A business is built on one or more entrepreneur’s expertise, skills, talents and experiences. No entrepreneur is the same, so we would not form the same businesses – which is a beautiful thing. – Yannan Li
Hello Yannan, how do you personally define success? What does it mean to you?
I feel successful when I spend most of my time doing what I love.
I had a Near-Death Experience in 2015, and since then I see my life as a gift. To lead a successful life is to live life in the present, to follow my love and intuition, and to contribute to the world in my own way.
As an entrepreneur, we spend the majority of our lives working on our businesses, because we have a vision that must made work. Therefore, for me personally, success for an entrepreneur is to build the business in a way that you love what you do, you attract your ideal clients with less hustle, you are invited to opportunities that energise you, and you are recognised as the expert in the niche you love.
How do you differentiate yourself from others in your field?
I was a business coach for 18 months, and during that period of time, I really struggled with differentiating myself from all the other business coaches. Nobody had reached out to me for my service, no one thinks I was up for the win, and my followers don’t see why I should charge higher than any other business coaches.
I learnt it the hard way.
One day I’d had enough, I closed my business and shut myself away for self-reflection. During that period, I realized my zone of genius in personal branding.
The day I changed my complete online presence with a visual brand that aligns with my vision and personality – everything changed.
I started to attract 30+ new connections, 5-10 quality leads, and I tripled my price. All these happened within a week. In the next 5 weeks, I started to attract 1 interview invitation/week, exclusive invitation to private entrepreneurship networks, and I tripled my sales.
So my advice on differentiating yourself is to seek within, because you’re naturally different! If every coach/consultant really paid attention to the fact that they are the face of their businesses, they will know that differentiating yourself is not about the graphic design – that’s the last step. To stand out is to reveal your authentic self to the world, and that is the ultimate differentiation.
In my signature personal branding transformation package, I take my clients on a journey of self-discovery, self-expression and building marketing funnels around their personalities. Eventually, our multi-award-winning designers will reveal their brand in graphic designs.
If you want to differentiate yourself, start within.
What advice would you give to someone asking for advice about becoming an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is not different from being an artist. Every artist has to find her own path, and that’s the same with entrepreneurs. Personally, I believe business is our entrepreneurs’ self-expression in this world. Writers write, singers sing, dancers dance, entrepreneurs build business models.
A business is built on one or more entrepreneur’s expertise, skills, talents and experiences. No entrepreneur is the same, so we would not form the same businesses – which is a beautiful thing.
We know that we have to carve out our own path, so my biggest advice is that if you want to build successful business, you need to build your courage. You need to have the courage to seek your life’s mission and to pursue it. You need the courage to ask for help, and the courage to not listen to certain advice if they don’t feel right to you. You need the courage to take measured risks, to choose growth over comfort, to put yourself out there, and to keep going.
And in the meantime, remember that everything takes time. Growth takes time, momentum takes time, and fruition takes time. Be gentle with yourself. 🙂
Name 3 people in the business world who inspire you the most?
J. K. Rowling
I wouldn’t call any of them business people. They’re true visionaries, artists at heart, but all brought forth their ideas in the most beautiful way and created impactful businesses that inspire generations to come.
It’s one thing to be courageous enough to pursue one’s dream life. It’s a completely different thing to give birth to something that probably half of the world would think it’s crazy at the time. The best works are not done when you’re after money/fame/applause, the best work are done when you know at your heart that if this is left undone, your life is meaningless.
Connect with Yannan Li
CEO / Personal Branding Expert