What I love most about being an entrepreneur
is that I can follow my heart. I spent the better part of two decades working for major corporations in the IT industry. During that time, there were many things I had to do because I would lose my job if I did not do it, but they went against my personal core values. These were not illegal, just actions meant to line corporate profits before benefitting the customer. Now, as an entrepreneur, I can set my businesses up from the start with the same core values I have rather than following the core values of someone else.
Networking is a great way to get your business known in the local community, but there are some things to avoid as well.
Do: Dress for success. Even if you are a contractor, don’t go to a networking event with pitch on your hand and dirty, wrinkled clothes. Dress professionally. You don’t have to wear a 3-piece suit or formal dress, but wear clean, pressed clothes.
Don’t: Say you are nervous. Everyone already knows you are nervous if you are new, no need to say it. And, chances are, if you don’t say it nobody will notice that you are.
Do: Have your elevator pitch ready. The elevator pitch is a 30-60 second pitch on what you do. Not who you are. Nobody cares who you are until they know what you do. Find out more about elevator pitches here.
Don’t: Be a wall flower. This is tough for introverts. But, shake hands and do that small talk you dislike. Practice small talk before you get there and think of 4-5 things you can talk about. One hint: Look at the clothing of the other person. If you find something unusual, like earrings or silly socks, mention it. They will probably be happy to talk about it.
Do: Bring a lot of business cards. If 20 people are expected at the event, bring 40 business cards. And bring professional business cards. Keep cards in your vehicle also in case you forget to bring some.
Introverts: Find more networking and leadership tips in the book Leadership for Introverts.
Being an entrepreneur myself, and having run a web development business for almost two decades, I have seen many ecommerce businesses come and go. And, with the statistics from the Small Business Administration that say up to 85% of all businesses have been failing within 18 months of starting, the odds are against entrepreneurs.
But there are steps entrepreneurs can take to better those odds.
Start by working on your business. There are five basic questions you can answer that could make a huge difference in the success of your endeavors. They are: Why are you doing what you are doing, what are your core values, what is your mission, what is your strategic vision, and what is your strategy? Working on your business, especially when starting out, is just as important as working in your business. That is why I have created a series of free webinar/workshops (I call them Webishops) to help entrepreneurs at www.webishops.com. These Success Planning Webishops help you to answer each of those five questions.
Introvert entrepreneurs, read my book Leadership for Introverts.
What is your SEO strategy?
After 15 years of running a search engine optimization company, I can say that there is one thing that can be done that will outshine any and all other SEO efforts: Good quality content. There are hundreds of SEO tactics that can be implemented, but if the content is bad, or non-existent, all other efforts will be useless. There are two reasons for this.
First, the search engines look at content to see if it relates to the other SEO efforts. If the content doesn’t match keywords, the search engines will ignore it. Plus, search engines are getting smarter all the time. Good content does not mean keyword stuffing. It is said that content is king, but that is not necessarily true. Good content is king. You need good quality content.
The second reason is that your real motivation is to sell your products or services to real live customers. They will leave very quickly if your content is bad or is nothing more than a keyword article. And remember, as far as SEO goes, there is no such thing as too much content.
Contact me if you need SEO consulting or read my new book SEO Secrets.
Networking for Introverts
It is true that some people are more natural networkers than others. Extroverts seem to be able to naturally socialize, and they are so good at small talk. Being an introvert does not mean a person is shy, however. Introverts just need a reason to network. Social situations are the bane of an introvert, so try to find a reason to be at the event. Networking can be a great avenue to get your products and services known, so find ways to make it easier. Make it a fact-finding mission. Or, if you know some of the people who will be there, check out their social media profiles to find a common interest you can talk about. Finding a purpose to network will make it a lot more enjoyable.
Learn more about networking for introverts in my new book, Leadership for Introverts.
#networking #introverts #leadership #book #leadershipforintroverts
The elevator pitch is important in today’s business settings; it is a way to tell people what you do without spending a half hour doing it.
“I help people create their amazing tomorrow.” There are many different ways to create an elevator pitch, and everyone has a different slant on how to do it. Personally, I like the elevator pitch that makes the listener want to ask questions. I could say that I am a business, career, and life coach, but coaching is still one of those professions that seem ambiguous. The elevator pitch should say exactly what you do in as few words as possible. A humorous pitch, if done right, works also. A local drain cleaning company has the pitch: “I get the **** out of your life.” Be careful with humor, however, it can backfire. Spend time creating the right elevator pitch. I would say it can be up to 60 seconds, but 30 would be ideal. You should include your business name at the end and have a business card ready to hand to the listener.
Developing an elevator pitch is extremely important for introverts.
We tend to get flustered when we do not have a reply ready to go (extroverts, ever ask a person what should be an easy question, but you get that “deer in the headlights” look back?). Developing your elevator pitch will not only give you something to say, it will help you be more comfortable in networking settings.
As entrepreneurs and solopreneurs we tend to try to do everything ourselves.
But, as much as we want to tell our children that it’s true, we are not good at everything.
I would say the biggest change I made that has impacted my businesses has been admitting that I am not good at everything, and some things really drain my energy.
I love coaching; it is a great thrill to help my clients see a brighter future.
But I am so bad with numbers that I cannot even put receipts into my accounting software correctly. I used to dread the time when I had to input all those boring numbers so much so that thinking about it would sap my energy. Yes, it cost a bit of money, but hiring someone to take care of that part was such a relief that I feel like I am better at what I do because I am not worrying about that part anymore. What saps your energy? What would it really cost to hire someone else to do it? Picture yourself several months into the future. How do you envision yourself if you didn’t have to worry about doing that task anymore? If you feel a huge weight being lifted off you, it may be well worth looking into hiring someone.
The biggest business lesson I learned as an entrepreneur is that there is no such thing as a solopreneur; meaning you cannot do it alone. Everyone needs help. You may be great at designing a better mouse trap, but that does not mean you are great at marketing. And if you are great at marketing, you may not be great with finances. Nobody can do everything a business, even a one-person operation, requires.
What is the biggest business lesson you have learned?
One of the best traits of successful entrepreneurs is the follow-through.
Some entrepreneurs are always out looking for the next great thing, but they sometimes forget to look at what’s right in front of them. As an example, an entrepreneur might be looking at a way to break into online shopping without realizing that the brick and mortar store they have could turn into a great franchise opportunity.
Resist the temptation to go in a certain direction just because it’s what’s hot right now. Doing one thing to the best of your ability will generate much more success than doing several things in a mediocre way.