Season 6 – epiBLOG 6:
One of the greatest takeaways from the book that I read last month and the self/professional development courses that I’ve been a part of over the past year, is the significance in having core values that guide my business.
As an entrepreneur, we are pulled in different directions. Sometimes we have to wear many hats. We are taking care of invoicing, taxes, marketing, contracts, and most importantly, serving our amazing clients with our products and/or services.
People approach us because they want our services or products. We contact people because we want to establish more business relationships. Sometimes we aren’t even sure of who our most ideal clients are, despite the fact that we’ve zeroed in on our target demographic.
Today’s topic is establishing your core values for yourself and your business.
The litmus test that should guide you along the way in your business decisions and practices are your core values. I have a total of eight core values that I use to keep me grounded and to help me make difficult decisions on a daily basis. They are integrity, authenticity, honesty, hard work, focus, creativity, loyalty, and ambition. Although all eight of these values are important to me, I have to say it’s the very first three that lead my discussions with clients, that impact me the most on how I conduct myself on a project, and they are what push me the most when I’m at a loss for what to do.
Everything isn’t always “black and white” in the choices we have. Sometimes it’s hard to determine what the “right” thing to do is. Sometimes it is easy.
Integrity is important. I aim to constantly be in integrity. When I’m in integrity, life works effectively. That doesn’t mean that problems don’t come my way or that life is easy. However, when you take actions that line up with your anticipated results, you increase your chances for a life that works effectively.
Let’s take a look at an example. If you know that you aren’t getting qualified leads to build your client list, ask yourself if you’ve actually created a consistent plan to reach out to prospects, that you’re actually consistently applying that plan, and adjusting when necessary. If you are taking realistic actions with a plan in place, you should increase your results for finding qualified leads. However, if you’re inconsistently networking, not following up with prospects all of the time, and not following through for your existing clients that you’re already working with, then you would be out of integrity. You want to have more clients, but you aren’t taking care of the ones you have and not doing the work it takes to retain new ones. Integrity isn’t about “right” or “wrong,” but it’s about what works.
I always like my clients to feel comfortable. I have to have them be comfortable in order for me to best serve their needs. After all, people come to me to help them to write their life stories in the form of a book or a movie script. They have to be vulnerable to be able to openly share their life with me so that I can write their story effectively. I find that if I open up, am vulnerable, and therefore, authentic, clients find it easier to be authentic with me. When I’m authentic, it’s like I give them the “permission” to be so as well. I share my life story at times, my weaknesses, and even my strengths—depending on what each individual client needs from me. I also did this when I taught college level screenwriting. I would share my failures and successes with my students so that they understood that I was “human” and that if I can succeed it’s possible for them to as well. Authenticity is a powerful way of being that helps us to connect with others a lot more effectively.
Honesty. There is nothing like it. It’s not always easy to be honest because we often are afraid to hurt people’s feelings or we’re afraid to look bad. The truth is, the more honest you are, and the more authentic you are… the more likely you are living a life of integrity. If you are not the best company to provide what a client is requesting, be honest with that client so that they can make the most informed decision for themselves. For example, I would not be the best screenwriter to write a western movie or book. Westerns don’t interest me, and so I know I couldn’t do justice to that project for my client. Instead of taking on the project just to make money, I would have to be honest and let them know that I’m not the best writer for the job. Being honest doesn’t always lead directly to money, as I pointed out in this instance. However, you will get more clients than you know what to do with when clients know that they can trust you because you make what’s in their best interest a priority. That is a priceless gift.
Today’s LESSON is to be guided by your own core values.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Create a list of your own core values. Choose a minimum of three of them for yourself and your business, but you may choose more. Who you are should line up with “who” your business is. In other words, the core values should be the same across the board both personally and professionally. These should be values that are so important to you that they are a part of your life already—or they are something that you have been striving for. Google to find a list of core values online. Until then, here is a list to get you started:
- Good humor
- Spirit of adventure
- Service to others
Nitara Osbourne owns The Infinite Writer Agency, LLC, which provides content to producers, publishers, and individuals seeking help with developing their life stories into nonfiction books and movie scripts. Ghostwriting and blogging services are provided for clients as well. If you’re an accomplished entrepreneur, and are looking to tell your story, contact Nitara Osbourne. InfiniteWriterAgency@gmail.com.
Resource for core values: YourDictionary.com