The Worst Advice For A Solopreneur
Just Stick To Your Zone Of Genius
I’m currently working with a couple of local businesses. I provide mindset coaching to staff and leadership.
We do a lot of reframing of experienced and misperceived stress, using my external perspective of various situations.
I had an interesting conversation this week about how it comes to business, and advice provided to an office elder from a youngling, “you should stay in your zone of genius”.
Naturally, I called bullshit on that advice straight away. There was some pushback from this younger person (I can say that now that I’m in my 50s so I’m not being ageist).
I asked this person whether they knew the actress and singer Madonna.
“Well yeah of course” was the petulant reply.
“You’ve seen her in music videos right?” Again the response was a resounding yes. There may have been a dramatic eye roll.
“And you’ve seen her doing press about her latest music video — right? She doesn’t get someone else to promote her product?”
“Errrrrr, no.” was the meek response I received.
“Did you know she has a coffee table book?” I asked. Another meek response.
“Did you know she is the founder of artist-run music label, Maverick Music? Did you know she won a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for her role in ‘A League of Their Own’?” I continued. Silence ensued.
I witnessed a jaw drop when I asked this…
“What would the world look like if Madonna had simply remained the material girl and kept those plumber bands on her wrists?”
I laughed at the quizzical look in reference to the bands!
This generated a wildly colourful conversation about both my age and my ability to pull random facts from nowhere! I steered that conversation to how local businesses can approach marketing, growth and product evolution.
We talked about understanding that your audience has multiple niches, and you shouldn’t box yourself into just one. We discussed how you as an individual change and evolve over time, as does your passion. Your service and products should align with your evolution. Therefore your zone of genius evolves.
Take a leaf from Madonna’s books and continue to reinvent yourself to match the needs of the marketplace and your own heart-based passion.
I’ve had similar conversations with my own coach, especially when new tasks (like new-age marketing fads) felt awkward, hard or frustrating. She would ask me “What would Madonna do?”
Here’s the thing.
There is this ridiculous societal stigma that your passion should speak for itself. Your passion is what keeps people coming back, but how do you attract them in the first place?
There is a misconception by millennials that if you have an email funnel, an app, a widget or do reels then you’ve got it sorted. There is a misperception that if you identify your niche, create clickbait, you’ll be flooded with money.
Well, I call bullshit on it all.
It’s crap advice if you want to create trust within your brand. If you want to remain in the marketplace beyond a one-hit-wonder season, product or offer, you need to appreciate yourself. You need to feed your passion to keep it alive.
You are more than one thing, and so is your business!
You will need to funnel that passion, energy and time into the behind-the-scenes aspects of your business. This takes consistent effort to arrive at the delivery place of service.
Not all aspects of running a business come naturally to people. Therefore staying in your zone of genius means you either spend money to get help running that business or you upskill madly and at lightning speed.
This can be exhausting and dampen your passion.
I read a post by an aspirational coach Simone Grace Seol, and I have to wholeheartedly agree with her statement –
“Getting to do ONLY what you’re talented at, have fun with, and feel passionate about, is called having a hobby. Nothing wrong with hobbies. But the minute you open a business, ALL of the rest of it becomes your business.”
— Simone Grace Seol
Here’s what I do know with almost two decades of experience running my own business. I’ve made myself passionate about everything in my business — otherwise, the myriad of tasks simply don’t get completed. I had to otherwise I get bored and the tasks feel like chores — which of course my human nature wants to avoid.
You have to be responsible for it all, or the wheels fall off something.
‘Stay In Your Zone Of Genius” statement infers that there’s a side dish of stupid lurking about, and we’re not capable of learning new things or changing.
Change is the one constant thing that shows up in our lives. We are literally wired for change.
Our evolution of change and the adaptations that are required to expand your zone of knowledge, competency and capacity is sometimes frustrating and downright hard. But when you nail something, you can feel euphoric.
We learn these big lessons by meeting the challenge head-on. It’s how we gain knowledge of what not to do and understand various processes of what works and why. This expands your genius outside of the zone you started in.
Always remind yourself Madonna started as the material girl and now has a golden globe, a music label, health clubs, a fashion brand, successful films and charities.
Did Madonna do it all at once? No, she evolved. She continues to follow her passion and interest and expand her capacity of service to the world. She no longer runs in a single lane, but many and that is genius.
Fundamentally, if you offer your zone of genius to the world for a fee or energy exchange, figure out what makes you feel good telling people about it — this is authentic marketing.
You don’t have to sing like Madonna, but holy moly you can channel that kind of passion and spirit.
Repeat the marketing process on your terms (so you continue to feel good about it). No one will ever criticise you for your passion. They may talk smack about what you’re doing, but if they personally attack you it’s a reflection of where the audience is at.
When you feel uncomfortable about the way you marketing, that energy shines through your message. Don’t taint your zone of passion with a ‘have to’. Simply let your light shine. This approach enables you to learn and expand your genius into new spaces.
Remember the journey that Madonna has taken. Her story is living proof that as long as you remain connected to your passion, you can be successful. Simply remain focused in your sparkle zone and allow that passion to push the limits of your zone of genius!
Want to read more like this?
This is My Roar – signed copies of my first published book can be purchased from this website.
A Warning to Solopreneurs – click here
You don’t need a sales funnel to succeed – click here
Karen Humphries is a Change Facilitator. She is a qualified Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, Intuitive Meditation Facilitator, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and published author. She is a self-confessed laughaholic. She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’