Just back from the “Uplevel Your Purpose” retreat with my business coach and mentor Christine Kane, here are 10 things I learned about creating a purpose-based business.

1) People remember stories more than concepts. We writers know this… a good story sticks with people. They’re fascinated about how you do reiki with horses, or create a six-figure income from doing intuitive astrology; it changes the way they think about you, and your business.

Writers are merchants of ideas. And good stories build character, credibility and connection.

2) Vulnerability and credibility are a winning combination. Both contribute to authenticity (especially if the tears are real) and, let’s face it, authenticity is the new black.

3) Systems are like dog parks – they provide the structure and space through which creativity and productivity can run wild, yet be contained. Systems offer a way through which money, customers, products and services can flow.

4) Impression of increase is important in positioning your business for success. Don’t hide your, or your business’s, brilliance and growth. If you’re doing work on four continents, selling art to celebrities or just got published in the New York Times brag a little… hell, brag a lot. It’s OK to let your clients, customers and fans to know that you’re BRILLIANT at what you do – it might even help sales.

5) Tell your Signature Story. This is the story or experience that captures the “Why” you do what you do. Whether your decision to change your career (or your life) was prompted by a cockroach walking across your face in a seedy hotel, a traumatic car accident, or an allergic reaction to a 9 to 5 schedule, people love to know what pulled the trigger, made you leap or defined the moment that led you to become YOU.

6) Fall in love with what makes you DIFFERENT. The world has more than enough mediocrity, clichés and conformity – standing apart means standing out and standing strong. One of my friends and fellow masterminds is the only female cosmetic surgeon in a medical practice of 24 men, which puts her at an advantage, not disadvantage. She’s not only a great surgeon, she offers compassion and a genuine understanding of what her female clients need, want and fear.

Another friend and business colleague of mine just left the highly-secure corporate consulting world to lead the life of a nomad, go completely mobile, and become an entrepreneur-out-of-a-suitcase, at least for awhile. She’s taken courage, cool and client service on the road.

Work, and live, outside the box.

7) Break your own rules. The beauty of being an entrepreneur, and one with a purpose, is that you can choose to work when you want, how you want, with whom you want, and charge what you’re worth. Don’t just think outside the box… work outside the box. That’s the ultimate freedom.

8) Lean into it. Most great plans, big achievements and hugely successful businesses are realized beginning with small, deliberate steps – one at a time and, often, one day at a time. By leaning into it and taking one step, and then the next one, and then the next one, we can continue to move forward without feeling overwhelmed and immobilized.

9) Take imperfect action. If we wait to do things perfectly we often don’t do anything at all. It’s time to reign in the perfectionism, to take imperfect action rather than no action. (Note: exceptions taking to imperfect action include surgery, tattoos, and weddings in Vegas.)

10) Love is the new business model. People are not seeking “branding,” they’re seeking CONNECTION.

Thanks for being here.

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Author's Bio: 

I’m a girl from the Canadian prairies who likes wide-open spaces, fresh ideas, a great story, and inspiring environments, buildings and art of all kinds. I have written feature stories about architecture, urban, rural and lakeside living, cool neighbourhoods, and everything from business to pleasure (tourism and travel).

I believe that powerful writing, too, can link the artistic with the practical.

My feature writing has appeared in: Ottawa Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, The Western Producer, The Cottager, Manitoba Business Magazine, Manitoba’s Northern Experience, Home & City, Manitoba Gardener, Ciao and up! (WestJet’s magazine).

Barbara Edie