…clarity in business and in life comes from knowing where I've been, where I'm going, and what I value on the days that tragedy strikes…
It’s a great read.
So what question did Liz ask us at the end of her post? Well, it’s a goodie…
What do YOU wish for your business when it grows up?
Have you ever thought about it that way? Have you ever considered that your business, like your life, goes through stages of development?
A mastermind partner asked me a few months ago where on the human development scale I considered my business. I told him that my business was in its late twenties.
Having been a web designer for more than decade, I’ve certainly grown from infancy and toddlerhood. About 4 years ago, I’d say, my business was in its early teens – where I was growing out of just being a child and now taking on greater responsibility.
That’s also the time I was transitioning from being just a website designer to a full-spectrum, web-based business developer. And that’s what really brought my business into its latter teenage years. Now, rather than just building websites for my clients, I began teaching them how to use their websites to actually grow their business. That was a huge step in my development – just as our teenage years are.
I’d say it’s about two years ago, as I began doing more consulting, coaching and teaching – without necessarily building a website – that I entered my early twenties. Now, I had some direction and was branching out into something new, yet I was a bit raw in my approach.
Then along comes blogging and social media. Having been someone who built a successful business simply from growing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships, it was natural to take to blogging. But the rate my business has expanded has been a surprise. It’s changing rapidly. That’s why I say my business is in its late twenties – time of the Saturn Return (I just wish there was a better name for it).
As my business prepares become thirty, I continue to refine what it is I can do most best for my clients. I’m a fine web designer and a pretty good coder – and I’ll continue to build websites for the foreseeable future.
Yet anyone I speak with quickly learns that my real talents are in consulting with, coaching and teaching my clients how to use the web to meet their business needs. After all, what good is having a website or a blog if it’s not producing results for you? What’s worse is what’s the point in spending lots of money for a beautiful design that gets you little or no return.
What I’ve found is that while most people have or want a website, few really know how to use it to grow their business. They buy a site, or put up a blog on TypePad, write some copy and wait. But there’s more to do – more to understand – than just putting out a website. That’s where I can help.
So how will this mature? Or in Liz’s question – what do I wish from my business when it grows up?
If I look backward from the future, I’ll have taught countless businesses how to use the internet and social media to engage in conversations with their target market that lead to mutually beneficial relationship and increased profits. While my focus market has been solopreneurs who are ready for a large increase in business, I’ve also helped a variety of larger companies create strategies for building stronger relationships with their customers.
Personally, I do most of my work by phone or computer (or whatever cool new device Apple creates) which has given me ample time to be a good husband and a very hands-on father. I have traveled a bit for work, though not too much and I often take one of my kids with me so they can see what I do (okay, really for more bonding time).
My home life is relaxing and gentle. I often begin my days with a brisk hike in the mountains behind our home or a paddle in the lake a few miles away. And more than anything, I have a nice separation between my home life and my office life. Though we do take longer vacations from time to time when I work a few hours while we’re away just to keep my clients moving forward.
I don’t see myself ever really retiring. Though at some point I’ll likely decrease the number of clients I work with at any one time. I’ve worked hard and made a nice, comfortable amount of money, but I haven’t sacrificed my family nor recreation to get there. Looks like I just found the next evolution of my business…
…Back to today, I do have a blog design to finish for a client who’s wants to hire me for the next six months as her blog coach. See how this all begins?
So, my question to Liz (and to you) is:
How can social media/blogging help businesses stayï¿½ customer-centered?
If you got this far in reading, I’d love to carry on this conversation in the comment box. I’ll kick it off, and please join me.ï¿½