I got an email from Ashley D last week asking this question. And I also had a health epiphany from working with my dermatologist which relates to the same subject - so I figured it's time to address both in one fell swoop.
Are you ready to have your mind blown to bits? (Don't say no and cramp my style, OK?)
Okay - story time.
So, a few years back, I was in a very stressful job + relationship - which led me to develop serious hormonal imbalances. I'm talking anxiety, severe acne, depressive bouts, insane amounts of crying kinda stress. The kinda stress that permanently elevates your heart beat. Terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad stress.
As someone who has always loved natural remedies (yes, I'm hippie AF) - I turned to my incredible naturopath (yes, I have a naturopath - don't judge, Judy!) to help me balance my stress + hormones with herbal supplements. While it really works - it takes a pretty long time (think 1+ year), and in the meantime, my skin sitcho was going through it's own little, not-so-fun rollercoaster as my body was re-calibrating to a state of not (feeling like) being chased by a lion all day!
In the meantime, I realised that the state of my skin was messing with my #mojo on a daily basis - so after about 8 months of the deep work around fixing my hormones, I found a fab dermatologist who promised to fix my skin situation - without giving me hormones, birth control pills or steroids. I had a healthy amount of skepticism around his effectiveness - but as someone who is very Type-A - I gave it my best shot.
Holy guacamole - did it work or what?!
By just following his protocol of 4 creams - my skin started healing really quickly, and within a month, it was in the best shape it's even been in the last 2 years! It's now been 3 months - and I'm 95% cured. I am incredibly relieved right now - but I'm also kicking myself - because.....why the fuck did I not do this sooner? Is it really this easy to fix my skin?
So, what does this have to do with your brand?
What this experience taught me is that to be successful in any area of your life - you need to work on the short-term and the long-term, at the same time! You can't work on one or the other, because most complex issues - in business and life - require you to do both!
While focussing on my long-term hormonal health - I was ignoring my short-term skin health and making myself more miserable (and impatient) on a day-to-day basis!
This is one of the things I also learned from my mentor, Todd Herman.
There are 2 important categories of tasks that require your attention on a weekly basis (and they're non-negotiable):
1) Important, but not urgent (aka the long-term stuff)
2) Important and urgent (aka the short term stuff)
Quite often, entrepreneurs (like you) who are totally immersed the short term projects end up making mistakes like:
- relying on referrals + word of mouth to get clients
- dedicating 100% of their energy on servicing current clients
- ignoring their finances & spending
- not implementing systems & processes
..instead of investing some of their time into long-term projects - like:
- creating a strategic & profitable brand,
- creating content for their blog,
- sales funnels,
- creating a budget,
- or hiring staff
(Believe me - I've made these exact mistakes too. For years.)
The opposite isn't good either. If you're an entrepreneur who only works on the long term tasks - you can't be in business for too long (if they don't find a way to bring in clients now).
Think about it - this applies to every significant area of life - health, finances, business, relationships, raising kids - all of it. (Did I blow your mind yet or what?)
So, what IS the best time to start investing in your brand?
The best time: Right when you started your business!
The next best time: Right now!
Because having a solid brand is one of the few things that serves both your long-term goals and your short-term goals in your business. It can actually help you close that client you're talking to right now and help you bring in more clients months & years from now.
PRO TIP: Have dedicated days in your calendar to get it done.
That's how you can ensure you attend to both long-term & short-term stuff. (This is a game-changer from Todd Herman's 90 Day Year Program - which I highly recommend to busy, growing entrepreneurs.)
This is what my weeks look like right now:
I have made it a practice to ask myself this question every week: "Am I hiring myself to build a business that flourishes today *and* in the future?" If the answer is no, I know there's something I need to fix.
Tell me -- what's that one area of business you're neglecting right now - that you *know* is good for you to invest time, energy or money in? What's stopping you?