Last month, I launched Small Town Leadership 2.0. This business / passion project / baby I birthed in 2016 was maturing to a place where my DIY website and graphic design skills couldn’t serve it any longer, so I chose to call in the professionals. This re-brand also coincided with taking a course with Dorie Clark, who literally wrote the book on reinvention (check out Reinventing You). Taking the course while simultaneously rebranding Small Town Leadership has led to the following lessons. Take a look and think about how these lessons apply to you, too.
1) Even solopreneurs need a team – Everyday in my 9-to-5, I lead and work with teams. Working with a team on my own brand was an entirely different experience. In my case, I pulled together a cross-functional group who operated on text streams, email chains and late evening phone calls. While the whole team operated independently from one another, they show up united through this new look. Many thanks to Carolyn (graphic designer), Jeff (web designer), Aaron (photographer) and Billy (videographer)!
Where are you pulling together informal teams in your life? What leadership lessons are you learning along the way?
2) Know who you serve and why you are doing the work – I had my initial meeting with the graphic designer last February. I thought the work would be as simple as picking a few colors and looking through some logo options. I could not have been more wrong. Nearly 11 months later, not only do I have a color palate, logos and marks, but I also have a re-imagined vision of who I serve. If you check out the coaching page of my website, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Doing this work, particularly with Jeff, my web designer, required me to think clearly about who I was serving and what problem I was trying to solve.
When do you find yourself jumping right to a list of action items versus slowing down and taking in the big picture? What benefits could you gain from slowing down?
3) Be patient (and realistic) – Per #2, this project took time. While doing this work, I read Brené Brown’s latest book Dare to Lead. In one of the sections, she describes that she is a terrible underestimator of time. What she thinks should take 4 hours might take 8; 6 weeks takes 12. This project taught me that about myself as well. What I thought would be a 30-60 or 90-day venture spanned nearly a year.
How good are you at estimating time? Do you have a built-in project management brain and can measure tasks to the minute? Or do you suffer from some of the “time optimism” that I have?
4) Start somewhere and keep going – I could have done nothing with Small Town Leadership over the past year. Let it ride. Kept it DIY. After talking with a lot of entrepreneurs, especially my fellow classmates in Dorie’s course, they’ve all commented that there is a sweet spot between 2-3 years of running a business. It’s the time when people either decide to throw in the towel or take it to the next level. Stay stagnant or go for growth. Based on the types of conversations I have, the email exchanges I engage in, and the clients I am working with compared to life pre-Small Town Leadership, I’m all in. Rebranding required me to start somewhere and keep going.
Where are you on a path toward going all in?
Where are you trying to rebrand or reinvent yourself? Which of the lessons above applies most to you?
What steps can you take today to move in the direction you want to go?