Let’s face it folks—standing out and being an excellent and successful entrepreneur is harder than it sounds. I mean sure, it looks easy as pie on paper, but reality is often quite a bit different than what the textbooks tell you.
Sure it sounds pretty awesome, and often is. No boss, no corporate culture, no need to put in 8 plus hours of work in a drab office every day, surrounded by snippy, gossipy co-workers, and a boss you secretly wish would jump in a lake. A lake full of snakes and gators to be exact.
I know entrepreneurs are lucky (heck I’m one of them and count my blessings every day!) but they’re also quite UN-lucky in some not-so-subtle ways. For one thing, the decision to actually become an entrepreneur and to follow through with it is one Herculean task.
It’s hard fracken work people!
You can’t expect to become a household name overnight, and chances are you’ll be putting in more hours at work during the early years than you ever did for your old J.O.B.
The upside? You’re your own boss, and you’re doing your own thing. Sweet. I can live with that.
So For Everyone Who’s Ever…
- Dreamt of being an entrepreneur
- Is working on becoming an entrepreneur
- Or is already an entrepreneur but finds themselves facing some serious problemo’s…
Remember that ours is not a lost cause. Don’t give up. We chose the road less travelled, sure. But we did it with our heads held high and a determined glint in our eye. We’re trailblazers and we’re committed to making it work. Hoo-HAH!
The question now is- how the frack do you get people to sit up and take notice of you? How do you catch the enamoured gazes of your “right people”? How do you get this whole entrepreneurial thang to work already so you can hit your point of “escape velocity”?
Good question. Too bad I don’t have all the answers. Unfortunately I don’t have any fairy dust to make your wishes come true or a crystal ball to help you see the future, but one thing I do know without doubt.
If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to work at it… there’s no room for entitlement or half assed efforts. You’ve got to get your shit straight, your priorities aligned, and your plan mapped out. So, while I don’t have all the answers I do have a few insights.
To help you out in the “getting your shit together” department somewhat, I’ve put together some tips that I’ve learned along my own journey to personal freedom.
Some might work for you, and some might not. I put them all here anyway, because like they say… experience is the best teacher, but it’s always nice to have a roadmap of sorts from those who’ve gone before you. If one or all of these little nuggets of wisdom help you in some way then mission accomplished.
Widen Your Horizons and Be In the Know
Some entrepreneurs think that they’ve seen it all and thus know it all. Certainly they’ve been in the business long enough to see things change considerably, but I seriously doubt if anyone ever knows a business inside and out, 150%. In my book there is always room for improvement. And if you’re not learning something new you’re essentially standing still.
Guess what? Growth ain’t gonna happen by standing still folks.
So to keep you on your toes at the old home office, and to show your clients you appreciate them, go the extra mile to keep up on the latest intel for your industry and then (listen up, this is the really important bit) pass along what you know to those you know might benefit from it.
If you’re a freelance writer, for example, perhaps you can check out the newest article spinning software on the market. Sign up for a free trial and see how it works, then blog about it so your clients and readers will know whether or not it’s worth their time or cash.
Not only will you be able to share valuable ideas which are so often appreciated in this world of information overload… you also demonstrate your knowledge and authority of your niche, and the tools that make it go ‘round. You smarty pants you!
Offer More for Less Bay-bee!
Your clients will often be looking for great buys; two-for-the-price-of-one kind of deals that don’t skimp on areas of quality and affordability. It will serve you well to partner with someone in the industry who offers complementary products or services that go nicely with your own in order to do this.
For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can team up with a copywriter friend who can help you out on projects that involve designing and creating content for a website or a brochure. This way, you can corner the market by offering a variety of related services and as a bonus, your clients will appreciate the fact they can have all of their needs served beneath one (proverbial) roof.
Kill Competition with Superior Customer Service
Customer service wins hands down over price, any time of the day or week, and for any product or service. The global retail giants Wal-Mart, Tesco, Carrefour and others may be lording it over the international market, but have you ever wondered why your local mom and pop shops haven’t closed their tills permanently?
Um, it’s the not so secret secret that your local mom and pop knows how to deliver superior customer service. They offer more than just the merchandise they carry on their shelves. They know how to deal with their customers in such a way that they feel right at home whenever they walk into their store, and leave with a warm, fuzzy glow in their hearts.
You can do the same thing for your business (even if it’s primarily online) and build a reputation for cultivating excellent relationships with highly satisfied clients yourself. Do it by catering to them and lavishing them with love. Over-deliver whenever possible, and always go forth with a “How can I serve them best?” mentality. In short… give ‘em the warm and fuzzies!
Be a Geek- Use Tech and Social Media to Win
This is what most small time entrepreneurs lack—technology strategy. You might not think that social media can do much for your business, but the fact is it may be just what you need to help you skyrocket your brand to fame. So don’t shy away from new-fangled technology just because you’re scared or unsure how to use it. Social media platforms can wreak amazing results.
Think about what technology can do for you for a sec. Social media is a powerful tool for you to get to know your target market intimately, often in real time. It’s a great way to drum up interest in your brand by allowing you to share testimonials from happy clients, make other people aware of your new offerings (almost instantly) as well as spark buzz and have others rave about your shite too.
Not to mention you can snoop it up on the competition, learn the latest trends in your industry, and find out what Ashton ate for dinner last night if you really wanna. See? Told you it’s useful!
Give 200% on Every Project You Accept
When all is said and done, there’s nothing more important for you to accomplish than to make a great impression and do a killer job on each and every project you take on.
Treat every client with the warmth and appreciation of an old friend, and regard every transaction as having the potential to either make them love you or hate you. And if giving them 200% on whatever project you take on for them isn’t enough to tip the scales in the love direction…
Wave a friendly good-bye and let them be someone else’s perfect client, because they’re very obviously not yours. There is no point in building your dream life and dream business if you are going to allow a few bad seeds to suck the life out of you and create unhealthy stress. Save your energy for the clients that appreciate you as much, if not more than you appreciate them.
I promise you’ll sleep better at night.
So really, it boils down to this.
Deliver your work on time and as agreed, and whenever possible exceed expectations. When you do this, it’s possible to win a client for life, or at least as long as they’re in the market for what you offer.
Whereas on the flip side, if you make a mess of your assignment, you can most likely count on that person telling all and sundry what a terrible experience they had and virtually screaming it from the Eiffel Tower.
Unfortunately bad news tends to travel a helluva lot faster than good news.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t like having negative feedback nipping my success in the bud before it even gets the chance to bloom.
Avoid it by making sure you deliver excellence every time, again and again… and whenever possible exceed expectations. Get it? Got it? Good.
You’ve now got an O for outstanding!