Perhaps this sounds familiar: you think about doing marketing, put it on your calendar, call an accountability buddy, tell yourself you got this, and… an hour later you’re watching YouTube videos of fluffy kittens and eating chocolate.
What happened? You did what the experts say to do to keep yourself accountable:
Get a buddy – check
Put it on the calendar – check
Give yourself a pep talk – check
Recall this story of Ulysses: his ship is passing the Sirens who live along the rocky shore, and he asks his men to tie him to the mast so he won’t succumb to their Siren Song, smashing the ship into the rocks.
Flash forward to your business today and compare this story to your marketing. There are plenty of Sirens calling to you; are you in danger of smashing into the rocks and wrecking your business ship? Below are several Siren Songs, and how you can safely navigate through them.
One of my coaching clients complained, “I’m really good at what I do. I shouldn’t have to market myself.” In fact, he is quite good at his profession, but the problem is that not enough prospective clients know about him. Like many professionals, he is reluctant to talk about his capabilities and accomplishments. “It feels like bragging,” he says. “Doesn’t it make me seem unprofessional?”
If thoughts like these often cross your mind, ask yourself this — who are the biggest names in your profession? In your line of work, who might be considered unquestioned experts, those with maximum credibility? Now, how did you get to know about those people’s work?
When I started my business, “everyone” told me I needed to know who my ideal client was. The pressure of figuring out the answer was intimidating; in those early days, my ideal client was anyone who had a pulse and would pay me. Needless to say, that turned out not to be a great answer.
Do you know who your ideal client is-that perfect person or entity you enjoy doing business with? Below are some questions to help you sort out who that is, and why it matters. Knowing the answer to these questions will help your business be more successful and help you sleep better at night, both desirable goals. Let’s dive in.
I heard a story on the This American Life podcast about a man waiting on a subway platform, and in the crowd was another man walking up to people, saying, “You’re In. You’re Out. You, you can stay. You — gotta go.” The story teller found himself secretly wanting to be picked to stay, which was odd since what the man was doing was completely arbitrary. I love this story because it reminds me of what we do to ourselves, how we consciously (or unconsciously) choose people in our lives. This applies to people in all areas of your life: friends and family, as well as clients and business associates. You can decide: You, you can stay. You, you gotta go.
“I think I’m really good at what I do,” declares technical writer June, “but I don’t ever seem to get a chance to show people.” June is experienced, highly-skilled, and has written dozens of procedure manuals and other how-to guides throughout her career. But she isn’t getting enough work to earn a living as a freelancer.
“I don’t like to talk about myself,” admits June. “It feels like bragging to say what a terrific writer I am. I don’t know how to express my capabilities to potential clients without sounding like some sort of conceited know-it-all.”
Like June, many professionals feel fearful or hesitant to speak out boldly about how good they are. But there are ways you can let people know what you’re capable of without ever having to say, “I’m hot stuff.”