My goal was to not think about business for four days and just completely unplug, but that didn’t happen. Each day there were such amazing business lessons that emerged, it was as if I were scraping away the plaster or wiping away the paint to uncover a nugget that was just waiting for me to share. If you are starting a business, these lessons and tips will help you get and stay on track.
1. YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION PRECEDES YOU
Day one began before day one. It started with information being sent to students prior to the class with supplies needed and information about the instructors. Tom was our instructor for day one but there was very limited information on him. It had his photo and one piece of art that was beautiful. There was a description of the class but no website or social media information listed.
I didn’t think anything of it at first until I saw the bio and write up for our instructor for the next three days. Seth Apter had a website that was incredible. His art was gorgeous and he had lots of it on his site as well as products, workshop schedules, and links to his social channels that showed him in action. He had thousands of obvious fans and followers all commenting on how much they loved being in one of his recent classes or just on how beautiful his art was and that they couldn’t wait to attend one of his many upcoming classes.
I immediately began to stalk Seth on his social channels and even sent a few of the posts to my art-loving daughters to check out his work. While your website can provide information and evidence of your expertise, your social channels can provide social proof of your reputation. I was suddenly excited to attend his classes. His online presence was so impressive that I was expecting greatness before I even arrived. I had no doubt that I was going to be learning from a true expert.
What does your online presence tell people about you and your level of expertise? Do people anticipate greatness in working with you or does it need an upgrade?
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2. BE AUTHENTIC WITH YOUR AUDIENCE, BUT SAVE THE THERAPY SESSIONS FOR YOUR THERAPIST
Tom was oddly unfriendly or shy when I first introduced myself to him. I was at the registration desk and the woman checking me in pointed to Tom and told me he was my instructor for this first day. I turned and enthusiastically introduced myself, shaking his hand and telling him I was looking forward to the class. He looked to the side and simply said, “I’m Tom.” He didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t offer any information. I do realize not everyone is as enthusiastic as I am, but I found his reaction odd for someone who was a teacher or instructor. I chalked it up to me scaring him and left it at that.
In the class, he warmed up a bit (with mine and Toni’s help) but then became a bit too comfortable. He began telling us about his other two jobs he held and how financially strapped he was. He told us about the fact he lived alone with his dog and that he had run out of dog food and had to feed him eggs and toast. That just made me start feeling awkwardly bad for him and I wanted to leave to go make sure the dog was okay. When we mentioned to him we couldn’t find his website, he said that was because he couldn’t afford to have one.
I learned quite a bit from Tom and was really pleased with my creation, but left knowing I wouldn’t take another class from him.
Being transparent and authentic with your audience does not mean you need to share EVERYTHING. Be careful not to hang your problems out like dirty laundry because the only stain that will show is the one on your reputation!
3. FAILURES ARE SIMPLY LAYERS THAT MAKE YOU A BEAUTIFUL WORK OF ART
It is a beautiful thing when painting that you can take any mistake and just add more paint to not only cover it but add a layer of complexity, allowing the mistake to peek through beautifully. In life, we often feel as if failure is permanent and every mistake is worn like a scarlet letter. If only we could learn to see failure as a layer needed for the next color to be accentuated.
Can you look back over your life and see an event that you once labeled as a failure and you now see how that added a layer of strength or character to get you where you are today? Take the time to write it down, or better yet, take out a sketch pad and draw or paint your life’s journey, showing the valleys you have been through and the mountains you have climbed. When you go through the next valley of failure, you can perhaps look at it with an artistic eye and just add the next layer. It will turn out beautiful with enough layers.
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