“The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.”
The most vulnerable thing you can do in your life is to stop and check your motives.
Many of you reading this are into internet marketing. I know that because I’m watching the twitter following I’m getting and my bet is that many of you are wanting to help me market my new blog. “Fishing” for business so to speak. Perhaps that is something we can talk about at some point but not at the expense of the message I believe I’m supposed to be communicating here today.
The old adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” is still a true (though cleché) lesson to remember. Today I want to help you consider how to put the soul back in your business.
Learning from my wife
My wife is a professional family and baby photographer. You can see the website we are building for her at rebeccakellyphotography.com. It is still a work in progress, but you can get an idea of the quality of her work by visiting her there or on Facebook.
The reason why I want to talk about my wife here today is because of the way she has grown her following. I believe there are a few lessons we can all take from her wisdom as she has done a phenomenal job of keeping her business from losing its soul.
Before I get started, I must share with you something about her business that not many people know. Several families she has dealt with over the past year or two have been through personal tragedy, heartfelt loss, and death of family members. Because of their experiences with her, they now have pictures of their family members that will last with them forever. After yesterday’s post, I was looking through some of her pictures and found a few of the most beautiful, meaningful moments I have ever encountered with people, caught on camera. Before I talk to you about “marketing” or building your “business”, I must begin by saying that I have seen with my own eyes how fragile the human condition is and how much these stories matter.
In addition to the meaningful moments we have had the privilege of sharing with people, I have watched as her business following has grown on Facebook to 1800+ likes in about four years with no marketing, no business cards, no advertising, and no website. (That may not seem like a ton of people, but for us it’s pretty good.) The only actual “marketing” she has ever done has been posting her stuff on Facebook. Her clients love her work, but most of all, they just love her. I want to share with you some tips that I learned from her that you may want to model in your business.
So here are a few things I think that will help you put the soul back into your business:
- Begin with the right heart. Time and time again I see the people affected by my wife’s gift and I have to say, her business has a lot of heart. We have had families going through suffering who have benefited greatly from dealing with a photographer who actually cares about them as people before she cares about them as clients. Start off with a heart that cares about people.
- Doing the right thing goes a long way. When faced with obstacles and setbacks in her business, she always thinks about the customers feelings first. It’s easy to get so bogged down in the “business” side of what you do that you forget to treat people with the dignity they deserve to be treated with. If you make a mistake, own up to it and communicate that to your clients. Having a moral compass and just doing the right thing goes a long way.
- Always put out a quality service or product. Building a business with soul requires dedication, perseverance, and making sure that you keep putting out the same or better quality for the people who are paying for your services or products. I’ve woken up many nights to find my wife up late putting her best efforts into providing a quality product for the people she’s done pics for. Taking her time and sacrificing some personal comfort to offer people something quality makes all the difference in the world. Within reason make those personal sacrifices. Just because you can slack off or cut corners, doesn’t mean you should.
- Accomodate people who are difficult customers. Nothing says your business has no soul like only taking on business from people you get along with. There have often been clients who, for whatever reason have been difficult to deal with. But recognizing that everyone has a story and everyone matters means dealing with the human element with grace in your business. They may be paying you money and they may be demanding, but at the end of the day, everyone just wants to know that somebody cares about them as human being.
- Always keep learning. None of us have arrived yet. We are on a journey and the process of learning new ways to do what we do matters just as much as the end result. My wife shows me daily that she wants to get better at what she does. And it shows in the quality of her work and the quantity of her adoring fans.
That’s about it for today. If you’ve read this today and realize that your business is a bit soulstuck, comment on this post and let me know how I can encourage you that all is not lost. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to lift your head and think differently. You just have to create something better.
Let’s get this conversation started.
How have you benefited from leading your business from your heart instead of your wallet?