Habit-forming is a popular concept in business education and the self-empowerment industry. That’s not only because it’s a clever way to condense good practices into catchy formulas; it’s because one of the most important keys to any great endeavor is consistency. No matter how smart, informed, or hard working a person can be, it’s the ability to maintain a consistent daily regimen that ultimately produces true long-term success.
While there’s no shortage of advice out there about which habits add up to the best results, there are a few that my experience has taught me to rely on. I’ve come to depend on three daily tasks that I believe form the core of consistent growth and consistent sales. They’re not tricks, gimmicks, or hacks; they’re simply three ways to guarantee that every workday makes a contribution to the overall mission of the business.
Like flossing or exercise, these good business habits are worth the commitment, and the mindfulness they foster can be one of your greatest assets.
1. Create Content
Not a workday should go by in which yourself or someone in your company isn’t creating content. That doesn’t necessarily have to translate to a blog per day or a video per week or any other specific number. It just means remembering that your relationship to your audience is based on (and maintained by) the value you offer them day in and day out.
This commitment to content production isn’t simply a matter of throwing content out there for its own sake. It’s about honing your own thought process, and your own view of what matters about your business. It’s exercising your own commitment to your industry and exploring all its angles. It’s about sharing that never-ending process of your own growth with an audience that will trust and respect you all the more for it.
By making content creation a daily task, you ensure that you never let the conversation with your audience end. That conversation is the bedrock on which your marketing and sales are built, because the trust your audience has in you is directly proportional to the sales you’ll make over the years. Commit to making some contribution to your content marketing every single workday, and your audience will stay with you for the long haul.
2. Help Someone
Every day, find a specific person to help. This doesn’t mean that you have to personally address every single need of every single member of your audience, but it does mean that you have to demonstrate your ability to solve their problems. Answer a question on Twitter or offer some guidance to someone who’s sent an email. Doing one useful thing for one person every single workday will build up a store of credibility and gratitude that will go miles towards establishing your reputation in your field.
Each time you help a specific individual, it adds to the buzz about your abilities, and generates the word of mouth that’s so vital in separating legitimate services from the sea of less-than-reputable operations out there. Your “help” doesn’t even have to involve problem-solving; simply showcasing someone else’s work or sharing a link to someone’s website or project helps to enmesh you into the community in which you make your living. Whatever you do for others, it will show that the purpose of your business is to make life better for everyone else as much as it is to support your own goals. That’s not some sappy altruism or naive do-gooderism; it’s the kind of approach to business that creates invaluable customer loyalty.
Not only do you foster good will when you devote part of every workday to helping others, you also deepen your understanding of the needs of your audience. By consistently trying to help someone out, you’ll learn what the common struggles of your audience are and position yourself to address them. You may notice patterns or a common cause of frustration among your audience. Let your product design be guided by that intimate understanding of what your customers need, and you’ll be unstoppable.
3. Work on Your Offer
Of course, content marketing and being a good samaritan are really means of supporting the actual core of your work: your product and the selling thereof. It may seem obvious, but it’s important not to forget about your bread and butter. Every single day is an opportunity to refine your product, to brainstorm innovations, and to sharpen the focus of your marketing. Never allow yourself to get complacent about what you’re selling, or how you’re selling it.
Consult your analytics and track your revenue stream. Take a look at it every workday and try to distinguish the patterns in your sales numbers. Identify what’s working and what’s not. Consult your customer feedback and see if anything about your product could be altered for the better. Above all, don’t trust your product to sell itself. Improve it, refine it, and use all the trust and credibility you’ve build with the other two habits to sell the heck out of it.
We get into entrepreneurship to be free- free from the dictates of traditional employers, free from the burdens of traditional schedules, and free from dependence on businesses that may not have our own or customers’ best interests at heart. Freedom, however, requires us independent business people to impose good, consistent habits on ourselves. By doing so, we maintain the freedom we’ve dared to earn by striking out on our own- and it’s well worth the effort.