I read a really good article from Entrepreneur Magazine today. It’s called: “12 Successful Entrepreneurs Share the Best Advice They Ever Got.” I wanted to share it with you because it’s good stuff!
I like reading about other entrepreneurs, because that’s what all we handmade artists and writers are, even if we don’t really think about it. We are entrepreneurs. And even if we’re not in a more traditionally recognized “business,” our struggles to get started and to thrive are much the same as anyone’s.
I love the entrepreneurial path as one of the most life enriching paths there is. Being in business for yourself presents you with perspective and challenges you would never otherwise choose. And with experience like that you can’t help but grow.
There were two stories in this article that I especially liked. The first was Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ story about advice from Jack Cassady. I love that a successful man took time to reach out to someone just starting out, encouraged them and reminded them to never quit. It’s just a wonderful example of how someone can help not only enrich the life of a single man, but of a whole generation of people. Read the story and then imagine if Mr. Cassady had never taken the time?
The second story I really appreciated was Dane Atkinson’s advice about creating clarity for your business.
He says the following: “One thing that I’ve slowly come to realize is that focus is so critically important…. Saying ‘no’ to great ideas is necessary to get to the brilliant ones. At every step of the way you have to cut towards one path. It’s such a hard thing to do as an entrepreneur because you don’t really have the confidence in where you’re going yourself…. We all expect services to do one thing right…. It’s a very simple formula that you just repeat and rinse all the way to success.”
It strikes a very personal chord for me. I have seen more business failure based in decisions that spread a business (or organization) too thin and keep them from specializing in what they do best.
And I’m here to tell ya – artists are guilty of this!
A business or an artist gets a good focused start, enjoys some success, then starts looking at what others have, trying to do what others do, then fails and everything is lost when they would have grown if they instead stuck with honing their focus instead of spreading to areas that aren’t really them.
We talk about it all the time – know your purpose. “Know Thyself.” It’s the crux of all success.
A business needs its purpose as much as any person does.
Don’t covet what others have, don’t try to be something else because you see others succeed at it and you think you should have a piece of their pie. Don’t get off in the weeds and leave your purpose. I am capable of doing a lot of things. I like the idea of a lot of things, but my focus stays pretty clear. And I’m not just content, but excited to let others be experts in other areas for me! Because we all thrive then.
How do you serve? What’s your passion and purpose? What do you love? What fires you up! What do you bring to the world table?
Now be the best at that you can be, pouring your heart and soul into it! Don’t add anything to your mission that doesn’t feed that!
As soon as you covet the path or success of others and try to add their purpose to your path, you water down your own success and ability to serve. You water down your own value to the world, because you’re supposed to be you, even as a business! Success doesn’t revolve around serving multiple masters. I’m not talking about getting too comfortable or never challenging yourself, I’m talking about getting clear about your purpose in the world, without trying to be others. Learn from others, then be yourself!
Clarity is the key. Find your unique business path. Does your business do X, Y or G? Because it can’t succeed doing all A-Z. Unless you’re God. You don’t think you’re God, do you?
Find your own path. The rest is for someone else to do and make their own – and thank goodness!
Special note here: One of the worst things you can put on an application to a show (and I suspect other types of applications too) is that you “do everything.” Don’t do that. It’s like applying for a college scholarship and saying, “I want to major in everything and specialize in nothing, please award me money!” You need to choose a focus or a specialty. That will best help you and the show director (who is responsible for planning a successful show for everyone) the most.
You are an investment. Clarity is king.
So what’s your one thing?
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