Just as the Biblical Commandments are meant to guide us in serving God, these Commandments are meant to guide us in serving our purpose. After all, your purpose is why you started on the entrepreneurial path, right? It’s your own unique expression of divinity!
With my brand being all about doing things your own way, you might wonder why I am promoting “commandments.” Doesn’t that sound like rules? Isn’t that quite counterintuitive to my message of defying odds and being a disruptor?
The 10 commandments I’ve listed below are about the foundational blocks or key principles and essence of a successful business. They are WHAT makes a successful business… but not HOW to be one.
Because that “HOW” depends on you!
1. Know where you’re going with your business
There is a big difference between being in entrepreneurship (which the chinese term 創業 translates as “creating something new”) and doing business.
Doing business is simply having a transaction with someone which may or may not lead to further engagement. Being an entrepreneur, on the other hand, is about making your mark on an industry, or even creating an entire industry of your own.
If you want your business to thrive, it is key to have a clear picture of where you want your business to be (as opposed to just thinking of what offer to put out and how to “make bank”). Where do you want to be in a year? Five years? Ten? What’s the legacy you wish to create?
When you only think short term, you will always be re-inventing yourself and you’ll always be chasing after the next sale. You may end up burnt out and unmotivated, forgetting WHY you went into business in the first place, or worse– giving up on what could be because of the overwhelm. Knowing where you’re going in the long-term, however, will keep you on a direct path to your purpose.
2. Stay in alignment
Why exactly DID you go into business, by the way?
What is the PASSION that drives you? What is the CHANGE you want to make in this world? What is it that you absolutely LOVE about what you do? Keep that at the forefront of all the projects and tasks you take on.
One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to set boundaries for yourself and say No to clients and projects that don’t align with the love and passion behind your business. It can be tempting, especially in the beginning, to take on things that are less than joyful. Maybe it’s out of obligation, or out of desperation, or simply because you haven’t yet figured out your niche.
Figure it out.
You don’t have to know all the nooks and crannies of your niche right away, but it helps to have some kind of guidelines for yourself. Know what you enjoy. Know who you want to work with. Decline anything that doesn’t fit, and choose (or create) the ones that really light you up.
3. Honor your limits
Far too many entrepreneurs suffer from burnout because they take on too much.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) can drag you down with an over-full schedule just as much as it can with misaligned endeavors. Just as it’s important to know your ideal projects and clients, it’s also crucial to know your current capacity… and not just “what you’re able to take on,” but “what you’re able to take on and still have time for rest and recreation.”
If you’re early on in your business, your capacity will not be at the same place as someone who’s been in the game for years. You will have tighter limits. Prioritize where your time and energy are going, and funnel them toward the tasks that will best move you forward.
As your business grows, so will your capacity. Your limits will stretch. You’ll be able to do more because you’ll better understand how you prefer to show up, how you can function optimally, and what can be done either by automation or by someone else.
4. Take things at your own pace
I like to say that there is no need to rush if you know where you’re going. Like the tortoise and the hare, it’s about going “slow and steady” toward your destination rather than diving in haphazard and without focus.
It’s easy to get excited with a million ideas and plans, and I know you want to “do all the things,” but you’ll never reach your bright and shiny goals without a plan to get there. Just because so-and-so is going live twice a day every day, or hosting live workshops with hundreds of attendees, or [insert other big business action] doesn’t mean you have to be doing that, too—not at all, or maybe just not right now.
Ask yourself what the first step is that you need to take to get where you want to go, starting with where you are today, in this very moment. Take that step, and go from there.
5. Focus on creation and not consumption
Unlike the tortoise and the hare, however, business is not a race… so stop comparing yourself to everyone else’s websites, branding, content and approach. You are unique and so are your offers… so why keep religiously following / purchasing / mimicking others’ work when YOU could be setting the next trend?
Creation is an internal process. The greatest creators often block out everything else in order to channel what they want to express, whether in art, music, research, or innovation. They give themselves space to nurture their brilliance and let it grow, blossom, and bear fruit.
When you keep consuming, you are overloading your senses with more and more outside information which disrupts or takes you away from the purity of the creative process. So when you want to deliver something different and be the game-changer, give yourself some space to go within so you can hear what your heart wants to say.
You can refer to other people’s work—to see how they market, how they present their ideas—but don’t spend too much time trying to be somebody else… not even the next Oprah or Gary Vee or Elon Musk.
Because there is only one of them.
And there is only one of you.
Related: Your Creation Isn’t Yours Alone
What does your CQ (CEO Quotient) have to say about you?
Want to open a business?
Want to hire a team?
Want to scale your operations?
Successful business people have a high CQ, embodying the ten key traits of a powerhouse CEO.
6. Price your offers and services fairly—for both you and the customer
Pricing is a tricky aspect of doing business. On one hand, you want to price your offer “right,” but on the other hand, you want to also maximize your profit margin. How do you find the balance?
First, identify what you’re selling. Is it a product, a service, an experience, or a perspective? What are the greater, more far-reaching benefits your clients will experience?
Second, ask yourself what you want to charge. See how comfortable you are with that amount by checking for any physical sensations or emotions that arise.
Third, survey your audience… but not IF they are willing to pay what you want to charge. Ask them WHY they would pay it.
And finally, tweak your offer (if necessary) based on the feedback, and roll it out at your chosen price point. By doing this, you are meeting your audience on middle ground as well as using language that they can understand.
Remember: pricing isn’t how much the offer is “actually worth.” It’s the perceived value of the offer.
Are you selling what you have to offer?
C’mon, I mean actively selling! Not just offering a “preview” of what you do, and then hoping clients will come knocking down your door. We’re talking about creating a whole “commerce culture” around your business:
Do you talk about what you do?
Are you reaching out to people?
Making connections, making offers?
People are flooded with information in this day and age, so it’s important that you engage your people on a regular basis in a way that reaches them. Show them that you understand their pains. Illustrate how you can alleviate those pains. And because they’ve probably seen a dozen similar offers through other posts and ads, it’s up to you to take that step, reach out, and Make. That. Offer.
It doesn’t have to feel icky. It’s an act of service. You’re not being pushy or manipulative or false—you’re extending a hand and saying, “I have this offer that can probably help you if you’d like to give it a try. Let me make your life easier.”
You’re doing no one any favors by playing small or hiding your brilliance. Not yourself, and certainly not the people out there who need what you have to offer. They are waiting for you, so stop hiding and start selling! You’re worth more than a corner in the shadows. You know it, and your audience is ready to know it, too.
So start making offers.
Related: Want More Sales? Sell the Message.
Start reaching out to people who’ve shown interest in you, and listen to why they’re connecting with you.
Then invite them to work with you. Show them (in your own ways) how you can help them: how you can ease their problem, how you can guide them through where they are now, and where they can potentially be.
8. Celebrate progress vs seeking perfection
If you hold up a piece of white paper, and put a small black dot in any part of that white paper, there is a big chance that when you look at it you’ll only focus on the black dot. That’s because humans are trained to see what’s different or what stands out… and perceive it as “bad.”
The same goes for your business. Imagine your business as that white paper: you have a lot of things going “right,” but then because you get caught up on a black dot or two, you end up only seeing what’s going “wrong.”
Maybe you only made seven sales of your newest offer, but you forget that you only sold two of your previous offer. Or maybe your latest course isn’t as fleshed-out as you’d like, but you forget how much material it does contain. Remember: you can always create a 2.0 of whatever your latest offer is, but if you don’t get it out there, make a few sales, get some feedback… what’s the point of creating it in the first place?!?
As a result of this “black dot” fixation, you end up frustrated about everything. You start doubting your abilities, feeling upset that you’re not “getting ahead,” and comparing yourself to your peers.
What you’re missing is how much you’ve progressed! And the fact that you’re still making progress, and can always make more progress. It’s all forward motion, my friend.
9. Embrace ALL of “You”
We’re no longer living in a world that demands perfectionism, expertise, and specialization. Gone are the days that people expect to see their idols always in makeup. These days what the market wants is humanity, emotions, and rawness.
The market enjoys seeing public figures in their PJs, or breastfeeding (like New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden), or just waking up with wild bed-head, or doing the dishes, or not knowing how to operate their phones or go live.
When you allow yourself to show all sides of You, to express your multi-faceted layers, you are giving your audience more to connect with… and inspiring them to allow themselves to shine all of their parts and pieces.
People, or the market, want to see YOU. All of you. And with the #WFH (work from home) trend that’s most likely the normal we’ll be seeing until 2024, everyone can relate to juggling blended roles of parent, CEO, home chef, pet-sitter, and/or tired human all while on a two-hour conference call.
So embrace all of who you are. Your quirks, your passions, your oopsies, your mundane moments of everyday life… these make you relatable and will draw your ideal audience to you. And when they get to see these pieces of You, they’ll embrace you, too.
10. Prioritize gratitude
You don’t spend your days in a stark little cubicle, pushing papers and answering to “The Man.” You don’t waste away handling other people’s problems for a meager paycheck.
You’re doing what you LOVE!!
Sure, some days it’s not smooth sailing. Sure, it’s not the easiest path to take. But you get to fulfill your passion and purpose, and you get to do it YOUR way.
So when you get tired…
… remember what really matters.
Remember that it’s not just your business and income that are your own. It’s your LIFE that’s your own. So find gratitude for the fact that you make the rules, you set the boundaries, and you create the world in which you want to live.
If that doesn’t get you back on your feet with fire in your heart, I don’t know what will.
In the end…
… it’s really all about what you want out of your entrepreneurial endeavor.
You TAKE CHARGE of what you want from this venture of yours. This is why you’ve chosen this path, isn’t it? Instead of a cushy job with a cushy title, you want to be in control of your own destiny.
EASY isn’t for you.
EVOLVED is your choice.
EXPANDED is your desire.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP is your journey.
Just remember that these Commandments aren’t hard and fast rules to restrict you. They simply give you a structure to work from, a blueprint, an outline, and from there you can fill it in with all your dreams, ideas, and aspirations.
Use them as the foundation for the empire you’re building.
And then leverage your empire to make this world a better place, in whatever way fulfills your soul.