Growing Up: Knowing Who I Am and Who My Best Clients Are
just over 6 minutes to read
Not too long ago, if I went to a restaurant and my friendly waiter happened to ask what I did for a living, I’d answer simply, “I design and develop websites.”
Often, I’d get a response along the lines of “Ooo! I draw comics on the side. Maybe you could build a website for me.” I’d smile and move on to ordering my meal.
My silence wasn’t due to a lack of gratitude or having a jam-packed client roster. It came from a less empowered place: I knew a business like this wasn’t a fit for my services, but I didn’t feel bold enough to say so.
Today, I’m assured about who I am and what I do.
Now I have a much better handle on the type of client who really benefits from my expertise – thanks to an investment in business coaching.
Breakthroughs with Business Coaching
For years, I’ve told my clients to work on their business and not just in their business to avoid giving every last bit of their energy away to their customers (to the detriment of their business progress).
But just as the cobbler’s children have no shoes, I wasn’t following my own advice. Instead, I was living and working in the land of quick fixes and band-aids. It was time to put on my Big Girl Pants, take the initiative, and invest in myself.
That investment was with a business coach.
As a female entrepreneur, I wanted someone who could identify with me and the unique challenges I face every day and offer support in a personalized way. This is why I chose to work with Nikki Groom.
She lives and works here in my favorite state, too, so I could even bug her in person if I wanted to!
The Clarity Connection
I wasn’t initially familiar with the term ‘mastermind,’ but I soon discovered that it’s a popular coaching method (it can also be called a Peer Advisory Board).
A mastermind group is an elite group of participants who support each other by setting goals, brainstorming, holding accountability, and giving feedback. It’s like having your own board of directors, and Nikki offers membership in a mastermind group as part of her services.
Participating weekly in my mastermind group made the mountains scalable and the demons less scary, and gave me much-needed validation and clarity around my day-to-day concerns and strategic goals. I heard what my fellow mastermind members were most proud of, which made me feel more empowered in my own work and business.
I also did a lot of work on my personal brand.
So how has my business coaching and this mastermind group benefited my business?
My top three takeaways (that you can benefit from):
- Photography that tells my story.
Users see a lot of images on my site, but most aren’t of me. That’s changing in 2020, and here’s why: I want photos that show who I really am while I’m working. I didn’t want photography that would focus squarely on me as the subject, however.
I wanted it to be inclusive of me, and my clients, and my personality. I had a lot of reservations about the shoot (this was my first one!) but it turned out wonderfully.
In fact, I realized I should do at least one shoot a year to continue developing a library of great visuals to draw upon.
- Greater clarity on whom I can best serve well.
My specialty is bringing a brand’s snapshot into sharp focus (‘brand snapshot’ being anything that your business’s brand touches and anywhere your company logo appears, including photos, artwork, marketing, messaging, and any other visuals that people see in passing).
Since this is my zone of genius, the clients I serve best are brick & mortar businesses that possess a keen desire to connect with their customers: those with buildings, offices, and operations they’ve had for a year or more.
My design thinking skills are needed when it’s time to elevate your business marketing to the next level, which is why the waiter I mentioned earlier isn’t a great client for me (right now, at least).
- I am not alone in my struggles.
Being in business for yourself gets lonely. When you’re struggling, it can feel even worse.
Thanks to the work I’ve done within my mastermind group, however, I feel self-possessed and confident. Sharing with other members, I also found that my background and experience allowed me to see things they couldn’t. I was able to provide guidance that proved to be really valuable to my peers.
The whole experience has made me a more thoughtful and courageous business owner.
My 2020 wish for you: Be Open
If I hadn’t decided to pursue business coaching, I would most likely be in the same place I was a year ago.
My super-strong suggestion as you grow into this new year is to dip your toe in the water of business coaching. Reach out to a good business friend and ask for guidance, or simply bounce your ideas off them.
Shoot them an email, drop them a line through LinkedIn, or even take the personal route and call them. Ask for an opportunity to treat them to coffee and get their sage advice.
After that, continue the networking process with other colleagues and friends.
People love to be seen as experts, so if you let those you’re speaking with know that you view them like a pro and value their ideas and feedback, you can’t help but succeed.
- If you’re struggling, know you’re not alone.
Small business owners, especially solopreneurs, all feel similar challenges. Find a solid networking group or talk to a friend so you don’t sit on the ‘stuff’ by yourself.
- Business coaching can help.
There are all kinds of business coaches out there. If you really feel you’re stuck or you’ve plateaued, this might be an avenue that can help you.
- Be open.
Your teachers may be the ones you least suspect. Be open to all you see and hear.
Photographs by Brittanny Taylor
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