Building Trust in a Risk-Adverse World

I was worried about the person putting together my LLC paperwork

Every time we exchange money for a product or service, we are putting our trust in a total stranger. So how do you build trust?

  • Word of mouth and direct connections. This is how most of us get started with our first clients. we share some information, get some referrals, and the ball is rolling. The trust is based upon mutual connections.
  • Doing great work. Once you have a client, it’s all about producing a beautiful product or service. Now the trust has been extended based upon a respect for quality in what you deliver.

It’s the growth stage – the time between brand new and rolling along – that is the most difficult for so many small business owners. How do you get the new customers? Why should they trust you? Without a mutual friend or having already experienced a quality deliverable, they have no idea if you’re trustworthy to work with.

Build trust in other ways

This means showing the world that you are a trustworthy brand. Anything from testimonials to certifications and licenses will help. Or good ole’ fashion face time in the community. Knowing the person behind a company or brand is what helps to make him or her trustworthy.

I don’t trust a product or service, but I may trust the person who made that product or delivered that service. It is a risky decision each time, but we all make decisions every day. Choosing to eat at P Terry’s over Whataburger – why? Do you know for a fact that one is healthier or better than the other? Where did you get that information? Is it a trustworthy source? Most likely, you heard people talk… about food quality or ingredients or great service, or maybe all three. You put your trust in another person.

Entrepreneurs are risk takers. We’re the ones who have to build that trust with strangers. So how are you building trust with the strangers around you?



Creating Accountability and a Routine

Now that January has come and gone, many friends have commented on the falling away of their loosely planned New Years Resolutions. To avoid this failure in myself, I made a point of attending every meetup event I could about making and keeping resolutions during January. The logic behind it was that if I could learn the 20 different ways other people are making and keeping up with their goals, then maybe I could find the ways that work best to implement them into my own life.

Part 1: What the Heck Are Your Goals?

Believe it or not, this was the hardest part for me. As everyone buzzed about losing weight, achieving a dollar goal for their business or creating a routine, I sat their blank faced. Finally, people asked me some questions that helped to guide me there. Where do you see yourself 6 months from now? What would make you happy that isn’t in your life? Why are you unhappy?  

Out of these questions, I started with 4 weekly goals and 2 long-term goals. The weekly goals include exercise, getting outdoors, being social, and creating a positive sleep routine. My long-term goals include a solo-trip to Norway and building my company to include partners.


Part 2: Creating Accountability

Once you have said your goals out loud to another human being (or in my case, announcing them on social media to the world), you are 80% more likely to achieve them. To push myself further, I discovered 2 methods to keep me accountable for the weekly goals – a calendar and a buddy.

Accountability, Routine, Being Accountable for goals, New Years Resolutions

My Accountability Calendar for January

Accountability Calendar (not my idea, but wish it was). Pin a plain old calendar on your wall and choose a few different colored markers – each one represents a goal. When you complete a goal, mark it on your calendar for that day. The visualization of your accomplishments is pretty powerful.

An Accountability Buddy. This is a person you check-in with about your goals. Think of it as a report you must send to the boss each week, though in this case it’s really a tool for you and your own good. My buddy and I actually have a friendly competition going. We track our goals with points each week (1 point per goal achieved). At the end of the month, the person with the most points is treated by the other to dinner, coffee, drinks, or whatever else suits.

Part 3: Set Benchmarks and Get Excited for Long-Term Goals

I actually set calendar appointments with myself for all of my goals, but it’s especially important for the long-term ones. In order for me to go to Norway for a few weeks at the end of August into September, there are a few preparations I need to make – research, set a budget, purchase plan tickets, book hotels, plan activities, and coordinate with client work. For each item, I’ve created a due date – it is on my Google Calendar with all of my meetings and tasks, as well as living in my Asana task manager under it’s  own project.

Knowing my ability to put off personal endeavors to make way for clients and work-related things, I had to set aside time to schedule myself into meetings with myself.  Otherwise, nothing would get done in time and my trip may not come to fruition. I want it to happen. I’m excited to go. And every week I remind myself about the excitement somehow – Instagram photos, Reddit threads, casual conversations with friends, etc.

Solo Trip, Norway, Accountability, Goal Setting

My Instagram Vision of Norway


Just Do What You Need To Do

If making a big change in your life requires some effort and creating a routine, then start somewhere… whatever place you need to. For me, I need calendars and buddies and happy reminders.


Goals Update


January 2013 is over, so how am I doing so far?

  • Post 2 blogs per week – This is good, but I think it is okay to reduce to once per week. Instead, I will promise to journal about my professional growth and accomplishments 2-3 times per week.
  • Create a daily to-do list and follow it – Hit or miss. I am definitely improving though. Each Sunday night I look at my printed calendar and add reminders for the week into my phone.
  • Find a suitable mentor – I think this goal has changed. I may just need a voice teacher…not sure.
  • Become a dedicated volunteer – I LOVE going to clubGEN every week. The girls are amazing and inspiring.

CeoCandi, taking care of business

  • Connect with one new person each month – This month I connected with 4 new people! Follow-up to happen next week 🙂
  • Establish a communications plan to keep up with all of my professional contacts – I need to get this started.
  • Join a brain trust – I have spoken with a new prospects about developing a new group. This will continue to grow and develop in February. I think it will come to fruition in March.
  • Formulate a flexible career plan – This is a difficult one. First I needed some clairty on what my end goal was. Now that I have it, I can begin to create a plan. More to come.
  • Accountability – Blogging, journaling and making specific appointments have helped tremendously.
  • Blocking the negative thoughts about my own abilities – I’m improving on this forefront. There is a definitely pink and happy chi going on with me more recently.
  • 10 minutes of vocal practice each morning – This week I practiced 3 out of the 5 days. I’ll continue to create reminders around the importance of practice to build it into my routine.

I’m open to suggestions. Let me know if you think there are other things I should be doing to reach these goals.

Everything starts from needs or desires

Everything starts from needs or desires that become goals. In order to achieve their goals people frame intentions that lead to actions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keeping a List, Checking it Twice

We should all be keeping a “To-Do List” everyday, right? This is one of those concepts we are  taught at a young age. When you feel overwhelmed, forgetful or disorganized making a list helps you to put things in perspective. Many business coaches recommend making a list at the beginning of each day with your short term and long term goals in mind. According to MindTools, “By keeping a To-Do List, you make sure that your tasks are written down all in one place so you don’t forget anything important. And by prioritizing tasks, you plan the order in which you’ll do them, so that you can tell what needs your immediate attention, and what you can leave until later.” Much like this blog, to-do lists keep you accountable for completing tasks throughout your day. I have tried to wake up early and make one of these lists, but have not been the most successful so far.

Today I tried to connect my planner and my to-do list and it helped me. Now I have two calendars – a traditional notebook style weekly planner from an office store and my digital calendar on my phone with reminder alarms. I use the notebook calendar to look at my week/month overall and think about what I want to achieve. Will this week be about my volunteering or possibly about building new connections? Once I have the overall plan for the week, I enter any of the small goals with a specific date & time into my Google calendar and add a reminder time. My phone collects all of my events – Facebook, Work email, Personal email, Google Calendar, Meetup, LinkedIn etc – and puts it into one place for me. This has been KEY for me. I need those reminders ringing on my phone. Why? Frankly, I am 29 years old and my phone is rarely far away.

Mobile, Calendar, Sync Calendars

*Here is a funny blog about living without your mobile phone: My Year Without a Mobile Phone

Accountability – it is such a simple concept and we find it so easy to follow while at work, but when it comes to our own personal goals the tasks seem enormous.

What does it take to keep you accountable?