I hate selling. I hate popups, too. I even hate promoting my own articles because it feels redundant. I hate everything marketing is supposed to be about (my views differ from popular belief), and yet, I practice it daily and I'm actually loving it.
But it wasn't always like this...
For years I suffered every time I had to use facebook or linkedin. Every time someone asked me about SEO. I still suffer to this day when I meet clients who only want two things - either to get someone else to do the marketing for them or to find some magic skeleton key that will open all doors.
Aren't you tired of trying so hard and coming up with little return? Of french-kissing your site's visitors and worrying about vanity metrics? Don't you want to stop suffering and start having the time of your life?
Yeah, I've been there. And the thing is, you don't have to suffer.
The other day somebody asked me how I get gigs from twitter, and the truth is: I get gigs from twitter because I love twitter. Anyone can tell you that I spend an inordinate amount of time on twitter.
I hear you protesting, That's not all there is, is it? Just loving something can't make people come running and throwing their money in your face?
No, that's not all it is. But it is the beginning.
When you love something, it shows.
I've been writing since I could write. It's always been the thing that defines and fulfills me. And the funny thing about doing the things we love is that we eventually become good at them. Damn good.
But when someone comes to me and says "omg I love your writing" or "I loved that article about... something" and I ask them what it is exactly that they liked, they almost always say things like: your energy, your conversational tone, etc. And these are not really things I've been taught. These are my own.
When you love something and you put your personality in it, it sings.
You put all of your love and beliefs and energy into it, and by the time it's on the page or on the screen or out in the world, it sings. It radiates everything that makes you, well, you. Nobody can write like you or sing like you or doodle like you, so you automatically have a unique advantage over all of your competitors.
The advantage is you. (tweet it)
A little detour back to my story.
Loving something and doing it like you would do it is not enough to attract the right people. All it does is exist in a vacuum. Now you have to grab the speakerphones and tell the world about your gifts. And you do that with the right channels.
But how do you find the channels that will work for YOU?
Well, it's certainly not by trying everything "experts" tell you to try. I did this myself and it gave me perspective, but you should probably try to avoid my mistakes. Mmkay?
Following other people's advice and ignoring what you really want to do is always a mistake.
Now repeat it a few times until it sinks.
After spinning in circles for a while, I finally stumbled into something that transformed my entire digital experience. I started blogging. Everything I wanted to say was pouring out of my being and onto the screen, and finally, I felt complete. Moreover, people were hearing me! And when I combined twitter and blogging, it was as if I drank the Felix Felicis.
You see... I had stumbled upon my formula, and it's opened many doors for me in the past and continues to do so. (I will write more about my formula in upcoming posts.)
Your formula is out there.
Once I had: a) what I love; b) the right channel for me, and c) the right crowd, I was finally thriving! Without advertising my consulting business, I was getting at least half a dozen requests every week. Maybe that's not a lot, but it kept me afloat. And that's considering I didn't have much focus before.
(We'll talk about focus in a bit. It's a major must in your business.)
When you find something that you love and are good at, and you do it consistently, it eventually starts pulling people in.
It's not because you took that course or because you had the great mentor, but because you naturally found your formula, the one that's unique to you.
And while my formula will not work for many people, it's not supposed to. And by the way, it's a terrific net to fall on if you decide to pivot. Because whatever you decide to do or change, the formula will stay the same. It's the foundation.
We all go through life struggling, thinking it's supposed to be hard... until someone comes along and tells you it doesn't have to be. Maybe you believe that you can't monetize your dream or you can't travel while working or you can't can't can't...
I'm here to tell you that you CAN.
And I'm not just being a brainless cheerleader here. I'm 100% convinced that if you find the right formula for you and your business, you will thrive. If there ever was a magic skeleton key, it's your formula.
However, even if you have the right formula, it won't work without focus.
Greatness without focus is a flop.
You might be a great illustrator or blogger or designer or consultant, but somehow you come off a bit scattered. As a result, you attract scattered traffic. Maybe even the people you attract are the wrong ones!
I've been there. This is because you're lacking focus. And focus comes from one thing: your purpose. Your purpose might be to help entrepreneurs with their branding or teach girls in Africa or draw. It can also be (and it's helpful to make it) very specific, like...
My purpose is to help stay-at-home mums build their DIY businesses because it's hard enough to build a business without having to change diapers.
See? It can be anything. This exercise really helped me to find my purpose: just fill in the blanks: My purpose is to help [someone] with [something] because [problem]. Or something similar. You can adjust it, or you can use Marie Forleo's 4 P's system, but in the end, you have to emerge with a single purpose.
And remember, your purpose is the foundation of your business.
You'll also notice that there is the part about your ideal client in that sentence up there. If you're not clear about whom you're serving, then your business will suffer. And before you commit to anything, make sure you: a) like these people and b) understand and/or relate to their struggles. I cannot stress this enough.
You don't have to suffer or be afraid of marketing. You don't have to follow every piece of advice online. You don't even have to do it if you don't want to. (Well, actually you do, but there are so many shades of it, you're probably already doing something that's begging to be monetized.) All you "have to" do is think about:
- what you love,
- what you're good at,
- what your formula is;
- what your main purpose is;
- and who your ideal clients are.
That's it! I know some of you will argue: You have to market where your clients are. You have to follow expert advice. You have to have a professional site and a professional photo and everything everyone else has.
"You have to" never got anyone anywhere fun. Just saying.
I know a lot of excellent marketers who don't need the flashy site or ever stepping on facebook. Because they go where their strengths lie and attract people to them. They don't sell, they don't push; they draw people in. That's the difference between selling and marketing.
Now tell me, which one sounds more fun? (I thought so.)
I hope you know that you're allowed to be yourself and still market the hell out of it, in your own way. The way that doesn't make you cringe or suffer. The way that makes you sing under the shower. Your unique, beautiful way.