When building the ‘Business of You’, being different is everything.
But being original can boost your business faster than anything. The fact is we do business in a very, very, very crowded space nowadays. It is almost impossible to come up with a 100 percent original business idea or a 100 percent original marketing concept.
Unfortunately, the entry barrier to calling yourself an entrepreneur and an original is at an all-time low. You can pretty much say anything you want online about yourself or your business, and for the most part, people will believe it. The other problem, and perhaps a larger one, is that people are just blatantly copying each other. I’m the first one to call people out on this.
I don’t feel like you need to copy somebody to launch a product, or to market your blog or your podcast, or to get speaking gigs, or to put together a book. You can get inspiration from other people’s work. You can watch what your competitors are doing. But ultimately success will come down to you and how you want to be talked about when you’re not around.
I’ve been on conference stages all around the world, keynoting to hundreds and hundreds of people, and have shown examples on the screen of people blatantly copying each other. I call people out publicly. It’s not just because I’ve been a victim of copyright infringement; it is simply a sloppy way to build your business. You shouldn’t just be looking to do something better than your competitors. You should be looking to do something different.
Being different is better than being better.
At the end of the day, when we talk about the power of being an original and remaining original, you are the biggest difference. When you build The Business of You, it is 100 percent original because there is only one of you in existence. The persona of your business can’t be copied because it’s all about:
The things you know…
The things you can help people with…
The people you want to serve!
Remember, remaining original all comes down to just being you all the time. This is why I said earlier that a smoke-and-mirrors act doesn’t work. Sooner or later, you will trip up and be left with egg on your face.
In order to show up externally, you have to know who you are internally. This is about telling your story. That has to start with knowing who you are completely as a person. You always hear people talk about trying to find themselves or they can’t figure out who they want to be.
This, really, is about you becoming you.
So, the first question you’ve really got to ask yourself is, what makes you great? What will make you stand out from the crowd? This self-awareness should be at the top of every Youpreneur’s must-have list in regards to skill set. It’s so important to figure out what makes you great. The flip side of that coin is that you’ve got to be real with yourself. You’ve got to be acutely aware of what you struggle with. You’ll want to highlight the positives, obviously.
Introducing the Youpreneur ‘Self-Awareness Test’
There’s an exercise I get my coaching clients to do when I’m helping them to know themselves. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side of that line, write down all the things you believe that you’re great at. I call this the “flatter yourself” list. You’ve got to really pat yourself on the back and make yourself sound amazing, because you are!
Let’s say, for example, you’re a wellness coach. You might list something like understanding how to dig deep into your customers’ biggest triggers for pain or stress. That skill would make you great as a wellness coach. Other examples could be the ability to assess people’s medical records and understand where they are before and after you work with them, or the ability to get people to accept new routines that incorporate fitness, stress management, and meditation. All the things that a wellness coach should be adept at doing.
If you’re a business coach, your “flatter yourself” list will look very different. You may have skills like being able to read and understand a profit and loss statement. You’d be amazed how many business owners don’t know how to read a P&L statement—myself included! For the first three years of my business, I didn’t care about my bloody P&L statement! All I cared about was whether I was making money or not. Eventually, my financial director came up to me and said, “Boss, I think you should learn how to read this thing because we might be able to change things up a bit and save some money here and there.”
Lo and behold, she spent five hours with me one day walking me through a profit and loss statement so I really understood how to read it properly, and we started saving four or five percent of our costs each month after that. If you have the skill of helping your clients read their P&L statements, write it down! Your customers will love you for it.
Now, when you are done listing all the things you are great at, write the second list on the other side of that middle line. This one isn’t quite as fun, but it’s equally important, I promise.
This is the “let’s be real” list, as I like to call it. These are all the things that you know you struggle with. I come across people who are not real about their weaknesses. I often say that if you are not a graphic designer—like, an actual real graphic designer—you have absolutely no right sitting in Photoshop trying to design a website logo or an image for social media. That stuff should be delegated. It’s not worth your time to do things that you struggle with. You can find others who are good at those activities, and they will do it better and faster than you ever could. As a a bonus, you will be able to focus on and accomplish the things you are good at—the things from your “flatter yourself” list!
As you can see, one thing I still struggle with to this day is managing people. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a pretty crappy manager, quite frankly. However, what I can do is lead people. I can lead people into whatever battle is in front of them. I’m a good leader, but I’m not a very good manager, so what do I do? I hire people who can manage people well. I hire people who can manage departments well so that I don’t have to struggle through it myself.
This is the kind of self-awareness that every entrepreneur fights to achieve—or, worse, doesn’t realize is important until they make a costly mistake! It can be an ongoing battle, but if you can figure out A) what you do really, really well—what makes you great and B) what you don’t do so well—what you struggle with as early as possible, it’s going to set you up for higher levels of success in the future.
It’s your job to make sure you’re working with the people you can effect the most change for!
Authors, speakers, coaches, consultants, experts, workshop facilitators, seminar speakers, bloggers, podcasters, live streamers … these types of people (people like YOU!) were put on Earth to drop your “value bombs” from great heights, and to understand the power of being an original. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more relatable to your market than you. Once you define what you are all about, you can start building out your brand-based business.
Doing this at the beginning stages of your business planning is important because it defines the entire business model you’ll be creating.
Understanding who you are and knowing yourself inside and out might not seem like it’s relating or relatable to your market right now, but it will be further down the line. It will all come into play when it’s time to understand your market and create content to serve them properly and answer their questions, so that they can get onto your email list and buy your products. Self-awareness is going to help you help them achieve a certain level of success before ever attending your workshops or live events and so on and so on.
This, right here, is everything!
This post was an excerpt from my new book ‘Rise of the Youpreneur’, which is available NOW at RiseOfTheYoupreneur.com (including bonuses!), and everywhere else where good books are sold!