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Whenever someone uses the saying, “It was right under my nose,” they’re referring to the idea that something was so obvious but they couldn’t see it because they were so close to it. In fact, you can see your nose at all times, but because you’re so used to it, you never realize that you can actually see your nose all the time.

When you’re really close to your business, it’s easy to start missing things because you’re too close to it. It can get harder and harder to maintain any level of objectivity because of the time you’ve spent crafting your brand and putting in the work.

In order to truly evaluate your brand, you need objectivity. You need a way to get a high-level view of what you’re doing so you can make the best decisions going forward.

In today’s episode, we talk about how to get that objective feedback and the importance of realizing you can’t do it all on your own.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • Different people provide such different perspectives and experiences.
  • For your brand to stay on track, you need objective, encouraging, and sometimes critical feedback from a handful of people that you trust.
  • Get people who do not stand to gain anything from your business doing well to pour into you and your business.
  • Don’t do business and own a brand in a vacuum.
  • We make things great with the help of other people.
  • Smart people from different industries are the people you need speaking into your life and your brand.
Show Notes
  • 04:06 Cory: I was talking with Sean, our friend and boss, and the original title for the show was The Key Ingredient Your Business Needs to Survive. It was very critical-sounding and slightly click-baity. I was telling him about it, and he goes, “Oh, money.” I was like, “Oh, you’re right, but that’s not not what we’re talking about. I need to backtrack a little bit here.” Kyle and I talked about it, and yes, you need cashflow as a business, for sure.
  • 04:50 If you want to create anything, you need some sort of way to make it happen, financially speaking. We’re talking about something else. We’re talking about what your brand needs to stay on track. When we say “on track,” we’re talking about making sure you’re on your way to your goals, making sure you’re doing the right things for your target audience, and making sure that you’re accounting for all of the issues and problems, being able to look at what you’re doing objectively.

The Key Ingredient

  • 05:28 Kyle: This is a good topic. A lot of the time, there’s a gap. Money is something businesses need to continue producing what they produce and keep paying their employees, if they have those, or themselves if they’re self-employed. A business doesn’t exist without income, but there’s often a gap for people who understand that concept. What’s the next thing? I know I need income, but I also need to make sure I make the things that make income.
  • 06:08 How do I stay on track with that? How do I make sure I’m creating things and doing things that benefit my brand, so that I can generate income?
  • 06:22 Cory: Or accomplish my goals. Maybe your brand isn’t all about generating income. That isn’t the number one thing you’re on a mission to do. In most cases, it’s not. The vision usually is different from just making money. You make money so that you can do that thing.
  • You have to make sure that your goals are possible by having the finances.

  • 06:58 I call this the “key ingredient,” but that’s partially because the featured image is so good. I’m very much a people person. I love people. I talk with people. I want to hang out with people all the time. Working remotely is really difficult. I was on a Skype call with our coworker, Cory McCabe, and I was goofing off. We called to talk about one simple thing as part of a process, and we were talking for 15 or 20 minutes, goofing around.
  • 07:37 We were doing work, but I was being silly. He was being serious because he wanted to get the work done, but I was half talking, half dancing, half singing. I was like, “I really love people. I want to be around people.” That’s the thing. This is where I’m coming from.
  • For your brand to stay on track, you need objective, encouraging, and sometimes critical feedback from a handful of people that you trust.

  • 08:19 This can come in the form of accountability, it can come in the form of a Mastermind, it can come in the form of being part of the seanwes Community or another kind of community. I know of a lot of great business communities that are doing great things. It can look like a number of things. It has to be somebody who is on the outside of your business, the outside of what you’re making, your organization, who can meet with you, talk with you, and help you get a bird’s eye view of what your brand is doing and how it’s working towards its mission.
  • 08:58 Oftentimes, and Kyle and I both know this, when you’re working in a business or on a business, it’s really easy to just see what you see. You get so close to it. When you’re so close to it, sometimes it’s hard to see a lot of the things that you need to see. There are often times where you’re like, “Okay, everything is great. I’m on my way.” You’re doing all these things, but you’ve been so dialed in, it’s very microscopic.
  • You need help to see the overarching metanarrative of what’s happening with your brand.

The Power of Collaborating With Different People

  • 09:38 Kyle: It can even be little things. When we talk about this, it seems like this is big stuff, like something went wrong with your brand. That wasn’t really good, or that was really good. But it can even be these little things people tell you that they don’t even think about. It’s just in passing. It’s a result of talking with them about what’s going on. You mentioned Cory McCabe. Cory McCabe and I will sometimes meet up and talk about things.
  • 10:10 We’ll talk about where both of our efforts are going and those kinds of things. There are always great insights from that, especially being in person. You know this, Cory, but there’s something different about being in person. I’m not even a super social person, but there’s a different dynamic to it when you’re in person. He and I, today actually, talked about making that official.
  • 10:37 We’re meeting up once a month and talking about where we’re at with our businesses and what we want to do in the future. Those kinds of things. I think that’s going to be really good, to start getting some feedback. There are other people I get feedback from. I think, even on top of those accountability-type situations or meeting up with people, it’s important to have that open understanding between each other. You want to be able to come in and say, “Hey, I noticed this. I wanted to let you know.”
  • 11:15 Cory and I have that quite a bit. If my newsletter link doesn’t work or there’s an image missing somewhere, you’ll be like, “What’s up with this? What are you doing?” That’s good. It’s important to be open to those kinds of things.
  • Different people provide such different perspectives and experiences.

  • 11:36 Cory: Kyle, you’ve had a very different background and experience than I have, and you can bring a lot of things to the table that I can’t bring, because you’ve worked for a Fortune 500 company, you’ve worked in UI specifically, you studied illustration, and you have all of this background. I have my own line of things in my life, so we can both bring things to the table that are different. Maybe I can see things that you can’t and you can see things that I can’t.
  • 12:14 I think very specifically about a couple of guys I know, John, Alex, and Damien, and they have a Mastermind group. They’re Community members, but they live in Romania, Luxembourg, and Scotland. They’re all over the place. They connected in the Community, met together at seanwes conference, which is in Austin, and they built this closeness and this trust. They established a Mastermind.
  • 12:48 We got together in Prague a few months ago. There were a few others of us, but they’ve created this tightly knit unit where they can give each other feedback, they can work with each other, and they can collaborate. It’s really powerful. Now, you have these guys with such different experiences and backgrounds and expertise that they can help each other out in really, really powerful ways.
  • Have people on the outside who are close to you, who’s input you value—that’s the key ingredient your brand needs to stay on track.

  • 13:30 We get so close. We can talk about accountability and those sorts of things, but ultimately, it’s about having someone else’s voice—not necessarily their hands, and that’s why it’s important that these people be outside of your business or organization—because they don’t have a stake in it. They do have a stake in you. They have a heart investment in you. You need to get people who do not stand to gain anything from your business doing well to pour into you and your business.

You Don’t Have to Do This Alone

  • 14:23 Kyle: There’s another aspect of this that is often easily overlooked, and that is being accepting and even prompting feedback from your audience, the people you’re actually serving. In many cases, there is a little bit more filtering because those who are interested in your brand may want certain things that aren’t necessarily possible at the moment or aren’t a direction you want to go. It’s important to take that in and filter it through, “Where am I at now? Are they right, or is this something I don’t need to be doing?”
  • 15:05 Or even, taking that to someone, like an accountability partner or a Mastermind group, and saying, “Hey, some of my customers/clients are saying these things. I’m not sure if I should go that direction or not.” It’s hard to do business and own a brand in a vacuum. I think of Periscope or Snapchat or even Instagram Live, where you’re live streaming, and you get feedback from text messages, but it’s still weird. It’s like you’re talking into the void.
  • 15:52 It’s like someone is listening to you on the other end, but you can’t hear any responses or see anything from them. It’s kind of that way, a little bit, except, imagine you can’t even get messages from people! It’s like this podcast right now. We’re not getting live feedback, so unless we ask people to leave us a review or give us some feedback, we don’t know how well we’re connecting with people. We don’t know if it’s going well. We can’t do this in a vacuum.
  • 16:25 Cory: That’s true. You know that thing where they say, “You can’t do life alone, you can’t do X alone”? The truth is, there are a lot of things you can do alone, but it sucks.
  • Trying to do everything and evaluate things on your own is hard, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • 16:48 On a more practical note, one of the easiest ways for you to implement this is to find someone or multiple people that you can meet with, and create three specific questions for those people to ask you when you meet together. You know exactly what you need to be doing in your business. You know exactly what you need to be doing in your organization, or whatever it is you’re managing or creating. For example, let’s say I was trying to build up my YouTube channel brand.
  • 17:28 Maybe one of the questions, if Kyle and I were meeting together, would be to say, “Ask me if I spent more than an hour this week responding to comments on my videos.” For me, it’s important that I have engagement, that I’m connecting with people who are commenting. If I don’t do that and you ask me, you’re not necessarily going in and checking that I’m doing these things.
  • 18:01 I know exactly what I need to be asked. If you have it written down, it becomes part of the process. You’re like, “Alright Cory, this last week, how much time did you spend replying to comments?” It doesn’t have to be this thing where it’s like, “Oh, you only spent 15 minutes? I’m going to slap you on the hand!” It’s just part of the process, where you can see it from more of an objective standpoint, and you can be reminded of the things that you need to be focused on that are important to you.
  • 18:29 Kyle: That’s really well said. I don’t know how to add to that.

seanwes Community & seanwes conference

  • 18:42 Cory: That’s basically it. This whole subject isn’t this overbearing concept that no one has ever talked about before. It’s really important, when it comes to establishing your brand and making your brand something that is memorable and is going to have a legacy—making sure other people, who don’t have a stake in it, but want to invest in you and have invested in you, are able to pour into it. That’s how we make things great.
  • 19:17 We make things great with the help of other people. Maybe you’re working on building your brand and getting stuff set up and you need that objective feedback, you need people to speak into your business or whatever you’re doing, and you’re not sure how to find those people. Maybe you’re in a part of the world where there isn’t a lot of like-mindedness and there aren’t people who are doing what you’re doing and will understand. Go to seanwes.com/community and join.
  • 19:56 We would love to have you. It’s full of people who are smart, experts in their field, and people who are just getting started. We’ve got people from all over the board. We have people who are in their teens and people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Everywhere in between. We have the whole range of experience. We have people in the design industry, the woodworking industry, CPAs, letterpress printers, letterers… John Louden, who even knows what he does?
  • 20:34 He’s got this design studio and does eCommerce. We have comic book artists and business people. We have all sorts of things, people who are willing and ready, who would love to help you as you develop your brand, to ask you those questions. That’s what we’re here for. If you want to meet everyone who’s doing great things in the world, go to seanwes.com/conference. We have a conference this September, the 28th through the 30th, and it’s in Austin, Texas. We would love to see you there. We’ve got a great lineup of speakers. It’s going to be really fantastic. We’ll see you there. We would love to have you.
  • Join the Community, come to the conference, and get what you need for your brand.

  • 21:30 Kyle: That’s a really interesting aspect of the Community as well, know that you mention it. It’s a different dynamic than you’ll get anywhere else. I want to highlight this while we’re talking about this on the episode. There are so many different professions you listed out. It’s very hard, in your normal day-to-day life, to get objective feedback about your business from people who are in different industries from you.
  • 22:06 You’re closely tied with people in your industry. You have connections there. You know people. You know people that can speak to what you’re doing. Getting this objective feedback from people who are business owners or leaders or thinkers of the world, within the Community, about what you’re doing, from a perspective outside of your industry, is really valuable.
  • You start to understand what the perception is from people who aren’t doing what you’re doing when you get feedback from people outside your industry.

  • 22:36 Does this concept even make sense to someone outside the industry? In some cases, it may not need to make sense completely to someone outside the industry, depending on your goals with your brand. It’s still interesting feedback to get, because you start to understand that maybe these terms don’t even make sense. I can give a specific example.
  • 23:01 When I was first creating some of my products for the store, I was going to make this pack of stickers that was some icons that I had designed in a physical form, in a pack. Digital packs of icons are called Icon Sets, most people call them that. I wanted to call them something different. I was saying “Icon Pack” and something else, trying to figure out a way to distinguish it from a digital version. The Community was so helpful with that.
  • 23:40 We ended up on Icon Collection. It’s a collection of icons in physical form. That helped distinguish between the two. That helps me, even in my industry. Maybe some people aren’t in the industry, but it’s definitely distinguishing and will be noticeable that way in the industry.
  • 24:03 Cory: Speaking to that, there’s a guy in the Community named Andrew. He creates these awesome-looking desk lamps. I’m really excited about it. I really want to get one. He hasn’t launched yet. I want one so bad. They look so cool. He’s a woodworker. He does electrical stuff. They’re really fantastic. Right now, he’s working through the XYZ of his business, his purpose. “We help X do Y so they can Z.”
  • 24:44 He’s working through that right now, and you’ve got people from all over the place, literally all over the world, helping him develop this process. As an example, another Community member, David, is not a wood worker, but helps his audience become qualified English language teachers—there’s a certain test he helps them pass, and that’s his business. Those things have very little in common, but he’s in there asking great questions, because he’s a really smart guy. He and others are helping Andrew figure this stuff out and process through it.
  • 25:33 It’s super helpful and awesome to watch people come together that maybe you wouldn’t meet. You think, “I’m a designer, so I should hang out with other designers at a designer conference.” There are people who are really smart, who can pour into you and give you input, that maybe aren’t designers, that you need to have in your contact list.
  • Smart people from different industries, like you can find in the Community, are the people you need speaking into your life and your brand.