesn’t matter where you come from. Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” As a young homeless high school girl in the rural midwest, I believed that I had more to offer. I finished high school and eventually graduated from a four-year business college for design and set off on a journey to help others be successful in life, and in business.
It's easy to "lose faith" in life. We will always have devastating news, difficult situations, and fears. The storms that come can cause us to doubt. To doubt our value and our place in the world. We just have to have hope.
If you have hope, it’s not that far off to believe that doing what you love, can make you money. All you need is a little passion to make a difference and then take action.
Think about what you want your life to look like when you make your dream come true. Meditate on the future and let your faith drive you forward, with hope.
2. Excuses Excuses
We all have reasons why we put the most important things on hold, don’t we? Instead of calling them reasons, I am going to call them “excuses.” We have a tendency to make excuses for avoiding the things we know will bring us the most reward. For me, I know that sending personal emails to artisans I feel has the potential to grow, will help me grow my business, and I avoid it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it. Actually I really love it, but sometimes I just get all scrambled up inside and I am afraid that they won’t see me, and the amazing stuff I do as valuable. I know this isn't true but I still struggle with this. The excuses we make keep us from making any real progress.
Some of those excuses might sound like:
“I am waiting for help.”
“It’s just not the right time.”
“I picked the wrong product…I should just try something else.”
“It’s not going to make a big difference.”
“I’m better than that…”
“I don’t know enough…”
“I’ll do it when it’s perfect.”
“There are already so many others doing it better than me.”
“I just don’t have the time.”
“I don’t have the same resources as they do.”
“It’s not going to work.”
“I am not good enough.”
“I don’t know where to start.”
Sound familiar? It’s time to recognize those reasons for what they really are. Excuses.
3. Take Action
Now that you know you make excuses, it’s time to just, get over it. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to take action. Taking action helps you shift your opinion about your work and gives you the confidence and courage to grow. Our tendency is to overthink, over-analyze, and waste our energy on things that don’t really affect the bottom line. We need to take action where it matters.
Be mindful of the things that make you uncomfortable. The things you steer clear of, those are the areas you need to take action on. Right action is pushing past the fear of being rejected, move toward the things you normally avoid at all costs. It’s time to take steps toward what is uncomfortable for you as a business owner and artisan.
You need to start seeing that taking the wrong action is scarier. Like not being able to pay payroll, or pay your taxes. When I started my business I did it because I loved doing design and really helping people, but I didn’t really start to see it as a business until I needed the income. Not taking the right action means you can’t pay the bills which means you can’t do what you love, which means a failing business and gasp-that means you can no longer do what you love.
Taking action first, then doing the research goes against what I believe and have been trained to believe. Everyone knows you have to research first, right? No, the problem is that a lot of people will keep researching and making excuses because whatever they are doing isn’t perfect. Especially me. I have a terrible tendency to keep pushing things off because it’s never just right. I believe in the power of research but without action, what good is research? This is a hurdle that I have to jump over every single day as a stay at home mom and entrepreneur. I only have a limited amount of time to do the things that are most effective for my business, and I have learned that just taking action is the most valuable action.
Research is fun for me. I love getting personal with some good old fashioned research. Business research helps you communicate and speak the language of your potential customers. It helps you see upcoming business threats in your marketplace and potential opportunities. You have to be able to take stock, and digest what is going on in your business with fresh eyes. Find out what customers are looking for online, really understand who your customers are. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their views and opinions. Be inventive and fresh when it comes to getting your information. Call them if you have to. Take them out to lunch and you will learn new and amazing insights into what you can improve on.
5. Take Action, Again
Motivation tends to follow the action. Imagine an entrepreneur who only got stuff done when they were motivated. Nope, it’s not a thing I promise.
I have a huge passion for helping small business owners understand their brand and digest the small details. The Who, what, why and what the heck do I do next? SO, after first taking some kind of action, take stock to decide what action is the most important for growing and maintaining your brand. It might be something you never thought of or something you know you should do but keep putting off. Don’t let it happen any more. Decide that the most important things come first and this time, just take action. So after digesting the research take action, again, and again, and again. Whether thats pushing your online presence with a new mobile friendly site or finally utilizing social media the way you should or sending out a direct mail campaign to your local target audience, don't make excuses just do it.
Six years ago, I became a mom, and I no longer wanted to work at a large agency on someone else schedule. I wanted to first be a mom, and then a Brand Strategist. I dreamt of breaking free and getting paid to help the people I love and know best. Helping creative entrepreneurs build professional and profitable brands gets me super pumped and I get to struggle through some of the same feelings and apprehensions as you. It's hard being a small business but with a little help, we get by from the help of our friends. If you ever want to talk or are super frustrated with where you business is now send me a message. Perhaps I can help you think a little differently. I hear I am pretty good at that.
Life can suck sometimes but there is light at the end of the tunnel for you and your handmade business. First you have to believe you can make it then you have to stop making excuses, and then take action. Don't overthink it or try to perfect it...just do it (Nike please don't sue me). Then research the results and do it again. Push forward. You can do it.