49: You Can't Think Your Way Through Business Growth
They say if entrepreneurship was easy, everyone would do it. But as innovators and visionaries, we often overcomplicate things, valuing intellectual prowess over reflection and patience. In this episode with Shana Dewitt, we’re talking about how to remove yourself as the biggest obstacle to your business’s success.
On this episode, Shana and I discuss:
Why most business owners get stuck growing their business,
The connection between confidence and income,
Whether your day-to-day tasks are keeping you busy or getting your results,
Why manifesting your dreams isn’t enough, and
How strategy and thoughtwork are equally necessary to engage in every day.
MEET SHANA DEWITT
Shana is a Business Strategist and Coach who helps entrepreneurs align their business with what they want to be known for. She believes in helping women create a business, doing work that they love so that they can create more choices in their lives and serve.
Shana uses her branding expertise to create messaging and marketing strategies that help you transition your business so that you can do more of the work that lights you up. When she’s not working, you can find her having inspiring conversations with entrepreneurs as the host of the Be Heard podcast.
Shana began her career working as a corporate designer. What surprised her most, when making the transition to entrepreneurship, was that the biggest thing she had to work on was herself.
The advice she hadn’t heard from anyone was that the biggest obstacle to your business is going to be you.
Entrepreneurship pulls back a layer of yourself, exposing all of your insecurities and allowing your innermost fears to come the surface. There’s a lot of disruption to your identity—wanting something so badly and still having to redefine yourself at the same time. It was something Shana was not at all prepared for.
When she started her business, she wasn’t aware of the online business world. Looking back, she realized she had very little of a support system in place other than her family. She wasn’t on Instagram and barely used Facebook. Everything she faced, she faced internally.
Shana knew what success looked like in the corporate world, but was confused on how to measure her success as an entrepreneur.
While she entered business ownership thinking she was prepared because of her number of years designing, looking back there was so much she didn’t know.
TRANSITIONING YOUR BUSINESS
Today, Shana specializes in helping people that want to transition their business or that want to serve a new group of people or the same people but in a different way. Her clients—whether they are design clients or want a marketing strategy—all need one thing: core messaging.
When they don’t have a foundational brand message, everything else is harder.
“If you can’t clearly tell people who you are, what you do, and who you do it for, then you just can’t sell anything,” Shana says.
The process she uses with branding clients to get a logo that really feels like them is the same process she uses with people coming to her for marketing and strategy. Because your message is the core of how to do all of those other things.
Shana herself has transitioned her niche multiple times over the course of running her business. But when it came to working on herself, she realized people were already coming to her for services but she wasn’t sure if she was ready to do it full time. And if she was, what did that mean?
She explains that every time you go to the next level in your business there’s a grieving process. You have to let go of who you were. Sometimes it’s realizing that you had a goal in place and you no longer care about that goal anymore.
With that comes that realization that when your passion shifts and you can shine brighter in another area, you have to be open to transforming your identity.
This process doesn’t happen overnight though.
It took Shana about six months to figure out how she was going to work with people as her business evolved. During that time she gained confidence in what her process would look like and how she would sell it.
“You can’t sell something if you don’t feel confident about it,” Shana says.
RECOGNIZING WHEN YOU’RE IN YOUR OWN WAY
Finding your brand voice is really about getting an outside perspective on your business, where you can have someone see all of the things about you that are magical and wonderful.
Often we try to do this ourselves. We make lists, we work harder. And we expect results.
But when you’re getting in your own way, it’s much more difficult to make progress. This is where mindset work comes in. And it’s work that you have to do every day—every time a fear comes up, every time you feel resistance, every time you post and people don’t respond and you feel crappy about it.
It doesn’t matter how enlightened you are or how much you meditate, there’s always going to be another layer to discover about yourself as an entrepreneur. And it’s not something you can just write a check for. It takes time.
When Shana first started coaching, she knew she was adding value but she wasn’t sure how to package that up. There was no way to figure that out other than by conducting a ton of phone calls and seeing what patterns came up.
This patient period is critical and we’re not placing enough value on it because it’s uncomfortable.
We push through because it’s easier to write a list or post more often. But we do this when we’re avoiding other stuff. But unfortunately you can’t think yourself to the next level.
Working with someone else can help. A coach can help you through and see your blind spots—when you’re avoiding things, letting fear get in the way, or doing something just because you hear it worked for others.
Recently Shana was working with a client who wanted to go back and redo her newsletter opt-in. There wasn’t anything wrong with it but she didn’t feel busy. So she wanted to busy herself with actions that she felt she could control.
Another client came to Shana wanting to increase the engagement in her Facebook group. When they actually started talking about the expectation she had for the group and that didn’t rely at all on increased engagement.
You can get stuck for months thinking about your opt-in, your website copy, your content strategy But if you’re in your head and not taking action, you’re doing things that keep you busy but aren’t moving the needle in your business.
WHAT IS YOUR ENERGY ATTRACTING?
Reflecting on when she started her business, Shana realized she had a lot of things to work on internally. It was taking a toll on her. It was taking a toll on her relationship with her husband—she was making him miserable for no reason at all.
She didn’t feel successful even though she’d never taken the time to define what that meant for her. She just wasn’t happy with her position in the household because she didn’t have a “regular” job. But she did have a spotless house. And she was working out two hours a day.
All of these actions were her trying to work through the feeling that in business she wasn’t enough.
But then Shana started working with a life coach who also happens to be an energy healer. This person helped Shana moved blocks out of the way—sort of like a screen—so that she could show up the way she really wanted to.
It was like six months of therapy rolled into one hour.
Shana thought, “How incredible would it be if I could help my clients shift through things this much faster?”
When we talk about energy work, we all talk about it slightly differently. But there’s a universal understanding of when you walk into a room and you can’t just tell it’s not a good situation and you want to walk out.
Or you’ve gotten on the phone with a prospective client and something in your head told you they would be a nightmare client but you took the on anyway because you’d be crazy to turn down the money. Then that money ends up being the hardest money you’ve ever worked for.
That desperation, that fear, that lack of confidence comes across and can really make or break you, especially when it comes to sales.
“You can cultivate confidence and that’s going to change the energy you’re putting out,” Shana says. “Then you’re going to bring in more income because you’re relating to people in a different way.”
BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND STRATEGY
Strategy, to Shana, means going back to the foundations of a business. She asks business owners what their values are and what’s important to them. She asks how they like to work and how they like to spend their time. She wants to know what lights them up most about their job.
Successful strategies are built in ways that feel good to the person executing them.
Shana herself has a few online courses that she developed. But after releasing them, she realized she loathes launching. So she doesn’t promote them anymore and is fine with it. A strategy keeps the emotions at bay.
Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
In the coming year, Shana is incorporating energy work more into her services. This will help her clear the path for her clients even more efficiently.
Two things that Shana would recommend to any CEO who recognizes the need to work on themselves to grow their brand: meditation and journaling. Though we often focus on negative things that happen, prompted journaling can also bring to our attention the wins that we may be taking for granted.
For more tips on aligning your brand and your mindset, tune in to Shana’s podcast: The Be Heard podcast.