Having been a project manager in marketing and advertising for 20 years, it was a shock to me when I moved into marketing myself. If you have listened for awhile you’ll know that I started my podcast as the marketing arm for a life coaching practice. The podcast took off, and I started learning a lot about what to know about being successful at marketing as an entrepreneur, and how to make it joyful.
I’m sharing my thoughts with you here this week about how I have found my way to the Joy of marketing.
First let’s talk about your uniquity and this business you’re working on.
This for me is a head and heart question. As a recovering people pleaser and box checker, and very good student, plus a project manager … I like a list. I like it when I know what to do next, and it’s great if there’s a clear road to that. And I think that our collective delight in a roadmap is why “blueprints,” and online classes that tout exponential growth by following a formula are so popular.
When I spoke to Suzie Soloviev recently about marketing yourself, we talked about how as humans in western society, you tend to default to listing the external markers, accolades, and degrees earned, because it’s easier, and far less vulnerable than sharing your heart, and your personality, and your joy with strangers.
The thing is, with a heart centered business, the model, the marketing, the way you get to that path is going to be unique to YOU, and sharing your uniquity with others. There’s no “blueprint” for YOU, and there’s no one blueprint for any one business that will work for all businesses.
Six Things to Know About Being Successful at Marketing as an Entrepreneur
1.Do What Feels Like the Fit For You
When you’re looking at what tactics or strategies to try in your business, lean into the ones that feel interesting, joyful, or right for you. My first rule of marketing is “It’s your own business and you get to do whatever you want with it.”
It’s easy to look around and see other entrepreneurs having success with say, Instagram. But, if instagram doesn’t appeal to you, then more than likely, you’re not going to be as interested or engaged there as you might be on another platform.
If you’ve already started working on doing something as a way of talking about your business online, and the way you’re doing it feels like an effort, it might be because there’s a small shift or different thing you need to try.
How can you approach this? Find the thing that lights you up, and the thing you find yourself naturally drawn to.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Anyone
If you’re new and you’re growing a biz, I want you to stop comparing yourself to others.
There’s two great things that come out of this thought:
1. You don’t have to do it all. Even the people who look like they are doing it all are not doing it all by themselves. Larger influencers or brands generally have a team of people (or an agency) working on their marketing. As a solopreneur, you likely have not yet gotten to the point where you have a team, and so you can be picky about what you decide to do (and not do) when marketing.
2. There’s only one you, and your uniquity will be the thing that lets you stand out.
What gets interesting is when you keep taking small steps toward your dream. Because no one, regardless of their team, or what their budget might be, has your vision or your dream. Only you have that, and it’s what is going to make you stand out.
3. Marketing and Advertising is CREATIVE. That means you get to play.
I think marketing often gets a bad reputation as being icky, overwhelming, or gross. Having had 20 years in marketing, I see it as an amazing outlet that invites creativity and play. It’s also the beginning of a conversation with other people. By putting your message, your uniquity, your offering out into the world, you invite others into your business.
What can you do, if you feel stuck? Grant yourself permission to play and be whatever you want in this space. This means being creative in how you share your messaging, and it also means being creative in how you look at your stats and data to let that help you figure out what to do more of.
4. Pivot if You’re Not “Feeling It”
On your journey in sharing about your business, you’ll try many things. Some things will work and feel aligned to you, and some will feel like they are an effort. When you come across the things that feel like a lot of work, you find that you’re dragging your feet constantly when it’s time to work on that part of your marketing … it’s time to shift what you’re doing.
For many years, I had a blog. I liked writing, and I enjoyed sharing my thoughts online. The blog, though, never felt easy. I felt something very different when I started a podcast. From the beginning the podcast felt natural. It was easy to share about it, and while there are times it feels like work, it’s never filled me with dread.
Some things to try, here: If your marketing feels like it’s a hustle or a lot of effort, (especially if you’re following someone else’s blueprint or vision for what a marketing plan looks like) it’s possible that you’re chasing someone else’s dream, or a “should” you’re trying to follow.
Instead of continuing the thing that feels off, take a look at why it doesn’t feel right to you. Get curious about what seems off.
Then, give yourself the permission to try something maybe just a degree or two from what you’ve been doing and see if it feels better.
5. Everyone Starts Small
I’m getting tired of the popular mantra that says that we need to stop “playing small.” I’ll do another episode about this, but this idea is hurting all of us, because it adds a layer of judging ourselves for “not doing enough” to something that is already really hard.
Here’s the truth: EVERYONE starts small. Everyone starts somewhere. Small is not bad, it’s just a size. You’ll grow. Don’t beat yourself up now for the size you are at the moment.
What to do if you’re worried about growth: Keep going, one step at a time. There’s only one way to accumulate the experience or the growth you’re desiring, and that’s by living through it. You can only get to 234 podcast episodes by …. Making 234 podcast episodes.
6. Your Routine Builds Your Dream
Taking baby steps, and staying true to your vision for what your business is (and will be) is important as you create a routine in service of your dreams.
When you show up consistently, and an audience keeps hearing you talk about the thing you love, the thing you do,and what you offer, it builds on itself. This consistency builds your credibility and your ownership and expertise. You keep making connections and other people get to know you.
How do you do this? Set up a commitment to yourself about your business, and keep with it.
You won’t know what’s possible if you are not consistent with showing up for yourself and your business. Even when things are hard, or it’s not convenient, or there are other things that get in your way, make steps to keep working towards your dream. The work gets easier when it’s part of a routine.