At the start of every year, I encourage my clients to follow the same practice I do of reviewing the past year before setting intentions for the new one. I find that a thorough review of the previous year can provide important guidance for moving ahead. I make a list of “Successes, Accomplishments, and Breakthroughs” and another of “Failures, Disappointments, and Breakdowns.” After giving myself some time to celebrate my successes, I analyze my failures. Try this process yourself, and see what it provides.
Looking at each of your disappointments over the past year, ask yourself what went wrong in that area, and what you might be able to do differently. Let’s say you didn’t gain enough new clients last year. What’s your take on what went wrong?
Remember back in grade school when the teacher asked you to hold hands with a friend on field trips? The idea behind the buddy system is that it’s much harder to get lost if there are two of you traveling together. When you get into trouble, your buddy can help you out, or find someone else who can.
Maybe you could use a buddy in your marketing. The constant challenges you encounter while promoting yourself and your services make sales and marketing a difficult road to travel all alone, and it’s easy to get lost. Working with a marketing buddy can give you:
Most of us self-employed professionals truly enjoy no longer having to answer to The Boss. But the lack of anyone to report to can be a problem. There’s no one to make you perform sales and marketing tasks you don’t want to do. If you procrastinate about posting to your blog, resist going to networking events, or find follow-up calls too scary to make, no one will know that you’re avoiding marketing except you.
I understand that marketing and sales involve activities that can be confronting. Even I don’t always find marketing easy, and that’s after 25-plus years of having a successful business. Finding ways to overcome resistance to marketing is often the first topic new clients bring up when they start working with me.
In working with successful business owners, one of the traits I see come up often is that of being a leader. Some are natural leaders, comfortable with being in charge; others have reluctantly taken on the role. If you seem to have leadership in your bones, fantastic! However, if you find yourself more of a reluctant leader, you’ll want to develop your leadership skills so you can step more into the role.
Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean being a take-charge, my-way-or-the-highway type of person. Being a leader means being willing to say the buck stops here and hold yourself, and those you work with, accountable.
They lie in wait for you when you least expect them — the marketing dragons of fear, resistance and procrastination. Just when you think you’ve defeated them at last, they rear their ugly heads again. What’s a self-employed professional to do?
First of all, don’t panic, despair, or beat yourself up. It’s completely normal to have elements of fear and resistance show up around sales and marketing. Even if it seems like you’re the only one who has these feelings, trust me, you’re not.
Being stubborn is a great trait when it comes to marketing your business. The more you can be persistent in your marketing, the better; remember the axiom that OK marketing, done consistently, is better than great marketing, done inconsistently.
To that end, here are five ways to that being persistent in your marketing will benefit you and your business.
It makes marketing easier
Be stubborn about making sure your marketing is a priority, that you’re using the same marketing strategies consistently, and that you have a set result your marketing is trying to achieve.