If my clients and I were to pool everything we know about setting up, marketing and running a small business it would add up to a whole lot. Trouble is, none of us know all of it and none of us are agreed about what’s “right”. What I think is vital though, is to work out what’s right for you. To go your own way.
Many of us have been trained by experts and gurus and initially we swallow what we are taught, hook, line and sinker. And I am not disputing what we have been taught may be right – for them. But is it right for me? And do I feel empowered to make that decision for myself?
Problem is that initially we don’t know “right” from “wrong”, again I mean what’s right or wrong for us. And we don’t have the confidence either to make that decision for ourselves because there’s so much conflicting information and opinion out there. So we tend to cling overly to what has been preached at us by our guru of choice and go on churning out that plan, whether or not it’s profitable, however tired it’s become. After all, it’s right, right?
All of this is compounded by the fact that everything keeps changing all the time, so that a lot of what I have learned in the arena of marketing, say, in the last decade alone is now obsolete. It has either been replaced by something easier or cheaper or quicker or better. Or something which is simply more “right” for me where I am in my business today. What I see all the time is people breaking the rules and doing things in a way which are more 2014. Cool, funky, sexy and I want some of that.
Even if the received wisdom has been proven, what’s the value in clinging to the old ways just for the sake of the old? First break all the rules, and in so doing become the best version of yourself not a mish-mash of other people. I want to constantly be innovating, not repeating tired old mantras which are a bit last decade, maybe even a bit last century. Regurgitation doesn’t work for this Pink Lady.
I think we need to keep an open mind and keep our thinking flexible and be prepared to experiment and to follow our own instincts. We need to be aware of the received wisdom and to weigh it up and decide if it’s the right way for us. The confidence to do this grows over time. All around me I see those rejecting the old and somewhat regretting the time they have spent trying to make that work. Great! Time to move on and try something new.
I look at such measures as have the people teaching me this stuff made money doing it themselves, or are they just making money teaching it to me? I’m only interested in following the guidelines of one of those groups of people and even then, only if it is a good authentic fit pour moi. Mostly, it isn’t.
I love those who are prepared to go against the tide and find a better way for them. A prime example this week came up with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits published a piece explaining how he conducts his business why he doesn’t have social sharing buttons on his website and blog, amongst other decisions he has felt empowered to make for himself over the years. We debated that in one of my coaching groups and the debate itself was useful because, provoked by the article, we were obliged to challenge our own individual thinking.
I eventually agreed with one of my clients who persuaded me this was the right way for her. Her business is somewhat unique and this no sharing strategy would suit her very well. It draws people towards her writing, it is an inwards strategy as opposed to the more ‘normal’ outwards one. It’s worth considering, that’s all I’m saying. Challenge the thinking of others who lay down the rules and then make up and decide upon your own.
Do I want to follow the tide or go my own way? This isn’t much of a quandary for this entrepreneur; it goes with the territory. And it’s OK, you can go your own way too. I may challenge your choices, just to make sure they are the right ones for you, but I would march on Westminster to protect your right to change your mind later, as I do often (change my mind, not march on Westminster, though it has been known). In the end, you simply must make up your own mind what’s right for your business.
Open your eyes, observe what other people are doing in their businesses who also go against the tide of what the so-called experts are saying. Watch it working for them, or not, adapt it to your own style and implement it and see what happens. Does it work for you? If yes, do more of it. Until it stops working for you and then it’s time to re-visit the strategy again. Something better may have superceded it by then, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
There’s no one right way, no one size fits all. Nothing stays the same. The choices are infinite. Perhaps that’s why it’s so confusing. The time poor and somewhat exhausted and confused solopreneur often just wants a simple life. “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, Judith.” And who could blame her?
Equally, the truly creative and empowered entrepreneur loves the freedom to do it her own way.
Yesterday I spoke to a chap who does his marketing via one method. He was gobsmacked to hear about the way I do it saying “does that work?” with an exclamation in his voice. He is yang and I am yin. Of course it works, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. My way works for me and his way works for him and the reason the two methods work for us respectively is, in part, that we each believe in our way and not in the other. That’s part of this too. What do you choose to believe about what works?
I know. It’s a lot to take in. Be authentic, be yourself, be a good student and then go on and make up your own mind. Go your own way. I’ll keep an eye on you and together we’ll make sure it’s working for you, whatever you decide. If you can find one other person who proves it is, then it’s possible. And that’s all the proof I need.