You’re scheduled to perform a free concert for about five hundred people in an armed forces community. You’ve traveled quite a distance for this concert and you’re excited to have such a good sized audience.
A few hours before the show, a massive snow storm rolls through.
The snow piled up so fast that most people can’t get out of their house, let alone drive anywhere.
When you step on stage, instead of five hundred people, there are ten people in the audience.
Your opening act went on but only halfheartedly played. They probably felt like it was a waste to expend too much energy playing for free for just a few people.
What would you do?
It would be so easy to say ‘forget it’.
What’s the point of playing for ten people?
That’s not what this performer did though.
He stepped on stage and said to the audience “Well, I am disappointed that there’s so few of you here, but I want to thank YOU for being here. I have a new song I want to play for you. I hope you like it.”
He proceeded to belt out ‘What’s New Pussycat” like there were a thousand people watching. That singer was, of course, Tom Jones.
I heard that story more than five years ago when we interviewed Jim Randel, author of the Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur.
Jim was in that audience of 10.
I think about that story all the time. It doesn’t matter if there is one person or thousands of people reading what you write or hearing what you say, it’s a privilege to have an audience.
It’s not about you or what you stand to gain, it’s about what you can do for them.
That’s the first lesson to think your way to success – it’s not about YOU. It’s about your audience (or, your client).
It would have been so easy to cancel the show or do a halfhearted job like his opening act, but I think Tom Jones respected his audience (And probably loved what he did) too much to do that.
He didn’t perform for himself. He performed for the people who made it to the show despite a massive snow storm.
You have something awesome and exciting to share with other people. You can help make their life better, and you can create your ideal typical day doing it. You can feel fulfilled and feel like you matter.
You can do this FOR yourself but by turning your focus onto what others gain, you’ll find everything happens a lot easier and you’ll feel a lot less nervous about being judged or making a mistake. You’ll also realize that ten people is better than nobody.
As you focus on others, you’ll also be in a better position to recognize the real value that you bring to the table – and see where you need to add to it. That’s the second lesson to think your way to success.
YOU are Your Competitive Advantage
What is the big difference between most businesses that compete against each other? Let’s take restaurants as an example. What is the difference between two Greek restaurants? Sure – location and ambiance can be different. The menu may have slightly different choices, but the big difference is going to be in the people who serve you and cook your meals. Same with hair stylists. It’s not that the hair products are REALLY that different from salon to salon. It’s all in the person who is using those products to get you a style and cut that’s right for you.
Every person on your team needs to be exceptional at what they do. If you’re an entrepreneur and you have a small team, or no team, that means your success will depend entirely on how YOU perform relative to your competition. That’s your competitive advantage.
When you fully realize this, you’ll think differently. You’ll realize how critical it is to manage your energy, become known for your expertise and continuously seek personal growth and education. You’re also more likely to value yourself and the service you offer higher. That’s the third lesson.
You’re Not a Commodity – So Don’t Price Your Services Like they Are
Years ago, in my real estate training company, I had a membership site charging $37/month. I priced it low to attract as many people as I could. I delivered thousands of dollars of value thinking that I would delight and help so many people with this service.
It wasn’t a bad source of recurring revenue as I had about 150 members, but I was giving massive value to people who didn’t appreciate it. Members were constantly complaining, asking for more and needing technical support. I thought by keeping the price low, I could help a lot more people. But the right people weren’t in the group.
I realized that it was a bit like my husband’s Mom and her gym membership. She’s had a membership to the same gym for the fifteen years I’ve known Dave, and I am pretty sure she hasn’t been once. It’s just so cheap that she doesn’t want to cancel it. She doesn’t use it, but it’s cheap, so she has it.
Some people might think that’s a good business model but I’m not doing what I do just to get people on the hook for a recurring income. I want people to see results and create a life they are excited about! That’s the fun part.
I don’t want people in my group because it’s cheap. I want the people who have a problem that is important enough to them that they will invest in a solution and then take action to solve it.
So, I shut the membership group down.
As I charged more for my training and coaching I found that each new program attracted people who were a better fit than the one before. Each year the people took more action and got better results. As people got better results, other people took notice and contacted me for help. That wasn’t happening before because few people took action when the price was so low.
It was an important lesson for me. Charging more meant that I was helping fewer people but I was helping the right people – and helping them in a much deeper way so as to have a greater impact in their lives.
This applies to what you accept in a salary too. You will not be appreciated as much if you make minimum wage as you do if you’re making six figures, even if you’re doing the same job. It’s the same with the things you own. If something is low cost you don’t care about it – you dismiss it saying ‘oh it’s cheap don’t worry about it.’ If it’s expensive you take care of it, treasure it and value it even more than it’s worth.
It’s much easier to compete on quality than it is to compete on cost. Make sure you’ve got an incredible competitive advantage in yourself and your team and charge accordingly. It’s much easier to compete on quality than it is on cost. Plus, when you aren’t pricing yourself like a commodity you’ll probably find your business grows more organically with the right people using your service and telling others too.
Make sense? Next lesson …
You Get What You Focus On
One of the most interesting challenges I faced when I was learning to ride was the fact that I had to focus my attention on where I wanted to go, not the things I wanted to avoid.
For example, on a narrow trail where there would be a stump or a big rock, I had to train myself to look past it and find the path to ride around it.
The key is to keep your focus on where you’re going – not the obstacle you must avoid.
The second you take your eyes off the path and look at that obstacle … guess what?
You’re heading straight into that darn thing.
You get what you focus on.
If you focus on an awesome website, you’ll get an awesome website. The problem is that your website being awesome does very little for you if you’re not sending traffic to it, clearly laying out what someone needs to do when they get there and measuring it all.
Your website doesn’t have to be expensive. It needs to be effective.
I recently had a coaching call with a woman who had wanted to raise some capital for some real estate deals. She sheepishly admitted that she’d only had four face to face meetings with people who could help her. Her goal was ten.
She quickly justified why it was probably ok that she’d only had four. She had a lot of good sounding excuses.
I had to deliver the news she didn’t want to hear.
“It is ok … as long as you are ok with not reaching your goals.”
And that is the bottom line.
I won’t sugar coat it for you because that gets you nowhere. You get what you focus on. And the best thing to focus on is the thing that you need to do that WILL get you the results you need.
Make sure the people sitting at your table don’t let you get away with excusing yourself. You don’t have to pay for a coach to get a little tough love, but you DO need that in your life. We need someone who cares about us who says “Is that really the best you can do?” because almost always the answer is NO – you’ve got more to give. Which leads me into the final lesson for thinking your way to success:
Make Success the ONLY Result
Only you know the answer.
This is part of thinking well.
It is way to easy to self-justify and excuse yourself from doing the hard work that must be done.
Bottom line – remember the words of Zoe Winters, ‘there is no short cut to awesome.’ Remember, YOU are your competitive advantage and it’s time to treat yourself with that kind of value. When you realize that you’re the most valuable asset in your business, you’re probably going to hire that virtual assistant to take admin tasks off your plate. You’ll stop wasting energy and time on things that don’t get you results, and most of all, you’ll think yourself into some seriously incredible success.
See you at the top.
1st Image Credit: © Matilda Rudec | Dreamstime.com
2nd Image Credit: © Alphaspirit | Dreamstime.com
3rd Image Credit: Julie Broad
4th Image: © Uptall | Dreamstime.com