When I speak to people, the most common question I get asked is, “what’s your secret?”, “What did you do, that I’m not doing?”, “Did you have to have loads of money to get started”? So with this in mind I’ll tell you what I tell all the other eager beavers who want to know my secret. The way I went from earning £2.70 plus commission an hour, in home furnishings shop Harvey’s in Woolwich, London about 14 years ago to now running my own companies, and being paid upwards of £5,000 ($8,000) per day for my consultancy or speaking services.
Step 1 – Be Uncomfortable
Being uncomfortable, by far has been my biggest motivator to date. If working at a furniture shop for £2.70 per hour plus commission doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will. If you wanted the definition of a dead end job, then you would find the description of my job in the dictionary. I knew I was destined for greater things, but I just didn’t know what. I had dreams of being the head of my own empire. I even drew out an organizational chart of all of my imaginary non-existent companies, which I still have on my wall today. What’s funny is that some of the companies I had written down as a pipe dream are actually a reality today. However, back then, it was still a pipe dream and I was extremely uncomfortable with my reality. Uncomfortable; with having to take a calculator to the supermarket, to avoid the embarrassment of having to put items back if I went over budget. Uncomfortable; with going to the cash point only to find I had less than £10 in my account that I couldn’t pull out, because the minimum amount was £10. Frustrated that when I went out to eat with friends, I would have to tot up what I selected I could eat in my head. Instead of just ordering the food I wanted. And finally, found it totally unacceptable that I almost felt terrorised by creditors, who sometimes made me feel less than human because, I often fell behind with my bills. I never, ever wanted to live like that – it was motivation to get out of the situation have the feeling of feeling threatened every time the post came through my door in the morning, or the phone rang. So instead of allowing myself to stay comfortable in an uncomfortable reality, I decided to use that frustration to change that reality by selling solutions people wanted (aka: adding value to others). The more you realise that your reality – no matter what that reality is – does not have to be the truth permanently, and the more you are willing to take action. The more your opportunities to improve your results in your business or personal life.
Step 2 – Adding Values To Others & Getting ‘Discovered’
When I decided to take the plunge and start looking at ways to grow a business (I didn’t actually see it as adding value to others). I was just so determined to get out of my uncomfortable reality. I came up with an idea to write investment reports for property investors. At the time early 2000′s, the property market was hotting up, and everyone was looking for the next untapped location. I decided to post some adverts on a popular property message board, and I was shocked at the positive response and sales I got back. I had about half a dozen orders from the get go. Again, the buzz of coming up with an idea that total strangers actually made their decision to spend money on was back. It is still one of the best feelings in the world, in my opinion. It means that all the people who thought I would amount to do nothing were wrong. It meant that I was doing something right. Then a happy accident occurred. One of my clients was so impressed with my report, he shared it with one of his investor friends, who happened to be quite influential in the property investor circles at the time. She took one look at the report and invited me to speak at one of her conferences. At this time I had never spoken in front of an audience, and I still remember my knees shaking under the table just before I went up to speak. I educated and entertained the crowd on the day, and ended up leaving the event with a ton of orders. I was ecstatic. These experiences, and so many more since, made me realise what happens when you stop thinking about yourself, and your own problems, and start asking the question, what can I do to add value to others? This question has made me and innumerable entrepreneurs very successful. The concept is better explored in the Dale Carnegie book “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. I’d like to say that I was slick enough to have read the book first, and then applied it – but truth is I only listened to the audiobook this past month. But how great it is to hear that as a teenager I was applying these life long principles.
Step 3 – Become Woth Knowing
When I had decided to write investment reports, it never occurred to me the importance of becoming worth knowing. I thought I’d create a company name and logo, and just take things from there. However, I soon realised that they were not just buying a report, but in essence, they were buying me and my knowledge… They were planning to make money from my expertise. And as pretty as my logo was, without me opening my mouth, my logo, and my brand had no voice. Yours won’t either. I recognised (helped by some advice from Richard Branson about ‘being the best in your field’) that I was the brand, and if my company was going to be a success, and I was going to build up my empire. I had to recognise that I was the brand, had to be exposed to as many people in my target audience as humanly possible. This was a challenge, because I only have 24 hours in a day, and it’s not going to allow me to speak to thousands, even if the phone was glued to my ear day and night, so , I needed to come up with a different solution. With the help of my business partners, we came up with the idea of doing a radio show. Through the magic of the internet, people could access me 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This was back in 2004 when Flash wasn’t even installed on computers… talk about an up-hill struggle!
“My radio show was an instant hit! It was even #1 in iTunes”
I transitioned into other businesses and my experience as a business woman increased… I was being recognised as a Business Expert. At that point my speaking engagements, all of a sudden made me someone worth knowing, and attracted me to not only more potential customers, but more importantly, other people worth knowing, who had a similar target audience I could Joint Venture with for mutual benefit. Fast forward a little and today I have several business interests mainly in the business services, media & publishing, high-end consultancy and mentoring. I regularly appear in the press, on radio and in magazines – and speak at many events annually where I am paid handsomely for appearances. I’ve mentored over to 1,000 business owners to start or grow their own business. Even though I’m insanely busy working hard creating more ‘real’ businesses from my old imaginary organizational chart; I can’t help passing on the answer to that age old question… “Marsha, how can I do it too?” In order to reposition yourself to become someone worth knowing, get uncomfortable with being where you are, and MOST IMPORTANTLY please, please FOCUS on solving problems for the right caliber of clients – that’s the key to business success! Make sure your website gives people the right first impression for example, if you have a look around this site, www.marshawright.com, you will just see what I mean.