We all dream of success. If you’re like most people, you’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about what constitutes success, how you’ll achieve it, and how good you’ll feel when you’ve achieved your goals.
The part that can seem elusive is the middle part – getting from dreaming about what you want, to having it and enjoying it. It probably seems like some people get to the pinnacle of success easily. How can you be one of those people?
The secret is taking 5 key steps that will help you reach your goals and accomplish what you’ve set out to do. In this special report, I’ll walk you through each of those critical steps and explain what you need to do to get to where you want to be.
Step 1: Believe in Yourself
Being successful is as much about self-confidence as it is about anything else. People who constantly doubt themselves often can’t reach their goals because their negative thoughts act as saboteurs, preventing them from doing the things they want to do. That’s why the first step of the success mindset is believing in yourself.
Dealing with Naysayers and Self Doubt
When you set a goal, you may find that people in your life express doubts or dismiss your goal as unreasonable or unattainable. You may also hear a little voice in your head that says you can’t do what you want to do.
If you want to succeed, you’ve got to find a way to silence both the naysayers in your life and your negative inner critic. Listening to either can sabotage your best efforts and ensure you don’t achieve success.
With the naysayers, you’ve got three options:
- Ignore them and let their negativity roll off your back
- Talk to them and convince them not to be negative
- Avoid their company
The right choice may vary from person to person. Sometimes, friends and family don’t realize they’re being negative. When that’s the case, a simple, “Hey, I’d appreciate it if you’d find a way to be positive about my goals” might do the trick.
Some people might be unwilling or unable to curb their negativity. When that’s the case, you’ll have to decide if you can ignore it or if you’re better off avoiding their company. Choose the option that’s right for you.
Avoiding the inner critic is more challenging because you carry it around with you. A good option is to reframe the negativity and imagine that instead of talking to yourself, you’re talking to a dear friend. You wouldn’t be rude or insensitive to a friend, so don’t treat yourself that way either!
Identifying Your Strengths
Believing in yourself is easier when you recognize your strengths. We’ve all got things we do well, so why not celebrate them?
You can cultivate a mindset of self-believe by making a list of the things you do best. Are you a great salesperson? An innovator? A team builder?
Write down your strongest traits and abilities and then turn them into affirmations. When you’re heading into a meeting or negotiation or planning session, read the list and remind yourself that you’re a terrific negotiator or a strong speaker. It’ll put a spring in your step and help you maintain a positive outlook.
Overcoming Fears and Negative Thoughts
The flipside of acknowledging your strengths is looking at your fears and negative thoughts and finding ways to overcome them. We’re all afraid of something. What sets us apart is how we handle those fears.
With negative thoughts, try reframing them as things you would say to a friend. You can even write out your negative thoughts and then rewrite them with a positive spin.
Fears are a little trickier. You’re going to need to face them. Look for ways to give yourself the tools you need to overcome your fears. For example, someone with a fear of public speaking might join Toastmasters to get critiques and encouragements from fellow members.
Building a Business Plan
Sometimes people fail due to a lack of planning. You’ll have a better chance of achieving your goals if you lay out a concrete plan for achieving them.
Writing a business plan takes time and effort. You’ll need to think about your specific goals and break them down into actionable steps. Decide what resources you’ll need and how you plan to get them, and create immediate, short-term, and long-term goals.
The benefit of writing a business plan is that it will:
- Help you clarify your goals
- Make it easier to tell if you’ve got a goal that’s too ambitious or not ambitious enough
- Help you fine-tune your ideas
- Serve as a template for approaching investors, partners, and others to talk about your business
It might be a lot of work, but the time you spend on your business plan will help you achieve a success mindset.
Getting Inspiration from Successful People
When you’re aiming for a lofty goal, it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s also easy to look at other successful people and tell yourself that you can’t do what they did – or that they were never where you are.
The truth is everybody struggles in some way. You can find inspiration by seeking out stories about successful people who overcame negative thinking or other obstacles.
One example is the novelist Stephen King. One of his earliest novels, Carrie, was rejected by more than 30 publishers before it was finally accepted. If he’d given up, he wouldn’t be one of the most famous and successful authors in the world.
Did you know that Bill Gates had a failed company before he started Microsoft? And that Walt Disney was fired by the Kansas City Star because his editor said he lacked imagination and had no good ideas?
The point here is that if you let the naysayers hold you back, you won’t be successful. The only way to succeed is to believe in yourself.
That takes care of Step 1. In the next chapter, we’ll talk about how to test your ideas. Keep reading to learn more!
Step 2: Testing Ideas to Prove Them Worthy
You probably have tons of ideas. Some are good and – let’s face it – some aren’t. How can you tell the difference? By testing them!
Why Testing Ideas and Products is Important
Testing your ideas and products is essential – and it’s not that hard to understand why. Which would you rather do:
- Spend your time and money developing and launching a product only to find out that it doesn’t sell the way you thought it would; or
- Spend some time testing and refining your idea first before you invest your hard-earned dollars in launching it.
The answer’s clear, right? It’s a better use of your time to test things out first. Once you’ve tested, refined your idea, and re-tested it, you’ll have a pretty good idea of whether it’s going to work.
One way to improve your chances of success is to do market research before you spend valuable time and money trying to start your business. That might mean pitching your idea to a few valued friends or family members. It might mean asking your blog readers what they think of it.
With products, it’s a little trickier. But you might do a Google search for products in your niche or spend a few minutes on Amazon seeing what’s available. If there’s a product that does exactly what yours will do, you’ll need to reconceptualize it.
The most important thing with testing ideas is to make sure you’ve got a unique value proposition. That’s the one thing your product or idea has that nobody else has!
Your value proposition could be about functionality or it could be about price. The main thing is to know how you’ll differentiate your product from others on the market.
Identifying Problems and Finding Solutions
You’re more likely to succeed if you identify a product or service that provides a solution to a problem faced by your target audience. People go online to find answers. They ask questions and look for products that will help them.
You can find problems by searching a common keyword in your niche and looking at Google’s suggested searches. For example, say you want to create a project in the pet training niche and you’re looking for an angle for puppy training product. You might search “How to house train a puppy” and see this:
You can see there are some ideas there, including focusing on training with a bell or training with a crate.
You might be able to carve out a niche for yourself by focusing on a training method for people who work during the day. That’s a problem that might not be addressed by other products – and that means it could be your unique value proposition!
Setting Goals/Small Steps to Success
Do you know how to set goals? It involves more saying “I want a successful business.” You may have heard about SMART goals. It means setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely.
This book is about a success mindset, but “success” isn’t a specific enough word when you’re setting goals. Here are some examples of SMART goals:
- Incorporate a new business
- Generate $50,000 in revenue in the first year
- Attract 10 new clients in the first quarter
What you’ll notice is that these goals are all specific and achievable – and in the case of the revenue and client-based goals, they’re measurable and timely, too.
When you set goals, ask if they’re SMART and if they’re not, fine-tune them until they are.
Planning for Failure
You’re probably thinking it sounds strange to plan for failure. It does – but it’s also a smart thing to do.
Everybody fails. Remember the story about Stephen King being rejected 30+ times by publishers? The reason he’s the beloved (and highly successful) author we know today is because what he did after those rejections.
He didn’t stop. He didn’t give up. He learned to cope with rejection, and he persisted.
Before you start, ask yourself what you’ll do if you fail. Keep asking and plan for it. Understand that you may fail – and know that you’re still in the game unless you take yourself out of it.
Coming up next, we’ll talk about the next step, which is related to failure. Successful people learn from their mistakes – and you’ll learn how you can, too.
Step 3: Learning from Mistakes
Every cloud has a silver lining – and so does every mistake. It’s a bit cliché to say that mistakes are learning opportunities, but the fact that it’s a common saying doesn’t make it untrue.
Just like failure, mistakes show us who we are. We all make them. It’s what you do with them that marks the difference between success and failure.
Why Start-Ups Fail
It’s not easy to get a start-up off the ground. When start-ups fail, it can be for any one of several reasons. Here are some of the most common:
- Not focusing on customers and solving their problems
- Lack of focus
- Scaling too quickly
- Not building a success team
We’ve already talked about focusing on customers. If you do that, you’ll be halfway to success because you won’t be thinking about yourself, you’ll be thinking about your audience.
Focus problems happen when you try to do too many things at once. Simplifying goals on focusing on one product or idea will help keep your eyes on the prize.
Scaling is something that can send any entrepreneur into a tailspin. Allow your business to grow organically and scale only when you’re ready.
We’ll talk about how to build a success team later – but suffice to say, you can’t do everything yourself!
Reframing Mistakes as Opportunities
Nobody likes making mistakes. It’s no fun to be wrong. But every successful entrepreneur needs to get comfortable with it – and learn to see mistakes as opportunities.
What happens when you mess up? If you pay attention, you can learn something! Everything you learn now will help you with your next goal.
When you make a mistake, take a deep breath and ask:
What can I learn from this?
Then, once you’ve identified it, use the lesson to create your next opportunity. Once you get in the habit of doing it, it’ll be easy.
We already talked about SMART goals. When you don’t achieve a goal, it’s easy to feel disheartened. Often, it’s just a sign that your goal was too big.
If you’ve ever made a to-do list, you may have noticed how gratifying it is to cross out the items on it. Some people even put simple things on their lists because they know they’ll be able to complete them quickly.
When you set goals for yourself, take every long-term goal and break it down into the smallest possible steps. Focus on what you want and narrow your goals to help you achieve it. You’ll be far more likely to get where you want to go if you have tight, achievable goals.
How to Find the Lessons in Experiences
Everything you experience is a lesson. When you make a mistake or fail, it’s natural to be upset.
Take time to be upset. But then, step back. Ask what you did wrong, and what you would do differently next time.
If you lack information, go find it. Read, study, talk to other people in your industry – and then take what you’ve learned to heart and use it in the future.
One of the best ways to refine your goals and fine-tune your products is with split testing. Split testing involves taking content or an ad campaign and testing different versions until you get the best results.
The key to split testing is testing only one element at a time. Not satisfied with your Facebook ad? Test two different headlines, choose the one that performs better, and then split test your call to action.
Creating Your Plan B
It’s always a good idea to have a Plan B. If your first idea doesn’t work, what will you try next?
There’s no shame in having a back-up plan. In fact, part of the reason that successful people become successful is that they have a back-up plan!
Coming up next, we’ll talk about how to keep focused on your customers, so you don’t get off track. Keep reading to learn more.
Step 4: Focus on Your Customers
The customer is always right. That’s a truism of customer service, but it’s just as important when planning for success.
In the last chapter, you learned that one of the main reasons start-ups fail is because they fail to focus on the customer. But you’re not going to make that mistake!
Why You Should Focus on What Customers Want/Need
Your customers are the life’s blood of your business. If they’re not happy, your business will fail. It’s that simple.
We’ve already talked about market research and testing. Even after you’ve tested everything, though, you still need to focus on your customers.
It doesn’t matter what critics of your company and products say. If your customers are happy and satisfied, you’ll make money.
Think about James Carville’s famous sign during Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. It read, “It’s the economy, stupid.” It was a reminder that the campaign’s voters – its customers – were worried about the economy. Keeping their focus on the community helped make the campaign a winning one.
Creating a Great Start-to-Finish Experience
A customer’s experience with you starts when they first learn about your company or product and continues for as long as they use your product.
When you think about the customer experience, think through every step of the experience. Offer stellar content, an easy buying process, and excellent support.
Customers who’ve received top-notch support remember it. They’ll mention it to their friends.
What’s the secret to attracting customers? VALUE.
Before anybody spends their money on your product, they’re going to want to know that it’ll deliver on its promises. You can make them feel better about that by offering clear value to them even before they buy.
That means creating and delivering interesting, informative, relevant, and actionable content that’ll help you engage their attention.
Delivering value triggers a mental glitch called Reciprocity. When you give customer something for free – even if it’s information – they’re more likely to feel obligated to buy from you.
Of course, value must come from your product as well. It includes the quality of the product, its usefulness, its longevity, and its price.
Becoming an Authority
People look up to authority figures. You can prove your authority by doing what we just talked about – delivering value to your customers.
But authority is more than that. It’s about showing that you’re a reliable and knowledgeable source of information. On social media, it means delivering original content that’s informative and actionable. It may also mean curating content from industry publications and authorities and sharing it with your own take on the topic.
One way to establish yourself as an authority is to offer a lead magnet to grow your list. A lead magnet can be a short eBook, a tip sheet, a template, or anything else that demonstrates your knowledge.
Customer support starts when a customer first visits your website. You should think about what kind of support your customers need and how you’ll deliver it.
In the old days, support was mostly in person or on the phone. Today, you may want to think about:
- Email support
- Chat support
- Self-service options
- Social media support
You’ll need to test various options to figure out what’ll work for your audience. Remember that a lot of companies are merging social media with support and consider doing the same.
Next, we’ll talk about the fifth and final step to success: building your success team!
Step 5: Building Your Success Team
If you want to be successful, you can’t go it alone. There’s a temptation to do that, of course. Wearing every possible hat might save you a little money. But in the end, it’ll cost you more in time (and sanity) than the alternative.
Why You Shouldn’t Try to Do Everything
You might have a lot of skills. Perhaps you’re a great innovator with excellent communication skills. Maybe you’ve dabbled in accounting and flirted with marketing.
No matter how good you are, you’re not equally good at everything. If you try to do the things you’re not so great at, you might wind up settling for a less-than-perfect result.
A lot of entrepreneurs do everything at first. You might need to. But once you’ve established your business and product, it’s a good idea to branch out and get some help.
Not only will you be able to do a better job at the things that ONLY you can do, you’ll also be able to live a balanced and productive life – and that’s part of success.
Tips for Building a Team
The idea of building a team can be an intimidating one, particularly if you’re thinking that you need to hire people and deal with taxes and insurance.
The good news is that you don’t need to do those things unless you want to. Lots of companies outsource tasks as needed without hiring full-time or even part-time people.
The first step is deciding who you need on your team. Are you struggling to keep up with social media? You may want to outsource it to someone with more experience. Perhaps you need a bookkeeper to come in once a week to pay bills. Maybe you need a payroll service.
You may decide to hire someone full time. Keep in mind, though, that there are plenty of tasks you can outsource to freelancers. Using sites like Upwork makes it easy to find virtual assistants and team members.
The Importance of Delegation
How do you know what to do yourself and what to delegate? Delegation is an essential skill. You know you can’t do everything, but it can be difficult to let go of the things you’re accustomed to doing even when you have help.
Here are some questions to help you learn how to delegate. About each task, ask:
- Can I teach someone else to do it?
- Is there anything that I’m unable to teach?
- Is my personal input required?
- Do I have someone on my team who’s capable of learning how to do it?
Unless the task absolutely requires your input and skills, it should be open to delegation. Yes, you’ll need to spend some time training your staff or freelancers to do the task to your standards. You’ll probably end up fielding a few questions and possibly, correcting a few mistakes.
There’s nothing wrong with you keeping key tasks to yourself, but your goal should be to maximize efficiency while also prioritizing accuracy.
It can also be helpful to take an inventory of your team’s skills. They might have abilities you don’t know about yet!
Thanks for reading Success Mindset: 5 Steps to Success. The 5 steps outlined here are ones you can use to travel the road to success.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to:
- Reframe negative thoughts and talk to yourself as you would a friend
- Avoid negative people and naysayers
- Test your ideas thoroughly before launching new products
- Prepare for failure
- Learn from your mistakes whenever possible
- Stay focused on your customers and their needs
- Get the help you need to reach your goals
A lot of success is believing in yourself and getting the support (both from yourself and others) to reach your goals. If you can maintain a positive mindset and be methodical about planning, then you’ll have the success you deserve.
Best of luck – and here’s to your success!