Buckle your star-studded seat belt, because I’ve got the secret sauce to looking like a pro, even when you’re not. The key ingredient? Fake it til you make it, baby.
I am the queen of winging it.
I dropped out of college at age 22, with zero degree, zero savings, and zero experience.
A little spark flared up inside of me that shouted, “Let’s start a design business!” Before the rational side of my brain had a chance to frame its cunning rebuttal, my automatic response was, “Yes! Great idea!” I was starring in my own Herbal Essences commercial, cheesy smile and slow-motion hair flick included.
I swear I wasn’t smoking anything. But I might as well have been. Within a week, I had created my online portfolio and told the world I was capable of creating branding suites, corporate identities, and full-blown websites. Little did they know that I only knew how to do two out of the three of those things and, to be honest, not awfully well.
Entrepreneur is the buzz word of the decade and it’s little wonder. Starting your own business is easier than ever before, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. So what if you’re just starting out? And you’ve got little to no experience, but a fire in your belly and a pocketful of dreams? Don’t let those big doggies talk you out of it. Here’s how to make it happen.
Have the vision
Imagine, for a second, that anything is possible. Now stop imagining, and make it happen, because guess what? Anything really is possible. And the sooner you believe your vision will come true, the sooner your staff and your paying customers will get on board too. Laying down the vision for your brand will keep you and your people on track towards seeing it realized. Have faith in the yet-to-be-seen!
Don’t have a fall-back plan
Everyone has a Plan A. You know the one—the happy ending where everything goes right, you get the smoking hot guy, your business cracks a few million dollars, your skin stays lustrous. Your eyes remain sparkly, you spend your days eating soft blue cheese and crusty fresh sourdough, you drink biodynamic wine with your loved ones in a sunny home on the beach with a pup at your feet and offspring that live happy, healthy, heart-filled lives. Well, that’s my Plan A, anyway. But people bang on about having a Plan B all the time. In my opinion, a fall-back plan is a plan to fall back. As W. Somerset Maugham said, “It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”
Know what you want
If I go to the grocery store without a list, it can go sideways as fast as a toddler in an ice-skating rink; I’ll come home with 90 AAA batteries and gobs of candy. Knowing what you want is a very powerful thing. And, without getting all new-agey on yo’ ass, if you know what you want, then the universe knows what to provide you with.
Hang out with the pros
Some people have a magnetic influence. Shooting stars seem to fly overhead whenever they open their mouths to talk. They have smiles that could light up a suburb and tons of integrity. If we’re a result of the five people we hang out with the most, make a concerted effort to hang out with people you truly admire. Trust me, their shine will rub off on you.
Consistency is the secret weapon you never knew you had. Keep all things consistent—your tone, your visuals, your marketing, your language—and see your people respond with loyalty. They will love the stability you provide and your brand will be stronger and better for it.
Say ‘no’ when you need to
Saying ‘yes’ might seem like the right thing to do. The positive, friendly, polite thing. But saying ‘no’ pays dividends, as it means you are actually prioritizing what to say ‘yes’ to, and, in turn, everything that falls out of the domain can wait. Steve Jobs famously reduced Apple’s range from 350 to 10 products in just two years so he could bring a home run to each, rather than spread himself extra thin. It’s a big one: what you are saying ‘no’ to?
And the final secret?
Do anything for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, year after year, and you’re bound to become reasonably good at it. Work. Your. Ass. Off. The rewards will flow.
This article by Tess Robinson of Smack Bang Designs was originally published on Collective Hub.