It takes real effort to create a squad (clique, sphere of influence, tribe… whatever you want to call it) that provides real support, guidance and motivation. In fact, I believe that we have to be intentional in forming connections, that inspire and motivate us towards our goals. Most of the time, we want to bring our current circle of friends with us.
The word collaboration can mean different things to different people. In fact, mention it to a group and you may get a few different responses. Some will think of business meetings, while others will instantly think of people getting together to do something great – I prefer the latter.
Collaboration actually means both of these things and more. On a smaller, more personal scale, it means connecting with others to develop an idea, launch a new business, or expand each other’s influence. Within your own personal pursuits – side hustle or entrepreneurial venture – this type of focused partnership can be a valuable and effective resource, not just for building relationships or expanding your reach, it can also be an awesome accountability tool to keep you focused and on track.
Collaboration is a strategy that allows you to start something new by leveraging the abilities and influence of others
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, sooner or later you’ll need to create or resell a product of your own. If you’ve never created a product, don’t let this be an overwhelming idea. Keep it simple at first. Your product may be as simple as a digital item (think: ebook, printables, online courses… etc), a service (think: freelance writing or consulting), or even a physical product that you design or inspire.
You’ll need to spend some time thinking about the type of product that you want to offer. Make sure that it compliments your current or future brand and then start planning your product development strategy. Here’s where the fun comes in… well, not really. But, here are a few simple things to consider before you jump head first into creating your product!
Before you start creating the first product idea that comes to mind, you want to make sure that there is a consumer need for your product. Not all good ideas turn into profitable products. The last thing you want to happen is for you to invest time and energy into developing a product only to find that there’s no market for it. The last thing you want to do is to go out on a limb with a completely new idea with no impetus behind it to do so.
You may want to start by surveying your target market. Asking friends, family, and colleagues for feedback on your general idea (never give out too many details). What you really want to know before designing a product is if there is enough desire or need for the type of product that you’re considering, to make it worth your while to create it.
Know Your Market
It’s not enough to have several people give you the thumbs up on your idea. That reassurance only serves to show that you’re on the right track and that there’s interest in your idea. But wait! Don’t run out and start producing just yet.
You need to know who your target market is, with precision. And not the general: 25-42 yr old college-educated woman that works out regularly and watches reality tv. Nope. That’s not going to cut it. In fact, you need to know your ideal target market down to the type of music they prefer and what type of food they like to eat. Trust me, when it comes time to build your brand and start funneling money to advertising, you’ll be glad that you did this process on the front end.
Why is this important?
It’s important because when you truly understand your target market, you can create marketing that speaks to them in a way that they understand and respond to. Your marketing goes from salesy scripts to communication that resonates with your potential customer. They will feel connected to your brand because you’re speaking their language and they feel understood.
When You’re Ready to Start Marketing
Marketing begins the moment you start exploring your idea and concept and never ends. Even when you start actually designing the product it’self you’ll need to be concerned about the message that the even the packaging conveys. Is your book cover interesting? Does it attract attention? Are your bottle labels truly representative of your brand message? Do the colors on your packaging offensive? …you get the point.
When you get to this point in the process, the more you know about how the visual aesthetic of your branding, marketing pieces, and packaging affect your target audience, the better. You want to be creative but not over the top. Learn more here about successful packaging that sells.
No matter where you are in the process, stop and do your research. Validate that your idea is a concept that others need and are willing to buy. Pinpoint your target market… down to the smallest detail. And never disregard the power of your branding, your brand message, and your packaging. The goal is not just to spend time, energy and money producing a product that you think others will love – you want to actually profit from it!
Building a personal brand is to an entrepreneur what a resume is to a recent college grad… it’s priceless. Branding yourself, gives you the opportunity to tell the world your story, in your own way. It also provides the ability to let others know what you’re working on and what you’ve achieved. Initially, it may seem a little vain to flaunt your accomplishments, skills, and talents – but creating a dynamic story around who you are and who you are aiming to become is essential in this uber-connected and over-exposed world that we live in.
Branding yourself, gives you the opportunity to tell the world your story, in your own way.
One of my friends recently asked me what my biggest pet peeve was? Completely caught me off guard. It took me a moment to answer, because honestly, I’m not easily frazzled and there aren’t many things that get under my skin… especially those that don’t directly involve me. But if I’m being transparent, my number one pet peeve has to be complaining. It’s something that I have a really hard time accepting; because I know with certainty, that each of us has the ability to change any situation, that is not what we want it to be.
Don’t get me wrong. No one should ever have an opinion on how you spend your time. It doesn’t matter if you binge watch Netflix every weekend, or if you spend countless hours gossiping on the phone with a friend. It’s no one’s business but yours. It’s when, that’s what you’re doing with all of your time – and you’re genuinely confused about why you’re not walking in your purpose, making the money that you believe you deserve, and creating the life of your dreams… that’s when it’s time for a reality check.