First welcome to my new site, Eccentric Entrepreneurs.
It's been a while since I've written a blog post, and the last time I wrote one was on my old website Imagine Your Reality. But I switched over to this site, because I decided it was time for a change.
2016 taught me 10 eccentric lessons that helped me become a better eccentric entrepreneur. The theme of the year was about respect, so it's no surprise that each lesson was related to respect in some form or manner.
Eccentric Lesson one: To truly be eccentric you need to respect your weirdness and make it part of your business.
Up until last year I tried to fit in. But what I discovered is that fitting in didn't really work. And so in 2016 I stopped trying to fit in, stopped trying to dress up and just started being my truly eccentric self and letting that show up in my business.
I realized that in trying to fit in, I was actually disrespecting myself because I wasn't honoring all of me. And the people around me knew it on some level, so my efforts to fit in never really helped my business, because people knew that something wasn't quite right.
When I started truly letting my weirdness out, that's when I found my tribe, when I found people who were just as weird and eccentric as I am, and who also wanted a space where it was just dandy to be eccentric.
Eccentric Lesson 2: Networking is luck based and only works for some industries.
I used to do a ton of networking. It seemed like everyday I was going to some event or another. Yet all that networking didn't produce much in the way of business. And I was exhausted. So at the beginning of 2016 I took a month off from networking and at the end of that month I realized I didn't miss networking.
I also came to realize that networking is, for my industry, ultimately a luck based approach to trying to get leads. It may work for some industries, but for me, it hasn't worked very well. So that challenged me to discover what could work.
Eccentric Lesson 3: Trust your spirits to point you through the right direction.
I work with a spirit called Bune. He's a business spirit that at various times has pointed me in the right direction for my business. He does't speak up often, but when he does I listen.
In September of 2016 Bune spoke up and pointed me to a virtual conference on list building. That conference, he told me, would have the answers I was looking for. And he was right. I suddenly discovered a whole world of online marketing I didn't know about. The conference helped me find 3 business mentors and I've already started implementing the processes I'm learning (You'll see more of that this year).
Eccentric Lesson 4: Embrace your tribe and create a space for them.
In 2016 I found my tribe, eccentric entrepreneurs. And I created a space for them and me to explore the intersection between our eccentric interests and our businesses. The tribe started small, but it's grown a lot and I'm excited to see where it goes. And you know, finding and working with the community I'm called to serve has really energized and excited me because we all embrace our weirdness.
Eccentric Lesson 5: Let go what doesn't serve you.
In 2016 I let go of Imagine Your Reality. It was a business I'd owned for 9 years, but I realized it didn't fit me anymore and it didn't fit my community either. I realized I needed to let it go.
It can be hard to let go of something you've attached your identity to for so long, but it can also be liberating. I realized that holding on to Imagine Your Reality was holding me back...and so I let it go and started Eccentric Entrepreneurs, because it offered me the opportunity to remake and refocus my business on serving my community.
Eccentric Lesson 6: Use your numbers to forecast your business moves.
At the end of 2015 I looked my numbers over and realized that some of the activities I was doing weren't profitable. I used my numbers to make some decisions about what moves I should make.
At the end of 2016 the numbers showed me that I was able to cut down significantly on expenses and realize a better profit. Looking at the numbers showed me what was working and what wasn't...so I stopped doing what wasn't working and focused on improving what was working, while also pushing myself to learn new skills that could help me with my business.
Eccentric Lesson 7: Don't let people walk all over you.
At the beginning of 2016 I made the choice to step away from the Pagan Conference scene. I've been presenting there for years and years, yet it became clear that there was certain people who got compensated to present, while everyone else was expected to pay. I was tied of being walked all over and it was clear the benefits weren't significant. So I walked way from the conference scene and stopped letting myself get walked on.
Doing that forced me to get creative about marketing myself and my businesses. It made me realize that I had settled for an unfair situation and it was time to stop doing that.
Eccentric Lesson 8: To make your business successful you need a process.
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that if you don't have viable strategies and processes in place, all the content creation would won't help you. At the time I write this article I'm still putting those processes into place, but I feel that knowing I actually have a process I can put in place and test is significantly better than just hoping that people will be moved to contact me.
So much of marketing isn't really based on good strategy or process, which is why its so hard to master or use effectively. But if you take the time to step back and really look at the available resources you can develop strategies and processes that help you market and run you business, while allowing you to focus on serving your community.
Eccentric Lesson 9: Stepping back to work on your business is healthy.
In October, I faced a tough decision. I was just starting some of the training and I realized that to effectively implement the training I needed to take a step back from business as usual and really focus on working on my business. I also realized that this work could take at least a few months and it would mean that I wasn't producing a lot of content.
I made the choice to stop writing articles and just focus on my business. And it was the right decision.
I couldn't have learned or implemented my new skills without making time to just focus on those skills. Sometimes what's best for your business is to step back and give yourself the time to do the work that will genuinely move your business forward. And while I'm writing again, you still may not see a lot of content for the next couple of months because I'm still learning and implementing...but my business and my ability to serve you will be better for it.
Eccentric Lesson 10: Enjoy your eccentric interests and use them to recharge.
This last summer I went away to Disney Land for a week. It was just what I needed. I took some time for myself so that I could recharge. Celebrating some of my eccentric interests inspired me in my business and life.
What did you learn in 2016 about your business? Share your answers in the comments.