I am so excited for 2014, as I’m entering into my fourth year in creative business.
I have a lot to be proud of after these first few years: I’ve made thousands of sales and a good name for myself in the handmade industry.
However (and though I have deeply enjoyed the days that have been full of success and recognition), there have also been challenging obstacles that have threatened to break me. Luckily, I’ve learned how to gain better perspective, build armour around my dreams, and set realistic goals to attain them.
Consider this story from Think and Grow Rich, in which Napoleon Hill writes of R.U. Darby, who invested in gold mining in the gold-rush days.
He and his uncle had discovered an ore of gold and bought the equipment they needed to mine the land. As soon as they began drilling below the ore, they found that the vein of gold disappeared completely! They kept drilling to no avail, until they finally gave up hope and quit.
Mr. Darby sold the machinery to a junk man for a fraction of its cost. The junk man then called a mining engineer to evaluate the land, and the engineer calculated that the vein of gold would be found three feet from where Mr. Darby and his uncle had stopped drilling.
When Mr. Darby quit, he was three feet away from striking millions of dollars worth of gold.
So, how can we ensure we don’t quit before striking our own personal seam of gold?
Keep in touch with your market
This means keeping involved in your customers’ lives.
Watch the TV shows they are watching, subscribe to the magazines they read, keep current with the trends they are following, and embrace new social media they’re using, such as Pinterest. As with any relationship, if your customers are important to you, you’ll want to know what’s important to them.
If you’re not growing with your market, then your market will outgrow you.
Don’t take anything personally
This one time, Etsy suspended my shop (This site/resource is no longer available). While you read an honest account of what happened, I edited that article very carefully. I initially took the whole ordeal quite personally, and the original drafts of that post were full of emotion.
The article got a lot of attention, and it became very personal for me again when I’d hear news of sellers actively breaking rules and getting away with it. Each time, I fumed for a solid day about the hypocrisy, and then I consciously decided to detach from the drama. Drama doesn’t make the bracelets or write the articles.
I choose to create from a positive place. This is true for every aspect of business, whether it be issues with your web host, a disgruntled customer, or a stalled sales day: don’t take it personally. Leave your ego out of it, change what you can, accept what’s left, and move on.
Focus on the next step
What do you need to do in order to grow?
You probably know what the answer is, but you don’t know how to achieve something you’ve never done before. Comfort zone, anyone?
You don’t need to have the next step accomplished tomorrow, but you do need to know the next small action you have to take to get you closer toward your goal. By breaking down big goals into small actions, you can make the stretching of your comfort zone a bit more … comfortable.
For now, write down your goal and start to brainstorm (on the same page) all the the things you’ll need to do to achieve it. You’ll find that when you put pen to paper around a question, solutions start falling out of you. Turn these solutions into a numbered to-do list, simply by prioritizing them. Which small actions need to be taken first?
Be persistent in your follow-through, and before you know it, you’re onto the next step!
Do something today that you’ll thank yourself for tomorrow
You know, that thing you’ve been putting off? That mess you haven’t cleaned up? That stack of unfinished business you’ve been avoiding?
Tackle it. Go, right now.
Do something today that will allow you to wake up tomorrow morning with a sigh of relief that it’s finished. Put in the hard work that you’re dreading. Stop procrastinating. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Ask: Is what I’m doing working?
Oftentimes when we’re involved in an ineffective way of doing things, we get stuck in a “that’s-just-the-way-things-are” mentality. That’s just the way things are can slow us down for y-e-a-r-s.
Is there anywhere in your life where you’re stubbornly trying to fit a square peg into a circular hole? In creative business, our perspective is almost always too close. If you’re happy with the results you’re getting, do more of what’s working. If you’re not happy with the results, you must make a point to do things differently.
I am loving on the “Naive Question” posed by Paul DePodesta (the guy behind the movie, Moneyball) in a speech he delivered:
If you weren’t already doing your [shipping, producing, schedule, branding, customer service, fan page, mailing list, etc.] this way, is this the way you would start? If the answer is “no,” change it up to achieve the results you want.
Finally, give yourself permission
Give yourself permission to be an expert in your field. Claim your expertise. Move forward with the big goals you think you’re still too small for. Allow your greatness to unfold. Give yourself permission to take the big leaps and dominate your market.
Don’t wait for an outside party to swoop in and give you your big break; create your big break and astound us all.
What great success will you create in 2014?
Image Source: Love From Ginger