This morning a photo popped up on my time line on Facebook and it was the perfect reminder of a lesson I am teaching in my Kickstart your Tribe Building challenge.
It was me on national TV.
But here is the thing…that moment was not the moment that defined my business, I didn’t all of a sudden become an overnight success, I wasn’t instantly recognisable in the street, or had a rush of new clients.
You don’t need to get in front of EVERYONE…there isn’t an on-off switch when it comes to audience growth…you literally have to win over the hearts and minds of folks one person at a time.
When I first started my fitness business I used to do 1 day retreats in the Olympic Park near to where I lived…I did 3 or 4 of them before realising that offline was just too difficult as a single Mum…and that online was the way I wanted to go.
Anyway…there was this lady.
She came twice. Once in June and once in September.
A few weeks later I received a phone call which went like this,
“Hi this is Tom a producer at ITV’s This Morning…we love what you do, and we were wondering if you would come and do 6 week feature on our programme helping the nation to start running.”
I was like WHAAAAATTTTT?????
Talk about life changing.
To take my brand onto the biggest daytime TV show???
When I found myself a few weeks later in the ITV studios on the Southbank talking to the head producer, and looking at the the shortlist of applications from the viewers.
The producer said,
“You know how we came across you?”
I was curious because my profile wasn’t actually very big back then.
“The head of drama at ITV came on one of your workshops as a punter, and came back raving about you…she spoke to head of daytime and said you gotta get this woman on one of your shows”
I didn’t know that lady worked in TV…I didn’t even know she was a super fan, I just did the best I could to ensure each of the women in that group felt special at my workshop.
There is this belief that you have to get to hundreds of people every day to get traction, to scale a business. That if you do enough social media, enough networking, employ the right PR company that you will hit the big time.
There is a better way.
Yes TV can help, being featured in magazines and on peoples podcasts raises your profile. But that can sometimes feel like an out of reach goal for many business owners.
I believe if you have a big enough vision, and you care enough to serve every client like they are the only one, the right people (and enough people) will be impressed with your work and will want to share that with the world.
Plus you have to have the right business model to meet your ambition in terms of scale.
So, if you are still waiting for the right tactic, for the right funnel, for the resources to employ a team, or to pay for advertising, know this.
You have everything you need right now to build a tribe, because remember it really is an inside job…
Be great at what you do
Say yes to opportunities that scare the hell out of you
And don’t give up
Focus on being the best version of you, serving your clients, working on your mission.
Your Tribe is out there waiting for you, you just need to wake them up a bit.
Julie Creffield is a serial entrepreneur, community engagement specialist and business mentor. She has spent the last 20 years bringing people together online and off with shared goals…she now helps her clients create movements that matter, businesses that change lives.
On the last Friday of the month Julie hosts a VIP masterclass for business owners who have the potential or ambition of serving/impacting on a million clients in their lifetime.
On Friday 29th you can join a small group of her existing clients to work on your business not in your business, where the focus is on expansion, both from a mindset and a tactical perspective.
Many years ago I worked in local government, and so part of that job was updating and to some extent appeasing local politicians.
I worked on the London 2012 games, helping prepare local authorities and local communities for the Olympics and Paralympics coming to town…I then ended up working in central government supporting politicians to make sure they were kept informed of 2012 related developments…everything from bin collections and emergency planning, to cultural programming and grass roots sport.
And then there were Wednesdays.
Wednesday mornings were the regular press events at City Hall, first with Ken Livingstone and then with the main man himself BORIS….they were entertaining I’ll give them that.
Now please note this is not a political post, this is not about my views on any of the individuals…just an observation on leadership.
Looking back I could see he had his eyes on the Prime Minister role even then…he was one of the most determined politicians I’d ever met…and he didn’t give a rats arse what anyone thought of him.
Boris did Boris.
He was on a mission to lead….even if he couldn’t wave a bloody flag properly, or sort out his mop at an opening ceremony with around 10 million viewers worldwide.
Look my point is whether you like it or not some people are born leaders, some people take on leadership roles due to things happening in their lives, some get a leg up because of the families they are born into and some have no interest in leading at all.
And it’s not just in politics we see this
When the lockdown happened I found it fascinating seeing how the online world reacted.
How fast people pivoted.
Who slagged off who.
Who started posting conspiracy theory shit (yep they are not on my feed anymore)
And how many folks were business as usual.
There is no right or wrong. As a leader you do you. Thats the point, and then it’s up to your people to decide whether to follow you and your direction of travel or not.
There have been people who have impressed me, people who have annoyed me, and people I even forgot I followed to be fair.
I am known as a business coach for the work I do to help people grow Tribes…but what people don;t realise is actually what I teach people is how to step up as a leader.
Leaders need to be leading us somewhere worth going, teaching us stuff stuff worth knowing
That was one of the lines from the viral film I made this time last year about the frustrations I felt as a business owner.
People often want a Tribe and all the benefits that come with it, kudos, success, support, people who like them and tell them that frequently (seriously), but they don’t always want the stuff that comes with it, the graft, the need to innovate, the need to hold tight to your values, ethics and boundaries…oh and the small matter of the haters.
Oh you will get haters.
Not because you are a horrid person and people won’t like you, but because you will trigger people for all kinds of reasons. In some cases they can’t even put their finger on it…they just won’t like you.
Being liked is not the goal anyway…so its all good.
But what kind of tribe are you looking to build?
Business leadership online comes in many forms, as does tribe building..here are a few of those I see in my work with clients,
Thought Leadership – Real unique thinking and the development of frameworks and concepts that others can adopt. And the building of an audience of followers, fans, advocates and maybe even consumers.
Mission-Based Leadership – Gathering en masse your allies, advocates and activists with the goal of changing the world in some way…which may or may not be monetised.
Programme Based Leadership – This is where you build community around a programme or experience. It may be temporary, or over the short to medium term. You are solving a current issue for a heap of people, and they may or may not move on quite quickly once they have what they need.
Personality Led Leadership – Where people gather around you, because they like what you stand for and in many ways want to emulate you and what you have achieved.
And then of course theres
Self Leadership – Navigating through your own lived experience in the best way possible. You may build a tribe of supporters around you, and you may well even monetise it in some way….but the focus is always on self-actualisation.
I see all of these on my client list, and I love that diversity.
So where do you fit into this…who do you want to be, what kind of tribe do you want to grow around you?
Let’s talk? I bet I could support you in some way.
I have a number of programmes coming up in the next few weeks that might help you with this.
Just dipping your toe into all of this? Or looking to activate and monetise your tribe. On Monday I start a new round of One to Many, my 8 week programme for experts to take their genius to the masses via a group programme.
and in June I will be opening my doors to Tribe Builder 0.2 my signature programme….so watch this space.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement specialist and business mentor with more than 20 years experience. She lives in East London with her 7 year old who shes currently home schooling, and a ginger kitten called Tom.
She is on a mission to help 1000 small business owners create movements that matter, movements that go onto impact on millions of lives while helping those leaders reach their full potential and change the trajectory of their families‘ lives.
Yep…aged 11 and I was caught with my best mate shoplifting in Boots.
It wasn’t my finest moment, and sadly wasn’t my first time stealing either.
It’s not like I didn’t know it was wrong, I was raised a Catholic for God’s sake, so boy oh boy did being a thief come with a heap of guilt and shame too…I can remember how mortified my Dad was coming down to Barking Police Station to get me.
I first stole stationary off a stationery stall in East Ham indoor market run by two little old ladies…and when my Mum found out (they always do) she marched me straight back there and made me apologise and give it back.
Oh the shame.
Another time my Nan caught me in WHsmiths in East Ham weighing up my options…I was also bunking off school that day. She didn’t tell my Mum though (my Nan was good like that…she’d been a bit of a bunker too) and instead bought me sausage and chips in the cafe.
I don’t know what the thing was with stationery.
I just wanted all of the nice things I saw that my friends had that I didn’t. I am sure my Mum did buy me stationary occasionally as a treat or for birthdays and Christmases etc…but it never felt like enough.
I wanted tippex, and gold pens, and gel pens, and felt tips, and notebooks, and post it notes, and pritt stick and a stapler…I wanted all of the things.
I even lusted after a rubber stamp…you know the ones that librarians use to date stamp your books.
You will be glad to know my shoplifting days are well behind me.
Gosh could you imagine the shame?
But my obsession with stationery continues.
There is nothing worse that writing with a bad pen.
A few years back I made the decision I was done with using shitty pens…you know that thing where you can never find a pen that actually works or doesn’t leak in your bag…and so I made a decision to upgrade and to chuck out all my crappy pens and only use these beauties…I was going through a turquoise stage.
And then…this year in January I started bullet journalling…and wanted all the things, all the tape, all the glitter pens, all the fineliners…and I of course had to stash them away from my 7 year old who is equally as obsessed with stationary.
My stuff would just get ruined if she used it OBVIOUSLY.
As we entered lockdown a couple of months ago, I signed up to my friend Katie Chappels…bullet journal gang (check her out here, she is awesome)…and OMG she introduced me to all of the things…and I realised I was still holding onto the shame and guilt of my stationery theft days…and worst still I was worried I was creating terrible money mindset for my 7 year old.
I think I want to be an illustrator when I grow up…apart from the fact I can’t draw….I got Katie to sketch out some images for me as part of a promo animation last year…and as you can see she’s very good!!!
But back to the stationary.
“NO YOU CAN’T USE MY PENS…THEY ARE MY PENS!!!!!”
I heard myself saying to my 7 year old last week.
And when she later asked me to buy her a bullet journal of her own I found myself thinking,
“I’m not spending fifteen quid on a special bullet journal when she’s got hundreds of notebooks already”
But those feelings and thoughts of lack, just create more lack.
And I don’t want her heading off to WHSmiths to get her fix.
And so £40 and a delivery from Amazon later, and my daughter has her own bullet journal (which is actually better quality than my one from Paperchase) and she has her own collection of nice pens especially for bullet journalling.
Was it worth it?
It means I’ve put to bed the story that there’s never enough nice stationery in the world.
We have a shared interest.
She’s super into it, doing research on Pintrest, using it to track her mood, and write lists, and create habits….
“What about tidying your bedroom?” was a gentle suggestion for her morning routine from me….and it’s working a treat.
Money mindset has a way of jumping up and smacking you round the face…tuning into those childhoos memories which set the tone for your beliefs about the world.
In my house there were
Colouring pencils a plenty but never a sharpener
Little blue betting shop pens
Half bitten biros
Bingo Dabbers (or the 1980s equivalent)
And with 5 siblings, if you did happen to come in to possession of some good stationery, you guarded it with your life before some little tike came a long and stole it from you.
So I am currently embracing my love of stationary.
I don’t smoke, I rarely drink…and sex is out of the question right now, so a girls got to have some kinda vice, right?
And if anyone would like to treat me for my upcoming birthday….this would be the gift of all gifts….click on this link to see how much this little lot will set you back.
Heck I might even buy it for myself.
What little secrets do you have? Money stories? Stories of not having enough? And how are they playing out in your life and business?
Anyone else been feeling the pressure lately in their business?
I was all keep calm and crack on at the start of this crisis and then over time the reality of running two business and homeschooling, and generally just surviving started to take its toll.
I began panicking.
In my business, and in life (in the supermarket mostly)
A good friend and therapist asked me to name the fear, in a brilliant session he asked, “if it was a movie what would it be called?” to which I responded in my most dramatic voiceover voice,
“Alone and under attack”
And BOOM…there was my answer.
My fear in my business AND in the supermarket was that I had to do it all, that I had to be the protector, that nobody was coming to save me…a narrative I’ve been carrying around with me for years, like a lodger who pays no rent…and eats all your cheesy Doritos.
Anyway…he’s got the boot.
And I now have a new narrative, a new mantra, a new roomie…which which goes…
“Just do the bloody Jigsaw”
I love jigsaw puzzles, used to love doing them as a kid in solitude in my bedroom, or with my siblings. they were a great way to spend time…and as a kid you have a lot of time right?
As an adult not so much.
Until now of course.
Well, I was watching everyone on Facebook baking bread, and doing puzzles as a family, with their kids and I was like “WHO HAS TIME FOR BLOODY JIGSAWS??????”
If I was short of anything it was time.
But that was (and is) just a story.
So I bought a jigsaw…a very nice one, its circular, its about inspirational women, and me and my 7 year old have been doing it this week…she will do like 10 minutes at a time before getting bored, but I am really getting into it…it is a great way to spend time.
I’m about half of the way through right now, and already thinking about which one I might do next.
Not watching the news, not working, not stressing about things that are out of my control….even if our new Kitten keeps jumping in the box for a sleep and trying to eat the pieces.
I am loving my jigsaw life.
So whats the lesson?
There is always a lesson.
I used to believe that your rewards in life were in direct correlation to your work ethic and productivity levels.
Like seriously I can get a lot done in a short period of time.
I created, and launched a new programme in the space of 5 days last week….and got 48 brilliant business owners signed up.
But the truth is…I often make things difficult for myself.
I take the scenic route, I put barriers in my way, walls to leap over, obstacles to navigate….because of this belief that it has to be hard, it shouldn’t be easy…because thats not fair.
With less time than ever.
With more need in the world than ever for the thing I do. (Helping small business owners build profitable community around their business)
It has to be easy.
Business is simply about having something people, need and want and offering it to them in fair exchange.
Just because something is easy to you, it doesn’t mean it is easy for others.
When you have spent 20+ years of your life living, and breathing community building, you forget that it doesn’t come natural to everyone.
It does not.
And so my lesson this week is in not over delivering, not complicating, not making up stories about how hard it needs to be to validate my worth.
Oh…and do the bloody jigsaw.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor with more than 20 years experience of creating and leveraging communities, both online and off. Her 8-week fully facilitated group programme One to Many is currently helping clients take their established expertise online using a group programme model. Check it out here