Thought Process: Learn from other successful entrepreneurs how to get started and make it happen.
First, read the blog post on Madam CJ Walker—the first and only black millionaire of her day.
Here’s what you can learn from this amazing lady:
#1. She figured out on her own how to solve a problem that was causing her and many others a lot of pain.
What problems do your current clients frequently encounter? Make a list. Then write down what you do to solve the problem. Do you have solutions that are uniquely yours? You might do something slightly differently. For instance, since color is harsh on the hair, maybe you could develop a 3-step moisturizing process.
#2. She gave her solution a unique name, “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower”.
Giving her solution a name set her product apart from all others. She made it her own in a way that could be remembered.
Similarly, if you develop a 3-step hair moisturizing process, can you give this a name? You could call it “Your Name’s 3 Step Silky Hair System”. Consistently use the name you come up with in your marketing.
#3. She became an expert on solving that problem – an authority.
Look at your list from #1. Do you need to learn more about their beauty problems? What causes them? What solutions are available today? Become an expert, one problem at a time. The more you know, the more you will become your clients’ trusted adviser.
#4. She created a product to solve the problem – and marketed the product.
Most likely the solution to the problem had already been discovered, but wasn’t widely known. Certainly, her customers were not as knowledgeable about available solutions as she became. SHE took the initiative to find the solution, gave it a name, and told others about it. She didn’t wait for people to come to her. She created something of value and got it in front of the people who wanted a solution. No one did it for her; she did it herself.
Tip: See a problem, come up with your own solution, and tell others who want your “cure” all about it.
#5. Instead of doing what she’d always done, she left her comfort zone and started out by selling door-to-door.
With her challenging beginnings in life, you can be sure she didn’t have a marketing budget. But she did have legs to walk, hands to knock, and a voice to speak her truth. Rather than wait for others to come to her or rely on “word-of-mouth,” she blasted past any and all obstacles. She believed in herself and persevered, using the opportunities at hand.
When was the last time you went door-to-door in a neighborhood near your salon? Pick a neighborhood with well-cared for homes and yards. If they take care of their homes, they’ll care for their own appearance. Or go to a local dress shop and strike up a conversation with someone who looks like they’ve taken time with themselves. You can steer the conversation to what you do (see #2) and hand them a card… just in case they need their hair done when their stylist is out of town or totally booked.
Use you time well to connect with the people who want what you’re best at doing.
#6. She made no excuses for what she didn’t have, or the hardships she had endured.
Madam C.J. Walker makes it painfully obvious that we have NO excuse for holding ourselves back.
Excuses are self-created obstacles to accomplishing your goals. Excuses hold you back. Root them out like weeds. They have no place in your thought process. List the excesses you hear yourself thinking. When you hear yourself thinking, “I can’t because… ” – think “STOP.” And turn your mind to HOW you CAN.
Be forward thinking. Think about what you want to happen. Think about it often and in detail.
This is your deal – no one but you can blast past your own, automatic replays of why not. Get out of that grove and discover the way to do what you want to do next. Just like CJ Walker did.
#7. She didn’t let rejection stop her. She persevered against incredible odds.
You know, when you’re starting out, failures are inevitable. But when setbacks happen, you must get up, brush yourself off, keep moving toward your ultimate goal.
To keep going even when others tell you otherwise, have a support team. Find people who believe in you and spend more time with them. Spend less time with those who make you feel small. You can feel who believes in you vs. those who try to limit you out of their own fears and self-doubts.
Choose your companions wisely. It will make a difference in your ability to keep going when you have a setback.
#8. She built on her success, created new products, and marketed them.
Find out what works, and do more of it. Build on your successes. This is how it’s done. One step at a time.
#9. She taught others how to be successful selling her products.
If you have a solution that is unique, you can license others to sell it for you. We’ll have more on how to do this in a future Key To Salon Success. There are more ways to make money as a beauty specialist than by serving clients in your chair.
#10. She got an idea, took action, and made it happen.
CJ Walker’s amazing success is largely due to one critical factor: Her astounding ability to get started and keep going. The real secret to success is the ability to make a decision, take the first step, and blast past any obstacles that stand in your way.
That is the One Magic Power of the successful entrepreneur. That magic power is present in every successful person I’ve met, worked with or studied.
If an orphaned daughter of former slaves can work her way up through the hardships of the economically depressed Deep South and become the world’s first self-made female millionaire, then what possible excuse do WE have?
Was it easy for this lady to just walk outside and start going door to door? Heck no! Was it easy for her to keep going after being insulted and rejected every day? Of course not!
But she did it anyway, despite the tough times; because that’s what it takes.