Whew. This concept just hit me fast. Like, “putting-a-teabag-in-my-cup-of-water-and-have-to-run-back-to-my-computer” fast.
I think a lot about how to expand businesses – it’s ALWAYS on my mind. Even businesses I don’t work with; I’m always wondering how I can partner with other people and what I can do to get the word out that they’re there.
However, I also concentrate on marketing businesses in a way that makes it feel like I’m not pushing something on the public or being some sort of smarmy salesperson. My clients have something of value to offer and I want others to know it’s there.
That’s the problem, right? The “letting them know it’s there” part. It’s HARD. There’s a lot of noise out there. It’s an everyday challenge to rise above all of that and be heard.
And I’ve been heard. I know what it’s like to be heard; so many people look to me for that expertise because I’ve done it. Thousands of followers. Viral blogs. A book deal. YES, it’s possible.
It’s the age-old dilemma: “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
Now, for some people, they’re satisfied with just answering that question and moving on with their lives. The idea that their work could also be their passion really hasn’t sunk in…and it might be something they never really “get.” It just seems like some far-off dream that only a small percentage of people have.
If you’re one of those people who truly feels like you have something to offer and that’s how you’re building your business, you’ve taken the right first step. But I’m worried that you haven’t been exploring what’s really going to make you stand out – the thing that’s REALLY going to make you successful.
First, let’s redefine success. No, I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t think about money at all – that’s unrealistic. But if that’s the FIRST thing you’re thinking of and that’s the WHY you’re in the business you are…that might bring in some money, but it’s not going to make you jump out of bed every morning, excited about the day ahead.
What you’re doing, in that case, is working until retirement. And that’s okay if that’s what works for you.
In my mind, a successful business is built by someone who wants to serve others. Yes, you need to have some “business-y” things attached. It can’t all be crystals and candles. But if you attach some purpose to your business (thank you, Lucila Williams with The Intentional Advisor), the money will follow.
That’s certainly been my experience.
So, if you’re in that mindset you need to STOP ASKING YOURSELF, “What do I want to do?”
You have to ask yourself, “WHAT’S NEEDED?”
Come on. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve seen some weird “sold only on TV” thing that makes us think, “Now why didn’t I think of that??” And, if we’re honest, we’ve probably had times when we see someone else in the same industry we’re in who does something, offers some service, differentiates themselves and we think, “Shoot. Now that was a good idea.”
Chances are, when those people came up with those ideas, they weren’t asking themselves what they wanted to do. They recognized a need for something and decided to fill it.
This is the idea that keeps you up at night. The one that is always churning in your mind as you try to figure out how to do it. The one that might be too easily dismissed because it's "too big."
That's the idea, the part of your business that you need to build.
THIS. IS. YOUR. WHY.
I think about the following I’ve created in the grief community and I've tried to incorporate that same “magic” into my clients’ businesses. But here’s the thing: It’s not magic at all. When I started all of that, I realized that no one out there was writing what I was feeling as a young widow. I didn’t start that page for any other purpose and I wrote my book for one simple reason: Because no one else had.
It was as I asked myself over and over again, “Why can’t I find this?” that I realized it was my responsibility to create it. My kids were little at the time so, “See a need, fill a need” from the movie Robots played in a loop in my head. I didn’t decide that I wanted to represent young widows. I just saw that no one else was doing it the way I would. And, so I did it.
So, as you’re building your business and focusing on getting your message (you have a message, right? You might want to start there) out to the masses, you need to ask yourself, “What’s needed?” along with “What do I want to do?” When you do that, you’ll find that the business, audience, success, and purpose will follow.