Nobody starts a business wanting to fail. Yet, that’s exactly what happens to 8 out 10 entrepreneurs and that too within the first 18 months according to Bloomberg. Why would that be any different for a lifestyle business?
A lifestyle business simply put is a business that supports the lifestyle the owner wants. This could be travel for some or the flexibility to run your day on your own time. A lifestyle business is the greatest opportunity given by the internet but it also has several cards stacked against it.
The number one reason why lifestyle businesses fail is a lack of focused effort and strategy. There’s even a name for this ‘condition’ that causes you to veer off tangents from your initial goal. It’s called Shiny object syndrome.
This (almost) sinister syndrome is most prevalent in the online environment because of the fast pace at which information products, courses and ideas are released and discussed.
How do you stop yourself from falling prey to Shiny object syndrome and going off tangent from your initial goals?
Here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself:
1. What are your big hairy audacious goals (BHAG)?
Would you board a plane knowing that your pilot didn’t have the itinerary or map needed to navigate the plane to its destination? Of course not. But don’t you think so many of us sway from one shiny course to another? Implementing a different strategy every other day, without a clear idea of where we’re going?
This is why it’s important to have ‘big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAG)’ This is a term introduced by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. These are goals that usually have a time-frame of 5, 10 or 15 years.
When you keep these goals on your wall, you immediately chart a certain path to get there. Every time you’re at a crossroads with a decision you have to take, ask yourself which decision will align you more closely with your long term goal. Which decision will play a role to help you achieve that goal? This streamlines your efforts on what you need to do to get there.
“If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” – Ray Kroc
2. What actions can you directly influence?
Every single day there is a rush of new tools in the market that help us analyze our metrics and statistics-bounce rates, engagements levels, heat maps, SEO optimization.
While these are no doubt important, a focus on metrics and statistics in the early stages will often leave you feeling demoralized and jaded. These are numbers that you cannot directly influence.
For instance, have a look at this target: Get 10,000 subscribers within 3 months. You can’t influence this directly. But here’s what you can influence:
- Create a specific lead magnet aligned with your product
- Pitch one site a week to guest post on
- Focus on building one social media platform where your target audience hangs out on
- Run a paid ad campaign
See the difference? By focusing on actions you can directly influence, you won’t be tied down to metrics or statistics.
3. Who are your mentors?
Are you scratching your head thinking: How does that even matter? According to a study by UPS, 70 percent of small businesses that receive mentoring survive more than five years – double the survival rate of non-mentored businesses.
As an online entrepreneur who is just starting out, paying to be part of a mastermind or paying for mentorship may be a costly option. But this doesn’t stop you from studying their actions, strategies and writing.
Look at how you can incorporate these teachings into your own business. But here’s where the caveat comes in. Make a clear distinction between who you admire and who you want as your mentor.
You may admire certain entrepreneurs but not necessarily agree with their values or practices. By trying to follow and emulate someone whose values you don’t relate to, you risk being miserable and misaligned with your ‘why’.
“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki
4. What will move the needle in your business right now?
When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself: What do you need to do right now to make progress? Nothing else matters, does it? Is there a particular skill you need to move forward? Is there a certain investment in a tool or course that would help in getting over a plateau or to move forward?
For many entrepreneurs, this might be switching to a new software platform, public speaking or writing better copy.
Once you have nailed down what you need to do to move forward, ask yourself if you can do this yourself, if you need help or is this a necessary investment in a tool or course. Overwhelm often comes when you have too many directions and options to pursue.
5. What do you bring to the table?
What’s your value proposition? How different are you? Each of us has a unique mix of strengths and weaknesses. It’s this unique makeup that draws people to you and your business. Is it the way you write? Your style? Your voice? Your approach to things?
Nothing about your product or content is original. I think we can all agree that everything has been done and said in one form or the other. But the way you articulate your message has to be original. You have to affect people in a way that they either love your work or get repelled by it.
Stay grounded to your ‘why’. It’s easy to be thrown off tangent by shiny object syndrome. But these 5 questions will keep you grounded to your goals and your ‘why’ for starting your business.