How to go from BAD to BADASS for remarkable growth
Are you about to launch a new business? Or maybe you’re in an opposite place: you feel stuck in your career, humming along without purpose. Either way, you may want to consider exchanging some bad ideas for badass beliefs. A little attitude adjustment transformed my life and I know it can do the same for you.
About six months ago, I went from one extreme (stuck) to the other (launch). I was working a job I liked. Comfortable, but not quite content. Then I launched my new business.
As someone who wants to gain the trust of future clients, the last thing I want to do is wear my flaws on my sleeve. As a PR person, I’m tempted to show you Curated Christy. All the right angles. All the right messages. But I’m about to go off script.
I hope by sharing some of my screwy ideas, anyone who’s stuck in a rut or about to launch a new business will be inspired and renewed. Here goes nothing.
Bad idea: You DIY a little too much.
I’ll admit it. I’m a do-it-yourselfer. When I was cold after moving to Georgia (I know, I know…but I moved here from southwest Florida), I learned to knit. I laid sod when I was pregnant. I grouted 800 square feet of flooring. For some crazy reason, I tried making my own shampoo (that was a bomb).
When I launched my business earlier this year, I was my own attorney and CPA. I repurposed an old LLC and EIN with a new DBA. And, my husband is about to launch a business, which we planned to roll up under the same LLC.
Badass idea: Consult with experts.
After a few red flags, I hired a corporate lawyer who helped me understand why setting up the business that way was a bad idea. He then helped me navigate out of the murky waters. He also gave me some advice on another issue (trademarking) that I was able to cross off my long to-do list.
With expert help outside of my own expertise, I cleared my uncertain path and put my mind at ease. I had more time and energy to focus on my clients in areas where I’m strong and can make a difference.
Bottom line: don’t try to fill every position in your business, especially when it’s outside your industry. Ask for help where you’re weak to allow you to be a badass _____________(fill-in-the-blank with your specialty).
Bad Idea: You’re “too busy” to spend time with people.
Okay, this is one of the more embarrassing things on the list. I used to consider myself a people person but in recent years, I’ve been shrinking away from human interaction. When I (finally) read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey last year, I learned an ugly truth about myself. The amount of work I could crank out was where I found my value as a person. Colleagues invited me to lunches. Organizations invited me to events. And I skipped everything unless I was absolutely forced to attend. I had some tension with some colleagues because they wanted to socialize with me and I wanted to focus on my work. My brain said the problem was them.
The book made it clear that I put accomplishments before people. While work is good, and too much chit-chat in the office can distract, I had to find balance. And I did for a while.
But old habits die hard. I returned to my old ways when I launched ClearWing Communications. People would say “we should grab lunch!” and I’d scream inside. Out loud, I’d say something asinine like, “Sounds great! Let’s touch base in a few months when things settle down a bit.”
Meanwhile, I was missing out on opportunities and friendship.
Badass idea: Reconnect with who you know and meet new people.
Thank goodness so many good people already had this human stuff figured out, shared their secrets and loved me despite my flaws. I had a successful launch because of people who were willing to spend time sharing a coffee.
I’m so thankful that once I figured out the magic of connecting or reconnecting, people welcomed me with open arms to whichever coffee shop is nearby. (I’m looking at you, Rev Coffee Roasters, The Daily Grind, Chattahoochee Coffee Company, Cool Beans…)
Looking back at my numbers, my prospects to help people grow their businesses grew as I met more people for coffee. More importantly, my quality of life improved because I learned to enjoy the moment and relish time spent learning about someone else.
The takeaway here is “reach out and touch someone.” Shake their hand or even hug (this is the south). Say “yes” to meeting people face-to-face.
Bad Idea: You think maybe you should give up caffeine.
Don’t ever quit the caffeine. Because, you just read through point #2, right?
Badass Idea: Drink caffeine.
Seriously, if coffee’s not your jam, meet people for coffee anyway. I’m not a coffee person myself but magic happens in coffee shops. Learn something new about someone new over a smoothie or a blueberry muffin.
Bad Idea: You think networking events are for getting business.
Do you enjoy hearing blind pitches from salespeople? Me neither.
But when I started networking, there was this pressure to walk into a room, identify someone and sell my services to them. Essentially, I wanted to propose marriage in a speed-dating session.
Frankly, a lot of other people see networking events the same way, which is another reason so many of us dread going to networking events. I’ve been approached by so many people and I’m just not in the market for their services.
Badass Idea: Connect, relate and help others at networking events.
Real networking is about getting to know people and helping them. We all have room to grow. Share your challenges and ask whomever you’re talking with about what they’re facing. Chances are, you might know someone to connect them with and they might have some good advice for you too. Overcoming obstacles together is the basis for a lasting relationship that could bless you and your network for years to come.
I guess you probably realize that to get to know people like this, you have to show up more than once. I’ve heard the frustration of many others with a new business. They attend one event and think it’s a waste of time. But when all of us attend weekly or monthly, we recognize people, help them, form relationships and actually enjoy it.
Bad Idea: You feel like you need to be everything to everyone.
Fifteen years of marketing seems like a good amount of experience. But I still didn’t feel like I was enough. I felt like my new business needed to be a full-service agency. By myself. I felt inadequate. I had a desire. No, that word is not strong enough. I had a sickness that kept me up at night learning every possible thing I thought I needed to know that moment to sell myself.
Badass Idea: Have confidence in what you know.
I woke up and realized clients wanted to work with me because I’m really good at what I know.
This isn’t to say learning new things is bad. But embrace who you already are and what you already know. Let that lead. Learn as you go and as it makes sense rather than pressuring yourself to be everything to everyone.
The truth is, the more specific your niche, the more attractive you are to your ideal client.
Bad Idea: You think you know enough.
Here’s another really embarrassing one. I got too comfortable in my career. I allowed myself to believe that when I wasn’t at work, I should clock out on my personal growth. Work/life balance is so important! But that doesn’t mean I should stop learning.
Badass Idea: Be a sponge.
I was a member of Public Relations Society of America for a number of years, but it was only when I launched my communications firm that I really appreciated the incredible benefits provided to me. Now I’m a sopping wet sponge. I soak in information and best practices from PRSA’s magazine, message boards, panels, seminars and webinars. It adds interest to my life and makes me better at what I do for my clients.
Never stop learning. It makes life more exciting and fulfilling. And, it helps you serve your audience better.
Revive yourself with better ideas
As my ideas went from bad to badass, my new business grew. In my third month, the things I measure to know I’m on track came close to where I wanted to be by month 12. More importantly, I liked myself and my life inside and outside of work more. Pardon the poetics, but the sun is rising on a whole new horizon.
Whether you’re looking to add new energy to your career or you’re about to launch a new business, I hope I inspired you to ditch some bad ideas that are holding you back. Instead, take time for people, learn new things and have faith that you’re enough. When you open yourself to the new, you may just find yourself heading down an unexpected, beautiful path.
Please share any “bad ideas” you’ve transformed over the years for smarter and happier business. I love to learn from others.
ClearWing plug: If you’re launching something new and need communications, marketing or content support, let’s meet for coffee! While I don’t design, develop sites, coach small businesses or offer legal advice, I have an amazing network. (See #4.) So tell me what you’re up to and I’ll see who I know that might be of service to you as you launch. Call 470-240-1861 or email me.