What Does Hot Buttered Rum Have to do With Business?
It is so cold outside! You feel it in the deepest parts of your body. You can imagine curling up in front of a warm fire, with your warmest robe, cozy slippers, furry pets at your feet, and a nice steaming mug of hot buttered rum. If you've had hot buttered rum, then you know that it is this magically delicious amalgamation of spiced rum, butter, brown sugar, spices and maybe a secret ingredient or two.
Everyone has their own version. If you look at the various recipes out there, they all seem similar to each other. A few tweaks here or there. How hard can it be to make? Follow a few simple guidelines and POW, you have a warm, tasty treat!
Akkkk....what happened!!! Your version of this drink tastes like cinnamon water. How did this go so horribly wrong? You thought you were following the directions. Did you miss something? Maybe you are being too hard on yourself. You put so much thought and effort (not to mention the money you spent on booze) into it, you can just drink through it, right?
Does this sound familiar?
Are you still wondering what hot buttered rum has to do with business? Or perhaps, you see exactly where this is going. Following a recipe, no matter how clearly it is laid out, and no matter that it is a recipe by the top "chefs" of the business, does not mean you will be successful. Somewhere along the way, you have to bring your own flair to the effort. More importantly, everything requires a little practice.
Remember how I introduced you to my friend Fretful Fred? He is going crazy right now! He has been following his trusty mentor Yoda's advice to the letter and things just don't seem to be working. He can't get people to his website, he can't get a good email list going, he just feels like a failure. He wants to know what he can do to make all the time and money he put into his construction business seem worthwhile.
Fretful Fred expresses his frustration to Yoda. Yoda tells Fred, "Recipes are a guideline, the rest is up to you. You must listen intently to what the experts are telling you (including those that seem irrelevant) but create your own version. Your version is what will let you shine brighter than those around you. Let me give you some guidelines on how you might do that."
1. Find Your Niche - This is essentially the same thing as finding your focus. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to solve everyone's problem. No one can solve everyone's problem. You must figure out what your biggest strength is and focus on how you will use that to help solve your customer's problem. That doesn't mean you must choose ONE thing but you should narrow your focus down to a pretty defined area. In the short run, this may seem a little scary because you are cutting yourself out of various business opportunities, but in the long run, your focus will gain a more sturdy and loyal set of followers. Mike Allton does a great job of explaining this in his article "Are You Focused?"
2. Practice, Practice, Practice - This doesn't just apply to sports or music. This applies to everything in life. Something that works for someone else may not work for you the same way. The more you practice anything, the more you will see how you can make things work to your benefit and what works for you. Seems logical, right? Test it out a few times and you will see what starts to work for you.
3. Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone - Comfort is the drug of complacency. Do you know what happens when you get addicted to drugs? You let yourself believe that you are living the best life you can live. You accept that you have already achieved your best. You trick yourself into believing that you are better looking, smarter and more awesome than everyone else. Guess what?? You are not! The awesome people out there....they are constantly changing and improving themselves. There is no end to their progress. They are on a continual path to progress. It is extremely uncomfortable but the most rewarding thing you will ever experience!
Time for a laugh break....Check out this hilarious video from Tripp and Tyler. They really know something about creating a niche!
4. Don't Fake It - This is a little redundant with #1 above but is important enough to explain. Can you imagine Neil Patel trying to pull off Gary Vaynerchuk's gig? Maybe you would love to pull off a super loud, obnoxious, super confident, smart-ass demeanor but you may not be one of those people. It's like online dating. If you show a picture of someone else that is better looking, at some point they are going to ask for a date and realize that what you sold them isn't you. Everyone has their strengths. Play on yours and embrace it.
5. Find a Cheerleader Not An Ass-Kisser - Everyone likes someone on their side. An ass-kisser is useless. They make you feel good. They make you feel COMFORTABLE (see where I'm going with this)? Find someone that will be your best supporter but also isn't afraid to tell you how you can do it better. There are a lot of structured ways to find a great mentor but often the best mentors find you. You will know it when it happens. In the meantime, find a critical friend to bounce ideas off once in a while.
6. Never Stop Learning - Things change so rapidly. What you learned last year might already be useless. There is no excuse for not keeping up. There are so many forms of free education online from e-books to videos, to webinars, to certified classes. It is amazing how many things you can learn if you are willing to just put in a little bit of time. Find a schedule/practice that suits you. Set aside an amount of time each day (or week) where you will educate yourself. Hubspot offers some great free online classes. The certification that you get will be good for a year.
Fretful Fred realized that his attitude so far has been all wrong. He expressed his appreciation to Yoda, "You have shown me the path to success. How can I ever repay you?"
“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Hot Buttered Rum Recipe: