How much do you schedule your business activities, especially marketing? Working with clients over the years, I’ve seen the impact a schedule — or lack thereof — can have. The good news is that when you find a schedule that works for you, it can make a big difference in being productive, getting your marketing done regularly, and feeling on top of things.
Have you ever found yourself knowing exactly what you need to do about marketing your business… and then not doing it? You are not alone. Many self-employed professionals and creatives find that the hardest part of marketing isn’t figuring out what to do. What’s hard is actually doing it.
When you look at your marketing to-do list, do many of the items on it look all too familiar? Have entries like “call Dolores Sanchez” and “follow up with Wallingford Corp.” been copied from a previous week? Putting off unappealing tasks may be human nature, but for a self-employed professional, procrastination can be deadly.
Delays in contacting a prospect can lose the business to the competition. Failing to get the word out about an upcoming event may forfeit dozens of opportunities. When prospects don’t hear from you for a while, they forget you exist. Wasted marketing time can never be recovered. By the time you realize you might not make your sales goals for the month, quarter, or year, it may already be too late.
What’s your way to get things done? Do you feel you’re an achiever who enjoys checking off boxes? Or do you see yourself as more laid back, getting to things whenever you can? Whatever your style, the truth is, if you’re in business for yourself, you need to get things done, and chances are, no one else will jump in to save the day. Which begs the question: how do you do things most easily and in a way best suited to you?
What’s your style?
In working with clients, I see two typical categories of doers: 1) those who love making a list and working through it, some going so far as to draw their own little check boxes next to each to-do item in a notebook, or 2) those who take a looser approach, writing items on the backs of envelopes, on their hand, or random sticky notes. Both approaches have their merits.
We need to talk about your business. Not to be too crass, yet part of the formula for a successful business looks like this: Clients = Money
You need clients because you need money, because you want freedom to do things for yourself and others, both personally and professionally, which means you need to do something about that. About the getting of clients. That thing that’s easy to say, that you’re “supposed” to do, yet is easy to ignore. But. Something. Is. Always. (Seemingly) More. Urgent.
One of the worst marketing mistakes a self-employed professional can make is creating a marketing plan that consists of activities you don’t enjoy and aren’t good at. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder, so who’s going to make you do things you don’t want to? It’s much more likely that a plan you find distasteful and difficult simply won’t be executed.
Professionals often tell me they don’t like marketing or selling, but many times I find that what they truly dislike is the tactics they’ve been trying to use.
It’s natural to become contemplative when one year ends and another begins, and look back at what you’ve accomplished over the previous year. Unfortunately, this can also become a time to look at what you haven’t accomplished, and feel regret, frustration, or even shame about it. This can lead to lowered self-esteem, decreased motivation, and even depression. These are not the best conditions for a strong start to the year!
"I don't like to sell." "Asking people for business makes me uncomfortable." "Selling feels manipulative and sleazy." "I'm good at what I do. Why don't clients just come to me?" If any of these thoughts seem familiar, you may be hanging onto an unhelpful perspective...
As a professional selling your own services, you may believe that your discomfort about calling prospective clients on the phone is because you’re not a “real” salesperson. But studies reveal that up to 40% of full-time salespeople experience episodes of call reluctance that are serious enough to threaten their careers.
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.