Wanna make more money? Do something new! Right?
It’s tempting to think that putting out another new product, repackaging your services in another cool way, or adding yet another new social media platform to your bevy of options will help you rake in more cash.
9 times out of 10, this is completely false.
The #1 branding mistake I see business owners making when it comes to their brands (and their business models) is thinking more equals better.
“More” most often means diluted.
22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries & Laura Ries
Another product people just don’t quite get, another form of content they don’t feel the need to keep up with, another message that doesn’t quite hit home.
What if you put all your energy into staking a claim on just 1 thing?
1 product, 1 service, 1 form of content, 1 message…
You might turn a small initial success into a $2.5m product.
You might publish a book that keeps the speaking gigs rolling in year after year.
Or, you might launch a podcast that skyrockets to the top of the charts and commands higher sponsorship fees than podcasts with larger audiences like this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. guest, Kathleen Shannon, did.
You’ll definitely have a stronger, more recognizable, and more profitable brand than you did before.
The key to a stronger brand, a bigger pay day, and more credibility in your market isn’t more, it’s more focused and more consistency.
What are you going to edit out of your brand or business today for the sake of focusing on the 1 thing that will get you where you want to go?
We left the paved path around Mile 4 and stepped onto a leaf-covered trail that led to a wildlife viewing platform. We took about 10 paces forward and veered off onto a “nondescript” path leading into the brush and trees. I counted 18 paces and watched the little blue circle on my phone get closer to the green target. I stopped and looked around. Sean trudged on a few paces more. We bent down, poking at the ground, lifting branches, looking for something that seemed just a little off. Nothing. Again. I declared the mission hopeless. But just to be sure, I picked up a stick, turned around, and parted the brush in a few other spots. Wait! What was that?! I thought. There, about a foot off the ground, was a small, brown, hand-carved deer figure. It had a small cap sticking out of its side. The cache! Sean and I started geocaching last Fall. What amazes me time and time again is just what I’m willing to do in the name of locating my target. Climb over a fence? Sure. Stick my hand into cobwebs? No problem. Inspect every inch of a guardrail at rush hour? Of course. The craziest thing I’ve done so far is leave a path and venture into a heavily wooded area about 300 feet to find a fire hydrant someone had hauled into the middle of nowhere. While none of these things may sound too crazy to my heartier readers, I am what you call “a city girl.” I’m a city girl who’s attached to a mountain man trudging through the woods. I don’t do outdoorsy things. Not because I don’t want to or because I don’t like to but just because I generally don’t think about it! In fact, we snapped this picture of us after one find and Sean remarked, “I love how I actually look like I’m out in the woods and you look like you just stepped out of an Uber.” I told him that I would forever refer to these earrings as my “geocaching earrings.” My point is this: the thrill of the hunt for my chosen target encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, push through my edges (and sometimes through a bush), and get me doing things I otherwise wouldn’t proactively choose to do. What does this have to do with your business? Easy.
You need a target and intense focus.
You need to know where you’re headed. When you don’t know where you’re headed—or when you have too many goals—you will struggle with prioritization, motivation, and pushing yourself. Having a target, an intense focus, not only transforms the way you work but the way others perceive your business. Many entrepreneurs come to me saying they don’t know what to focus on, they don’t know how to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome, or they struggle with what to prioritize. My theory is that these problems all stem from not knowing what your target is. Your target is the most important thing. If you don’t know your target, you don’t know what’s important. And if you don’t know what’s most important, it’s only because you haven’t chosen what’s most important. You have to choose because you’re in charge. When you know your target, you can figure out how you’re going to get there, what you’re going to need to accomplish along the way, and what new things you’ll need to learn or experiment with. Until then, you’re going to keep flailing around. In Quiet Power Strategy, your target is your “Chief Initiative.” It’s the one and only goal you’re focused on for the next 12 months or so. When I tell clients they can only have one goal, the first reaction is paralyzing fear. What do I pick?! Then, there’s relief. They decide on something that’s going to keep them motivated, prioritized, and focused and suddenly they relax and start having fun with pushing themselves. Other people perceive their business differently because now it’s focused and on-target. When you have one goal, you start to see how everything else in your business either supports that goal or is droppable. You can:
- Understand the conditions of your success and start bringing them into your daily life now.
- Create sub-goals that act as mile markers on your path.
- Leverage systems to make the day-to-day journey easier.
- And rally a team of supporters to keep your motivated, producing, and on track.
There are fewer gatekeepers, permission-givers, and clear paths to success than at any other time in history. You can’t rely on anyone else to tap you on the should and say, “Step forward. This is your time.”
If you won’t do it for yourself, no one is going to do it for you.
Yet, the options can be overwhelming. While there are fewer gatekeepers and permission-givers, there are many more ways to create your own livelihood. There are almost an infinite number of ways to take your idea to market, communicate with the people who need it most, and partner with others to reach your goals.
Self-leadership is your path out of the overwhelm. It’s your personalized approach to realizing your ideas in a business that brings you the wealth, peace, and ease you really want.
Self-leadership isn’t just about what you want to do—it’s about how you want to do it. You get to decide where you’re headed and how you’re going to get there. Self-leadership is the key to creating a framework that has you relying more on yourself than on gurus or can’t lose formulas.
Self-leadership also isn’t about being more productive—it’s about being more effective. You don’t have to do or produce more. Instead, you need to make what you’re doing or producing really count. The best way to do that is to work what’s true for you and how you really want to connect with people into everything you do. Position your work in a way that’s aligned with the way you show up naturally and you’ll find traction and efficacy less fleeting.
- Prefer not to connect with large groups of people? Focus on careful, intentional, one-to-one relationship-building.
- Don’t like the hassle of big launches and look-at-me marketing? Choose to nurture a high-touch business based on a strong referral engine.
- Love connecting with an audience from the stage? Figure out ways to get in front of event organizers and build your platform.
The choice–and the power–is yours.
Effective self-leaders are able to avoid self-defeating beliefs, leverage their points of power, and collaborate with others—resulting in goal achievement, independence, and the ability to lead others more effectively.
— Ken Blanchard
To become a better self-leader and decision-maker for your business, you need to hone 3 key skills: perception, discernment, and focus. In the old economy, most of us outsourced these skills. We relied on others to tell us what was going on in our world, we sought plans and formulas from people who knew better than us, and we waited for management to tell us what to put our attention on.
Now, there are both fewer ways to outsource these skills and many more opportunities to take control for yourself. But now that you have control, what are you going to do with it? You can control yourself into a hole in the ground or you can lead yourself where you want to go. You can get bogged down in busywork or you can devise creative plans and watch them work. You can force yourself to struggle through the conventional way or decide to blaze your own path.
You can use perception, discernment, and focus to find your own way. When you hone your perception, you see, hear, feel, and sense more of what is going on around you. You have more information to work with. You’ll feel better prepared and more out-in-front of the market. When you refine your skill of discernment, you use the information at your disposal to get closer to your own goals. You see opportunities for creativity instead of simple choices. When you sharpen your focus, you only spend time doing work that counts. You know what’s going to push the needle and you concentrate on those things.
Using those skills, you can rely less on outside direction and more on your own self-leadership. You can take advantage of all the opportunities the New Economy affords you without getting stuck in the weeds. Tapping into your own self-leadership makes you more powerful, quietly. When you’re more effective, more focused, more perceptive and aligned with the market, you exude authority. And that’s intoxicating.
If you’re in the position of needing to convince others to trust you, to cultivate a sense of community and belonging, and to present yourself as powerful—and we all are, invest yourself in becoming a keen self-leader.
It might be cliche; but it’s truly amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. A huge part of Quiet Power Strategy is knowing what to focus on and taking action on those things and those things alone.
I knew Stacey Howe-Lott, the founder of Stellar Scores, was making progress on the plan she had created during Quiet Power Strategy. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that I happened to see something truly extraordinary.
Scrolling through my Facebook stream, I noticed a post from her saying she’d just done 500% better in July 2014 over July 2013. And, in fact, that while July was normally her slowest month of the year as an SAT tutor, July 2014 was her highest grossing month ever in business.
I had to know what shifted for her.
The first thing was complete focus on her new identity in business: CEO. She isn’t a technician anymore, she’s the powerhouse behind an SAT strategy revolution. Instead of going client to client, she’s seeing her business and how she plans for it in a whole new light.
The second thing was focus on her own special sauce: strategy. For Stacey, tutoring the SAT is about identifying strengths and playing to them. (Really, it’s a beautiful metaphor of the whole theme behind 10ThousandFeet.) When her special sauce became evident, the ideas for scale and leverage became unrelentingly apparent.
What’s more, she hasn’t even had digital products on the market very long. Just knowing her special sauce and repositioning her business around it has kept a steady stream of clients coming in, even in the off months, ready to pay higher prices than Stacey ever dreamed of charging.
Stacey’s new focus has helped her create a plan that will grow with her, products that will introduce whole new markets to her methodology, and positioning that puts her on the top of her industry. But enough from me, let’s hear it from Stacey:
Stacey Howe-Lott’s Story
Since taking Quiet Power Strategy™, I’ve doubled my revenue in 7 months and am on track to triple it by 12 months.
I’ve completely become the CEO of my business–first recognizing it as a business, and then stepping into the CEO role. I am a teacher, so I was always focused on the kid in front of me instead of stepping back and looking at my business as a whole.
Tara dragged me, with me kicking and screaming the entire way, from being convinced that the only way I could serve is in 1:1 sessions which didn’t scale, to seeing how I can teach on a much broader scale.
I’ve figured out what I’m great at, what I’m terrible at, and how to leverage my strengths and manage others in order to accomplish my vision.
It was hard to break out of my old mindset. But being on the other side is so easy–I’m able to teach more kids, in less time and with less stress because of all the systems I have in place.
I love the fact that I’ve got a business plan to give my very-well-paid-computer-programmer husband a run for his money as to who can be the top earner in the family. On what planet do teachers ever out-perform computer programmers in income? I love the fact that I’m showing my daughter that she can dream up something out of nothing and make it happen. I love the fact that I am funding my daughter’s college education AND donating money to donorschoose.org to help fund educational projects for other schoolchildren as well.
But mostly I love the fact that I am able to help hundreds of more students learn more efficiently, more effectively, and accomplish their dreams.
That’s what focus can do for you. Less stress, more money, more impact, and action that gets results. You in?
Find out more about Stacey and Stellar Scores, click here.