We talk of movers and shakers as special beings, but we are all movers. I move hair from heads onto my floor. When I write, I move words from my head onto a page. Yogis move their bodies. Gamers move their characters.
And entrepreneurs move their visions of business from their hearts into reality. They don’t sit and wait.
Is this the year you’ve decided to take your vision and create something tangible from it? I encourage you to take even the smallest dream and move with it. Is your goal to make $500 extra a month or $5,000? I’ve talked with many business owners throughout the years. Many were the careful types – saving money or curating their credit until they could borrow what they needed. They sacrificed and took their time and made a carefully scripted plan. Many others, like me, jumped in and modified as needed.
Neither is better than the other, in my humble opinion, as long as you’re actively working, moving, to accomplish your goals. If your first goal is to increase your monthly income by $500 a month, what do you need to do? Make $16.70 more every day. If you only can devote weekends to your fledgling business, make $62.50 every Saturday and $62.50 every Sunday. Put anything extra you make into your business account. Actually start a business account.
Too simplistic? Maybe, but it works. Whenever I want to make more money, I look at that dollar amount and work from the starting point of “How many more haircuts do I need to do per day to get that?” It has always worked for me. How do I find those clients? The old-fashioned way – I ask my current clients to send them to me. I’ve done many other things: coupons, advertising, specials, etc. Nothing has worked as well as simply asking my current customers to help me. They have never failed to send me new people. An added bonus? I already know that those new clients will be likable and like-minded. After all, people I already like are evaluating them for me.
Maybe you own a store and want new customers. You want to sell one more tote bag each day to make $500 more a month. There are a lot of ways to get your current customers talking about you. I’ve watched my friends give away some pretty great freebies, knowing that their biggest fans will post to social media about it.
My friend Millie Hilgert is the perfect example of an entrepreneur that started out simple and grew her business from word-of-mouth. She started out selling her own handmade goods at the local downtown market; started expanding to art shows, specialty conventions, and Etsy; moved on to open a small store that included other local work in her art studio; and now has a bigger store in an up-and-coming area just off downtown Boise where she sells all of the above plus more. Her dressing room is the TARDIS – imagine how many people talk about that. She has been written up so much in local press that she’s considered “Boise famous.”
And here’s the thing: She isn’t afraid to ask people to talk about her. She gives them fun freebies. She invites them to use her space for creative meet-ups. She encourages them to tag her on social media. She gives them reasons to chat her and her store up. And they do.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to spread the word. Give them reasons to do so. Give away a few tote bags. Make them so great people will be stopping your customers on the sidewalk to ask where they found them. You’ll be making that extra $500 a month in no time. Then you can plan how to make another $500 a month for your bigger storefront.
Get your product out there and moving. Give your clients a reason to come back. Ask them to bring friends. Figure out how much you want to make and then make a plan. Chunk it down into daily goals. Work.
Do you believe in luck? My belief in it comes and goes. I’m more into doing the work. It does seem, though, that some people are born a little luckier than others. For example, not all of us are able to get a small loan of a million dollars from our dad (don’t worry; this isn’t a political post).
Arnold Palmer said it best, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” You have to do the work.
People from both sides of the aisle like to take digs at Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump. They were, after all, born into wealth and basically handed dream careers in adulthood. The thing is, I’m not one who is going to say that they aren’t putting in the work needed to maintain and grow those careers. I’m a mom; I know what I’ll let my kids get away with. Being lazy and ruining my business isn’t high on that list. I’d fire them in a half-second, if they jacked-up something I’ve worked so hard to build.
My biggest goal for 2017? Work so hard that people think it’s my luckiest year yet. I have some business goals to achieve. I promised Maire a stack of rejection letters for my writing (proof I’m putting in the work), and they have to show up on her desk by my birthday in April, so I have less than 100 days. I’m president of a fledging business association that needs to fly, and I’m vice-president of a theater board that has pretty lofty goals for next season. All that and Pooka turns 12. There’s plenty of work waiting for me.
So crack open that fortune cookie – it’s our lucky year.
I have the most incredible friends & clients. Kind, articulate, and intelligent. They help me more than I do them. I’m grateful.
My work is different than most. It’s a very personal business. We were trained not to talk about the biggies: religion, politics, and sex. I can tell you right now that I have never worked with a stylist that ever followed that rule. I’m sure we’ve all filtered for certain personalities, but through the years most of my clients have become so much more than business transactions.
I have held people as they sobbed over lost pets, spouses, and children. I have visited hospitals, and I’ve watched kids. I’ve known about divorces before they happened.
It’s a privilege to be invited into the lives of so many, and I don’t take it lightly.
We talk about boundaries in the workplace, and I definitely agree that there must be some, but they don’t have to be as rigid in an industry that is so people-centric. Honestly, I’ve worked with stylists who aren’t so great with hair but are amazing with people – sincere and loving. They were immensely successful, too.
I’m not telling you to get into everyone’s personal business. I am saying that, when the time comes, be ready with kind, honest words. My clients always have them for me, and I will always be here when they need them from me.
It’s no secret that I didn’t grow up with much money. I still don’t make a ton, which is my own fault, because all the decisions I’ve made over the last few decades have brought me to this point in time. And the choices my parents made formed my foundation, just as I’ve created Rhiannon’s.
All we can do is work with what we inherit and constantly work toward a better tomorrow, right?
I live a life that allows me to be right where I am at this moment – sitting on a red leather sofa next to a snoring dog while my daughter takes singing lessons. I even drove through a snowstorm to get her here. It’s what I do, making sure she knows how important she is. She knows I love her, and she knows what my expectations are. And I know she loves me and what her expectations are.
Yes; kids have expectations, too.
I’m still working out how to turn this life into one that makes a decent amount of money, so I can help her meet her own expectations. There are many options, and I’ve never been afraid to take risks, so I know it’ll happen. When you start out with very little, you’re less afraid. You know you’ll be okay, even if you have to drive $400 cars and eat a lot of beans (been there!).
In the meantime, I’m grateful that I own a business that allows me the time to be an actively involved mom, to volunteer, to work in the arts, to join committees that make a better community, to be the person others can call when they need help. To be free.
I’ve been able to braid all the many pieces into a beautiful life. I’m lucky.
As you think about 2016 and wonder what’s ahead, focus on how you can take this moment, this second, and expand it. Whether you’re the CEO or a new-hire, what can you do with what you already have so that you can sit at the end of 2017 and know you made the best of it?