Thursday, November 1, 2012

Giving Up My Shoulds

It's "Give Up Your Shoulds Day"!  And you are invited to be part of it!  For one day, you are invited to give up a certain "should" that leads to stress, guilt, misery, or any sort of sadness.  What a perfect day to give up some of those shoulds that are holding you and your business back!
I should be making more money.
I should get a "real" job.
I should do more prospecting calls.
I should do more advertising.
I should do more social media marketing.
I should publish a blog.
I should publish more articles.
I should attend more networking events
I should do more____
I should....

Many people starting a business think they "should" be doing this thing or that thing to be successful.  When I started my business, I would sometimes work late at night or early in the morning.  But I began to get criticism from some of my friends who would  get emails or faxes from me at all hours of the day and night.  They felt that if I was going to be taken seriously, then I "should" work  9 - 5 like most "normal" business people.  I let them persuade me that this was true and tried to change my schedule.  But I am a night owl by nature and forcing myself to change my natural rhythm caused stress and made me very unproductive and irritable.  By giving up this "should" and working when I feel at my best and most creative, I am actually more efficient and productive - and much easier to get along with!  Yes, it's true that I do have to be available during some portion of "normal" business hours to interact with clients and prospects.  But much of my business is not restricted by time so why should I place this expectation on myself?

There are certain things necessary to be successful in business.  You have to have a viable product or service.  You have to promote yourself and your products or services.  You have to earn the trust and respect of your customers.  There are many ways to do these things.  There is no one way that "should" work for everyone.  You should do what feels right and works best for you. 
And so today I invite you to give up your shoulds.  Take a look at your business.  Make a list of all the things you are doing because you should.  Now review your list.  Is there anything on the list that you are doing that is not effective?  That causes you stress?  That you are only doing just because you "should"?  What would happen if you stopped doing it?  If dire consequences would not result, I encourage to consider giving up this action.  Try it just for today. 

I "should" work longer today.  But I'm not going to.  It's a beautiful day and I am going to take Bob and Austin for a walk.  What should will you give up today?  I'd love to hear.  Feel free to share in the comments. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Are You a Good Marketer?

Are you a good marketer?  Recently, I was on a coaching call with Linda Johansen as part of my Passion to Profits coaching program. During the call, we talked what makes someone a good marketer.  We came up with two simple rules.

1. Understand your prospect

Understanding your prospect is the number 1 rule in marketing.  It was one of the first concepts they taught in my marketing classes in college.  It is one of the first things mentioned in every coaching, mentoring, or training program I have been part of since.  You need to know who you are selling to.  If your client is looking for ways to increase their online presence, then your latest ebook on offline marketing techniques is not going to interest them.  Readers of my blog on pet travel are probably not interested in how to make money blogging.  Understanding your prospect is the key to offering him a product they want and will buy.

How do you find out what your prospects want?  Ask them.  They will tell you if you listen.  Sometimes they will actually tell you what they want, as when a client asked me to show her how to set up a blog on Blogger.  Other times you will have to sort through the information being given to find out what is wanted.  For example, my friend Ruth has repeatedly mentioned to me that she is unhappy with her job and wished she could find something else to do.  Although she never asked for my help directly, when I mentioned my beginning business coaching program, she was immediately interested and signed up on the spot.

You and also use surveys to gather information.  I recently conducted a survey asking what my next project should be.  From the survey results, I discovered that many baby boomers still don't understand how to use social media to market their business.  They had joined Twitter and set up Facebook pages and were on LinkedIn, but they didn't know how to use these to promote their products.  And so our next project will be a teleseminar on social media marketing.

2.  Give them what the want, not what they need.

I know this sounds ridiculous.  If you are in business to help your clients solve a particular problem, then it makes sense that you should sell them what they need.  But this is not always the case.  For example, the first product I ever sold was The Boomer's Guide to Making Money with PLR Content.  I had many clients who were looking for fast and easy products to sell.  So I thought teaching them how to use PLR products make money was a perfect solution.  In fact, it was a huge flop.  They didn't want to learn how to use someone else's info to make products of their own.  They wanted a ready made product that they could just market and bring in some money.  They were, in fact, looking for information on affiliate programs.  But I wanted to do something different because there are already hundreds of guides to affiliate marketing and thousands of affiliates for almost every product out there.  I wanted them to have what I thought they needed - a way to create a somewhat unique product of their own.  And I was wrong.

Are you a good marketer?  Are you getting to know your prospects?  Are you giving them what they want?  If not, now is the time to start.  Listen to your prospects.  Get to know them.  Find out what they want.  And then give it to them.