As a guest on The Creators Room Podcast, Whitney talked with award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur Kyle Loftus about her entrepreneurial journey, the common struggles entrepreneurs and business owners face, and how the right strategies can help people grow and scale their businesses. The Creators Room Podcast is dedicated to inspiring and empowering creative entrepreneurs of all levels through conversations with industry experts and new age thinkers.
Whitney knows from personal experience the challenges that entrepreneurs face, especially when starting out. When Whitney first started her innovation practice, Afara Global, she ran it on the side while working full time. Two years later, she took a leap of faith, left her day job, and committed to running Afara Global full time. Through that shift, Whitney learned that laser-like focus on the things that will make the biggest difference for your business can truly be make or break for entrepreneurs.
It can be overwhelming to adjust to working for yourself. You have to figure out where you should focus your time and which areas of your business should be your top priority. It’s also easy to get trapped in the cycle of doing the things that are fun and exciting instead of taking a step back and setting goals for what you want from your business and your life. The three things Whitney sees entrepreneurs struggle with the most are a lack of clarity about their vision, not having a roadmap to achieve that vision, and not prioritizing their time to align with the roadmap.
On the podcast, Whitney shared strategies and actionable tips to help entrepreneurs and business owners overcome these three struggles and move their businesses forward.
Get clear on your vision for your business and your life. When you have so many different ideas that you want to work on, it can muddy the waters and make it harder to focus on getting the most important things done. Everything in your life is connected, so take a step back and get crystal clear on your holistic vision for your life — what you want out of both your business and your personal life.
Create a roadmap that aligns with your business. Once you know your biggest goals, you need to know how to actually make them happen. Create an action plan with steps to help you achieve your goals instead of going with a scattershot approach that will inevitably make you feel overwhelmed and like you’re not reaching your full potential.
Figure out your top priorities. So many high-potential people feel drowned by low-value tasks that aren’t helping them achieve their goals. Look at where you are currently spending your time and ask yourself if the things you’re doing are aligned with your most important goals. Create week-to-week priorities that align with the steps in your roadmap so that you don’t get stuck doing busy work that isn’t moving your business forward.
Find a community of support and accountability. There is no magic bullet. All the tools and resources in the world can only go so far if you aren’t committed to getting the work done. Find or build a supportive community of folks with similar goals to share ideas, offer support, and provide the accountability you need to stay on track.
Learn to let go. Remember why you’re in business and understand that as a founder you can add value in unique ways. Don’t give into the mindset that says you have to do everything yourself. You’re better equipped to provide your unique value to your clients and customers when you can focus your energy in your area of expertise. Learn to delegate so that you’re not lost in the weeds of administrative tasks that someone else can take off your plate. Automate tasks like scheduling and invoicing with a multi-purpose tech stack.
Listen to the data. Dig into the data you have on your existing customers and see what patterns emerge. What types of customers are buying your products and what behaviors do they have in common? Find out how they’re finding your business, how they’re paying for your products, and what they think about your product or service. Remove the emotional component and focus on what the data is telling you.
Know your ideal customer. Whatever issue you might be facing — low sales, bad feedback, intensive operations — comes back to not having enough clarity and focus on your target customer. Don’t try to market to everyone or to an audience you see as low hanging fruit. Figure out who your ideal customer is and learn everything about them — from where they spend time online and in the real world to what key words resonate with them. Then, be disciplined and focus on aligning your messaging and your product to meet that customer’s wants and needs.
Prioritize your own happiness. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you have to put in all your time and make sacrifices right now so you can be happy later. Carve out the space and time to enjoy your life now instead of waiting for some time in the future. Invest in yourself and make time every day to do something that you want to do that’s not work.
Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, you have a vision for your business and your life. But, when you don’t have control of your time or are overwhelmed in your business, you feel like you’re not in control of your life. Implementing the strategies Whitney has used in her own business, and with so many of her clients, will help you grow your business and live the life you’ve always dreamed of.