Many years ago when I was just starting my first business, a very good friend said to me "If you can't go out and promote what you're offering, go get a real job with a paycheck at the end of the month, because you won't make it on your own."
At the time I was mortally offended by his attitude. But over the years I've eaten many slices of humble pie in front of him because I realized he was right all along. While I was blinded by the exhilaration and excitement of doing something I loved, I wasn't so keen to look at the realities of what it takes to run a successful business.
I've learned a lot since those heady days. One of the things I learned is that business activities fall into 3 categories.
1. Marketing and selling your product or service
2. Delivering your product or service
3. Administrative tasks
I deliberately put marketing and selling in the first place because if you don't market and sell successfully, you won't have any clients to deliver to and you certainly won't need to do any admin.
Many entrepreneurs don't like to hear this. Like myself, many of us go into business so that we can do what we love. We focus on building the skills our professions require. Taking more classes. Attending yet another seminar. Reading more books. Catching up on the latest methodologies. The education is never-ending because there's always something new and exciting to learn.
But when it comes to getting the word out, we stumble.
For me the big breakthrough came when I stopped thinking of myself as a writer, consultant or coach and started seeing myself as a marketer whose top priority is marketing my business.
And the most surprising part of this? My shift in mindset has not affected the quality of work I turn out for my clients. It did however mean overcoming some negative emotions around marketing and selling.
Admin tasks can be delegated. And unless you'e offering something highly specialized that only you can do, delivering your product or service can often be hired out as well.
But if you're the kind of person who can generate tons of leads, persuade someone to call or come by to find out more, and then turn that person into a paying client, you become the indispensable rock that your business is built upon.
Would you rather focus on what you do, become brilliant at it but struggle to pay the bills, or are you willing to be content with "less-than-perfect" and become a marketer who puts the emphasis on spreading the word so that you have a steady stream of clients and a booming business?
Copyright © 2006 Maggie Dennison