Onlyness: Your Special Something
Why do I have to work so hard for each sale? This is a question that I get a lot. And we're gonna start talking, we're gonna shift gears a little bit, and start talking about the things that we can do to make selling easier, to make brand recognition easier, to make, you know, your customers aligning with you easier, to make the conversations come more easily. We're shifting gears a little bit. There's a couple questions I want to use to make this shift. Why do I have to work so hard for each sale? I hear it all the time. You know, people, maybe they do free consultations, maybe that's part of the sales process. So click here to get your free consultation. You do the free consultation, you have the sales conversation at the end of that consultation, and you know, it feels like you're pulling teeth. Maybe it goes from the phone conversation to email, and it's back and forth in the email, do you want this, do you not want this, I've got this question, you don't have that question. What's...
it gonna be? Or maybe it's that you are promoting, promoting, promoting, promoting, you're tweeting, tweeting, tweeting, blogging, blogging, blogging, and still the sales are so few and far between. I think we all feel like this from time to time. I have certainly, again, been there, done that. Each sale can feel very difficult. But it's possible to make it easier. Another question I get asked an awful lot is just, how can I avoid getting burned out? When you're working so hard for each sale, burn out seems like it's coming any day now. Like, when was the last time you had one of those weeks, like oh my gosh it's Wednesday, if there is any way I can make it til Friday, I don't know what kind of shape I'm going to be in. (laughs) I don't know how I can do this one more day. It's the same thing. You're putting so much energy into your business, and you're not getting the traction out of it that you need to be able to meet your goals. The last question here is, is it possible to build a sustainable business without doing x, y, or z? So, this question gets real specific. I'll have people ask me, "Is it possible Tara for me to build a business "without being on Twitter?" Yes. Is it possible for me to have a sustainable business without blogging? Yes. Is it possible for me to have a sustainable business without offering a scalable product? Yes. Is it possible for me to have a sustainable business without writing the book? Yes. The answer is almost always yes. One thing I never let people get away with is not doing email marketing. (laughs) I am not the coach for you if that is an insane problem for you. However, I wanna, when I say that, when I say, "No, it's not possible to have a sustainable business "without email marketing." Let's look at how you're doing it. Can we use your special something to inform the way you do this so that it's easier for you, so that it makes more sense to you, so that it comes more naturally, and so it feels more natural for your customers. Then the answer is always yes. We can reimagine this. We can do this differently. But to be able to do that you need to know your special something. Your special something. What's that special something that you've got, or that your business has, that makes it work? That makes sense. That can be almost like your guiding light. This is the, kind of the lens that you wanna see your whole business through. You know, and I'm a big fan of saying too, that your business is not you. You know, I even run a business where my url is taragentile.com but my business is not me. Taragentile.com is not me. Kick Start Labs is not me. 10,000 Feet is not me. It's a representation of me. Yet, when I think about my special something, it starts with me. It starts with what comes easy to me, it starts with what sets me apart. And then I examine it from the business side. And I say, "What does this mean for my business?" What's my business's special something? How can I amp that up a few degrees? How can I turn it up to 11? All right, your special something. A amazing business thinker named Nilofer Merchant calls this onlyness. I love this idea because it's such a silly word, but it says exactly, what you, it says exactly what it is. You know what it means as soon as you say it. Onlyness. Your special something is your onlyness. The special something that only you possess. So she writes in her book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, and if there is one book you read this year on business, I would highly recommend it is this book. It is very short. It is a quick read. And I believe you can buy the kindle version for less than $3. So Nilofer Merchant, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, she says, "Onlyness is fundamentally about honoring "each person, first as we view ourselves, and second, "as we are valued." Onlyness is fundamentally about honoring each person first as we view ourselves, and second as we are valued. This gives you an opportunity to say, "What's special about me? "What's that unique mix of passion and skill and talent "and the way I work best that makes me really unique? "And that makes me really valuable to my clients, "to my customers?" And then you examine it from the business side as well. What's my business's onlyness? What's that special combination of passion, skill, talent, experience, and the way my business works best that really makes it unique, that makes it easy, and that makes it really valuable to my customers? That's onlyness. So let's break this down for yourself. And that is on page 25. I promise I'll try and be better about following along in the workbook. Page 5, I need you to answer these questions, and I need you to answer them very, very honestly, all right. What is unique about you that you really value? What's unique about you that you really value? And you know, another way I really like to think about this is what you've held as a weakness for most of your life. It's that thing that, maybe you've been told, I know that's really you, but that's just not working. (laughs) It's not, it's not right, that's not the way it's done, that's not what makes you successful. For me, it's that I have a habit of intellectualizing things. I have a habit of thinking about thing way too much, to the point where I make it difficult for other people to understand, the point where I feel a little alienated about the fact that I've thought about this so much. It's an introvert trait, absolutely. It comes from, you know, being a little girl and dreaming of being a professor. (laughs) You know, I had weird childhood goals. (laughs) So it's that intellectualizing that I have been told, this is a weakness of yours. This is a reason you can't communicate with more people. This is a reason you can't go wide. But then, at some point in the last five years, I realized, what if that wasn't a weakness? Cause it's not a weakness to me, it's something I really value about myself. What if I turn this into a strength? What if I use this in my business to make things easier? So what's unique about you that you really value? Tiffany, what's unique about you that you really value?
I'm always me, like, all the time, you always kinda know what you're gonna get. I'm pretty honest.
And so, almost sometimes maybe to a fault.
Honest to a fault. I was gonna say this sounds like a weakness you've been told about in the past.
So I'm pretty much always completely out there, like I'll be really honest with you. I'm really honest about myself, you know, everything that's going on, I don't really hide much of anything. So, yeah. That's it.
Cool. Awesome. So you value that about yourself?
I, yeah, I'm happy with that. (laughs)
Awesome, do other people value that about you?
I think so, cause, yeah, you know what you're gonna get. You can come to me and I'll give you, yeah, what it is.
And maybe not the, like average acquaintance, but I bet your best friends absolutely value that about you.
The people that want to spend the most time with you, the people who value your opinion the most, they're the people that...
which is why I have a narrow group of those people. (laughs)
Well, it's just like you wanna have a narrow niche in your business.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Right? Awesome. Who else? Bridget, what's unique about you that you really value?
I think my like drive to overcome obstacles and to be constantly working on myself.
Awesome. I hear a little bit maybe of ambition in there too.
Awesome, and again that's something that is often times perceived as a weakness.
Something that we've been told, maybe even turn it down a little bit.
Well and I wasn't set up for success, like in my childhood, so I kind of raised myself, and I've had to do a lot of this on my own. So that's like, why it's so important to me.
Absolutely, that's awesome. Fantastic, great. All right, now let's flip the question on its head, what's unique about you that others really value? What's unique about you that others really value? What is it that people say, you know what, I love that about you. Maybe it is your best friend, maybe it's your mom. My mom tell me all sorts of good stuff about myself. Hi Mom. (laughs) Maybe it's your husband, your girlfriend, your brother. What is unique about you that others really value? Sasha.
I think that somehow I make people feel like they accept themselves, like they feel good in my presence.
Awesome, awesome. Robin.
I don't judge, I'm a cheerleader. (laughs)
If somebody tells me something that they're concerned, you know, they're negative about, it's not my place to judge them, just love them.
Awesome. Is that something you feel like you use in your business?
Is it something you lead with in your business?
I do, I would say a majority of the time. Because I think in business, a lot of people, well I didn't accomplish this, or I didn't do that. And like, not here to beat you up, just here to help you grow.
Absolutely, awesome. I love that, I love that. Do we, I was gonna say...
The Rainy Day Store says it's her positivity in the worst situations. And actually The Rainy Day Store has been going through some personal challenges recently, which we've been reaching out to her through CreativeLive, but that positivity remains there, it's clear.
Well and I love that that's part of her branding too.
Right, The Rainy Day Store.
The Rainy Day Store, I mean that is amazing.
And Angela says, "I need time to think about my responses, "I'm not really good on the fly. "But that makes me an excellent listener."
Ahh, boom, boom. That's fantastic, thank you. Great, all right, so let's flip this around and think about your business now. Because like I said, you are not your business. That's another, oh gosh, that's another chief thing for getting out of that micro-business earning plateau is realizing you are not your business. You're building something bigger. You're building something separate. Even if your goal is not to build a company. Even if your goal is never to hire another soul in your life. Your business is still separate than you. And it really, really pays, literally, to think of it that way. All right, so what's unique about your business that others really value? What's unique about your business that others really value? Something that's unique about my business that others really value, is I ask questions, I don't generally give answers. I mean I, sure, I answer lots of questions. I answer with my experience, I answer with my analysis, but I'm much more likely to answer with a question, or a process, or an idea, or a give this a try, than to say, "Oh, this is how it's done." There is a lot of people who love to be told, "This is how it's done." That's awesome. I am so glad there are people out there that are willing to do that and to say, "Here's what I've done, here's my experience, "this is what you should do." For me that doesn't work, and that really sets my business apart. Maybe my audience isn't as big as it could be. Maybe that prevents me from connecting with that other group, that's fine. But I would never be able to give them the value they want if it did, if I did. All right, so I, that never a quick answer, that never a quick fix, that never a here's the right answer, is what I value, or I'm sorry, is what's unique about my business that others really value. Who haven't we gone to yet? Susan, what's unique about your business that you think other people will really value?
Well, I haven't launched yet, so I don't know yet. But what I think that they will value is, well, what I plan to do is, with each piece, really give a description of my design process and my inspiration for that piece. And allow them to really, kind of be part of that process with me.
So is there going to be a co-creation aspect to your business?
So maybe as the thoughtfulness then?
Well, the story.
The story, okay.
The story. What's the meaning of each piece? Cause each piece will have some sort of a meaning.
Gotcha. So it's not just, this isn't just another piece of jewelry.
It's not just a pretty piece of jewelry.
This is stepping into a story.
Gotcha, fantastic, fantastic. Brianna.
I would say is that myself and the other program facilitators, we care about the girls that we work with and we identify with them, which in turn makes us hear their needs, and be able to give them what they want.
Fantastic, so you guys are really empathizing.
So something that's unique about your business is, not just that, this isn't just your afternoon soccer program, this is an opportunity to be part of this really empathetic group of people, who are here to listen and identify, and support you, and care for you, and then give you what you need.
Love that, awesome, cool. All right, and the last question is, how can you leverage that in your business model? How can you leverage that in your business model? And this is more of a hypothetical, big picture, setting the context for the rest of the day, question. Like I said, your onlyness, the special something can be a lens that you see your entire business model through. So that every decision you make about the kind of customer that you're serving, where you're serving them on their journey, the kind of relationship that you're having with them, the marketing and sales channels that you use, the way you build out your products, or put together your service packages. You can view every single decision, every single choice that you make through the lens of your onlyness, through the lens of your special something. And what that does, is create leverage in that, when you're using your onlyness, when you're using your special something, everything is easier. It feels easier to you, because you're not trying to deny a fundamental part of who you are and what you do and how you do it. It's easier because it allows more of the right people to more quickly align with what you've got. Because now you're making decisions from a place where everything's consistent, everything's leading with the right values, everything's leading with the right message, everything's leading with the right strengths and skills and experience. And that's going to more easily attract those people who are looking for exactly that, right. We don't have to build businesses of millions and millions of people, the vast majority of us, that's not our goal. We'd be really happy with, maybe 10,000. (laughs) Right? And that's fine. And if your goal's bigger than that, that's fine too. But the point is, you're not trying to hit a mass audience. Even those of us who are going wide, and going big going wide, we're not trying to hit a mass audience. I'm trying to scale within a very specific niche of people who are attracted to a very specific way of showing up. That's how I want my business to show up so that I attract those people. Makes my life easier. It makes me more money with less work and makes more impact in their lives. That's leverage. So every time a decision comes up today, every time a choice comes up today, when you're going in and you're filling out that business model, and we're really diving deep into all these different layers, all these different systems within your business, make sure you're asking yourself the question, how can I leverage my onlyness in that decision? Which choice is the choice that represents my special something? What's the choice that represents the special something I've created in my business? When you make choices that are consistent with that special something, everything gets easier. If there's something you're really struggling with in your business right now, examine the choices that you've made around it, and I almost guarantee you've made a choice that's not in line with that special something. Sasha.
What do you recommend as a process to determine what your, if your onlyness matches a market? Cause I can think of some for myself, but then I'm like, hmm, I wonder if it's gonna really resonate with enough people, or is it too weird? (laughs) you know, this thing of your saying, is it like your, sort of, stigmatized thing, and then, you know, how do you find the match, basically?
Yeah, okay, great question. So it is about finding a match and not about saying, I'm taking a pre-determined market and fitting my special something into that. Once you're starting to make a match, so just like in any relationship, there are certain qualities about each person that meld well, and then there's certain things, that like, like my boyfriend is really into horror movies, which he told me he wasn't, but it turns out he is. (laughs) So I don't, he watches the horror movies after I go to bed. Right? (laughs) So it doesn't matter that I don't like horror movies and that he does, that's just a place where we don't have alignment, so you can adjust, but you don't want to mold yourself to your market. You want to find a good match, and then go from there. Now, that said, I believe that every market is infinite, or at the very least, every market is big enough to support a business within it. Every conversation is big enough to support a market within it. So it just, it matters though, it depends on how you build the business model out, because it may be a fairly small market and you need to adjust differently. I don't think there's anything too weird, too quirky, too out there, that's not going to attract a big group of people. I mean, if you, come on, the internet? The internet is full of weird, crazy stuff that have huge followings, huge followings. And just because they don't know how to build a business model, doesn't mean that a business model doesn't exist that could serve that market. Every market has needs, every market has questions, you can build a business within it, within it. All right, so I would identify what's most important to you. What are you not willing to compromise on? The things that you're willing to compromise on, those are those funny qualities about yourself or your market that you can go to bed and not worry about, (laughs) literally. The other qualities are the ones that you want to bring out more. This is an important distinction between you and your business. You have the full mix, you have the full mix, and in your relationships you're probably bringing the full mix to bear, sometimes you compromise on them and sometimes you don't, but they're all there. In your business, you can leave out some of the things that you wouldn't, that you don't care so much about. The things that you don't have to have to have the perfect match. But then you want to amp up the stuff that is more important to you. The stuff that makes the most sense with that match. Like for instance, in my market, I really love science fiction, and I could create all sorts of science fiction analogies all the time, specifically Star Trek. I choose not to do that. I'm happy to keep Star Trek, most of the time, although you will find some analogies and hashtags and things on my website, but I'm happy to keep that mostly in my personal life. And I choose to amp up other things. Could I be the sci-fi business babe? Sure. (laughs) That's not important to me, that's something I can compromise on. I don't have to work that into every aspect of my life and business. Does that make sense? Okay, but I could be the sci-fi business babe. All right.
If that was important.
If that was important to me, cause I bet it's important to somebody. I've just given a business idea out there, all right. (laughs) Okay, any other questions? No, that was awesome, okay. All right, so another opportunity to share. We've got some real good touchy feely share-y stuff in this segment. Get on Twitter, hashtag is #taralive. We're @taragentile and @creativeLIVE. The question now is, what's the special something that others value about you? What's the special something that others value about you? Who from the studio audience didn't answer this question yet? Shauna, I feel like maybe you didn't, did you?
No I didn't.
I did not.
Okay, then let's get your answer before we go online.
I think mine are the same, what I value in myself is what I think others value in me.
Which is insight, the free way of my being, and I, I just, I connect, and that's why people seek me out, for, to help them through this experience. So it works both ways.
Beautiful. Bridget did you answer that question?
I did not answer that question.
But I think my ability to be vulnerable and raw and really honest.
Absolutely, awesome. Robin?
I'm not sure if this, I'm going down the right path, but basically with my business partner, like our life experience in the field, in doing this.
So I think people really put a lot of value on that. As well as just being really honest.
Yeah, and I think you guys do a really great job of leading with that experience too. There are so many people out there who lack experience. I mean, I lacked experience for a very long time, was still successful, but it wouldn't have been something I talked about a lot, right. The point is, I can get results. But for you, you've got this immense wealth, literally wealth of experience that you can lead with as your special something. We're going to help you because we've got experience in this, this, this, this, and this. I mean, your list is incredible. So I love that you're identifying that as a special something that others really value in you. I think it's really, really important. That's awesome.
What are some special somethings from online?
We've got quite a few. So Audio Queen is saying it's their sensitivity, it's in their, it's that they are in tune with what their customers need. Taylor Stone, sorry, no, Ann-yur is saying, care and service, as well, that comes from Katrine. And Riley says, or Gail says it's their humor.
Angela said my excitement, enthusiasm, and my lack of spelling ability. (laughs)
She spelled that right, didn't she? (laughs)
So the onlyness has been confusing people. Can you be more specific or perhaps give a more concrete example of how you do leverage your onlyness in terms of how appropriate choices are, sorry some appropriate choices to make and some bad decisions?
That's something that's come up from a couple of people.
Absolutely. Okay, so let's talk about branding, for instance. Branding came up yesterday a little bit. Branding is a really easy place to see how onlyness, your special something can play in to the choices that you make in your business. So, for instance, in my business, I have one off strategy sessions that I do with clients. And I've chosen to call them Insight Intensives. And the Intensives is a nod to, kind of, the academic setting. It's a little less prominent on my site now, but my brand used to be really heavily into that kind of quirky professor look and feel, and that was kind of the brand image that I had. You know, we talked about my hair as part of my brand, but my glasses are part of my brand, it all kinda ties in. And so I've chosen that word Intensive as part of a nod to that idea of academia, or that idea of being in school. Same thing with Kick Start Labs. You know, you're in the lab, I'm your lab director. It's a branding choice that is just a little nod to my onlyness. And because I've made those choices, it's, they're, they may be subconscious ways that customers more easily align with me, or that offers more easily get traction. But they're still choices that I've made. And they're ways that make things easier for me. And it is those little details that make a really big difference, and it's often those little details I see left alone. Just as a, even more specific thing, you know mentioning that kind of quirky professor, the intellectualizing, that little bit of my onlyness, I had a, my head shot on my site for a long time was me in a corduroy blazer with my legs kicked over a chair that looked like it would be in a professor's office. So it looked like, you know, you could come into my office, and ask me, you know, for office hours, that we'd work on your mid-term paper. (laughs) So those are decisions that I've made in my branding. Another example I think is again, my friend Bridget Lyons, who has just moved from a personal brand into an agency brand. And she chose, the name of the agency is just B, B for Bridget, just the initial. But that doesn't work for a url. So what did she do? She made her url bthinkforward.com, and so part of the message immediately upon entering the site, is be forward thinking. Because that's the kind of entrepreneur she wants to work with. Part of her onlyness is this attraction, this passion for working with entrepreneurs who are future thinkers, who are pioneers, who are, in whatever field they're in, they're making decisions, or they're, you know, creating products, creating services that serve the future. So she wants people, she wants her clients to be forward thinking. And she knows she's forward thinking, and she wants her clients to know she's forward thinking. Make sense? So branding is one of the easiest places, product development is another, and this will keep coming up with more and more specificity over the next day and a half. So after lunch, we are going to take our little business guy, our little business model guy here, and we're gonna break it down. The next three segments we're going to pick apart these six questions. We're gonna do two at a time. I'm going to give you exercises to do. I'm going to give you some guidance on how to think about these questions, and you can take that spreadsheet that's in your workbook, I believe it's on page, I don't remember what page it's on, but you can take that spreadsheet and fill it out, so that you can see what your business model looks like now, or so you can start planning for your business model that could be. So that's what we're going to be doing over the next three segments, so two this afternoon and one tomorrow.
Yeah, we've got more questions that have
Keep coming in. Sparkling Yoga Girl wants to know, my clients tell me they come back because my business makes them feel beautiful when they do yoga with me. How do I leverage this?
Oh, that could be super fun actually. So if beautiful is what your clients are feeling, what they want to feel, you also have a passion for beauty, or you know, that's something that's important to you, I'd work that into the experience. Could you create, say, a day-long spa day, where you bring in an esthetician, and you bring in, you know, a hair stylist, and you do yoga as part of that. So maybe you tap into inner beauty at the same time you're tapping into outer beauty. That could be a great product for you, something that is kind of above and beyond the services that you do on a regular basis, and something you can really become known for.
Cool, fantastic. Now, Rainy Day Store, who we talked about earlier, who runs an eBay store, she says she loves eBay, she loves buying and selling, but she's now expanding into blogging. Would you suggest building both side by side, or focus on one and make it successful and then work on the next business model?
That's a great question. I think if, if the eBay store is not what you would call, like, solid yet, I would find some way to make the blogging support the eBay store. Those two things should be working together. I would highly suggest, if you don't feel like the eBay store is solid yet, that you actually look at the blogging as part of the business model that you currently have. So instead of trying to build out two businesses, which is very, very difficult, and even, even when it is very possible, it takes much longer. Try and work them together. And then you can take your experience there and move it into another venture, if there's something else you have in mind. And you know, move that into another venture, maybe a year or two down the road. I know it's hard to wait, but it really, it really is worth it.