I’ve found that many successful business owners have a “playbook” for growing their business that has nothing to do with the practices of selling, the work being offered, creating customer success or delivering organic growth. This is a focus on the entrepreneurial mindset. In time I’ve built my own playbook and have learned about what it takes to have a mindset geared for entrepreneurial success through leadership forums, conferences and groups of my peers. I’ve also had years of thinking about my business through the filters of growth, success and achievement. Here are five key things I have learned and put in my own playbook:
Hack Reality With Gratitude
This isn’t just for Thanksgiving. Gratitude is about being able to reflect on one’s life daily and be thankful for the big and the small that you have. This practice gives us all an opportunity to actively value the elements of life that may slip by as we scramble around.
Showing gratitude reframes every situation. Feeling tired because there’s so much work turns into being grateful that I have so much work. A client who wants multiple revisions on a project turns into being grateful that I have a client who is moving forward with a campaign. A videographer who wants to charge us more because there’s so much content to produce turns into being grateful that we have access to such great content. When I’m tired, stressed, “hangry” or I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I reframe the situation with gratitude.
I find that with new opportunities and bigger goals, new problems will arise, so being grateful is key. The most important lesson is to frame every new challenge with the idea that you only get to experience these really amazing challenges because you are playing a big game and are probably leveling up.
We are constantly at war with ourselves, thinking we aren’t good enough, smart enough, happy enough, practical enough, engaging enough, etc., to be successful. Or that there isn’t enough time, money, relationships or resources to accomplish our big dreams. These are SLOBs — a phrase author and gymnast Freddy Behin, M.D., shared with me at City Summit 2018 — self-limiting obstructions that limit us for no good reason, other than we say so. These beliefs keep us from doing good for others, ourselves and the world. So it’s important for us to set these aside and follow our dreams. This is something I had to do myself.
By 2013 I had a decade of advertising experience when I created my hyperlocal advertising agency. Despite that, I was concerned that clients would not actually work with us because our business was then a one-man operation. I thought, “Who do you think you are to actually start a business in the first place?” I overcame these limiting beliefs by talking about the practice of digital advertising with expert precision and enthusiasm. Digital advertising is my passion, so I had fun. I viewed the business in its future form: growing, with multiple employees and clientele.
Write Down Goals And Achievements
Is there something you’ve been wanting to accomplish? Then write down clear, actionable goals that will lead up to this big win. Note the day, date and time you want to accomplish these goals by so you can measure your growth in the long term and see where you’ve succeeded. This is a way to identify successes and failures, and on the way, we can pivot to meet our goals.
Choose different areas of your life where you want to excel, find people who are already exemplifying this success and then ask for their advice. Seek out entrepreneurs who are more successful than you and ask them for help when you get stuck.
I work with a mentor who I call on for business advice for ad agencies, which is a very specific task that few people can help with. He has helped me negotiate contracts and position us for success with new clients.
Affirm Your Future
Develop a practice of writing down the goals you aspire to achieve in the present tense. This will help you focus on the destination you are striving for and allow you to correct course along the way. You’ll know what you are working toward more clearly, and you’ll pinpoint opportunities that will get you to your goals faster.
As you get wrapped up in the daily stressors of your business, take a moment to follow these steps every morning (I find that they frame the day to create new opportunities):
1. Verbalize six things you are grateful for.
2. Visualize the way the day will go.
3. Write down the 10 things you want to achieve in your life, stated in the present tense (e.g., “I have a $100 million dollar advertising business”).
Feel the positivity build and thrive!