Successful solopreneurs know how to leverage their strengths. They know how to sell their one-to-many products, get clients to lap up their one-to-one services, motivate followers to retweet their blogs, inspire readers to pick up their books, and have money in the bank to spend on holidays with their kids.
How do you become the go-to person in your field of expertise, and how can a 2,350-year-old philosopher help?
Read on so you can join the 10% who succeed and inspire others with your innovative ideas
Failure Is More Common Than You Think
The failure rate for small business start-ups is around 90%, according to the Small Business Administration:
- 21.5% fail in the first year
- 30% in the second year
- 50% in the fifth year
- 70% are gone by the 10th year.
It’s not all bad, however. Businesses that failed have a 20% higher chance of success in their next venture. That’s comforting to know — perhaps because I was one of those…
I recognized early on that my shop/cafe was never going to be a success and got out of the lease.
According to the same study by the SBA, I’m not alone in knowing a business will fail before it does.
But wouldn’t you rather avoid the hit on your finances and mindset? Especially if you love what you currently do.
What Can You Do to Turn the Odds in Your Favor?
Orbit Media Studios teamed up with Mantis research and Survey Monkey to discover that, of 481 businesses, half agreed — to be successful as a solo you need two other qualities beyond being a personal brand.
You also need to offer expert insights where you actually express your own opinion.
Born in 384 BC, many believe him to be the greatest philosopher who ever lived. I can’t pass judgment since I’ve not studied every peer, but I do love the fact that his study of the art of persuasion in Rhetoric is still relevant today. So much so that its lessons remain a cornerstone for successful marketing over 2,000 years later.
You can see this yourself every time you log onto social media!
People are moved by how stories make them feel. A share about overcoming cancer, the sadness at a loss, or a rant at an inappropriate message in your inbox. It’s what makes a post go viral.
Aristotle makes the point that persuasion can’t occur in the absence of emotion. The challenge is getting it right. I love how this 4-minute video outlines what Rhetoric is:
Success Tips from Aristotle
Ethos comes from the Greek word for character. I remember it by thinking of a person with a lot of Ego as having character.
It’s why 3 out of 4 consumers check out social media before buying. They want to see the accolades. Your certificates. Your awards.
That’s why consultants publish books and get up on stage. It’s all about boosting their authority. Tony Robbins has five books, four of them best sellers. Brene Brown is the first researcher to have a filmed talk on Netflix.
But don’t worry if you’re not there yet!
Buyers also head to socials to discover if you have a following — whether others believe you to be credible. Love or hate social media, it’s difficult to build a successful business beyond six figures through word of mouth alone. But remember to watch out for…
The Rabbit Hole:
Don’t get lost in busy work. Putting out content in a scattergun approach won’t necessarily get you seen. The internet is saturated. It’s vital to have a strategy to avoid disappointment. Some service providers I’ve worked with use social media to share content that gets them clients. But for other coaches, this doesn’t work at all and they find it’s best used for brand building. You know your audience best.
“Being Credible as a personal brand is all well and good,” said the 241 business (in 2020) and Aristotle (quite some years earlier). But it’s not enough to be a persuasive leader.
Once your business is established, you need Logos. This is the logical appeal to reason. It’s why you should always use Words Backed By Science to back up what you’re saying.
Forget wooly generalizations. Prospects don’t want to know that you’ll make them money. They want to know how you’ll make them money — the step-by-step process.
For example, Brendan Kane has an advert out at the moment for his book on how to get one million followers on social media in a matter of days. But he’s getting hounded in the comments.
There’s a reason for that. Not only has he failed to assure readers that he’s credible and experienced, he’s also failed to give them a logical reason why anyone would want so many followers.
The Rabbit Hole:
If you’re coming up with a service, and you know there is a market for it, ensure that you know what clients are actually using it for. The only way you’ll know what your clients are using your service or products for is by asking them! If you don’t, you’ll spend time you won’t get back selling it the wrong way. I am reminded of classic Samatha from Sex and the City who bought a back massage for a whole other reason. And if my memory serves, the whole of Manhattan cottoned on.
Lastly, to become THE master of persuasion and sell your own ideas you need…
I’m embarrassed to say I remember this because it sounds like Path(etic). As an 80s child, it was the norm to be ridiculed for showing emotions.
But according to Aristotle, emotions are vital for connecting with your audience. And he taught us that the best way to do that is to tell a story.
He believed that stories allow you to transfer your feelings to others. If that sounds far-fetched, you only need to tune into TED talks to see that the most-watched presentations are entwined with story.
The audience finishes Brene Brown’s stories for her, they’ve heard them so many times: The woman who was embarrassed to hear that Brene studied shame and ignored her for an entire flight. Her breakdown when she realized that she, a perfectionist, had to study vulnerability because that’s where her research led her.
TED curator, Chris Anderson, tells us that the most relatable content is authentic and personal. These are the qualities that give you the best connection with your audience. And of course, your audience may well be online.
The Rabbit Hole:
A final top tip from Aristotle comes from Edith Hall who wrote Aristotle’s Way. “Aristotle had discovered that there are fairly universal limits to the amount of information which any human can absorb and retain, so when it comes to persuasion, less is always more.”
And on that note, I’ll wind it up.
How to Use Aristotle’s Teachings to Succeed in Business
90% of small business startups fail by the end of year ten. But neuroscientists agree with the science behind Aristotle’s 2,350-year-old teachings, Rhetoric, on the Art of Persuasion.
Three things are needed to become a thought leader and gain success in business. Aristotle calls them Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. We call them different things but they can be summarized like this:
- Have a credible brand voice and persona.
- Make logical arguments, backed by science, full of specific features and benefits.
- Tell a story to connect with your audience’s emotions. Make it personable and memorable.