Ask This One Question To Get Unstuck In Your Business

Brands who don’t care how cool they are, are the coolest. Dogs that don’t know how cute they are make them even cuter. Entrepreneurs who build a mindblowing product but are humble about it are hard to dislike.

We love seeing someone exude something without having to say it. They don’t talk up a big game, they just silently do it and embody that presence fully.

This is why underdog stories are beloved. We love watching the auditions of clueless American Idol contestants who end up being musical geniuses or hearing stories like a janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and worked his way to the top of Frito Lay (unfortunately this origin story was later refuted). We admire people who do the hard work and silently let their work speak for them.

When my co-founder and I wanted to go big in our first business and be distributed in the biggest retailers in our sector, it was no surprise that we were rejected by everyone we approached.

We talked up a big game about how great our product was but had no traction to show for it. We relied too much on idea and product and not enough on customers and sales. Back in the day when opening up an e-commerce shop wasn’t easy, not getting picked up by retailers was a huge blow.

We let go of the idea of being picked up by wholesalers and instead focused on what we could control.

We put in a lot of hard work into selling at local festivals and organic audience-building.

We went hard on every selling floor and marketing channel we had access to. While we were head-down working, celebrities started to approach us to buy us out, and two major retail chains asked us to sell our lines in 250 of their stores. By that time we didn’t talk up a big game anymore, we learned to just do the work and let it speak for us.

As entrepreneurs, we’re taught to talk, a lot. It’s essential when your voice is the vehicle to introduce your business to the world. Our voices stop carrying though when it’s time to let our work do the talking.

Knowing the difference between when to show vs. tell has been an important lesson for me.

It has changed the trajectory of every business I’ve hit a wall with. If my tell isn’t producing any results, I switch gears to show — it has helped me sell, expand, and jump to reach my wildest goals.

If there’s one question to always come back to when something’s not working in your business, it’s this — what are you telling right now in your business when you should be showing it?

For more wisdom that turns your startup chase into a victory lap, get my Friday morning emails, (lovingly called The Crux) in your inbox.

I create moneymaking brands with womxn entrepreneurs who refuse to settle for mediocre.

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Sophia Sunwoo

Sophia Sunwoo

I create moneymaking brands with womxn entrepreneurs who refuse to settle for mediocre.

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