When we relocated (PCS’d) to Ohio last June, and I moved my photography business for the 3rd time in 3 years, I couldn’t quite figure out what was different and why business seemed to come much slower than I was used to. After much self-reflection, the answer was clear…can you say DISTRACTED? That is clearly what I was! There is value in doing research, investigating your competitors, and understanding your market, but when that becomes consuming while the action to move forward stops, there is a problem. Yep, there I was…distracted and off course! I couldn’t figure out why the new market was so hard, and then it dawned on me…”Alaina you’re not being you and you’re finding every reason under the sun to NOT do what you know works because you’re spending toooooooo many hours watching everyone else!” Yes, it is true, you have to regroup and strategize in a new market, but it’s a BAD thing when you lose the ability to get out there and let people know who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer them. Being in business is about sharing your passion with others and letting them choose if you are the right fit for their needs!
I fell into the pit of “I need to understand this market, what people pay, advertising sources they hire from, and (the one we all can relate too) what my competition is doing and how it’s working.” What a shame. I can’t tell you how many hours, days, and weeks I have wasted trying to “figure it out!” Guess what friends; the answer is in front of you. JUST DO IT! Yes I know that sounds a little “Nike” and totally cliché, but it’s true. When I first started my business I didn’t have a clue what to charge, let alone a contract or even an invoice, but what I DID have was a paying client! Holy cow, now what do I do? I don’t even have a logo…yikes!!!! You might think CRISIS, but instead think SUCCESS! That is how I started, a bit unprepared but with a bang! This started the domino effect that led to word of mouth referrals that continued right up to the DAY the moving truck arrived. I was moving full steam ahead with consistent business!
I share that with you to encourage and refocus you. Are you distracted and spending time on things that really don’t matter? Yes there are systems that need to be in place, but the most important focus for EACH of us is to have clients! So let’s get out there and focus on the clients and let the other pieces fall into place as they become necessary. Don’t get too mixed up in the details that can be figured out as you go!
These are my top 10 ideas to get out of the ever-frustrating “distracted rut” and instead traveling swiftly down the road to success:
1. ASK FOR REFERRALS from the people that are hiring you. Let’s face it, they like you or they wouldn’t work with you. Find out who they know that may need or want your services. Cultivate those relationships and build trust.
2. DON’T DO WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING…be YOU and figure out what has worked for YOU. Do that and do it consistently. If something is not working, be OK to ditch it and look for another avenue to reach your goal.
3. WHAT COMPETITION? STOP comparing yourself and your work to others! It’s great to be informed, but highly successful people usually follow the beat of their own drum. So determine what makes YOUR business tick consistently!
4. WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO AND WHY are you doing your business? For me I LOVE making a difference in people’s lives through the lens of the camera, capturing the moments that matter the most and building lasting relationships. I’m doing this to have flexibility and be available for our children while still contributing to our financial long-term goals. If you don’t know your “what and why” you’re DEAD in the water. You need this reminder IN WRITING to keep you going on days when you want to quit and you hit every roadblock possible!
5. ENGAGE IN MONEY MAKING ACTIVITES OR DELEGATE. Determine if what you are doing is something YOU need to do or whether you could delegate it or pay someone else to do it. We have a HUGE network of fabulous people in NMSN and we are here to help and support one another, so reach out and ask for help!
6. DON’T GIVE UP! You’re vested in this venture. Consistency is the key to longevity and success. There are many things that will pull at you and make you start to ask questions like, “What if…? Should I try…? Would it be better if…?” STOP! Stay the course and remember the grass is NOT always greener on the other side; it just might LOOK better from a distance! Water your own grass and fertilize it! Don’ get distracted by the “attractiveness of other opportunities” if they’re not right for you!
7. BECOME THE EXPERT in your field that people know and trust. I can’t tell you how many people have said “thank you” for taking the time to help them build their business with no strings attached just because I care. That is the giving heart that breeds success.
8. CONTINUE TO LEARN AND GROW, because when you are excited and motivated to learn it shows that YOU are interested in bettering yourself to the benefit of your clients.
9. SHINE, and I mean really shine, like a beacon of light! Have people “catch” your passion! Make them think of NO ONE BUT YOU when then have a need you can satisfy. Build loyalty so you never have to worry about them walking away to your competitor…EVER!
10. BE POSITIVE AND REAL…clients don’t want to be fed a line. Make sure you’re working with honesty and integrity in all you do. Present your business positively, whether in person or through social media. It’s not always easy and every day won’t be a bed of roses…everyone gets that…but keep things in perspective, realize that ultimately it’s worth it, and that tomorrow is always a new day and a fresh start!
I have enjoyed sharing this list with you, and would love to hear how things are going for you. I look forward to hearing stories of how YOU got out of the “distracted rut” that we all fall into from time to time.
I’m cheering each of you on and reminding you that YOU choose how to spend your time! Make sure YOU are running your business inside the balance parameters you have set with your family…this will help ensure your business is working for you! J