She Provided A Great Example of Bitch Vs Authentic Eccentricities
I know you know the first rule in business- be nice. So, I want to start by making it perfectly clear that I didn’t use the ‘B’ word, she did. And so, she serves as a great example of what not to do to try to have an authentic business. Today we’ll look at what it means to have an authentic business and an example of an inauthentic person and an authentic business woman.
An authentic business is really all about your being inspired, passionate and, as I heard it described in a podcast talking about blogging today, your being border-line obsessed. That is because you have to have your eyes on the prize. For some, the prize for having their own business is money- tons of it. For others it is getting to eat, live and breath the topic they are border-line obsessed about. Still for others it is having the ability to run the business as you think is best and get to set your own schedule and rules.
It is important to identify what it is that you are after in having your own authentic business. As anyone who has worked on a business knows, you can’t really be in it just for the money because only borderline obsession will allow you to keep at your business through the trials and tribulations – which are endless.
No, instead you need to be able to focus on a different kind of prize. You need to know why you are doing your business and the doing of it needs to be fulfilling. At that point, it becomes authentic because it just is who you are. The (hopefully not) lack of money, the long hours and dealing with things like your bookkeeping then become tolerable. On the other hand, if you don’t really love what you do, then you can’t help but get weighed down by all of the things you need to do for your business that have nothing to do with your business, like setting up your tax id, entertaining a client you know can’t afford you but you extend every courtesy to anyway because they are in tight with a larger client and being yelled at by a self-proclaimed bitch.
Sitting Having Coffee & Then Being Bitched-Out
I have a new Accounts Manager, someone that we are having head up our client accounts. Because she is training, I accompanied her to interview the landlord for a client’s blog. Her original interview had been missed by my last writer, leaving a bad first impression. I’d apologized and tried numerous times, via email and phone calls, to re-schedule. Finally, a week and a half later she answered the phone and set the time and date to meet at a coffee shop where she’d take my writer close by to her home for the interview.
Odd, I thought, to meet in the coffee shop when neither party knew what the other looked like…
Needless to say, at ten minutes after, my writer called inquiring about the appointment. The interviewee had been outside the door, so we greeted one another and the two of them went off for the interview.
Next thing I know, my phone rings and my writer wants me to come to the house because the woman is mad and my writer is feeling uncomfortable. I join them and the interviewee expresses her frustration at our not having waited at the first table or right inside the door. I apologize and apologize and try to offer a solution – let’s not take more of your time and get right to the interview.
Fifteen minutes later and after she’s said that she feels like she’s coming off as a bitch (her word, not mine) because she’s yelling at people she’s never met before, I decide that we’ve been polite, apologetic and we’re done.
Here’s what I want you to notice – She said she was so busy that she couldn’t believe we were wasting her time, despite the fact that she was wasted all this time yelling. I understand that she was mad, and I’d apologized that she’d had such a bad impression of us, despite the fact that I’ve never met someone at the door or first table of a coffee shop, especially when it wasn’t mentioned or agreed upon.
You need to have your eyes on the prize. I did not like being yelled at. It was as though I was being chastised, as was my manager, for not reading her mind and meeting in the right place. We were even yelled at for calling her. Clearly she was going to be unhappy no matter what we said or did. Her focus was nothing more than complaining and blaming. We all have bad days, but this is not the ingredients for an authentic business. Your reputation and your own day can only be tarnished when you are willing to allow complaining, anger and blame to be more important to you than the purpose of your business.
A timid woman walks into our office, a potential client. She is quiet and soft-spoken, but comes around to telling us about her eccentric semi-obsession of Jewish and biblical archetype women, which she writes about and uses as the focus of her pastel art.
What a niche! I think to myself. She has been focused this way for years. I would have never thought of looking for a book or art like this- but it is clear that this is authentically her. She is border-line obsessed, because she writes and creates art on this topic all of the time. She lectures on her work and is so focused upon it. It is a labor of love, no doubt. I see some of her pieces and I’m moved. These pieces stir your soul and she is inspiring, up-lifting.
It is evident that she does well-enough, but isn’t making more money than she knows what to do with. She lights up when she speaks about the way people respond to her work and about lecturing and sharing the images of these biblical women- that is her pay-off. She wants to make money, sure, we all need to have money; but she’s after something more. It is evident that she’s not set off so easily because she is focused on her passion and if anything is going to get in the way of her passion, she’ll simply remove it and go right back to her work. Simple, very simple. She does what she does and that is why she is vibrant about her work and a pleasure to talk with.
While being nice is not a requirement of a successful authentic business, it helps. But that’s not the magic that attracts people to your work. We have another two clients who left their first careers in order to create their art full-time. One has two of his own galleries and is represented by another handful of galleries. The second is in galleries in some of the hottest art markets in the country and people love to see his art on Facebook. Needless to say, they see the ability to grow in their careers, but they already are successful. People are attracted to their art, liking and often commenting like crazy. Why? Because they too are border-line obsessed and when you like something so much that you’d pay someone to let you do it, then nothing will bring you down: not an appointment at a coffee shop or a less illustrious paycheck – because you can’t buy that kind of borderline obsession. You’re just born with it and, if you don’t already know what your authentic obsession is, you just need to look deeper into yourself. And you must, because nothing else will make you happy, despite the business bitches that we all encounter.