Yeah, I know, that title is a mouthful. But, I want to give you an idea of how powerful these two, simple concepts are; having fundamentally changed my business and personal growth. As an entrepreneur, everything I am and hope to be is the result of mental tenacity and disciplined execution.
If, like me, you dream with your eyes open, then my experience may help you continue down your path with a few less speed bumps.
1. Have You Conquered Your Personal Demons?
Everyone, and I mean everyone has skeletons in their closet. Painful memories, poor choices and difficult experiences that still linger in our subconscious. Maybe some of those poor choices from the past have manifested themselves as poor habits in the present.
Even if you feel like you current situation is set in stone, I can personally attest that there are very few things in life that can't be improved.
Positive Thinking: One of the strategies I use in my daily life is the power of positive thinking. According to this article by Alissa, "In order for positive energies to flow into your life, you must be open to positive thinking." I know, a psychic might seem like an odd source of entrepreneurial wisdom, but I would be remiss if I didn't share something with you that I've found to be powerful in both my personal and professional life.
Even without the hocus pocus of psychics and other self-help gurus, focusing on the good in life is a great way to kill negative energy. There is nothing more toxic to an entrepreneur than negativity. When I wake up in the morning, I fight to remain positive. If I can't look to the future with optimism and excitement, then I can't help my business live up to its full potential.
2. Winners Surround Themselves with Winners
I remember a time in my life where I was filled with self-doubt and feared that the people around me would see through the act and judge me. I was building a company, and while I knew I had the potential to be successful, I felt like I still needed to learn a lot in order to earn my position as the leader of my team. Sure, I had provided the startup capital for my business, and I was paying all the bills, but I felt like I didn't have the experience necessary to command respect.
This is a dangerous situation for someone who's business relies on their ability to sell. Have you ever tried selling something you weren't absolutely confident in? What if that something was yourself? I knew I had to get past the self-doubt and challenge myself to get the experience necessary to win.
That's when it hit me. That stupid self-help poster hanging in my middle-school classroom. You know the one. It's a poster with a cliched slogan "Winners Surround Themselves with Winners" accompanied by a picture of a squadron of fighter jets. I had been doing it all wrong. I had surrounded myself with people that I felt I could fool into thinking I was all-knowing and all-powerful. The team wasn't the best and therefore our organization was suffering.
If I wanted to earn the quality experience necessary to compete in my industry, I needed to hire winners that could outperform me. I could learn more by working alongside them, than trying to figure out everything on my own. So I resolved to lean on my positive thinking to help quell my doubts, and immediately focus on finding the best people possible to learn from.
My digital agency is what it is today because I was able to set my ego aside. I fed my entrepreneurial engine with positivity and talent. I had unleashed my full potential by being honest and transparent with those around me. It was okay that I didn't always have all the answers. I was finally able to start winning, in spite of my insecurities.
3. Understanding the Customer Psyche
Now that I had battled some of my personal demons, it was time to use the brain trust that I had cultivated to take on the competition and win. In one of our meetings we came to the conclusion that we were marketing our client's services in a way that we were comfortable with. While it's always good to set personal expectations, it's dangerous to discount alternative views and user preferences.
One of the areas where we realized we were falling short was in conversions. We had focused too much on quality content and copy, and too little on properly displaying the information in an easy-to-digest way. We needed to completely recalibrate our visual product placement theories.
In the course of our research, we came across this article from a merchandising specialist that discussed how "...horizontal, vertical and block placement theories [could be used to direct] the attention of your customers...to certain products."
We had a variety of e-commerce clients that we developed killer content for. After analyzing how our content was performing, we were able to identify areas of opportunity.
Our amazing content was drawing attention to low-margin products at the same rate as their high-margin content. By simply re-arranging the client's product layout, our killer content was able to more effectively funnel sales towards items that made our clients more money. Boom! We had become indispensable to our clients. They thought we were geniuses. In reality, we were simply willing to challenge ourselves in a way that led to a unique solution.
4. Simplicity Triumphs Complexity
Don't assume that complex problems require complex solutions. Sophistication can be simple. Step back from the problem. Look at the work you've done and avoid fixing things that aren't broken. In the e-commerce situation I mentioned above, we might have wasted a bunch of time redoing content, when all we needed to do was tweak the core layout. The 2 day fix trumped the 3 week, complex rewrite that might have seemed more obvious.