By Mike Dolce
No cutting corners. You own the success and the failure. Everything begins and ends with YOU.
As often as I am asked, “How do I lose weight?” I am asked, “How did you build your brand?”
The answer to each is never what the person wants to hear:
I am 100% accountable for my actions.
Just like when you set out on a new weight-loss program, the best of intentions don’t mean a darn thing if you cheat or cut corners at every possible opportunity.
Each and every step of the way, you must hold yourself to a higher standard.
You must dream much bigger than your current ability, resources or expectations.
And you must execute the steps to bring yourself closer to what you want.
Do you see a pattern forming here?
So how do you start?
1) Inform yourself
You must have the right information on which to build your business. This will come with research, education and experience. It’s OK not to know, but it’s not OK to remain in the dark and act from ignorance.
Ask questions. Get answers. Seek professional advice in matters where your confidence could use a boost. Be keen to learn everything you can from the professionals around you.
2) Next (and most importantly) is reputation. If you build it, they will come
When I first started seriously pursuing a career under The Dolce Diet banner, I did not send out press releases, or rent out a storefront, or build a huge monument to my brand in the hopes of future supremacy. I actually downsized my life, sold my vehicles and moved from a large home into a humble apartment.
I also dropped my prices and worked from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. almost every day. I traveled the world constantly, barely breaking even. My goal was not to make money, and it still is not. My goal then, and even more so now, is simply to help people achieve their dreams.
And wouldn’t you know it, the darnedest thing happened. My reputation grew based on my interaction with people and their results. And then my income increased proportionate to my clients’ performances. From following my passion and acting on it, I’ve built a solid reputation in the industry I love.
3) You don’t need massive amounts of money to build your business
To this day, we do not have a marketing budget. We do not advertise on TV, radio or in print.
All of our marketing has come from a grassroots following of people who know people that have found amazing success as a result of The Dolce Diet’s brand of products and services.
It is helpful that many of the worlds’ most elite athletes point at me and say “Mike Dolce is the best in the business” and “The Dolce Diet is a life changing approach to health and performance.” (Remember what I said about reputation?)
But, again, that is a product of my hard work and dedication to my clients’ results.
4) Focus on people over profits
Had I focused on profits over people, surely my business would not hold the stature it does in the sports, health and fitness world.
We would be just another brand, fad, gimmick or what’s-his-name along with the rest. Money is fleeting, but relationships are where true wealth lies.
My company is a reflection of myself. What I say, what I do and how I operate is exactly how my company operates. We are extremely transparent and embrace every possible opportunity to interact directly with the public.
The fact that you are reading this shows that we have had an appreciable amount of success in growing our business the organic way – through people!
For example, I conduct a weekly @TheDolceDiet Sunday Q&A on Twitter in which I do my best to answer each and every question posed to me that day. One Sunday, I answered over 800 questions!!! I love connecting with everyone, and I feel good doing it!
To draw a comparison, another individual in my industry was recently blasted for forwarding any social media question to his website and prompting similar such inquiries to his paid site section with the excuse that he is so busy that if he answered every question that came his way, he would have no time for his family!?
I, on the other hand, feel lucky to be able interact with so many folks from around the world. I learn while doing it! It’s fun! And my hope is that I’m able to help someone while doing it!
In fact, during most of my Twitter Q&A’s I am also enjoying my family. They understand my passion for helping others, and they get excited to follow our Q&A’s.
This is the way my business operates. And since people are my business, I guess that’s a pretty good thing, right?
5) Love What You Do
I came from a very blue-collar family. We all worked. I am not afraid of working hard to feed my family. I embrace it.
My greatest success as a business owner has been not to focus solely on my business, but instead to concentrate the majority of my efforts on my products and services that help others.
If you do that, you will wake up each day absolutely loving what you do, you will be rewarded daily by the outpouring of positive energy of all those you help. You will find that your lights are on and food is on the table, while never having to worry.
So how’d I do it? The same way I continue to do it.
I don’t own my brand. I AM my brand.