Its December and yes it’s the season of thinking about whats coming up next, getting ready to write resolutions and wrapping up the year with good cheer.
It’s also a year gone by.
Here’s what I am thinking- my next year shouldn’t be about asking uncertain questions of things I should have already done.
It should be plans that work, risks that are taken and thinking beyond what I think I am capable of.
The reptile brain in all of us , keep us safe. And yes we can still break out of it by following the 5 second rule. This means stop thinking and get going.
But where are you really going? Do you have a plan? Is it the same plan that you had for the last 5 years?
For me for anything to work, I have to have a combination of that it has to be done (non negotiable) and I will have do it everyday. One break and my habit goes poof.
And no, I am not writing another resolution because I already know what I need to do and why I am failing at it. And the WHY- remember the why, it always works for me.
Years ago I took a class where we were told to cut out pictures and quotes and put it in a blank postcard and keep it where we could see everyday ( a mini vision board). I kept it in my car……..yes I saw it everyday. And yes it worked. This year for a while I did something similar and it did wonders for me. Once I started feeling on top of the world, I stopped it. I forgot the work I had to put to feel that way or get things done.
And yes things are still fine; however I definitely can do better.
So 3 things for me to start doing again:
1. Create the vision board/card
2.Work on it everyday, no breaks
3.Think about it, look forward to it and create the positive mindset.
Stepping into your hustle, business or freelancing initiative happens all the time. To make sure your hustle is actually coming back with the right return of investment getting customers is always a must. What is more important is making sure you retain your readers/customers. If you don’t have a side hustle but have a blog like me or have a book, a website- this works as well. Acquiring new customers will be a natural side effect of customer retention. Let’s take a look at how you can keep customers coming back every time: 1. Go The Extra Mile- As a business trying to succeed in a flooded marketplace, you want to make sure you’re differentiating by going the extra mile for your customers. Whether you’re working with them online or in person, you need to let them know that you’re there to help them no matter what. This is why customer service is so important. Having a team of dedicated customer service reps is awesome, but even if its just you trying to do it all- focus on the customers. Your customer service will always give a boost you need, specially when word of mouth is the best marketing you can have. 2.Give Them Freebies-Now this is controversial, because freebies are great for the receiver. For you as the owner, while you don’t want to give away things for free always, you can definitely add something for loyal customers or people who have been with you for a while. Just a little something to say Thank You. 3.Offer Discounts- Offer discounts to your loyal customers. You don't want to become However, there’s nothing wrong with offering special discounts to customers as an incentive to keep them coming back specially when they shop over an amount or to simply bosst sale during holiday seasons. Make sure they know that these discounts are just for them! 4.Come Up With A Compelling Loyalty Program - A loyalty program is further incentive for your audience to come back to you. You could offer free products after a certain amount of purchases, or create a loyalty program that suits your business better. Whatever you do, make sure it’s compelling enough that your audience actually want to come back and use it.
5.Let Them Know They Matter - You need to let your audience know they matter, and you can do this a number of ways. First, make sure you offer them help and add value in their lives. Answer questions, don’t ignore the details and get involved in discussions on social media . I have heard so many bad experiences in working with customers, especially around payments. So if you want to verify customers ids, there are services that you can avail. Jumio's identity verification service can verify government IDs so you know who you are working with and don’t have to worry. This will take a load off your shoulders and allow you to give your audience the service that they deserve. 6.Feature Them On Your Socials-Feature your customers on your social pages and show them proudly showing off their items from you. Not only does this create social proof that will be great for attracting other people to your business, it will make your customers smile as it shows them that you value them. Pictures like this can go a long way to create loyal fans for life and making other people want to work with you. 7.Ask For Their Feedback- Don’t be afraid to ask for the feedback, most are happy to give. Some of them may have good pointers when it comes to your service or product, and they will appreciate you taking them seriously. 8.Share Your Expertise - Make sure you share your expertise. Doing this enables you to establish yourself as an expert in your niche, as well as help others. This is so relevant if your business is on knowledge areas, like dietician, consultants etc. Don’t be shy about letting people in on what you know. Sharing your expertise can definitely mean customers see the value and insight you had when they work with you.
If you have been trying to build a business for a while, then you might be thinking about building your team. Or at least getting a person or two onboard to help you manage everything that you have to do. It is hard to build a team, one that works efficiently, effectively and most importantly get on well.
While you can build a successful company alone, you are going to want to grow and increase your ability. That is where a team is going to allow you to flourish.
Let’s be realistic, you can only manage so much of your workload. You might not have the ability to do several things at once - and while you are the reason you are so successful, at a certain point you will also be the reason you aren’t moving forward. You have to recognize when it is the right time to branch out.
Soloprenuers have the mindset that they have to do everything themselves. The drive is crazy - and the ability usually grows to match it over time. Workaholic? No. Passionate? Yes.
Going alone is great, getting your dream together is perfect.
Think about your biggest dreams, then think about what that team looks like - that is your goal here.
Personality Beats Talent
Yes, you read that correct. The team that outperforms in all areas isn’t the one with the biggest sets of separated talents. It is the team that has the most fun, that works hard, that when the works start, it is as one. That the sum equals more than the parts - synergy.
Does talent matter? Yes. Of course, however attitude or personality seems always more important (at least to me).
If you fill your team with the right people, because they fit with your culture and your ethos and vision, and you nurture them from that point when it comes to skills and talent - you will get what you want. Its all about getting the right people in the bus.
So when you think about the skills that you need - designer, programmer, technical writer, sales, marketing - make those the base skills.
When thinking about the things that matter - open-minded, creative, motivated, authentic, honest, brutal… what do you want to see in the team?
Before you pick people, populate a pool. Recruitment isn’t what it once was and to be honest that is probably a good thing. When you are looking to build a great team, the more people you have to choose from; the better. So putting your talent pool together is a must. You can do it over time in order to get the best results.
You will build your talent pool by talking to people that you know or asking for recommendations. You can reach out via LinkedIn or head to networking events and ask for references.
Build a big talent pool of people, and slowly begin to talk to them in-depth about what you might be looking for. More often than not - out of the talent pool comes your team.
When you move from working alone to working with a team, your approach is going to change. Every decision you make is going to impact the people that you work with - their work, their income and the availability. So getting a business mentor or a coach might be a good idea. Someone that you can talk to outside of the team that will give you advice and direction, or at the very least help you orientate yourself better.
This is where it might get complicated unless you take the above step. You need to remember that you are moving into a management role. The decisions you make, the tools you use, even down to how to communicate is all on you.
And while there is a lot to be said for giving people autonomy, celebrating Friday night over some beer and team outings help keep things on track too. You can use multiple platforms, like Time clock for tracking employee hours, Trello or Asana boards to see the progress as a team, Slack for the quickest form of communication and Google Docs to make sure that everyone has instant access to every piece of work that is done.
Looking after your team as individuals will mean they care about the project and the work, and you - enough to always put the most into what they are doing. And that is a big deal - nurture and grow them in the right way, and they will outperform at every junction.
The people on your team, at a certain point, will get into their flow. This also means that you might see some deep crossovers between the jobs that they do to what they can do. A product idea or improvement might come from a different area like marketing or design. You should make your team a place where this is possible and something that brings even more to your team in terms of value and ability.
There will be times that you are going to need to provide support and care to your team members. You should make sure that you are prepared to do that. Smaller teams generally mean that people are closer, and when there is something going on in their personal lives, it is more apparent.
But if you respect and support your team, then you will get the same in return - and maybe even more.
There will be occasions that someone in a team, gets others excited, are fired up and bring a lot of energy. Every team can do with a really driven, and well-handled wild card - fall you have to do is find out how to ensure everyone works well with them.
And finally, when you are building your team; you should have goals. Goals that are there for you perhaps but simple enough for you to break it down for your teams.
I have always personally believed that motivation and inspired living could be about a lot of things, it definitely is about the vibe at work. We spend so much of our time at work, that it does impact our confidence and mental health.
This series is inspired form multiple conversation with friends and is a very personal take. By no means I am an expert, however this is what I do.
So, if you are interested hop over to the Youtube space and watch it.