Small Business Story: Tips From Solopreneur Dana Manciagli

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of our customers, Dana Manciagli, who (according to my online research) is called “a combination of Jillian Michaels and Suze Orman for careers.”

After reading that description, I thought to myself, “Wow — that certainly paints an image!” Her book’s title, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!”, further cemented my perception of her as a straight-shooter, no-nonsense kind of gal. I, being a little nonsensical at times, immediately thought how funny it would be if Dana made me do the career-coaching equivalent to push-ups in our call.

Thankfully, push-ups didn’t happen (sorry Jillian!). What we talked about instead was why Dana decided to leave her “perfectly good job” at Microsoft after a long tenure and how she’s managed to create a thriving, global small business as a “solopreneur.” Because the former has already been written about, the remainder of this post will focus on the latter.

In asking Dana how she did it — how she became a global brand as a career expert, speaker, private coach and author — she had the following tips to share:

  1. Decide what you want to do. Have an idea or concept that you’re passionate about and a solid business plan with goals and metrics.
  2. Be bold. Think big. Dana went national and then global immediately because she realized that she could if she had the right technology. The only way to support a global business model is to think beyond in-person meetings, so that’s what she did. And while Dana feels handshakes are still important, they aren’t always financially or geographically viable, so take advantage of conferencing technology like GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar. It’s almost as good as being there in person, and it most certainly extends your reach.
  3. Be different. You have to differentiate yourself from the pack as a small business owner or a solopreneuer. Invest resources into your brand, website and technology so that you look professional. These things can help small business look like a big business, which will set you apart from the competition.
  4. Sell, sell, sell! Doors don’t just open. You have to turn the handle. If you’re not a “people person” and sales isn’t in your DNA, you will want to cultivate those traits.
  5. Be visible. Invest in social media and use those channels to push out valuable content. Content is king.
  6. Build partnerships. Cultivating partnerships with other businesses can be a source for referrals and new revenue.

Those seem like some pretty solid tips from Dana. Jillian might add that you need to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” which applies not only to fitness but also to running a small business. But I think both would agree that being passionate, fearless, unflappable and tenacious are pre-requisites to success, whatever your goals.

Now I’m inspired! Maybe I’ll start with a push-up and see how I progress from there — who’s with me? We can move on to our business fitness next, and I’ve got just the solution. Grow your reach globally with GoToMeeting Pro — free for 30 days.

 

Photo credit: César Viteri Ramirez via Flickr

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