Learn to play to your signature strengths

Learn to play to your signature strengths

To grow a successful business you have to become irresistibly magnetic.

You do that by being unique, different, compelling.

By focusing your efforts on the things you do well naturally.

Become an expert in what you do well instead of being a generalist that does a little bit of everything in a so-so fashion.

Playing to your biggest natural strengths will energise you and give you more satisfaction.

You’ll fire on all cylinders and time will fly by because you are doing what you love.

So how do you identify your natural strengths?

Well, let’s start off by identifying your weaknesses.

That’s the easy bit!

What are your weaknesses?

A weakness is any activity that leaves you feeling weak, an activity that bores you, frustrates you or drains you.

It’s an activity you dread, something you just cannot wait to be over and done with.

A lot of business owners I know hate bookkeeping.

But, like it or not, the state of your business books may very well determine whether your business lives or dies.

Personally, bookkeeping sucks the life out of me.

So what do I do?

I outsource that work because my time is better spent doing the things I enjoy that maximise my results and success.

We are all human and recognise our weaknesses.

The trick is to minimise them and maneuver around them so you are in control.

What are your personal strengths?

Everyone has strengths they are born with but few people have spent enough time or effort to truly understand what it is they are great at or have the potential to be great at.

Your strengths are a mixture of your talents, knowledge and “skills”.

“Skills” don’t come naturally, they are the strengths you’ve worked hard over time to acquire.

Using your strengths focuses on doing more of what you are naturally good at rather than what you are just “capable of doing”.

High achievers spend most of their time using their strengths.

They focus on developing their strengths and managing their weaknesses.

They may not have more strengths than the average individual, but they have learned to utilise them better and to apply them to new situations.

Play to your signature strengths

Your signature strength is an area of gifting where your skill intersects your passion.

This means it’s not enough to be really good at something, you must have some love and/or enjoyment of it too.

Otherwise, it’s just a “skill” or a “capability” you have that isn’t reliably fun for you to use.

Orientating yourself around your signature strengths instead of around your skills will completely change the game on how you provide services that fit who you truly are.

You’ll know when something is a signature strength because it feels more like play than work.

You will enjoy the process

You will have a sense of energy and engagement

You will often lose your sense of time because you are so engrossed in the task

You will show high levels of performance

You would be willing to pay to engage in the activity

You want to do things that use your strengths even when you are tired or stressed

Playing to your signature strengths will get superior results in your work compared to someone whose time and activities are not well as well aligned.

Playing to your signature strengths will help you shoot for the stars!

Stop trying to be like someone else

Stop trying to be like someone else

As at December 2017 it was estimated that there are 7.6 billion people living in this great big world of ours.

But there will only ever be one YOU!

You truly are a unique, gifted, and special individual.

That is an absolute fact.

Of course, as humans, we share the usual bits and pieces that most of us have in common, such as body parts, like a head, a heart, a brain, and so on.

We may even resemble each other in appearance, have similar traits and behaviours, but that is where the similarity ends.

It’s our life experiences that make us the person we are.

The way we grew up and what we learned in childhood makes us different from everyone else.

And the skills we’ve learned along the way, things as simple as caring for a pet, learning to play a musical instrument, building a cubby house, planting a veggie patch, and so on.

It’s the combination of everything you’ve learned and all the various things you’ve done up till now that makes you totally different from anybody else on this planet.

Some people may share similar talents and abilities but no-one is, or ever will be, identical to you.

No-one knows you better than yourself

Whether you believe it or not, no-one knows you better than you know yourself.

Everyone has an opinion on how best to run your life.

And everyone has an opinion on how best to run your business (and I say this despite this being the business I’m in).

Just remember the advice someone else gives you will be based on their life experiences, their thoughts, their opinions, and their emotions.

Not yours.

Reveal the real you

Since you are unique, dare to be your own person.

Have the courage to live true to yourself, not according to what others think or expect of you.

We need to be true to ourselves to be happy.

Do not aspire to become the person or the business leader you admire most at the expense of hiding behind the mask of fakery and deception.

Though it is helpful to learn from others’ experiences, skills and style, you do not want to lose your sense of self and set your sights on becoming their clone.

They are not the embodiment of success that you should aspire to become.

They are simply talented, successful people who’ve developed a strong professional identity that serves them well in their business.

Your goal is to take the best of what you learn from others and determine how to adapt and apply it in a way that suits and furthers your unique values, qualities and skills.

Keep in mind that customers have a very accurate built-in BS detector that can see through fake or forced behavior from a mile away.

Be a true, authentic, and real individual, and you will do well in life and in business.

Stop being a people pleaser

Stop being a people pleaser

Trying to please everyone is downright dangerous.

Impossible in fact.

If you want to succeed in business you cannot afford to be a people pleaser.

Experience has shown me that being a people pleaser isn’t beneficial to my life or business.

It means I base my value on other people’s perceptions of me.

I used to say “Yes” when I should have yelled “No” …  and taken off in the other direction!

Over the years I have learned to make better choices and better decisions.

Let me explain.

When I first started out in business in my early 20’s I was not as selective as I am today.

I’d pretty much bring on board anyone who was willing to work with me.

And I prided myself in providing each and everyone of them with a high level of attention in order to produce the results they wanted.

It was definitely worth the effort with those clients who valued my input and paid my fees without question.

However, the problem with being a people-pleaser is that sometimes you get taken advantage of (well almost always you get taken advantage of, actually).

You get a client who sees how badly you wish to please them and they just keep asking for more and more.

In the beginning all of my clients were easy to deal with, but as time went by my willingness to exceed their expectations had trained some of them to squeeze as much work out of me as possible.

And at no extra cost, of course.

And they wanted it like yesterday!

I ran myself ragged trying to keep up with their demands.

Eventually it came to a point where it was actually impossible to meet their expectations and it got very ugly, very fast.

Their reaction to saying “No” after having been a Yes Woman for so long was much worse than if I’d set the proper expectations from the start.

How do you combat the negative side effects of people-pleasing?

In the service-based industry your success is based on producing quality work in a timely manner.

By all means bend over backwards to exceed the expectations of clients who pay you what such work deserves.

You want to foster positive relationships with those kind of people, and work on growing them.

But when you come across impossible clients you have to learn to recognise those bloodsuckers and repel them from your business.

No one wants to be a servant or lose money on projects, right?

Know when to say “No”

Make sure you set boundaries and expectations with every client you bring into your business.

Whether at the screening stage or even in the middle of a project you need to learn to say “No”.

A simple “No” is the perfect solution to impossible clients.

If they ask for something beyond the scope of the project and you don’t think it is feasible, you have to say “No”.

Regardless of what all the motivation quotes may tell you, “No” is the most important word in business.

And yes, it is possible to be generous without being a doormat.

Your time is your most precious, non-renewable resource.

You need to learn to spend it wisely.

Focus on what you do best

Focus on what you do best

…that’s your competitive advantage.

 

To be successful you need to think about opportunities from your customers’ perspective as much as from your own perspective.

It’s idealistic to believe you can just follow your passion and success will follow.

With thorough research however, you may be able to combine your passions, strengths and talents into a profitable business model.

Know your strengths

Your strengths are ultimately the keys to your success.

Your greatest strength is usually what you’re best at and what you enjoy doing most.

Successful people have one thing in common – they focus on their strengths, and manage around their weaknesses.

Find your perfect business

You want to come up with a business concept that is relevant in today’s market.

And if you’re like many of the women we know, you want to run a business that more than simply matches your skills and your interests.

You want to engage in work that satisfies your soul, one that connects you with your ideal clients in a very powerful and positive way.

You don’t have to create something from scratch.

You can model what others are doing well and just do it better.

Become irresistible!

Being around someone who is passionate, energetic and high-spirited is contagious.

It makes customers feel good about themselves and about doing business with you.

It causes them to burst through their own lethargy and disinterest.

It encourages them to believe and to take action.

When you love what you do (even with all its challenges, setbacks and difficulties) and you articulate that clearly and confidently, you and your business will shine.

Your right people will find you, and love working with you.

Energetic and high-spirited people make great coaches and motivators.

They often care deeply for others and do everything they can to help them succeed.

Be your authentic self and you’ll have no competition

Be your authentic self and you’ll have no competition

So what is authenticity?

 

To live authentically you need to be in a place of alignment where everything you say and do feels right.

You have to stay true to who you are, what you do and who you serve.

We live in an age where sincerity and unique self-expression are held in high regard.

An age where we need to forge deeper connections with people and, to achieve that, we have to be convincingly honest and authentic.

Finding your authentic self is the key to happiness

To be authentic means to find the key to happiness and success within one’s self, not within society.

It can be difficult being true to who we are when the world dictates how we should live our lives.

What you think of me is none of my business

To be authentic, you have to stop putting other’s needs ahead of your own, and you have to stop compromising your dreams to please others.

It takes courage, honesty, and a desire to be free of other’s opinions.

You are too unique to compare yourself with others

The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion.

Deep down we’re all a bit insecure about our own worth and so we look around us for a frame of reference to assess how well we’re doing in work, wealth, love and life.

Take into account that we are all just human beings at different stages in our lives, that nobody is perfect, and that nobody is living a trouble-free life.

Your gifts, your talents, your contributions and your value are entirely unique to you and your purpose in this world.
They can never be properly compared to anyone else.

Learn from others’ experiences and be inspired by them, but stay true to who you are and navigate your own path.

Will the real YOU please stand up!

To create meaningful, long-term business building relationships you need to come across as real, confident and trustworthy.

Don’t try to be somebody you’re not because it doesn’t work.

Embrace your true personality type.

Stay focused on your message and your clients’ needs.

Your professional strengths will shine through when you are coming from a place of authenticity.

Developing your personal brand

Developing your personal brand

The best way to set yourself apart from your competitors is to develop a personal brand.

It is key to your success.

You need to clearly define and communicate who you are and who you serve.

In this way you will attract your most ideal clients.

Clients who understand and who get you.

It will also help to repel those who don’t get you, those you’d rather not do business with anyway.

Personal branding is much more than what your website, your business cards and your marketing materials look like.

It is an expression of your individuality, your values and your mission.

What is unique about you?

Your purpose is to make yourself known for your talents and skills and boldly express yourself in an authentic way that makes you truly memorable.

You want to do this with colour, style and personality that compliment who you are and what you stand for.

And in a way that is cohesive with your target market.

When it comes to putting together your personal brand you must be self-expressed and completely candid.

You want to create something that is fearless and passionate.

You want to demonstrate that you have total belief in yourself and what you have to offer.

Your message doesn’t have to be madly unique, just deeply meaningful to you and to the people you are meant to serve.

When you are fully self-expressed you will feel at ease about promoting yourself.

Your confidence will soar because you’ll feel on purpose, comfortable in your own skin.

Creating your personal brand

There are three components to your personal brand …

 

The people you serve and the results you help them achieve

When you present yourself to potential clients the first thing they are going to consider is whether you are the right person for their needs, whether you help others in their specific situation.

You will be able to greatly assist them in their decision making if you can provide case studies and social proof.

What motivates you to do what you do.

People want to know you are emotionally invested in your work.

They will want to know if they can connect with you on an emotional, philosophical or even spiritual level.

And those who resonate with your “why” will be almost magnetically attracted to you.

 

Your tagline

Your tagline should be about 10 to 20 words in length – one or two sentences is sufficient.

It should be stated in clear terms and easily understandable.

It needs to be a statement that captures who you are.

Not so much a factual claim but an emotional reason for people to want to be around you.

It should capture the essence of who you are.

You want your tagline to give you that competitive edge, to represent that defining moment that eliminates any doubt people may have about doing business with you, the moment that turns your prospect into a devoted customer.

Used effectively your brand message is a powerful tool.

Usually it is developed and evolves over time.

How to get ahead as a newbie

How to get ahead as a newbie

When you’re the new kid on the block it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.

So, what separates a professional from an inexperienced newcomer?

Having worked with many entrepreneurs and business owners over the years I have noticed there are essentially 4 proven ways to set yourself up for success.

 #1  Get clear on who your ideal customer is

Aim at a small target and you are far more likely to make a direct hit.

You need to effectively understand the person or group of people for whom you can produce the best results.

Your key is to find this very narrow group, with very specific demographics or very specific problems or needs and create raving fans.

Do not make the mistake many new business owners make of aiming at a wide audience and trying to please everyone.

You will end up wasting a lot of your marketing dollars and taking on customers who become major headaches.

From the very beginning you need to specialise, not generalise.

#2  Know who your competitors are

When you are starting your business from the ground up it is really important to know who you are competing against.

You can learn so much from finding out what is working for your competitors and what is not.

In the process you could find new opportunities and untapped markets for your product or service.

#3  Understand your offering inside out

You must be able to express and/or demonstrate to your prospects with accuracy and precision what problems your service can solve and what improvements you can make to their lives.

And, most important of all, why doing business with you is more beneficial than doing business with your competitors.

#4  Deliver exceptional customer service

Connect with your customers on a personal level and show them you truly care.

It can be the difference between a customer forgetting about you the moment their transaction is over, and that same person returning to become a loyal customer for life.

These are proven ways to establish credibility quickly and build that all important know-like-trust factor with your potential audience.

It’s never too late to start something new

It’s never too late to start something new

There are many reasons today why women in their 50’s, 60s and even their 70s, want to work.

Full retirement may sound very attractive to some, but for others it signifies a time when they cease to be a productive part of the community and this can have a profound effect on their self-esteem and general well-being.

More women in their senior years are enjoying good health, and are keen to continue to use their minds and skills at a high level.

More are single.

And more, due to a late divorce or relationship breakdown, are finding themselves on their own and with limited retirement savings.

Although things are slowly improving, older women in the workforce face a double standard.

They’re pressured to look young and attractive but rejected on the grounds of being “over-qualified.”

One option is to start your own business.

But, despite a lifetime of experience, many women lack the confidence to take the plunge.

Chances are you’ve learned a thing or two about life and business that will be helpful to others.

Is it time you changed direction?

If the path you’re on isn’t working for you anymore, take the time to evaluate your situation.

Explore your distinct and creative alternatives.

Age really has very little bearing on whether you’re going to be successful or not.

It all comes down to your determination and your willingness to give it your all.

If you’re letting your age stop you from pursuing your dreams of entrepreneurship, don’t!

Quite a number of entrepreneurs don’t even think about launching their own business until they are well into their 40s, 50s and even 60’s.

What you may lack in youthful energy comes back multiplied in experience.

Embrace change!

Decide to be adventurous.

Put in the time to get to know yourself and decide what you really want to accomplish.

Do you want to make a substantial income?

Do you want to share your passion with the world?

There is no limit to the number of small business ideas for women over 60.

Now is the time of your life to do the things that you love.

If you can build a successful business around your passions, so much the better!

As women we celebrate the tremendous gifts each of us has to offer to enrich the lives of others.