From accidental business owner to thinking like a CEO

How many of you became accidental business owners?  I’m willing to bet a few hands went up.

I know that in my case the choice to go out on my own in 2006 wasn’t inspired by some great vision to change the world, make a greater impact, or do things particularly differently. I just didn’t want to work for someone else anymore.

Anyone else relate?

And while this is as good a reason as any to go out on your own, it won’t cut it long-term. If you’re going to build a business that stands the test of time, evolves, and serves you and your clients as long as you want it to, you’re going to need to think differently.

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Whether you’re a visionary who has a million ideas that never seem to gain traction or an executor who risks getting stuck in a small business, you can retrain yourself to think and act differently and build the kick-ass business you came forth to build.

Read on for 5 shifts and steps you can take right now

1. Stop waiting for the bolt of inspiration to strike

I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet you have a few (or few million) ideas about what you could do but implementing those ideas and making solid progress…not so much! Here’s the thing I’ve learned from personal experience as well as listening to the stories of countless successful entrepreneurs (oh, podcasts, I love you so much!). The key to building great businesses is to just start already. Got an idea you think has potential? Then start putting action behind those ideas and see where they take you.  Will every idea be a winner?  Not even close, but some of them will and you really won’t know if you don’t try. Need inspiration? Check out this story of how Tina Roth Eisenberg started the phenomenally successful temporary tattoo line, Tattly.

The result: You’ll feel more confident in your ability to add value, affect change, and make stuff happen. And that, my friend, is a good feeling to go after!

2. Start with the problem

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is to create a business around what they know how to do (graphic design, illustration, photography, UX design, etc.) and then try to find customers or clients to buy them. The result: hustling, haranguing, persuading, educating, and discounting.  And who wants that kind of business?

What most successful businesses DO instead is start with their community or tribe and figure out what’s bothering them.  Only then do they go to work creating products and services that solve those problems.

The result: Services and products that add value, have meaning, and create a positive impact.  Not bad for a day’s work!

3. Talk to the people you want to serve

The other thing successful businesses owners do is talk to their community all.the.time. They ask what they need, what’s missing from their lives, what would allow them to be more present, fulfilled, or happy.  This creates a fabulous feedback loop where you’re communicating with your clients, they’re telling you everything you need to know, and you’re building a business to serve their needs.

The result: Clients and customers who are loyal, love you as much as you love them, and line up to buy everything you create.

4. Be prepared to try a bunch of stuff

This is a personal favorite because this habit/skill is a hard one for me. Like so many stuck creatives, my natural tendency is to work on something until I deem it to be as perfect as it can be before I put it out into the world. Call it perfectionism if you like, but all it really is in insecurity and procrastination, both of which are the enemy of progress. I’ve learned to put my ideas out into the world A LOT sooner, test it with my community, ask for feedback and tweak.

The result: While this process can make one feel much more vulnerable, the resources spent on developing the wrong ideas is significantly decreased, while the level of success is significantly increased.  Worth a little vulnerability? I’d say so.

5. Find your people and get support

We ALL need support and the what support you need will evolve as you and your business does. Instead of trying to do it alone, find people who are doing what you’re doing (or even better, have already done it) and talk to them regularly.

The result: The right support, accountability, and advice will fast track your professional and personal development like nobody’s business. Do it!

I’d love to hear from you. Are you stuck in a rut and looking for more business in 2019? If that’s you, let’s chat!  I’d love to hear more about you, your business and how you can seriously move the needle in 2019!

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