Self-Awareness Is the Key to Success and Other Advice for Starting Out

Self-Awareness Is the Key to Success and Other Advice for Starting Out

If you’ve never heard the term “firebrand” before, then let me introduce you to Jeremy Goldman, founder and CEO of Firebrand Group, author, and all-around marketing and branding expert. Sometimes he wears bowties. Most days he matches one of 13 teddy bear iPhone cases to his attire. And he always knows how to give business owners the straight truth.

In our interview, Goldman explained what it means to “lean into who you are” and why it’s a crucial part of every business’s success.

The Cost of Doing Business

The aptly named Firebrand Group’s mission is to help organizations future-proof themselves. The key, according to Goldman, is to devise a marketing and communications strategy that works for that specific business.

When approached by companies that have a pre-defined notion about what their marketing strategy needs to look like, Goldman advises them to take a step back. “We can be mediocre at all of these things you’ve mentioned… or we can be great at just a few of them. What do you want?”

This, he explains to me, is the cost of doing business. No matter how motivated or aggressive you are to be the best in your field, it’s not reasonable to expect yourself to be great at every single thing you try to take on—especially if it’s not something you enjoy.

His number one piece of advice for small business owners? Recognize and accept that you’re not necessarily going to be strong in everything you set out to do. You might never get a handle on every single aspect of your business’s operations, and that’s okay. The key to success is to focus on what you’re good at and to lean into that.

Lean Into Who You Are

This idea of leaning into who you are is all about self-awareness. As a business owner, you need to accept that you’re not going to be great at everything.

Whenever Goldman runs into someone who isn’t particularly gifted in a certain area, but who continues trying to shove that square peg into a round hole, he always asks, “Why would you take time away from making your talent more of a priority? Rather than focus on the things you’re bad at [or even just okay at], you should focus on the things you’re good at.”

For those who worry that those weaknesses will detract from their business’s success, never fret. What works for one business won’t necessarily work for another, so don’t feel like you need to have a presence on 11 different social media platforms because that’s what the other guy is doing. You’ve got to focus on your own hustle.

Identify what you’re good at and then do more of that.

The point Goldman makes here is a solid one: you have to get customers, but it doesn’t mean you need to waste time trying to do something that you don’t know how to do. That can cause more harm than good. Goldman suggests a compromise:

“If I’m not good at something, I’m not going to hustle in that direction. I’m going to let myself get good enough at it so my business can run. Then I’m going to surround myself with the right people.”

Follow Your Strengths

At the end of the day, it’s all about accepting who you are, what you’re capable of, and leaning in that direction. Why waste time trying to get good at something you’re not particularly interested in or passionate about if it takes time away from the things you are good at?