In this week’s episode of SUCCESS Line, our conversation goes global. I talk to Quine, a young entrepreneur in the Philippines who was formerly a certified public accountant and auditor. Now, he is trying to build a motivational speaking brand—a path I just so happen to know quite well.
Like many of our SUCCESS readers, Quine has big dreams for his business, but he is struggling to see the path out of obscurity and wondering how to build credibility at a young age. Throughout our conversation, I help Quine translate his youthful exuberance into actionable steps he can take toward building the unique business of his dreams.
Ready to build your own brand or business? Read on for my top four tips to get you started.
1. Allow yourself to dream.
The first step toward realizing any goal is allowing yourself to dream it.
Many young entrepreneurs like Quine start out their career with a beautiful vision of their dreams. Over time, however, they allow negative self-talk to seep in and crush all hope of their dream coming true.
In order to succeed, you have to momentarily put aside the self-doubts and critiques and let your mind wander toward that crazy dream you’ve been too afraid to say out loud. Can you see it yet? The more you allow yourself to visualize the fantasy of your dream—even for a fraction of a second—the more you will see and take action toward the possibility of it coming true.
2. Narrow your niche.
At Brand Builders Group, we’ve developed a concept we call “Sheehan’s Wall.” It refers to the invisible wall that separates unknown entrepreneurs from the well-established thought leaders in any given field. New entrepreneurs often try to break through the wall by throwing everything and anything they have at it—constantly launching new products, new services and new branding. This enthusiasm comes with a catch: a diluted focus yields diluted results. You’ll never break down that wall if you spread yourself too thin.
What yields power is focus—the sun’s rays filtered through a magnifying glass create fire. In order to break through Sheehan’s wall, you must figure out what your magnifying glass is: You need to narrow your niche. What is the one small area you can become an expert on? What specific problem can you solve for others?
Identify your niche and put in the work to become an expert in it. Once you do this, you will no longer need to fight through a crowd in order to knock down the wall; you can simply walk right up and crush it.
3. Find your uniqueness.
Identifying your niche is often easier said than done. My shortcut? You are most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were.
Your uniqueness lives at the intersection of whom you are called to be in the future and whom you have been in the past. If you can figure out where your passion, education and experience align, then you have found your niche.
For Quine, we discovered that he is uniquely positioned to serve as an expert in productivity by speaking to the organizational systems he used in his former career as a CPA. Are there problems you’ve had to overcome in your own career? Questions you’ve answered? What are you uniquely positioned to teach because you’ve lived through it?
4. Build a digital network.
Toward the end of our conversation, Quine asked a question that has been on the mind of many entrepreneurs over the last year: How does one network in this increasingly digital world?
To that I have two answers. The first is to engage with the content of individuals you admire. People notice those who comment on their posts or retweet their articles. If you’re a fan of someone’s work online, tell them. The best way to build a network is by supporting the work of the people you want to know.
My second answer is to start a podcast. I get it—there are more than 1 million podcasts in the world and you may feel it’s too late for you to enter the market. But you’re wrong. Podcasting is a tremendously powerful vehicle for networking. Even if your podcast doesn’t make money or build a large audience, the value of networking that comes from podcasting is still worthwhile. With a podcast, you have the opportunity to offer a media platform to influential figures, opening doors that would otherwise remain locked shut.
This is the power of digital networking for entrepreneurs: to make accessible what once was not. Comment on a post, send a direct message and start a podcast—your network is simply waiting to be built.
Dreams are the fuel of entrepreneurship. But without actionable steps, a dream can quickly die. Let yourself dream, then do the work to make your greatest visions come to life.