I am what you'd call a paranoid freak ... yeah, it's true. I am constantly feeling the powerful pull that us as business owners have to fear and respect ... the fear that:
SOMEONE WILL COME IN WHO IS INCREDIBLY COOLER THAN ME AND TAKE ALL MY BUSINESS AWAY
Anyone else know this feeling? It's terrifying to be a business owner! When I find myself asking these questions:
- What would I do?
- Where would we live?
- How would we eat?
- How would we pay for our cars?
- ... and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on ...
I have to remind myself that EVERYONE with a job - whether they own the business or not - feels the pressure to keep on hustling so they can KEEP earning a living. And what sets business owners apart from the people who work for someone else is this:
WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR OWN MARKETING
If you work for a company then you have to TRUST the owners and the 'heads of the company' to keep up with their marketing in order to secure the future of your job. Sure, you also have to depend on yourself to keep impressing them and you have to be a good employee ... but if you stay in good standing and the company keeps on getting business, well ... you're probably safe!
Us, as business owners, have an entirely different set of pressure on us ... we have to keep busting our asses to
Keeping relevant and current is how we remain IN BUSINESS. So, I say:
NEVER GET COMFY
Tired of me saying that!!?? Too bad!! If you never get comfy in your business then you will always be READY ... and if you're always ready, then you never have to get ready.
To me, getting ready means I have fallen behind ... my bookings are dropping ... my inquiries are slowing down ... and I feel
THE PANIC SET IN
You know that feeling?? The walls start to cave in ... your mind races ... you start looking on Instagram at all your competition and what they're up to ... the fear takes over. And you realize you have let things go for far too long.
YOUR GOOD ASS JEANS ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY PILE ... AND THE SWEATS YOU HAVE BEEN WEARING ARE STARTING TO SMELL
^^ is that you?? Look, I get it ... when you are on a roll and bookings are happening and people are loving everything you are dishing out it feels GREAT!! It makes you believe that you've MADE IT!! You can relax!! You can snuggle up on the couch with your feet up ... we've all been there. We all do it ... the question is:
HOW LONG IS TOO LONG WITH YOUR FEET UP??
Even I can't answer that question ... but I will say this: I know my feet have been up too long when I start to feel the creativity leave me ... that feeling of being uninspired. As a creative, that feeling can be the kiss of death. When I start to feel like I am a shell of a human with nothing to work towards, I have two choices:
- Pick out a new pair of sweats that is fresh and clean and snuggle in even deeper ... OR
- Rip the sweats OFF and remind myself of why I'm amazing ... yes, I said it
HOW OFTEN DO YOU REMIND YOURSELF OF ALL YOUR AWESOMENESS??
It's not conceited to believe that you're awesome ... in fact, if you don't believe that you're awesome, then what are you doing owning a business?? Think on that for a second ...
So, back to my original point:
HOW DO YOU STAY READY!!??
For me it's a combination of the following things:
- Redesign your website every 2-3 years (I do mine once a year)
- Rebrand your business every 2-3 years
- Create at least 3 styled shoots PER YEAR (preferably not always with the same group of professionals)
- Have lunch with or introduce yourself to one NEW business owner once a month (the key here is to do this in person!!!!!)
- Advertise in at least 6 places and KEEP THEM GOING even if they did "nothing" for you ... you can read this post if you're confused by that
- Flip through the latest magazines, walk around Nordstrom or Anthropologie << or any store that reflects your target market << to keep your brainwaves up to speed on the latest font, color, and design trends out there
^^ and I'm sure there are MANY more ideas on how to stay ready. If you are always growing and keeping your relationships strong ... and forming NEW relationships ... and constantly flexing your creative muscles with styled shoots and creating new ideas that represent and support your goals to reach YOUR target market ... then the feeling of panic setting in should be few and far between!