Didya ever feel as if standard business wisdom didn’t jibe with you?

You know what I’m talking about.  Rigid marketing plans.  Being in relentless “networking” mode.  Reaching out to “big wigs” and “gurus” to get into some invisible “in club”.  Growing your list through questionable online events that feel more like pyramid schemes.  Watching your “competitors” and following what they do.  Aggressive sales conversations.  Blech.

Anytime I’ve ever made a lame attempt to do what the gurus preach, I always feel a bit icked out.  Why is that?  It’s because it’s not how I roll.  I’m an introvert and a type B personality (I know that is hard for people to believe but it’s true) so as soon as anything feels graspy or aggressive, I want to pull back into my shell.

Even when I take business classes (which I do often), I sit back and reflect before taking action.  I don’t always take the advice to heart – and I never regard conventional wisdom as the “end all and be all holy grail formula” for success.

In fact, my success is often counter intuitive to the advice I’ve been given.  My gut is usually more right on than any lesson I have ever received.  And for me, that means I need a business that FEELS right to me.  Which means it can never feel graspy, desperate or pushy.

It must feel fun, joyful, innovative, mentally stimulating, kind and mutually respectful.

How do I maintain that vibe and not lose my shirt?

It all comes down to running my business with heart wisdom rather than conventional wisdom.  I’m willing to take advice but I’ll turn it on it’s head if it doesn’t resonate with me or my clients.

Here are some of the ways I keep my show running in a way that makes me feel good about my biz:

  1. Don’t push.  If you have to work really hard to convince someone to do business with you, it’s not going to be a good experience for you – or them.  Trust me on that.  In my business, there is no client more difficult than the one who has been coerced to come into my office against their will.  They are uncomfortable and so am I.  If you push people to use your service, you will work very hard to earn every penny.  When people come willingly and joyfully, both sides benefit.  Rather than hard core persuasion sales techniques, be clear on what you offer and then let people decide for themselves.  Visualize your offering as a gift to your clients – and take the “buy me or else” vibe out of the equation.
  2. I once heard business advice that went something like this: “stalk your competition and then show up in the places they show up.” Can you imagine how creeped out you would feel if you found out someone was watching your every move and then trying to muscle their way into every place they see you?  And can you imagine how much time you’d be wasting running your biz if you were so busy watching your “competition”.  Mind your own business and forget about everyone else’s.  
  3. Networking should be about forming real relationships, not about “getting something from someone”.  If your agenda is “what can I get” or about achieving some imaginary “status” through association, you need to check yourself.  No one likes to feel used and eventually people will catch on to your true motive.
  4. You do not have to work with everyone who comes to you.  When you are first starting out, you may assume that you’ll “have to” take every client that shows up.  You may even put up with foul, abusive behavior because you think that you need the business.  Nothing will burn you out or wreck your mojo faster than asshat clients.  Get rid of them if they don’t treat you with respect.
  5. Avoid gimmicky techniques.  Instead, create great content and products –  and care about people.  That will always work better than any “scheme”.  Très simple.
  6. Say no to any partnership or event that seems scammy or doesn’t feel like the right fit for you.  In the beginning it’s tempting to say yes to every sort of promo that comes your way but after a while, you’ll begin to sniff out the stuff that just ain’t right.  Trust your gut here and don’t join up with anything that compromises your values or integrity.
  7. Do not become a spammer.  There is a fine line between marketing your ass off and being annoying.  Find that balance.
  8. Choose your alliances carefully.  If you partner up with someone and discover they are not on the up and up, it can hurt your business – or you.  Learn to vet people thoroughly before getting into business bed with them.  And if something doesn’t add up, don’t ignore those red flags.  Run.
  9. When you are off the clock, be off the clock for realz.  Constant networking mode is tiring and not good for you or your business (plus it’s boorish).  There is a time and place for business – being out to dinner with your sweetheart is not the time to start a sales pitch with the waitress. Know when to put your business cards away and just be.
  10. Don’t get hung up on numbers.  It doesn’t matter how many people follow you on Twitter or subscribe to your list, etc. – what matters is the quality of the relationships you form and the effect your work has on people.  Ignore the numbers and concentrate on doing good work instead.  (PS people are not numbers.)

My advice may or may not work for your biz and that’s fine.  Ultimately, how you run your business is up to you.  What it comes down to is this question: does this really feel “right” for me?  Sit with that before you treat ANY advice from anyone as gospel – and then let your heart guide you in a way that is uniquely and genuinely right for you and your business.

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”  ~Thomas Watson, Sr.



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2013

What business advice has worked well – or not so well for you?  Share your stories in the comment section below:

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