We all want success and success for life. While success has many definitions, let's narrow it down to a few things that most independent businesses and professionals agree on. Predictable quality of life supported by a constant flow of opportunities, good relationships, work-life balance, and a sense of freedom that we are headed in the right direction and we are part of something that's valuable.
We begin in right earnest. We know some rules of the game. Some of us play well. Some of us play to our strengths and some of us skillfully exemplify our strengths. When we are young, we are full of energy. We are going at everything with gusto. We have been successful as a freelancer. We are getting visibility on LinkedIn, Instagram.
Opportunities are flying in thick and fast. We are doing amazing work. We are getting great testimonials and we are getting a lot of attention. Most of it right. And this leads us to think we can do it all. We feel like heroes.
Heros are part of folklore. From spider man to Thanos, we all feel like we need to be superheroes at one point in time or the other. Yet, being a hero is a slippery slope. It is a lesson most smart people learn late in their life.
Success, which feels so natural when you're a Hero starts slipping away as you progress in life. The attention that you are getting, the business that you are converting will all start falling if you don't develop a system. Even the most accomplished Heroes and celebrities have a system.
They have agents who land them the right roles, open the right doors, get them into the right projects. They have attorneys who screen their proposals and accountants who ensure their finances are managed well. You might be wondering, what this has got to do with you. I am just a freelancer or small online business and I don't earn like a Celebrity and don't need all of that stuff.
But the World is not a constant place. It is ever-evolving. One small change in the algorithm or one small government action can lead to huge repercussions. You need to look no further than TikTok being banned in India. TikTok's ban resulted in thousands of influencers and businesses losing their followers. Twitter is in controversy right now and if it ends up being banned, millions of people will see their business affected.
No matter how big a hero you are, surviving big and small waves requires a system. You can have a business a lot bigger than what you have right now if you know how to build a system around you. Your energies, your thoughts, and times will not always be the same. If you build a system early on in your life, success will be a tag that you will have forever. So, what are the components of a successful system?
1. A Network of relationships
One of the most crucial aspects of a good system is a network of relationships. These have to go beyond one social network or one tech platform. You should choose a platform that allows you to build your own independent following and relationships and helps you take them offline and outside the platform. Further, you need to keep your network warm and supported. This does not mean you are constantly bombarding them with updates but offering value that is relevant to them. And most of all, supporting this with technology
2. Your work showcased- automatically
Do you build visibility for your work thru a system or are mostly reactive? Most heroes are about building their personal brand. They are the face of the brand, they are the face of success, they are the face of their work but nothing wins more than work in the long run. Most professionals and businesses are so short term oriented and are so self-obsessed that they build visibility about them more than their work. This creates personal visibility but little visibility for the work.
For a content writer who is visible, this may temporarily mean more enquiries but very little stable high growth, high calibre business. The best way is to build visibility to your work - automatically, without you having to share your work in response to an enquiry but the potential client discovering it on their own. When this visibility of work is combined with balanced personal branding, magic happens. The client puts two and two together and you automatically grow in stature. Your inbox is going to be full of "relevant" enquiries
3. Mining past customers
One of the best-kept secrets in business is referrals and also the cheapest way to get business. Most businesses and professionals who have been in business for some time already have a roster of buyers and clients that they can tap into.
They have not built systems or loops where they can stay in touch with them, offer them some small goodies once in a while, make it easy for them to provide testimonials and build it all into one viral loop. Instead, they are constantly focused on attracting newer clients or customers thru advertising, marketing and other traditional methods.
The best businesses and professionals grow exponentially by mining their past customers. And they make it easy for every new customer to be part of their network.
4. Attracting business while asleep
The Famous Director and Actor Woody Allen once said " 50% of Success in life is showing up". For the online world, it would be - 50% of Success Online is building a presence that makes it easy for your clients and customers to buy from you with as little effort as possible.
Most average professionals and businesses that are used to manually onboarding clients think their business is one-of-a-kind that needs manual intervention. It requires them to price each product or order differently, manage each manually, etc., There are some businesses where each order may be unique but its mostly lazy thinking. A review of their overall business will reveal that 80% of the business could be standard and automated buyer loops established if only the business or professional took the trouble to identify the patterns and put out the standard options.
When this is done, you can establish standard buying flows and make it super easy for potential clients or customers to buy from you. You will be picking up new business while you sleep.
5. A repeatable loop
We have all used products where the instructions are :" For Best Results, Rinse and Repeat". This applies to any system. When you have implemented tools, technology that does the following:
a. Showcases your work without your effort (Your Work)
b. Showcases what your past customers say about you (Testimonials)
c. Showcases your buying loops (Online Store or Profile)
d. Showcases your story and helps manage client complaints/feedback
e. Helps you focus on what you do best - delivering the best product or service to your client while everything else is automated
and these work in a loop for almost every order and almost every client, you are the real hero because your system works for you as opposed to the other way round. You will win because of the system. After all, who wants to keep working the basics forever?