When you're an eccentric entrepreneur there are certain traps that can cause you to stumble and get stuck in a rut, and as a result have a harder time growing your business.
Let's face it, if you're an eccentric entrepreneur, you're not a typical business owner or person.
Your weirdness is part of who you are, but in the business world, so much of the emphasis is on fitting it that it can be a bit daunting to fly your freak flag in your business.
At the same time, people want genuine relationships and want to connect to people that they feel understand them.
For a long time, I partitioned my inner geek and freak away from my business. I felt certain that if I was openly weird and eccentric that it would just drive away my potential clients. Ironically, I when I looked over past and present clients I've worked with I discovered that all of them, in their unique ways, were weird and that most of them were quite comfortable being weird and letting that show up in their business.
Why did I feel so awkward about letting my inner geek out?
Trap #1: It's better to fit in then stick out
There's a lot of social pressure to look a certain way or act a certain way. And even if that seems so high school, the fact is we never entirely get away from cliques. When I first started my business, I remember several well-intentioned people who told me to dress conservatively and act conservatively or I'd never get any business. In fact I got that advice a few different times. What they really were telling me is that they wouldn't be my clients.
But guess what?
No matter how conservative I dressed or acted, I still didn't get their business! The truth is they'd already made up their mind about me. But trying to fit in made me miserable and it will do the same for you.
It is better to stick out and be yourself than try and fit in. What I discovered is that trying to fit in didn't work. I was only presenting an image to people instead of being myself and letting all of me show up.
Once I stopped trying to fit in, it helped me discover who my ideal customers are, and not surprisingly all of them, in their own way, are weird as well.
Trap #2: Doubt is the enemy of perseverance; Perfection is the enemy of getting it done
We all feel doubt and when things don't work out the way you hope they would, it can be very easy to let that doubt creep in and tell you why you're a failure.
The key is that you must learn to love failure and see it as an opportunity to fail forward. Otherwise you get stuck in the hamster wheel of self-doubt and blame going nowhere.
Every time you fail, its an opportunity to learn, and if you keep yourself open to learning from your mistakes, then you will find a way to turn failure into success.
One of the ways that doubt shows up is in the form of perfection. When you get stuck on trying to get things perfect, nothing gets done. At some point you just have to put whatever you're working out into the world and accept that it may not be perfect, but at least its done...
And you can learn from whatever the result is and carry that forward into your business.
Trap #3: If you've got no plan, you've got no path forward
Speaking of moving forward, you do need a plan for your business. When a business doesn't have a plan it is hard to run it or figure out what direction you want to take your business in.
One of the mistakes I made was that I didn't have a plan for the first 3 years of my business. That lack of a plan made it a lot harder to run my business. I felt overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do to make my business successful, whereas once I had a plan, I had something to work off that could guide my actions and efforts.
Another benefit of putting a business plan together is that you take your ideas in your head and give them form. When we write something out we are creating an objective record we can refer to that helps us make sense of what we need to do next to make the business grow.
Trap # 4: Letting your voice go is losing part of your eccentric identity
This relates back to trap #1. Sometimes you can get so caught up in trying to figure out what you think your prospects want to hear/read from you that you lose your voice because you let it go.
Or you can get so caught up in learning that you adapt your voice to who you are learning from and also lose your own voice.
When this happens, you need to find your voice again. While what you write or talk about must be relevant to your audience, it also must represent who you are. Part of what makes you an authority is identity of you, the way you as a person understand and explore the subject that you're an expert in.
So how do you find your voice again? You write, you present, and you do it with your own eccentric spin on what you are sharing. You make yourself unique and yet relevant.
Trap #5: Running a business on reaction is waiting for something to happen to you.
When you run a business on reaction, you aren't in control of the business. Instead the business in control of you. This also makes it hard to grow your business sustainably because you're reacting to whatever is coming your way.
But there is a way to get out of this trap. It involves taking a proactive approach to your business, where you set up systems that enable you to run your business by design instead of waiting for things to happen.
You won't anticipate everything that could happen, but when you have systems in place, it becomes much easier to run your business, because those systems regulate situations that come up and provide a way to manage them without taking up too much time.
These 5 traps can stop you from growing business, but as I've shared there are ways to get out of them. The Grow your Business by Design Workbook shows you how to create and implement systems that will help you automate how you run and grow your business. Click the button below to learn more.