For a long time now, I’ve been employing the philosophy that was my mother-in-law’s favorite; make the best of what you have. I’ve been amazed at the power of using this in my personal life.[bctt tweet=”When you make the best of what you have, something even better comes. It’s like magic!” username=”@maggieshayne”]
I was planning the Wednesday post for my CoffeeHouse Blog about how to apply this to everyday life, and it occurred to me that the same powerful, transformative magic of this could be applied to business, as well.
Why and How Does it Work?
So let’s cover the science of this first. Why does it work? It’s simple Law of Attraction (which is like the Law of Gravity, a physical law, not a moral or ethical principle.) LOA simply states that like attracts like. When we have something in our lives we consider not good enough, not valuable enough, not shiny enough, it can never become more for us. We can only see more of the same. That’s the signal we’re emitting. We’ve tuned our radio dial to LACK-FM, so we can only hear the music being played on that station.
When we start “appreciating” what we have, we change the channel. One of the definitions of the word appreciate is “to increase in value.” So say we have a crappy car and can’t afford a new one. Say we decide to make the best of what we have. So we spend some time on our car. We clean it inside and out, which costs nothing. We add air fresheners in our favorite scents and splurge on seat covers. We get it a tuneup and repair the biggest problems. We start to fall in love with our car. Its value to us has increased. We’ve stopped seeing it as a piece of junk. We’re almost going to be sad to see it go when the new car becomes part of our reality. And that’s when it does. (This is a true story that happened to me.)
So this works because it helps you tune your radio dial from the channel playing “Crappy-crap-I-hate” to the one playing “Things I love and cherish.” And because what you focus on is drawn to you, everything around you has to change too.
How Do I Apply This to My Business?
The best place to begin is in the very place that you’ve been bitching about the most. Is it your website? Your puny number of Facebook followers or newsletter subscribers? Your post reach? Sales of a particular title or series? Your cover art?
Pick the thing that you would change first if you only had the money to do it. Which area of your business would you improve first? That’s the one to focus on.
Take that area, and begin to improve it right now, today with the resources you already have.
Is it Your Website?
Freshen it up with some new graphics. You can buy them very cheaply at Shutterstock.com, Dreamstime.com, 123RF.com, and many other stock photo sites. WordPress has a ton of free themes you can use to pretty things up, and there are dozens of plugins you can add. Websites shouldn’t be too busy. When you give visitors too many options, they get confused and don’t pick any of them. Decide what you want them to focus on this week or this month and put that front and center. Add a blog to your website. Start paying attention to it. Update it weekly. Make it fun. Fall in love with it. Within a couple months of doing this religiously, you’ll find the funding to have a whole new site designed for you by a professional. Because loving your website will attract to you a website you’l love even more.
Is it Your Facebook Reach?
Make your own funny, quirky memes with the free app Wordswag, which you can download to your phone or tablet from the app store. The images are free or you can use transparent backgrounds. Post one or two a week to your FB page, and watch the shares, likes, and comments shoot upward.
Create two slightly different advertisements or pieces of cover art, post them both together and ask readers which one they prefer. Your engagement rate will go through the roof.
Make use of the tools & insights Facebook provides to determine the peak traffic hours among your followers, and use the scheduling tool to set up a post or two to go out during those times every single day.
Pay attention to what engages your followers, and do more to if. Have fun with it, and it will grow.
Is is a Project or Series that's Gone Comatose?
Do a full polish from start to finish. A stale or aging piece can be new again with a fresh polish, and this need not take more than 10 days.
Freshen up the covers. It’s an investment, but it can make all the difference in the world. Likewise, rewrite the blurbs and book descriptions which get stale over time.
Make sure it’s effectively listed at all retailers where it’s being sold. Books on Amazon for example, can have a series landing page with a simple email to AuthorCentral.
Make sure your series name and number are correct, consistent, and on every book in the series. For example, if I put “Texas Brands,” on one book and “The Texas Brands” on another, and “The Texas Brand Series” on a third, they won’t list as parts of the same series.
Create a series flash or logo for your website and cover art.
Put fat juicy excerpts up everywhere you can.
Make a Facebook ad.
Make a video trailer.
Make the first book free for a period of time, and advertise it to boost sales of the sequels.
Is it Your Workspace?
Maybe you’re just wishing for a place to work that makes you feel like a successful entrepreneur. For some of us, running a business from the kitchen table while leaning over the keyboard to protect it from spilled cereal bowls, doesn’t feel exactly, um, professional.
So create a wonderful workspace out of what you already have! This can be the most fun project of all. I converted an upstairs bedroom to be my office. Originally it had an old, old metal desk with a fake wood laminate top that was peeling in places, and a kitchen chair. The artwork on the walls was all my book covers in dollar store picture frames. The more pretty I made it, the more me I made it, the more things came to me. A new desk, an actual office chair, signed and numbered artwork on canvas, hardwood bookcases, etc.
Just this week I set up an old screen tent outside so I could enjoy the beautiful weather and get my pages done at the same time. Eventually, I’m going to have a gazebo built, and a stone patio and a garden around it. It might be another year before we can even begin. But why wait? Why not make all that come faster, by creating my own little outside paradise with what I already have on hand? I draped sheer fabric from the corners of that old screen tent, hung wind chimes on each side, put an incense burner in there, and my patio table and chairs, sans the umbrella. I found a couple strings of solar lights I had in the closet, and strung those around the frame to glow like fireflies at nighttime. I call it my princess castle. I’m heading out there as soon as I finish this blog post to meditate and then write my pages for the day.
Is it Your Readership?
We all look at our readers, and think we need more. We look at our Facebook and Twitter followers and think we need more. We look at our newsletter and blog subscribers and think we need more. We look at our book sales and we’re sure we need more.
But why not focus first on making the most of the following we already have?
How do we do that? We do things to make them happy. Here are some of mine.
- I write weekly posts here on the Bliss Blog that can help them improve their businesses.
- I write weekly posts on the CoffeeHouse Blog that can help them improve their lives.
- I make video trailers for my books because my readers love them. They are never profitable, but they’re fun for readers, so I keep doing them.
- I make the first books of most series free, and try to keep my prices on extremely affordable.
- I run contests several times a year with really nice prizes to thank my readers.
- I try to never send a newsletter without at least one and usually several freebies inside.
- I share parts of my personal life and photos on Facebook.
- I have a constant stream of positive, uplifting tweets running on Twitter.
- I make myself available and respond quickly to my readers via email, FB messages and tweets.
- I always take time to give uplifting encouragement and guidance to those who ask.
When I did a reader survey recently, I found that my readers’ demographics very closely match my own. They’re my age, and they care about a lot of the same things I care about. I realized that by sharing myself with them, my very thoughts about the very things that impact all of us, we could connect more deeply.
Get to know your tribe, and meet them where they live, and share yourself with them.
I Promise This Works
No matter what it is you’re wanting to replace or improve in your life or business, this method will work for you. Start looking at what you already have, and making it the very very best it can be, and before you know it, new and improved versions will appear in your life just like magic.
Please share your methods, thoughts, and ideas for making the best out of the things you currently have in your life or biz in comments so we can all try them out!