All you wanted to do was make a little money on the side. Or maybe all you wanted to do is be a heart-centered solopreneur. Or maybe you wanted to be the next big tech start-up, or 6-figure speaker, or Etsy rock star.
And you were doing fine, connecting to others in the social networking playground, building your blog and website sand castles and inviting others to come and play. Then those bullies showed up, those mean girls – Sales and Marketing. They wouldn’t let you play and even blocked you from joining the party with the “cool kids” making a profit in their business.
You’ve got two options:
- You can cower in the corner with the other petrified profit-challenged kids, whining about how scary sales and marketing are, or
- You can pull up your big girl panties (or big boy pants) and commit to making Sales and Marketing the profit “muscle” in your business.
I am drawing a line in the sand: Everyone serious about having a profitable part-time business keep reading. Everybody else go directly to your cube until your boss tells you it’s safe to come out.
Most business owners I meet are consumed with the busyness of being in business. They typically struggle with all the fixings of looking like they are in business: they either do the bare minimum to stay afloat or they overdo whatever is comfortable for them without ever stepping outside of their comfort zone to generate real profit. These are the people that are surprised when they actually have a profit at the end of the month: they didn’t plan for a profitable month and have no idea why this month was more successful than last month.
Employedpreneurs serious about generating profit on the other hand, have an entirely different motivation and expectation: They see a clear connection between sales and marketing tasks, even the ones they are uncomfortable with, and generating more profit in their part-time business. These are the solopreneurs and service-based professionals who are not afraid to talk about money. They are not afraid to charge what they are worth. And they are not afraid to invest in the systems, people and information that will help them reach their profit goals. Oh and by the way, they actually have clear, documented goals profit goals. Not just a notion of what they would kind of like to earn, maybe. It also means they have mapped out how they will reach those goals: how many products will they have to sell, how many clients they will need, and how many prospects they will need in their pipeline.
What’s so scary about sales?
Why on earth is it scary to ask someone to pay for something that will help them or benefit them in some way?
If I needed a blood transfusion and you were a perfect match, would you be hesitant to offer me your help? What if my life depended on it.
It’s the same with your business. Now granted that most of prospects are not in such dire straights. But the problems that we solve should feel be urgent and of priority to our audience:
- Are they losing customers because their website copy sucks?
- Are they making bad first impressions, costing them networking connections because they don’t know what to wear?
- Are they about to send an email that will get them fired?
- Are they overwhelmed with clutter and disorganization keeping them from getting the priorities done in their business?
It’s Not Them It’s Us
In many cases what we really mean when we say we are afraid of sales is that we are afraid of rejection. If I make you an offer, there’s a big chance that you will reject my offer (therefore reject me) and that would hurt my feelings.
Reality check: They are not rejecting you – they are turning down the offer of your services.
Why? They are not the right client for you or they don’t see enough value in what you offered them. Have you clearly mapped the benefits and outcomes of what you do to their most pressing needs? Have you shown them the value of your services through clear examples and not just philosophical conversation and cheap pricing plans? Have you earned their trust and established a relationship?
Scary – no. Effortless – no. Can you do it – yes.
Marketing will be scary…unless you have a plan…a plan you actually use.
There are enough plans and tool kits and step by step programs out there that anyone can learn to market their business.
The question is which plan will you stick to and how will you know if it is working? Are you willing to try things outside of your comfort zone, even if it means learning something new? Or doing something that requires an investment of time and money.
If you keep doing what you have already done – you will always get what you have.
Translation: If you have no leads, clients, or sales today – and don’t change what you are doing, you will go broke trying to launch your business full-time.
(Original quote attributed to Albert Einstien – translation attributed to me)
At it’s core marketing is simple: research, plan, execute, evaluate, and modify. I recently read somewhere that marketing will account for 60% of your time as a new entrepreneur. That time includes researching your niche, planning your content, follow-up, learning new strategies, monitoring current activity, maintaining current customer relationships, creating copy, setting up tracking, and there’s probably 7 other things to add to the list.
Bottom line, marketing is work. Someone needs to write the articles, someone needs to figure out the right keywords, someone needs to be out there monitoring your Facebook page. This is why as a part-time employedpreneur, getting your marketing plan and systems in place is critical. It doesn’t have to be hard, you just have to be committed to doing what gets you the best results. Choose two marketing tactics to implement, commit to them for 3 months, measure the results to see what worked and what didn’t work. From there revise and commit to your new approach for the next 3 months.
Many of us launched while working because we wanted freedom, flexibility, and we wanted to pursue our purpose and passion. Those are noble wants and needs. But that list is missing the one thing that will take you from hobbyist to profitable part-time entrepreneur: wanting to make money. If you want to make money from your business – on purpose – then sales and marketing need to become your best friends. In order for that to happen you will have to stop treating them like they are the mean girls at the playground.
Can you relate to this? What are the real fears keeping you from being more disciplined about sales and marketing?
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