This post, “How to Launch a Business Everyone Thinks You Shouldn’t” was first featured in Entrepreneur.com.
Have you ever had a business idea everyone thought was a bad one? Where friends, family and everyone around you said, “Don’t do it”?
Where, despite the naysayers, deep down, you still felt it was right for you?
That was me before I launched my business. The controversy was over my tagline, “Create an orgasmically joyful life & business.” (By the way, my business had nothing to do with sex.)
In fact, if you actually look up “orgasmic” in the dictionary, the definition is “very enjoyable or exciting.” And that fits my business, which helps people transition out of their day jobs to create lives and businesses they are truly excited to wake up to.
Over and over, however, my friends, family and colleagues told me the tagline was too risky. They said people would think I was a sex coach. I chose not to listen to them. When everyone else thought the tagline was a bad idea, I chose to listen to my inner voice instead. Here’s how (and why) you can do the same with your idea.
1. Remember that passion is not a detail
I wanted to share my passion with the world, and to do that, my tagline needed to reflect my true personality. After all, if I felt the need to hide my true self, how could I coach others to live their truth?
Gay Hendricks, in his book The Big Leap, refers to people’s zone of genius. The zone of genius is that thing you can do all day long and love so much that you would do it even if you didn’t get paid. That’s what coaching is for me. I want to guide as many people as possible to find their area of genius. That’s my passion, and when I started my business, that passion needed to be front and center.
Passion, after all, is the foundation for launching a successful business when everyone thinks you shouldn’t. Don’t let that spark become a detail. Let it shine, brightly.
2. March to the beat of your own drum
There are a gazillion businesses out there. You need to differentiate yourself, to highlight what makes you and your business special.
The only way to truly differentiate yourself, though, is to infuse your values, purpose and truth into all aspects of your business. My three core values are “real,” “brave” and “fun.” I felt that my tagline truly expressed them.
The only true difference in your business and marketing is you. So, march to the beat of your own drum. Be brave. Bring your difference, your brilliance, out in your marketing. As the great actress Meryl Streep once said, “What makes you different or weird — that is your strength.”
If others tell you it’s too risky, too “out there,” too weird? Remember,that is actually your greatest advantage.
3. Be a ‘beacon of light’
Once you are clear on your passion and who you are, and you’ve aligned your marketing that way, you need to be a constant beacon of light. Meaning: You must continuously shine your light, your message, from your heart. That’s how people will know what you do, where you are and how to reach you.
My tagline was my beacon of light. It shone the truth of who I am and what I do. So, do the same: Let your initial idea speak to you. If you consistently shine it through your branding and marketing, it will speak to others as well, and draw them to you and to your business.
Remember that not everyone is your client, and that’s okay. Marketing that tries to speak to everyone ends up speaking to no one. Keep your beacon of light aligned with your values and passion, and you will attract clients who resonate with your message.
I followed these three points myself; and, guess what, I created a six-figure business in under six months.
Why it worked
My tagline created curiosity. It’s different. It stands out. It’s brave. It’s fun. It’s me. People want to learn more. With this tagline, I attracted great prospects who turned into amazing clients. Clients I love to work with.
Either someone loves what I put out there and resonates with my message, or they don’t. If they don’t, they don’t contact me, so I don’t spend time with people who are not a good fit.
For all of the fear people tried to instill in me about “what others might think,” I got only one email from a person who clearly could not see that “orgasmically joyful” was and is about being super excited about your life — and not about sex. Clearly, that person was not a good fit for my business. And that was okay, too. To build a business you truly love, you need clients you truly love working with. Don’t worry about the people who don’t get it. They are simply not your market.
I’m now more than three years into my business. I can tell you that when you share your initial idea with people, most will tell you it’s a bad idea. When they see it working, they will say how lucky you are and want to know how you did it.
In Carmine Gallo’s book, Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs talks about how he dropped out of college, then dropped into a calligraphy class. That class fueled his area of genius. It is what influenced Apple’s designs. And it was definitely not about luck. It was about following that voice inside you telling you where to go.
Always follow your heart. If you feel passionate about what you are doing, if you march to the beat of your own drum, if you do what you feel is right, what is aligned with your values and purpose — and you shine your beacon of light — you will launch and build a successful business that everyone thinks you “shouldn’t.”
Here is to you being the CEO of your life!