Taking good care of your clients means taking care of your business, and one of the simplest paths to taking care of both your clients *and* your business is by tracking the numbers.
It happens to the best of us. We have brilliant plans for marketing our business, but the rest of life keeps getting in the way. We know we won’t succeed if we don’t spend time on marketing, but somehow days and weeks slip by, and our marketing to-do list gets longer instead of shorter.
All the experts say that as a self-employed professional, you need a marketing plan, so you’ve designed one. Good for you! The very fact that you’ve taken the time to think about how you want to market your business and written it down will increase your odds of success at getting clients.
When it comes to getting your marketing done, you may have the best of intentions. You’ve set aside time on your calendar, outlined the actions you want to take, and called an accountability buddy who’ll check in with you in a few hours. And yet, here you are, stopped in the face of getting things done, wondering what the heck happened.
It’s likely your old friends fear, resistance, and procrastination have come to visit.
When this trifecta hits, it can be unsettling. You’re an accomplished person, running a business and taking care of those you serve. How can it possibly be that you’re finding it hard to do the marketing you said you were going to do? Especially when you actually want to do it?
When you think about following up, does it seem fun to you, or does it seem more like a hassle, a should, or something you wish you wanted to do? Surprisingly — or perhaps not so surprisingly — following up is something that quite a few of us don’t love doing. What if there was a way to make it fun? Read on for ideas on how to follow up in ways that actually sound good to you!
Do It with a Buddy
Pick one of your favorite people to buddy up with and hold each other accountable. Rather than thinking of it as work, think up a fun name for the time you spend together (virtually or in person). For example, you can say things like, “How’s the alligator wrestling going?”
If you’re like most self-employed professionals, you started the year with goals, plans, and maybe even dreams, for your business. This was going to be the year you reached ambitious marketing goals, implemented a realistic marketing plan, or expanded your business with a new market or service. And now, you find yourself not on target. The goal’s not met, the plan isn’t in place, or the expansion hasn’t taken off. That’s a pretty normal state of affairs for us self-employed folks. Stuff just gets in the way.
There’s really only one solution to this problem, although it comes in a number of different flavors. Take action. Now.
The number one complaint my clients and students — self-employed professionals — bring me about their marketing is that they aren’t doing enough of it. You would think this would be easy to fix. I could just tell them to spend more time marketing and selling, and that would solve their problem. But like so many other challenges in life, knowing what needs to be done doesn’t necessarily make that thing occur.
Consider losing weight, for example. If it were as simple as being told to eat less or exercise more, we would all be as thin as we wished just by deciding to make it so. Since that doesn’t happen very often; it’s clear we humans need a bit more help.
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: