Masterclass, the digital life-long learning platform that connects leaders in their fields to people who want to learn from them, recently had a Q&A on Instagram Live with Sara Blakely, Founder of SPANX. Sara offered up practical, immediately-actionable advice for anyone who is an entrepreneur, freelancer, or has goals they want to meet. Here’s what she said:
- Bucket your days of the week by type of work
Sara tries her best to reserve whole days of her work week for different types of work: marketing, product, future planning, etc. It doesn’t always work out perfectly but bucketing them helps her to make sure she’s hitting every part of the business each week and also giving herself the room to devote her attention to each one.
- Write down your goals and post them so you see them every day
There’s so much research about the value of not just having goals but physically writing them down and posting them so that you see them every day. It keeps you accountable and focused no matter how busy life gets.
- Have one word for the year as an overarching goal
It doesn’t matter what it is: peace, love, rest, self-care, travel. Have a theme for your year. In 2020, mine is Productivity. It’s posted on my front door so I see it every day.
- Visualize your goals
Right down to what you’re wearing when it happens, visualize what you want to happen and then use your waking hours to take that visualization from your imagination into reality.
- Regularly try to fail
There’s a lot of talk about celebrating your failures. Many times we’re so busy building ourselves up to succeed that we don’t reach as far as we could. We don’t take risks. We don’t take chances. Sara’s not saying to be reckless; she’s saying to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. The fear of failure is really the fear of embarrassment and the concern about what others will think of you. How can you begin to put that concern aside and go after what you really want, the dreams so big that you’re much more likely to fail than succeed? What would that look like?
- Own your ideas and don’t be afraid to stay small to be self-sustaining
Sara owns SPANX 100%, and has from the beginning 20 years ago. She doesn’t have investors. She never took a business class. She never worked in fashion. She just created a product to solve a problem she had: she wanted to wear white pants to a party without having anything show underneath. She never got ahead of herself. She was okay staying small, running the business out of her apartment for two years by herself. She built a great product and then promoted the heck out of it. Once she was profitable, she didn’t need investors. She didn’t waste her time chasing investment money. She went out and got business to support her product.
- People care much more about the why rather than the what of your product
Ask yourself “Why is my product or service different? Why did I start this?” That’s the story to tell to customers, partners, collaborators, employees, and to anyone and everyone you meet.
Thank you to Sara and to Masterclass for organizing this Q&A. It’s exactly the shot in the arm I needed today. Sign up for Masterclass at https://www.masterclass.com/ and follow Sara on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/sarablakely/