The one thing I am sure is fact is that the very heart of having a popular business comes down to one thing: how likeable it is to other humans.
(And likeability is all about how well you serve those humans, whether that service means a friendly reply tweet to a fan or issuing a guilt-free, retaliation-free* refund to an unhappy customer.)
* retaliation-free refund: a refund in which you do not then take to social media or your email list and begin ranting about "This One Customer," your rights + philosophies as a business owner, and how people generally need to get into line if they want to enjoy the privileges of buying from you.
But does it ever seem to you that, sometimes, the "how" behind delivering better service to people can sound like a complicated, tiresome chore?
I have to be honest. I sometimes feel that way.
(It usually happens when people start talking "systems" and "comprehensive client retention strategies." At that point my nowhere-close-to-Type-A personality becomes a small, weary puddle of discouragement.)
I am of the personal conviction that business is done better when it is done with more simplicity. So, today I'd like to give you a simple exercise that is so small and so straightforward that it takes NO planning, NO monetary investment, and NO big effort, yet still has a surprisingly profound effect on the likeability + popularity of your brand.
Here it is:...
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If it wasn't obvious by now, I’ve been reflecting quite a bit about online business. As of late, my thoughts have kept circling around this nagging question:
What is causing us to feel so overwhelmed, pressured, and, if it goes on long enough, FED UP with the whole idea of making money online?
There’s something going on here.
I mean, I know (and you know) that growing and running a business is difficult NO MATTER WHAT kind it is. There’s always going to be those long days, sleepless nights, and obsessive periods where it seems everything is about “the biz.”
Whether you’re trying to grow in the virtual space or not, that reality is the same.
Yet as I talk to more and more online-focused entrepreneurs -- who have only been doing this for about 6 months to 3 years, mind you -- I hear things I DON’T hear from my friends who own locally-based, brick-and-mortar shops, studios, offices, etc.
“I honestly don’t know if I want to do this with my life anymore.”
“No one would guess it, but I’ve been seriously struggling for the last couple of months and am planning on shutting down most of my offerings soon.”
“I’m constantly feeling stressed, frustrated, and behind -- something needs to change or I can’t continue.”
As I’ve been thinking about this, I keep coming to back to one disturbing factor that I think has a lot to do with this level of unhappiness and burnout:
Most of the time, fail stories are humiliating to write.
That’s even more true if you’re an online business owner, and your failure is ABOUT your business. Who wants to hear about how tired, scared, and actually human you are, really? That’s not fun or sexy. It doesn’t promise people 6-figure incomes, 4-hour work weeks, or piña coladas in paradise.
I mean, eww.
Nevertheless, I have a fail story to share with you. One that I’m no longer the least bit upset by, and, in fact, one that now makes me happier to talk about.
Yeah, it sounds nuts.
But as you’ll see soon, nuts is how I like to roll. ;) #bam
Do you ever feel like you're getting very little done for your business during the day? Does trying to grow your brand feel overwhelming and exhausting? Do you read those Use This System To Be More Productive! blog posts and feel like crying because your creative brain can't manage to follow a "system" successfully for more than 1.73 days?
If so, hello. We should be friends.
For the first 2 years of my business, I lived in the world you find yourself in now. I know you're tired. I know you're frustrated. I know that you compare yourself to the insanely productive biz owners around you and think, "What the heck is WRONG with ME?!"
And I also know just how very unhappy it has started to make you.
I grew unhappy, too.
But through some trial, error, random good fortune, new choices, and -- okay, I'll say it -- wisdom that comes with age, I gradually found my way to a better approach. One that has helped me improve not just the running of my business, but also the living of my life. That's what I'm going to share with you today, in hopes that my experiences (messy failures included) will help you find YOUR way, too.
Before you go much further, note this: what you'll read below isn't a system, or a method, or any sort of strict, defined way to structure every minute of your day in order to be more productive, successful, and satisfied.
Those things are epic for those who think best that way, but I don't -- and thus I won't, and can't, preach something I don't practice.
What IS below can more accurately be described as a "Realistic Productivity Guide for Right-Brained (aka Intuitive + Creative) Business Owners."
It's for those of us who go weak in the knees over new calendars, fancy day planners, and the pretty pens + highlighters to accompany them, but have stopped using them all by mid-January.
It's for those of us who can't fathom planning out a year's worth of blog posts ahead of time because even if we tried, we'd decide to make a whole different schedule...
No matter what kind of business we run or blog we have, there is one universal truth among all of us: we all want more people to swoon over our brand.
Whether that means more social media followers or just more sales (though it's likely both!), we can spend a crazy number of hours searching for "the latest and greatest" way to market ourselves and make ourselves attractive to people. I've definitely done it, and I'm willing to hazard a guess that you have, too.
The problem is, "the latest and greatest" isn't always the best. And sometimes the info we get can be awfully flashy, skeazy, or downright ineffective.
Today I'd like to share with you 5 solid tips from my own experience in online business that will immediately have a positive impact on your brand for the upcoming year. These tips are simple, and yet will help you look more professional and be more likeable -- so that you can achieve more of your brand goals in 2017.
(For you maybe that means making more money, reducing customer churn, obtaining more speaking opportunities, winning more recognition, making more relationships, or _________. Whatever it is, doing all of the following can seriously, and perhaps surprisingly, impact what you achieve this year.)
I invite you to try them out!