As a Creative or influencer, I’m guessing the idea of having a business crafted around your expertise has at least captured your imagination. Even in the arts, media or entertainment industry, it is called showbiz (or show business) because there is a SHOW (an expression of the art itself) and there is the Business.
Building a personal brand or a business requires a lot of vision and skill. You need to know how to communicate your value proposition, maintain your brand identity, improve your finances, handle what staff you have, hire even-more skilled employees later, and sell your product or brand. But what are some of the underrated skills that many creatives, visionaries or entrepreneurs should possess, but still don’t?
1. Relationship Building
People often underestimate the value of relationships and forget that people are ALWAYS tied to the resources we need. It’s never a great time to develop relationships only when you need something or burn down your bridges whenever you like. To foster viable collaborations that organically expand your business reach - You have to build these relationships and nurture them well in advance of needing to take something from them. No matter what, spend time finding, building, and cultivating meaningful relationships with the right people. They will open doors for you.
The most successful visionaries or entrepreneurs recognize they do not have time to get all of the facts for the dozens of decisions they make each day. Instead, they just need to gather enough information to make sound decisions so the brand, company or mission can move forward. Some of those decisions will be wrong, but it’s better to learn from those mistakes and try again than to be immobilized by indecisiveness.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires falling and getting up, over and over again. A highly underrated skill that successful entrepreneurs possess, but many others don’t, is the capability of getting back up again and trying once more. Many entrepreneurs give up in the face of adversity, but critical to the long-term success of a business owner is being able to get up and keep trying.
Entrepreneurs must be so steadfast in pursuit of their goals that it can be difficult to remain modest when experiencing success. As an artiste, in the spotlight growing up with a very famous father - and achieving global reach with my personal brand & business - I'm not arrogant, egotistic or conceited. I'm humble enough to ask others for help and value their input. I even ask my assistants for their views, thank them and apply it if I want, all gracefully - while creating a culture of respectful leadership.
Those who maintain humility will better ensure that their success is sustainable because they are better prepared to learn from their audience, clients, customers, and co-workers, as well as from their own mistakes. People are drawn to leaders with confidence, but also to people with a great deal of respect for others.
5. Saying ‘No’
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be presented with unlimited opportunities to scale and grow. Unfortunately - Your resources (which may also include time), on the other hand, are limited. Successful entrepreneurs need to know how to strategically trim down the opportunities they’re presented, and only go for the ones that make sense for long-term growth. Being optimistic is one thing, but stretching yourself thin is a completely different matter.
6. Stress Management
As a creative leader who is constantly managing a variation of multiple client projects, running my company's multiple platforms, creating my own personal projects, handling damage control, working more hours than is humanly possible (without rest). I know stress by its middle name and I have learned that humans should not live in a constant state of stress: It’s physically and mentally damaging. And yet, that’s the position many of us entrepreneurs put ourselves in. The result is burnout, lack of life satisfaction, damaged relationships and degraded health. Being stressed and constantly busy is not a sign that you’re on the path to success. Hence the reason, I recently developed my JOMO and tossed out my FOMO. I understand Smart leaders are calm, relaxed and successful, so for me to be relaxed, I can't be in a constant state of FOMO for (Fear of Missing Out).
As an artiste and professional in the media who constantly engages other experts, clients, audience, my team and even my son at home. I attribute a lot of my accomplishments to communication. I could never deliver what a client wants, if I didn't facilitate continuous communication with them, conversing, listening and making timely observations and adjustments. Successful entrepreneurs are rockstar communicators who are able to deliver clear, concise and convincing messaging to advance ideas, express thoughts and evoke emotions. They are able to apply key communication methods—such as informational briefing, persuasive messaging, or conflict management—to meet their specific objectives. When communication occurs, it typically happens in one of three ways: verbal, nonverbal and visual. There are quite a number of business owners who take communication for granted. Yet, being able to effectively communicate in today's world is essential, because communication is an active process, not a passive one.
It is NOT just what you say or express, but also how you say it or express it, why you say it or express it - when you say it or express it... because intention, value, reason, timing, and delivery are important factors to note when you are trying to convey a message.
Truth is, good communication skills can improve your inter-personal relationships by helping people to understand you and you to understand them. Which is why building relationships need a lot of communication. Failure to talk or discuss important issues has been highlighted as the one major reason for the breakdown of many partnerships, collaborations, and even relationships. Successful entrepreneurs understand how to communicate without even trying. They are able to tailor their language, tone, and message to their audience, and get their point across quickly and succinctly, in a way that is heard and understood. They are also able to pick up the messages sent to them rapidly, understanding both what is said, and what has not been said.
Listening is an important part of communication because it allows creatives or entrepreneurs to understand their audience or customers better. Many times, creatives and entrepreneurs likewise, get caught in their own view of the world, without really knowing what their customers or audience want. An open mind and ability to listen actively allows successful visionaries and entrepreneurs to create the products that customers really want. We’re used to having to deal with pitfalls, but personal critique just isn’t something we deal with well sometimes. Having a positive mindset can be all you need to overcome that. By seeing the positive in any critique, you’ll allow yourself to grow and become better than you were the day before. Listening definitely helps you to grow.
No such thing as an overnight success. Entrepreneurs must grind quietly for a long time before their success is noticed. With all of life’s other pressures as well as the social stigma of running a brand or company that nobody has ever heard of, the early days can be tough. Too many 'potentially' successful people forget their potential and quit because they feel success isn’t coming as quickly as it should.
They forget everything in life is a process. And "process" requires a lot of patience because your work/business is in process and you too are work in progress.
About The Author...
Alex Okoroji is Founder & Editor-in-Chief of BRAG! Ranked as one of the Top 250 Most Influential Women in the World by Richtopia and Nominated for Her Network 2018 "Woman of The Year" in Entertainment. She is a Nigerian Actress & Multiple Award Winning Media Personality - who has reinvented herself at every stage of her creative career as a Performing, Visual and Literary Artiste. She is an Actress, TV Personality, Talk Radio Host, Speaker, Author, Thought Leader, Global Influencer, Reinvention Coach and Mediapreneur who helps high performing experts around the world, create bigger impact with their platforms, message, products or services.
Popularly referred to as the "Queen of Expression" for using different mediums of the Art to empower people with the freedom to express their truth, talent, and personal greatness. She has been honored with a Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador Award, a 2017 Peace Achievers Award - as "Media Personality of the Year", a 2017 WEF Iconic Woman Award and a 2019 Exceptional Woman of Excellence Award at the Annual Global Women Economic Forum. She has been featured in over 250 Media Platforms around the World like Huffington Post, CNN, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Mogul, The Sun, The New York Journal, Fox, ABC, NBC and many more.