My latest book Crushing It! explores which social media platform you should select to create a pillar of content that supports your business, but even a well-designed pillar will fall if it isn’t set in a solid base. What usually hamstrings entrepreneurs isn’t merely the mistakes they make when executing their vision, but the mistakes they make before they even get started. While it can be hard to pinpoint why some influencers build attractive, lucrative personal brands that succeed beyond their wildest expectations, it’s not hard to figure out why so many who attempt to do it fail. In general, it’s because they’re putting their energies into the wrong things. They care, but not enough about what really matters. And what really matters is a pretty short list: intent, authenticity, passion, patience, speed, work and attention.
In business, the how matters, of course, but the why matters just as much. Maybe more. Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?
- To share your knowledge?
- To help people?
- To build something that leaves a legacy?
- To make a good income to give yourself and your family financial security and breathing room? To have fun with a creative outlet?
- To create community?
All of these are great reasons for building a business and becoming an influencer.
Notice what isn’t on the list?
With entrepreneurship becoming so trendy, a lot of people are calling themselves entrepreneurs who really aren’t. They should call themselves wantrepreneurs instead, and I wish they’d do this before they ruin the reputation of real entrepreneurs the same way unscrupulous brokers ruined how some feel about real estate agents or the way ambulance chasers and media hounds tarnished our opinion of lawyers. (And I wish they’d rename themselves before they waste a lot of time and potentially money). I promise you that getting into this game for the gold is the quickest path to long-term failure. When your intent is coming from the wrong place, customers may still do business with you if they have no other option (an increasingly rare situation), but they won’t tell others to. By definition, an influencer engenders positive word of mouth. If you don’t care enough to induce others to rave about you, all you’re doing is holding a spot for someone who really does care, the one who will waltz in and displace you.