Lifestyle entrepreneur Ryan Lee knows what it takes to create a successful small business. He went from working as a physical education teacher in the South Bronx, New York, to building the world’s first sports training membership website in 2001. He has been self-employed ever since. Lee now helms FREEDYM, a website that features training resources and case studies so anyone from personal trainers to lawyers can have tips and tools for successfully growing their businesses.
One of the keys to running a successful business? Be authentic and true to yourself. Here are Lee’s tips for remaining authentic at every stage of growth:
1. Don’t feel as if you need to curse or have a beard because that seems “authentic.” Do whatever feels most natural to you.
3. Share your losses as often as you share your wins.
4. Tell people what you stand for. Don’t be afraid to draw a line in the sand and ask, “Are you with me?”
5. Always tell the truth.
6. Accept that there will always be people who don’t like you.
7. Open up and talk about things outside of your business. Do you have children? Love the ’80s? People do business with people, not faceless companies.
8. Market like you’re speaking to one person. Be as conversational as possible.
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among other publications. When she's not writing, she can usually be found drinking matcha tea into excess, traveling somewhere new with her husband or surfing Etsy late into the night.