Build a Business You Love in 7 Steps
You have unique gifts and if applied to things you're passionate about, your work is going to be so much more meaningful and fulfilling.
By taking the time to get creative with your business model, you can probably find a better way to solve your ideal clients' needs AND better fit your desired lifestyle.
Watch the video below or scroll past to read about it instead.
Being an entrepreneur and creating a business can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you want to start one that allows you to make a positive impact while living your ideal lifestyle.
Can you have your cake and eat it too?
I believe your dream business and life IS possible and I’m going to teach you how.
If you fall somewhere on the spectrum of being an aspiring entrepreneur trying to figure out what your dream business is - all the way to a business owner who is already generating revenue, but feels that something just isn’t quite right with their business - this is for you.
Sound like you?
My process for building a business you love has seven steps that fall into three categories:
Define Your Dream Biz
Set a Solid Foundation for Your Biz
Learn & Improve Continually
Get your free step-by-step checklist guide that follows this process:
Let’s dive in.
DEFINE YOUR DREAM BIZ
Step 1: Hone in on your unique skills and passions to create the framework for a fulfilling and meaningful business
We've all asked ourselves what we're doing with our lives at some point in time. You know when you're not doing the right work, it's just not always easy to identify what the right work is. We make incremental changes, do what other people think we should do, try to make more money, try to be more successful. It never seems to fix the problem.
I believe there's a way to be more intentional about getting clarity in what to do with your work that leads to more happiness and better success.
What are the unique gifts you’ve been given and what expertise have you developed over time?
What are you passionate about and what are the things you want to positively impact?
The magic happens when you can find a way to use your unique skills to positively impact the things you care about. This intersection is where I believe work will truly be meaningful and fulfilling for you.
Step 2: Identify who you want to serve and what their unmet needs are
You might think that in order to have a successful business you have to figure out how to serve everyone so that your potential client pool is larger, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
Think about how you approach hiring an expert. If you have a specific need, wouldn't you want to hire someone who specializes in working with people like you solving for your specific need need, instead of hiring a generalist that only has some experience in working with a situation like yours and with people like you? When a friend is telling you about a problem they have, are you more likely to recommend a specialist you know or a generalist?
The most successful (and memorable) service businesses have identified a niche that they understand, are good at serving, and feel passionate about making a positive impact with. Identify who it is you want to serve and then do a little research (ie. go talk to them!) to learn what their needs are.
Step 3: Craft revenue generating offerings that solve your idea clients needs and fit with your ideal lifestyle
A lot of entrepreneurs go into business and don't even think twice about using the business model that is typical for their industry, but that’s not always the best way. Sometimes it makes more sense to do things differently (and you'll see more success with it).
You might not want to work a typical 9-5 and be available for clients all the time. Instead, you might want to take a one month sabbatical every year, have off every afternoon to spend with your kids, or travel the world while you work. If you can get honest about what your ideal lifestyle really is, then it’s going to be easier for you to build a business model around that instead of trying to force-fit the life you want into the framework your industry has set.
Forcing yourself to get creative in this way can often lead you to a better solution for your ideal client as well. Think of some of some of the companies you admire the most. They probably are innovative in how they approach things and solve your need better than any before them.
Now that you've identified what your dream business is, it's time to set a solid foundation for this dream business of yours.
SET A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Step 4: Propel your work forward with purpose by getting clear on the “why” behind your business
You've probably heard of purpose, mission, vision, and values before. Some businesses have them, but most don't, and even fewer are using them correctly. But they are POWERFUL when used in the way they were intended.
If you’re building a business around you, your skills, and the things you care about, your purpose should really be core to who you are as a human. It should be inspiring and represent the type of impact you want to have during your life.
If you have multiple endeavors, you will probably have the same purpose for all of them, but you'll go about accomplishing that purpose in different ways. Each of those ways can be a business, and each of those businesses are going to have a mission.
Your mission gets a little more specific, it talks about what you do and for whom, and should be used as a decision making tool in your business to make sure what you're doing is "on" mission and propelling you forward towards accomplishing your purpose.
A vision statement can also be really useful. It's the ideal future that you envision and the role you have in creating that ideal future. It can either be aspirational or more specific like a tactical goal that's a few years out. Either way, it should be something that allows you to strategically plan off of because your business is going to be working towards your vision with the actions you take.
And finally, values. These are not just cliche terms, but the culture that your company actually wants to instill and how it is going to operate, whether it's just you or whether you've got a full team. They represent how you're going to conduct yourself both internally and externally.
Step 5: Master the art of customer journey to create a highly effective marketing strategy that will attract your ideal clientele in hordes
Who doesn’t want to wow their clients and have an endless stream of them knocking at your door?!
The way to get there is by focusing on optimizing your customer journey. It’s essentially a fancy term that means you understand, and are intentional about, what your client experience is like. It captures both your client's point of view and your company's actions from the moment your ideal client recognizes they have a need until after they've worked with you.
By mapping this out and really understanding what that experience is truly like for them, you can identify places that you can improve this experience and ultimately improve your business.
It will make it very clear where and how you should be marketing.
When they are considering hiring you, your messaging and materials can help them overcome common barriers to pulling the trigger so you can close the deal sooner.
If you use this method correctly, you'll create an effective and authentic way to attract your ideal client and give them an amazing experience once they decide to hire you (which will, in turn, bring in more referral business).
Step 6: Set yourself apart from the competition with your own unique brand strategy
You don't want to just be a “me too brand” that copies your competition. Instead, develop a brand that genuinely represents you (after all you are building a business around your expertise and passion) because people are attracted to authenticity.
How do you talk? How do you act? What is your style? These are all great inputs for developing your brand.
I recommend you start with your brand personality (also called brand voice). This is how your brand will come across in various forms of communication, written and spoken. If you're the face of your company, why not base this on your real personality (or at least a large piece of it)?
Your brand also includes your business name. This can be your own name, an industry descriptive name, related or metaphorical terms, or a made-up word. There are pros and cons to all of these approaches.
When most people think of a brand, they usually think about how a business looks, which is certainly important. You don't necessarily have to hire a fancy designer (though you can) to create your visual brand identity, instead, use good 'ole Pinterest to compile inspiration and then pick fonts, colors, and an overall aesthetic style that you will use CONSISTENTLY.
The last major piece of your brand is your messaging. The goal is to attract and connect with the people you want to serve by using your brand personality and what you know about your ideal client. Your messaging will vary slightly by channel, but overall, you should have consistency that sounds like it comes from your brand, even if your name or logo isn't on it.
LEARN & IMPROVE CONTINUALLY
Step 7: Learn research and feedback methods to continually improve your business and spot opportunities for new revenue
By always seeking ways to learn about your clients and get honest feedback from them, you will start to gain a gut understanding for what your clients need, what it's like to work with you, and how they talk. This isn't just interesting information, it will help you continually improve and grow your business. Here's how:
Use their language in your messaging to describe your value and what you do.
Continue to improve and refine your client experience.
Develop new solutions as your clients' needs evolve over time.
I personally ask every single one of my clients for information when we start working together, get mid-project feedback if it's an ongoing relationship, and ask for overall feedback when we're done (and if they're willing - a testimonial). I occasionally send out a survey to all past clients or ideal clients in my network as well.
If this is something you struggle to find time for or aren't sure how to get started, check out my Ready-to-Send Client Forms & Surveys.
There you have it! My seven steps to creating a business that you love (aka. My Signature Pathfinding Process).
Don't forget to grab your free step-by-step checklist here:
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I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you build a kick-ass business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.
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