NO Such Thing as a Formula for Success

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The title of this post will probably earn me some enemies. And I apologize.  But it’s true.  There are no magic formulas for success. Why do I say that? Because  I wrote a  ‘foolproof” formula and I’ve  watched it work and not work, depending on one factor.

Years ago, massage therapist  friends asked how I was able to re-build a full practice so quickly  when I moved to a new town in another state. What was a mystery to them felt natural for me. It was one of those skills that  come so easily that you just assume everyone knows. I was shocked to  learn that many people in the “helping” professions felt uncomfortable charging for their services. 

When I  shared some tips with a few friends and they saw good results, I put my “Full Practice Formula” on paper for other healing professionals. Some, like the initial group of friends,  quickly attracted all the clients they could handle. Others struggled and whined that they weren’t getting more clients. After reviewing that they had in fact all followed the formula step by step, I looked for the difference in the two groups. The answer came quickly. Those who succeeded were passionate about their practice and felt ” called” to do this work.They weren’t concerned  about competition because they believed in and valued their unique gift.  They  simply needed marketing advise. The group I refer to as the scarcity dwellers complained that there were “too many other people offering the same services.” Most reported having chosen their particular field  either because they were motivated by the earning potential or because they felt they were expected to  go into a helping profession. Digging a bit deeper, it was obvious that the group who didn’t get desired results following my “Full Practice Formula” weren’t all that fired up to do the work.

We’ve all seen the promotions for the “Simple Formula” guaranteed to bring us financial freedom if only we follow these exacts steps. People  pay big money for this promise of success. These formulas work if you are doing something you love and believe in but just need marketing tips. Otherwise, you’re unwise to purchase a “sure thing” program because unless you’re on fire about your idea and have a burning desire to make it happen because you can’t imagine NOT doing it,, there isn’t a formula anywhere that can make you sustainably successful. You can’t fulfill a dream that’s not your own. 

This is where inspiration comes in. Consider some of the unlikely  businesses you hear about that you’d never imagine  to be a hit but they’re  successful because the entrepreneur believed so strongly in it that it had to do well. 

When I tell people I work with creative entrepreneurs, they assume I’m referring to artists. A lot of my  clients and students do have an interest in the arts  but that isn’t what I mean by creative.  It’s more about inspiration, resourcefulness and enthusiastic problem solving. Even a shoe store can be creative in the way they approach communicating their message or “focus on superior customer service.” Just look at Zappos.  

If you’ve had the great fortune of  visiting a Trader Joe’s, you know what I am referring to by an inspired business.   Yes, value priced grocery items and healthy choices are part of the attraction, but for those of us who are TJs devotees, the real appeal is in the way they’ve made an art of the joyful  grocery shopping  “experience”. 

Would you think of an airlines as a creative enterprise?  You would if you flew Southwest  in their startup days. They broke all the rules about what air travel should feel like. Those of us who were frequent travelers on the other airlines found the routine so boring we’d nod off during the emergency procedure briefing. Then SWA entered the scene and air travel suddenly became an experience. We were welcomed onto the aircraft by a happy crew in shorts and sneakers. (I’m convinced they were smiling because their feet didn’t hurt.) They weren’t afraid to add humor to the travel experience. No one got fired for singing the safety procedures or inviting a child to hand out the peanuts. They took the seriousness out of air travel and welcomed us into the fun zone. 

What do these inspired businesses have in common?. They were each so obviously the manifestation of someone’s lightbulb moment, of an idea seed which was watered , nurtured and given lots of light.  They didn’t followed a formula.

We’ve all known someone who invested thousands of dollars in a program that promises to gu

This isn’t to say that a map isn’t vital to the success of any venture.  Laying out a step-by-step plan gives you a measurable way to accomplish your business goals.  It’s just not enough. A formula is only as good as the inspiration behind the idea.

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