Having been in business for more than 20 years and coaching over 222 entrepreneurs, I know that running your own business is tough work. But, it’s beyond rewarding and I wouldn’t do it any other way. Over the great highs and extreme lows of my business life, I’ve learned these 9 essential lessons on the road to success:
1. Create a Revenue Model
You might have heard “follow your passion” as the key to entrepreneurial success, but it’s moot if you don’t have a way to make money doing what you love. Let me be clear: have at least 3 different ways you will profit from your passion.
2. Stay True To One Niche
It’s easy to get swayed to go broad so that you don’t turn away business, but a specialty earns you expertise status, client loyalty, premium pricing, and the opportunity to become a celebrity in your field. Suze Orman, for example, only talks about financial planning; she doesn’t venture outside of her sphere and neither should you.
3. Develop a Pricing Strategy
You don’t need a PhD here, but you do need to pay attention to how you will charge. Are you willfully overcharging for attention? Is your pricing logical? Is it easy? For example, I remember charging different prices for my different audio CDs. When I figured out that even my mom couldn’t keep the prices straight, I stole a page from Apple’s iTunes store that initially offered every song for just $.99; I quickly went to a simple flat fee for all my audio products and made my customers (and my late mom) happy. I just did a 2 hour “Zoominar” on pricing strategy for just $19; email me if you’d like it.
4. Don’t Listen to Naysayers
Remember hearing stories about friends who often sabotage weight loss success? Well, the same analogy applies in business. Mean- spirited friends and colleagues might see your success as their loss; don’t let them! Eschew naysayers now and find true advisers who truly want you to succeed.
5. Toot Your Own Horn
Yep, sometimes as entrepreneurs (and even harder for women!) it’s hard to tout our success, but no one cares more about your success than you! Master how to talk about yourself without sounding like a boorish prig.
6. Stay Flexible
It’s OK to start out in one direction and morph into another. Sometimes the world isn’t yet ready for you or vice versa. Heck! I remember preaching about employee branding in 1999 and I just couldn’t gain traction; no one was interested so I focused on personal and corporate branding. Today, (notwithstanding this pandemic), I can’t fill the demand for employee branding talks fast enough!
7. Remain Authentic
Are you following the buzz about Kelly Ripa? Apparently, she’s been quarantined in the Caribbean. She’s taking the flak not because she’s lucky enough to be on an island, but because she acted as if she were in NYC. In short, Kelly violated the first rule of branding: remain authentic. Now, thanks to Zoom, our clients and colleagues know we have children and pets. Letting your true personality show through is the key to a successful business and life.
8. Write Fast, Short, and Often
Today’s Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) world demands shorts bursts of useful information. In other words, you can’t afford to spend 4hours on a blog! Yet, you must blog and Tweet in sexy sound bites that are quotable. Either seize the day to hone your writing or find a copy editor – now!
9. Brand Out
Fading into the sea of similarity is a fast track to failure. Promote the brand called YOU. How will you stand out?