Joni makes hardy fabric bags to go on the back of your car seat for the storage of your business notebooks and folders, pens and your cell phone. It is like a car briefcase. She makes them in black. Her main source of income comes from her dance costume design and production. The problem with her main focus is that it is seasonal. She needs something to run with when her main business is down.
When visiting with her, she mentioned her briefcase bags in passing. In her mind, they are a hobby, not a main source of income. They are really inexpensive to make, thoughtfully done and she has a market ready to buy. I suggested she scale this ‘hobby’ up and start selling them to her target market and on eBay, Pinterest and Amazon. I also wonder aloud what would happen if she start making them in trendy colors for a larger, different demographic? She seemed surprised at first, and then I watched the lights go on!
Sitting right in front of her all along was the answer to her problem and she couldn’t see it. She needed to see her business through someone else’s eyes. I think we all have that problem. We have the answers but sometimes it takes a coach, a friend or a mentor to talk to us and draw the answers out. When we are so close to our products or our business, we can’t see outside the box.
- Find a friend or a mentor you respect and who you will listen to. Pick carefully. It is hard to find someone who will guide you without guile or jealousy. I have found the best mentors or coaches are people who are already successful and who don’t need to prove themselves to anyone. Look for someone who really cares about you, who is excited for you and who is creative.
- Just as important as finding the right person, is being the right person. Sadly, I have seen people chasing success but are unwilling to listen or take advice. When confronted with an honest critic, they become combative or stop listening. The attitude of, “This is my business hence I know better than you,” is failure walking. They run around looking for the answers and never listen. The spiral they create always faces downward.
- Believe in yourself. If your mentor believes in you so much they are willing to give their precious time to guide you, they must see something there. You may need to walk in the light of their faith for a while, but as you see your business through their eyes and more opportunities to succeed that were not clear before, your confidence will grow.
- Look at all the options. A good check list could be, is there a way to tweak the product I have to match another demographic? Could I create a platform that would increase sales? I am set up to go in another direction with a new product? Would improving my processes bring in more money and save time?
- One of my favorite thoughts is, “What if….?” Asking positive ‘what if’ questions opens our subconscious to the world of possibilities and gears our mind toward success. ‘What if’ there is a better, different way to do what you do that would bring in more income? ‘What if’ is powerful when used in the right way.
Joni has started making her bags and reaching out to her target market. She already has a line of people who want her product and her second stream of income may soon overtake her old one!