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The tough love you need to hear for your business this Valentine's Day

Business isn’t always chocolates and flowers, although wouldn’t it be lovely if it was!

Sometimes we need some tough love to give us the push to do that thing we keep putting off but we know is going to grow our business.

I asked some amazing business owners what piece of tough love they think we all need to hear, or they have needed at some point in their business journey.

Here are their answers! Which one resonates the most with you?

'Your course should focus more on learning than it currently does'

- Vix Meldrew

I get it. You Googled, 'how to create an online course' and probably watched a webinar by one of the big 'course creation expert' hitters and heard you just needed a pack of post its, a way of recording video and somewhere to host it (probably followed by an affiliate link).

But what most course creation experts don't teach you is how to facilitate learning. When you don't build your programs from a perspective of learning, your students don't learn!

We want students in our programs who Rave, Refer and Retain - and to do this we need to focus on designing and delivering engaging programs.

'Consistency is really important in your business'

- Liz Mosley

Here is some tough love for you - consistency is really important in your business.

Now before you panic at that word, (as most people do including me occasionally) consistency is not the same as frequency. It doesn’t mean you have to be doing something constantly to be successful - but it does mean doing something regularly. This can manifest itself in different ways in your business. It could look like showing up consistently on social media so that you can build brand awareness and trust. That doesn’t mean that you have to post every single day, but it does mean that your customers and clients know when to expect that you will show up. Consistency is also really important in your visual branding.

When people see the same visual aspects of your branding (think logo, colour, fonts, images) over and over again they start to recognise it, trust it and connect with it. Those are all so important when it comes to building a loyal customer or fan base for your business.

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of all this? Well here is my top tip. Be realistic about what you can achieve (and this is where you need to be really honest about what you CAN do rather than what you would like to do) and then actually do it. There is no point aiming for 2 social media posts a day if you can only stick with that for a week and then you burn out. It's much better to do 3 posts a week and be able to keep going with that over a long period of time. When you show up consistently in your business and share what you do amazing things can happen!

'Please stop trying to find more reasons not to Do the Work'

- Maddy Shine

Download her guide on how to tell Google you exist here!

Roses are red, violets are blue,

this visibility queen has some advice for you.

Please stop trying to find more reasons not to Do the Work.

We've all said it to ourselves in one way or another - I can't be visible until.. (insert reason here). What you're waiting for is a time when you won't make mistakes. What you're waiting for is permission to go for it. But who will you listen to that will give that permission? You started out on your own and now you need to show your wonderful talents to the world.

I heartily encourage you to make mistakes, to loosen that tight grip of control to make The Perfect Content (because you can't nail jelly to the ceiling). Allow yourself room to evolve but you can only do this if you actually get out there and #JustHitPublish.

'Stop focussing on tasks that are not helping you move your business forward'

- Beth Lavin

If you know that your enquiries come through your website and Google, why are you concentrating on creating Instagram content? Figure out where your clients/customers are searching for you/your product and put the majority of your efforts into these channels. Then if you have time, you can do the filler stuff. Or non-work related tasks like bake a cake or visit a pal because that’s more fun!

Also, you need to stop putting off that thing that you know you desperately need to do but keep avoiding for whatever reason. For me, it was changing my website host. I had put it off for months even though I needed to change as it was getting really expensive and I was limited on website storage. I finally actioned the switch to a new host and my website was migrated in a couple of hours. And I didn’t have to do anything. I’ve now got unlimited storage and saved £££. “Why didn’t I do it sooner?!” I found myself thinking.

Fear. Feel the fear and do it anyway. And get your shit done. ☺

'Show your working out'

- Arti Joshi

Do you remember when you were at school and your teacher would tell you to "show your working out"? They reasoned that if you're sitting a maths exam, for example, the examiner would want to know how you arrived at your answer, not just see the final answer. The benefit of doing this was that even if your answer was wrong, you could still be awarded points for how you got there. They wanted to be involved in your journey. That was just as important to them.

How does this apply to you and your business? Well, you'd be forgiven for thinking that nobody's interested in your journey with your business and only interested in the final product or service, especially with all the "perfection" flaunted around on social media. But that's simply not true.

Now more than ever, people are increasingly drawn to story-driven companies. They want to know where their products and services are coming from before investing. They want to feel connected to them.

So please don't wait to be the "perfect" finished article before you start sharing about yourself and your business. People are craving to see things and people that are real now more than ever.

'There is no right way to run your business'

- Yvie Ormsby

No matter what anyone (oh hello social media) says, there is no right way to run your business. I'm serious! There is no magic answer or secret trick that will make it instantly work out – which isn't what people usually want to hear but it's true!

There are certainly tips and advice you can find and people who can help you along the way, but no-one can tell you exactly how to run your business in a way that feels good, looks good, and does good for you. Ultimately, you absolutely CAN be successful running your business any way you want and this will only strengthen your brand.

Take this as your permission slip (and rallying cry!) to think about what you REALLY want your business to feel like, lean into all the unique details that make you you, and create a brand that stands out by being 100% aligned with your goals, lifestyle and values.

'You need to be prepared to show up and make an effort every single week'

- Sian Childs

Working for yourself isn't easy and although I wouldn't change it for the world (I love being my own boss too much!), one lesson I quickly learnt being self-employed is that you need to be prepared to show up and make an effort every single week. Even on days I'm not feeling it, with a client-facing job such as mine I need to be prepared to be a positive, motivated and energetic person in order to keep my clients happy and returning for more.

Showing up regularly in person and online, as well as being the supportive and empathetic coach they hired me for is so important. I chose to set up my own business and even though I have my own tough days sometimes, I always remind myself what a privilege it is to do what I do - for myself.

I'm not saying you can't ever be negative (that's just part of being human!) but I tell myself regularly that it's up to me to make my business work, so I don't let myself dwell or moan about something for long. If I don't like it, I change it and I keep showing up.

'Say no to distractions'

- Vicky McDonald

The best form of self care is knuckling down, saying no to distractions (be it people, activities or things you don’t really want to do) and focussing on the nitty gritty jobs that you dislike and put off.

It lifts the world off your shoulders and clears the way for the fun stuff.

'Everyone can find 10 minutes a day to promote their business'

- Hannah Isted

Marketing, just like Valentine’s Day, doesn’t always need to be a big display.

Marketing your business can be small, meaningful tasks that you do each day out of habit. Like bringing your partner a cup of tea in the morning, or sending out a newsletter every Sunday!

Make a habit of creating a daily marketing task.

My tough love message for you is to find the time to promote your business. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to come up with something new and creative each day, just tell us about what you do.

A post that takes you 10 minutes is better than sharing nothing at all. We can all find 10 minutes to talk about our business, whether it’s when the kettle is boiling or an idea before bed at night.

Notice those little pockets of time and try to fill them with something quick and easy to promote your business instead of scrolling!

And there we have it! I hope this has given you a boost of motivation. This Valentine's Day give yourself permission to do the thing for your business you know will help you move forward.

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