#TheStrivenEntrepreneur FB Live Show – EP#6: The 3 Keys To Building an Audience In Your First Year of Business
So your crazy ass decided to get in on this entrepreneurial journey eh?
1) I salute you for your bravery, audacity, passion, and willingness to travel your own path in life
2) Whether you are in the planning stages, just launched, or still in your first year of building your business, there are a list of things you need to hear and know to stay grounded, keep your sanity, be clear on what it is you want out of this, have direction in your business, confidence in your own capabilities, and start building momentum in your business.
Start With Why
From the get go, the most important thing that you can do is identify what is the WHY of your business.
You see, with a clearly defined why it acts as a guiding light in what your brand stands for, what your brand does, who your brand is for, and how you go about doing all of it.
We all know Simon Sinek has made this concept extremely popular and for good reason. There is a reason why people have an emotional and physical connection to Apple as a brand versus the likes of Dell, Acer, or Asus. Their why is so distinct and personified in all of their content, ads, stores, and products. Allowing their audience and customers to not to see their products as just something of functional use but something that they connect with on a deeper level turning them from just a customer to millions of individuals who make Apple as part of their lifestyle.
Isn’t that what we all want?
To have an audience, customers, and fans who don’t just see us as something of use but something much deeper?
We want them to not only be a customer but also to resonate deeply with the content we create, to view our brand and ourselves as someone they are connected too, to engage with & support others within your community of followers, and to make us a part of their lifestyle. We want them to be able to feel our why in every action we take and everything we share out or produce.
When you have this clearly defined WHY the decides exactly HOW you do WHAT you do in your business, it exponentially increases the likelihood of every little action you taking striking the chord within your potential audience that triggers the emotional connection for them to resonate with you.
For example, my why for Striven Life is:
What this does is inform of some critical key points in how I move forward.
1) In order for my brand to be successful and for this why to resonate with others, I have to BE THE BRAND
By this I mean, I also have to be on the continuous journey for self-development, for lifelong learning, growing as an entrepreneur, and documenting the process to be shared with my audience. Why? Because that is the exactly what I believe in, what my brand’s why is all about, and how will anyone connect with it unless what I put out there personifies it?
2) The content I create has to empathize deeply with how my audience feels.
Remember, however corny it may sound to some people, I truly view life, self-development, and entrepreneurship as a journey that never ends. There is always room for improvement, growth, and new ways we can challenge ourselves. The thing is, the path we take in these journeys aren’t easy. They are littered with the usual ups and downs, as well with extreme highs where you feel like you conquered the world and the lowest of lows where you lose all faith in your abilities and capabilities.
So every piece of content HAS to empathize with their struggles to keep whomever consumes my content in the state of mind where they realize that this is just part of the journey, others have been here, others have moved through this struggle, others have grown from these adversities, and I can too.
3) The content I create has to provide them with an actionable takeaway to help them continue moving forward
Whatever the topic of the content is, my audience has to be able to digest the information, feel inspired/motivated, and know what they can do to keep on moving onwards and upwards. By connecting on the emotional level first it will let them know that whatever I am prescribing to do has worked for AT LEAST one other person, how they did it, and the result of that. This way they can put themselves in those shoes and see that if they follow a similar plan of action they too can achieve those results.
4) Whatever it is that I prescribe or suggest others to do in their self-development or in their business, I have to have done it as well.
Why? Because, I need my audience to know that everything I write or say is genuine, authentic, and unapologetically me. They need to know that I have or am going through the exact same things they are. I am right there, standing shoulder to shoulder with them, through the struggles and successes.
So as you see, the WHY is a truly powerful concept. It not only defines your brand, your mission statement, and you as the face of it, but also informs you as to HOW you have to go about doing WHAT you do in your business.
Identify The Brand Persona
Not, not everyone prescribes to the concept of the specific Brand Personas but regardless of if you do or don’t it starts a very important conversation about your brand, the brand identity, and everything that falls under your brand.
I always found it helpful to start off at looking at brand archetypes to start. This doesn’t mean you have to pick one and be only that one thing but it helps to generate ideas as to how your WHY falls into certain types of archetypes to generate an overall brand persona.
There are typically 12 Brand Archetypes that are broken down and discussed. Ranging from The Innocent, The Regular Person, The Explorer, The Sage, The Hero, The Outlaw, The Magician, The Lover, The Jester, The Caregiver, The Creator, and The Ruler.
Each one of these comes with a set of values, goals, characteristics, strengths & weaknesses, and more.
Once you have identified your WHY it is then time to ask yourself, which Archetypes resonates and matches up with most with your WHY.
For myself, I find my brand to be a mixture of The Hero & The Explorer.
The hero archetype fits my brand as I am deep believer in that if there is something that we aspire to be or wish to accomplish there is a way to do it. By taking bold and courageous actions I am able to prove my value as well as continuously improve in order to be stronger, improve upon my skills in order to become an expert, and to be as knowledgeable as possible.
As for the explorer, my WHY tells me that my overall goal in life is to experience more, to learn who we truly are through these experiences, to be unapologetically ourselves, and live a better overall life.
It is through the courageous actions of my exploration for new experiences that I become stronger and seek to attain mastery in certain aspects of life & business. This all aligns directly with what my WHY is and how that WHY informs the HOW of my business. As I continue to explore for mastery in my life and in my business I share it all with my audience empathizing with them on their journey, inspiring them to continue on, and providing the actionable steps to take.
Using The Archetypes To Align Your Business
With clarity on which archetypes apply to your business and the characteristics that come with them, we can start to figure out to align everything within our business from it.
I had managed to go my entire life never realizing there was such a thing as Color Theory. When I first learned about it I was a bit baffled, which probably speaks to my level of artistic ability and understanding.
The thing is, the colors you chose for your brand have the ability to frame how people perceive your brand, what it stands for, and the emotional implications of it all. Therefore, if we want people to resonate with our WHY and perceive our brands in the light of the archetypes we want our brand to personify, it is crucially important to select the colors that represent those characteristics. A resource such as THIS ONE is great for learning more in-depth symbolism for colors to help you.
For example, in my brand, the primary color of use is blue. The reason I selected it was that color theory tells us that blue is symbolical for characteristics such as trust, confidence, truth, wisdom, loyalty, and intelligence. The secondary color that I chose was green as it symbolizes growth, harmony, health, and safety. The third color is white as it is seen to be symbolical of peace, goodness, purity, safety, brilliance, understanding, possibility, sincerity, and the likes.
If you have been following closely, it is clear that these three colors all symbolically represent specific qualities and characteristics that align directly with the brand archetypes that match my brand which are inherently representative of my WHY.
Expressing More Than What We Say Through Fonts
Everything we hit upon when it comes to selecting the right colors also applies to the fonts we select for our brands. Yet another revelation for me back in my beginning of the entrepreneurial journey but now makes complete sense.
Finding, choosing, and pairing fonts for your brand can be difficult and take time. It is the same concept as to colors though, you want a font that demonstrates the characteristics of your brand, that is engaging, readable, and attractive.
If a brand stood for everything rugged, outdoors, and all that is “Manly” you would never see a Script style font with all of the cursive, calligraphy, swirly, fancy looking characters. It just doesn’t match. You would most likely see a very bold, in your face, strong font that resembles that brand’s identity.
Take the time to play around with different fonts, learn about typography, see which fonts match your brand and convey the message you are looking to send to your audience. A 5-step guide to help identify the right fonts as you experiment is extremely helpful as well.
Why The Brand Persona Matters
With a WHY, an architect, our colors, and fonts identified, we are now able to bring something that is vital to our business. You ready?
Consistency in branding is huge. Think of it like our own personal appearance. If every time you and your best friend met up, your best friends face looked a little different, or they were a little shorter, or their type of hair and color changed, it would be a bit confusing and unsettling. Every time you met up with them there would be no consistency in how they looked as a person and would probably be extremely confusing, being slightly unsure as to who it is each time.
This is something we as entrepreneurs cannot afford to have in our businesses. When someone reads our content, watches us on FB Live, sees the images we create, or comes across an ad of ours, there needs to be consistency. With that consistency comes a level of comfort, understanding, and trust. It allows us to have our established brand identity, message, and value to be unquestioned as to whether or not it aligns with our brand identity. In return, our WHY becomes clear not only to ourselves but to our audience which is where the REAL VALUE lays.
The Grind of The Start & Trusting In The Compound Effect
Listen, starting out, getting through the first year of building your brand, building a following, and generating income is a daunting task. If you’re like me, you will grind day in and day out. Not only this, but at times, you will feel like it doesn’t matter, nobody cares what you are saying, no one wants your downloadable content, no one wants your service, or no one wants your course.
Hell, I have been there and it isn’t a great feeling. This is a part of the journey though and here is why that this isn’t the case and we come back to the most important word again:
If your WHY is established, your persona is apparent, brand identity is in place, and all of this is running through your website, your content you create, the emails you send to your list, and the social media platforms you are utilizing, then you are in the right place.
What is left now is that CONSISTENCY. You have to continue to show up, to produce the best content you can, to care for however many followers you have whether it is 5 or 500, to engage with your audience, to solve the problems to your audience’s pain points, to continually be passionate about what you do, and to never stop adding value.
Here is an analogy to explain why:
Let’s say there are three men, similar age, lifestyle, weight, physique and body composition. Man #1 says, you know, I really should be taking care of myself a little more and starts to set the goal of engaging in physical exercise daily. He sets the goal that he will do 1 push up, 1 body weight squat, and 1 sit up a day. Every day he will add another rep of that exercise onto his regiment. So by day 10 he is doing 10 of each exercise.
Man #2 Has always had the goal of doing 50 push ups, 50 squats, and 50 sit ups a day, every day, no changes.
Man #3 doesn’t have any of these revelations or goals. Instead, he proceeds to occasionally pose and flex in the mirror admiring how he looks.
Man #1 will see no difference in his body or weight over the first week or even the first month. He may even go a couple of months before any real noticeable difference occurs.
Man #2 continues on with his regiment and Man #3 is currently taking shirtless selfies.
It is now month #3 and Man #1 is getting discouraged. He looks just slightly better. He has lost a few lbs sure but nothing to be too excited about. He is jealous of Man #2 because he is in much better shape, looks better, is healthier, and has a ton of self-confidence because of it.
As month number 4, 5, and 6 roll around, Man #1 starts to see a DRASTIC difference. Almost like the progress is starting to occur exponentially. He has lost 15 lbs, he feels great, has more energy everyday, and is in the best shape he has been in for the past 5 years. While Man #2 is still chugging away, doing the exact same thing, sitting at the exact same place he was at from the start. And well, Man #3 just pulled something in his bicep trying to flex too hard.
From this shotty graph I attempted to piece together, the example makes sense. Man #1 showed up every day, stepped up to the new challenge every day, and made progress in health, weight, physique, and so on. The impact of his efforts weren’t noticeable for quite some time and still, every day, he would look at Man #2 with jealousy. Saying things like, “I wish I was where they are at” or “What is that they have that I don’t” or “I am not enough” or “I am not capable of that level of success”. But overtime, through consistency, through knowing WHY he wanted it, knowing how he would achieve it, and taking action, Man #1 ends up surpassing Man #2 and achieving exponentially greater success in his endeavor.
In this analogy, we are Man #1 during our first year of starting of our business. We all know the feeling, looking at all of these other successful businesses and entrepreneurs and feeling like there is something wrong with us. That we aren’t capable of it during the hard times.
Man #2 represents something totally different. Man #2 represents the entrepreneurial world and the level of success that we see in ads, in videos, in people’s success stories, in their following, the size of their social media following or FB Group. It is the level of success that when we enter and struggle through this arduous journey, we hope to achieve and continually compare ourselves too.
The thing is, the main thing it takes to reach that level and beyond is consistency from day 1 that runs through the entirety of your brands WHY, it’s persona, identity, the content you produce, the engaging with the audience, the social media content, the email marketing, and so on.
YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP. DAILY. Put in the work. Those efforts, at times, may not seem like they are doing anything, but over time, the efforts compound on top of each other, slowly but surely, pushing you further and further on an upward trajectory to the success you want in your business.
The best way to do this is to set expectations for yourself. How often will you create and publish content? How often will you email your email list? How often are you posting to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest? How often are you engaging with your target audience in places such as facebook groups? How many times a week will you go live on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?
Once you set these expectations, I love to put them somewhere visible where I work to keep me constantly reminded that this is what it takes to see the end result we desire. You are more than capable, you are more than enough, and you can do this, no matter how difficult the journey can be at times, through the hard work, dedication, discipline, and consistency, you will spread the message that you are so passionate about, you will add value to your audience, and they will reciprocate in due time by becoming loyal fans.