Most entrepreneurs build a business to fill a need they see in the market. More often than not, this is a need they personally want to see filled -- you see, entrepreneurs are extremely selfish (in the best way possible) and that helps them succeed. However, this doesn't always allow for a strong foundation in the early days of their formation. In this article, Entrepreneur and Strategic Communications Expert, Vix Reitano, will highlight a few of her proven methods to 10x your success as well as potholes to avoid. She has experience managing advertising, marketing and social media campaigns for Emmy-award winning shows, global non-profits and mom-and-pops from New York to Toronto. Read on to see how to build your business in year 1 as a scrappy start-up while planning for your success 5, 10, 20 years down the line.
Success. It’s a loaded word. As an Entrepreneur, it means a lot to me to have a deeper understanding of what success means for me and, as a writer and speaker, it means a lot to me to understand what it means to you, my reader.
Even if you’re not an entrepreneur - in the official sense - I believe that you are a careerpreneur. That is, someone who treats their career like a business. It’s a concept I shared in my book (available on Amazon Kindle), Six Weeks to Freedom in 2018. I wrote this book three years into my business, on the cusp of my 30th birthday.
And now, three years later, I have an entirely different definition of success and metrics to measure it.
The Ten Tangibles to 10x Your Success
Building a business is an interesting journey. It feels sisphysian at times -- rolling a ball up a very steep hill -- and at other times, the joy you experience feels like a heart attack and wrapping yourself up in a warm towel right out of the dryer at the exact same time.
Since these feelings are so different, and often so fleeting, it’s important to associate tangible success metrics with your journey. These can build, grow and evolve over time (and should!) but it’s also important to have a strong sense of where you’re going from the moment you start.
So how DO you do this? Well, for starters, you have to consider what you want to be and, most importantly, what you don’t want to be.
The first tangible metric in my framework is “Find Your Five.” This practice is one I’ve used my entire career and one I’ve been teaching others since I was an undergraduate student at Quinnipiac University.
ONE: FIND YOUR FIVE
This started out as a way to build a digital brand that would evolve with your career. To cultivate connections within an area (or, areas) of focus to allow you to find your own footing in the same area.
Oprah, for example, has always been one of my “five.” Her brand and her business is something I often look to as a measure of success for the tenacity of change and evolution. Oprah is more of a chameleon than we often discuss and this has been a tangible comfort to me on my journey.
As an entrepreneur, finding your five means looking at individuals, brands and content properties that look, feel and sound the way YOU want your business and brand to communicate at each stage of your journey.
Why is this important?
This process is not a one-and-done exercise, it is something that you should consider at least one-two times a year if not once a quarter. It is important to constantly evolve your voice, tone and vibe in order to stay aligned with trends AND with who you are trying to attract. In order to do that, you need to be consistent and committed to your growth; and that’s where the second thing to consider comes into play.
TWO: UNDERSTAND YOUR TESTING CYCLE
All of the methodologies, frameworks and systems for success that I have developed at Agency 6B rely on this as a foundation. It takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to form a lifestyle. YOU want to a) cultivate a lifestyle of personal and professional development that leads to your definition of success and b) you want to ensure that your business, brand and content become a lifestyle for your ideal consumer.
Every 21 days, you have an opportunity to present a new segment of your audience with a test of your content buckets and/or update your offerings. Every 90 days, you have three big opportunities to “launch” something “new” -- even if it is only new to your audience or a segment of your audience, this opportunity allows you to have enough data (21 days worth over a 90 day cycle) to determine if it is cycle and enough time (a full 90 days) to pivot if the early results indicate it might not be as successful as you want it to be.
This process has allowed me to grow my business exponentially quarter over quarter and it also helps us grow our clients’ businesses too.
THREE: DEFINE YOUR FIVE
This is the second tangible pillar in my The Ten Tangibles to 10x Your Success framework and it revolves around the clients, prospects and contacts you’re talking to.
In this exercise, I invite you to find a place where you’re inspired, free from distractions and able to take a good 45 minutes to yourself.
Then, I want you to consider a past professional connection - client, prospect or contact - you loved interacting with. For entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s best to consider clients for this exercise but if you’re not there yet, anyone you’ve interacted with professionally will do.
Once you visualize that person and interaction, consider what made it so wonderful. Why did you feel fulfilled? What did the interaction bring into focus for you? What did it create in your life?
Once you are clear on the benefits, you can move on to the next part of the exercise which evaluates a connection that you did not like. One that did not serve you or your future goals. A client that didn’t work within the framework of what you’ve created.
It can feel, especially at the beginning or in challenging economic times, risky to turn away business, but if you get clear on what doesn’t work, you have a list of metrics to fall back on when scarcity mindset sets in. All entrepreneurs feel it -- the successful ones deal with it before it deals them a devastating blow.
FOUR: STATE OF THE VIX
Generating opportunities is a key foundational element for long-lasting success. That’s where the State of the Vix comes in. People have called me Vix since my days as a TV producer at ABC -- why, you ask? Because I’m Victoria with the Fix. Vix the Fix. Olivia Pope of Social Media. The Girl who Gets it Done.
Vix became a brand and then an identity as I built my digital foundation. The State of the Vix has been part of my methodologies since I was looking for my first job out of college.
I collected contacts like a squirrel preparing for a long winter -- always thinking of ways to re-engage hiring managers and impress them with projects I was working on or results I had generated. It paid off -- by the time I was 25, I was actively recruited for jobs and didn’t have to apply anymore. By the time I was 27, I had built a six-figure company in six weeks (the company I am still building, growing and evolving to this very day).
The process is simple -- consider your clients, prospects and contacts.
Clients (or Colleagues) are people who can hire you.
Prospects are people who know people who can hire you (especially if they, themselves, are those people!).
Contacts are people who can promote you.
Depending on what type of business you have, you may call these three tiers different things, but in the end, it’s the same process.
Every 90 days, send these three groups tailored messages via email, social media or SMS (depending on how you engage them!) and provide an offer and ask.
Always start with what you’re offering them, first. And then follow-up with general news.
Think of it like the State of the Union address given by politicians -- a quick rundown of what’s happening, what they plan to do and how you can get involved.
FIVE: GUESS, TEST + REVIEW
You’re probably laughing at “guess.” One thing most business owners, entrepreneurs and thought leaders won’t tell you? A lot of what we do on a regular basis is create an educated guess and then leap. Faith, whatever that means to you (for me, it’s sage, tarot and astrology), is a big part of the entrepreneur and careerpreneur journey. The ability to believe in something when others see only negative options is the trait of a successful person. Let me be clear -- I am not saying that you should keep going if all signs point to no; if your gut tells you no. What I am saying is that you know, deeply and truly, what is right for you, your business and your long-term goals and that a strong foundation is built on cultivating that voice more than anything else.
The Guess, Test + Review cycle is a tangible way to silence your fears. I am, if you can’t already tell, a lover of lists. Perhaps it was the fact that I was forged in the fires of the print media age; when brands were shuttering faster than the speed of light and when “the internet” was in its infancy. Or maybe it’s because as humans, we’re programmed to love lists. To love order. To organize chaos in a way that is manageable. And, besides, NPR says we love them so it must be true.
The list of metrics you use as a foundational dialogue with yourself and, eventually, your business partners (not necessarily founding partners), is one of the top ways to ensure that you are constantly in a cycle of build, grow and evolve.
The tangible items to look for in this process? Financial success, fulfillment and focus. Is this tracking to the vision you had? Does the vision need to evolve?
Find small ways each and every day to track your progress and then, when the first 90 days is up? Track your first cycle of progress to move on to the next Guess, Test + Review cycle as you build a strong foundation and continue to build, grow and evolve.
Vix Reitano is the Founder of Agency 6B, is a full-service advertising agency providing bespoke solutions for Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, and Content and Video Production services in an evolving world. Reitano launched Agency 6B as a six-figure company in six weeks in August of 2015 and grew the business by 843% in 2020 during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, opening her first physical HQ in December 2020 only to outgrow it 3 months later and move to a space double the size in June 2021.