Since starting my own business in 2013, I have noticed that we are always looking for the next thing. The next challenge to join. The next call to listen in on. The next convention to attend. The next event to sign up for. The next book to read. The list goes on and on. There is always the next big thing. The next "secret" to success.  But, as I was wrapping up another business book last week, I realized that there is no solution to making a business successful that doesn't involve just plain old hard work!

So, I wrote down 8 things that I believe make or break our businesses.

1. You MUST be committed. Remove "try" from your vocabulary and make your business work, knowing that you will have to make sacrifices along the way. Stick it out, even when it is hard. Don't give up, even when you want to quit.
2. You MUST be consistent. Work on your business daily and show your customers, co-workers and employees that you are dependable. Make a plan, schedule your work time and do your work.  Participate in available product and business education, communicate with your customers and team, stay connected on social media (because you should be using it to your advantage to grow your business) and learn something new everyday. Show up and be present.

3. You MUST continue to learn. Read books, blogs, articles and anything that you can get your hands on related to your business or product.  Go to training events and take courses.  Make it your goal to learn something new each day, whether it's about the product or running a business or both.
4. You MUST love the product. Use the product every day (if possible, of course). At home. At work. With family. While running errands. The more you use it and love it, the more you'll have great stories to tell people and inspire others to purchase. Be the person who would be using the product even if you didn't make any money on the sales.

5. You MUST put yourself out there. Post daily on social media, host events, hold classes, sign up for vendor fairs, set up a booth at your local farmers market, talk to people in the grocery line, use the product in front of people.  Do whatever you can to educate people on your product and why they need it.  There is not one right way to do it, you just have to find the right way for you and do it and do it and do it!
6. You MUST lead by example. Do what you say you are going to do. Be available. Show up. Stay open to feedback. Offer to help in areas you are gifted. Participate. Be the type of person you appreciate in others.  

7. You MUST follow up. When someone comments on your post, comment back. When someone asked you a question, answer it. When someone messages, emails or texts you, get back to them.  Let people see that you are available so that they keep coming back to you, instead of loosing that customer to someone else who might have mediocre products, but a faster, better response.
8. You MUST stay positive. Everyone CAN grow a successful business, but not everyone WILL. Let's be the people who do it. Who work hard. Who learn. Who respond. Who participate. Who follow up. Who get out of our comfort zones. Who seek solutions. Who keep going. Who lead. This isn't easy. This is business. This takes time. Be willing to give it time. 

Don't be fooled by the idea that there are secrets to success. It all comes down to hard work, day in and day out, and not giving up when others are. That's great news, isn't it?! That means that every single person has the ability to succeed!

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