Inspiration in business has been on my mind recently.
It’s good when you are sitting down to do something creative like writing a blog post.
But where you get inspiration is also important to consider.
I hear from a lot of people that they are tired of trying all the stuff people say that they have to do online to grow their business.
I get it!
Every day it seems like there are new strategies to try. New proven methods. New techniques.
But that is overwhelming.
Stop looking outward for inspiration
This always outward-looking focus for inspiration that you can use for your own strategy is wearing you down and stopping your forward movement. It will keep you stuck in the consuming phase forever.
And if you are stuck there right now, don’t worry we have all been at one time or another. It seems like so-and-so is finding more success than you doing XYZ so you start to feel pressure to do the same things.
It seems like so-and-so is finding more success than you doing XYZ so you start to feel pressure to do the same things.
Maybe you are active in Facebook groups and someone posts about a topic that gets a TON of engagement and is something you can talk about too.
So you decide to also write about it.
And you may find some success from jumping strategies but it isn’t sustainable and you will never find your groove.
When you are ready to find the strategies that are going to help you take your business to the next level you want to quit looking outward and start looking inward.
Looking inward for inspiration
Looking inward for your business can be a really powerful place to gather rich data on what is working for you and your audience.
So many times I see people say they are doing the same thing as everyone else and not seeing results.
I then have to ask them what are they doing that is producing results (even small results) and how can we do more of that? How can we cut out the stuff that isn’t working and still have a fully thought out strategy to grow your business?
Many times people who keep trying to do what they “think” is successful can keep them from finding what truly is successful for them.
Where do you look?
So now that we’ve talked about the difference. How do you know where to find your inward inspiration?
- analyze your data
- ask your audience
Analyzing your data whether it is from your website, social media, or other content you are tracking is the very best place to start when looking for inspiration.
It gives you information about how YOUR content is doing, what people love reading from you, how your distribution is going…etc. I could go on and on about this but that is outside the scope of this post.
If you are interested in learning how to unlock the secrets of your data and start making educated decisions for your online presence rather than guessing check out my Google Analytics Crash Course, it goes into great detail about how to read your data.
You can also ask your audience for insights directly from them.
- what are they struggling with right now
- what topics do they feel you’ve helped them with the most
- what do they want to see next
- what are their biggest questions
How to apply what you find
Now that you’ve gathered insights from your data and your audience you can start building more content on the best performing topics or the burning questions your audience has.
Think about repurposing old content into new formats or adding more information to it now that you’ve gotten additional knowledge.
You can create supplemental information, run a Facebook Live, or look for guest posting opportunities. Essentially building upon the momentum you’ve already built rather than starting from scratch for every piece of content you put out.
Leveraging outward inspiration
Now I know I’ve said a lot of looking outward for inspiration and why you shouldn’t do it.
But…it’s still really important for getting new ideas and growing.
You just have to be really careful with it.
Like the example from Facebook groups, I used above this is an opportunity to be outwardly inspired but the resulting action isn’t going to help you.
Maybe an example of how you could use this would help.
So you’ve seen a post that got a lot of engagement, it seems like a hot topic, you can also talk about it and are excited about it.
Instead of immediately drafting up your own post. I’d like you to slow down and consider the following.
- add it to the list of your content ideas for use later
- think about how you can switch up the idea/topic/info to really serve your audience?
- what is your perspective or your personal spin that you can bring into the same topic so that you stand out
The problem I see when people take a “hot” topic from the internet and use it directly in your own strategy.
Is that you don’t stand out, even when talking about a timely topic. You end up following the flow of topics and missing a great opportunity to really let your expertise shine and build your own credibility.
Final thoughts on inward & outward inspiration
You’ve got to find a balance between looking inward and outwardly for inspiration, it’s true.
But everyone’s balance will be different. Some will need to rely more on outward inspiration until they get enough data to feel confident enough looking inward.
If you only look inward you will miss out on great opportunities for future ideas that you can really put your own mark, experiences, and spin on to grow your own visibility.
Now it’s your turn!
Where do you look for inspiration for your business strategy? How do you decide what to make, write, or market for your business? Let me know in the comments!