If your phone suddenly weighs 300 pounds the minute you pick it up to make a marketing call, or you attend a networking event and talk about the dinner or the weather, rather than making those all-important connections with potential clients, it's pretty obvious that you hate to market or perform the kind of traditional tasks that most successful entrepreneurs use to bring in more business.
Perhaps it's because you don't want to come across as being a pushy, in-your-face, sales person, or maybe you just don't feel comfortable talking about yourself. Then again, you might feel intimidated by a crowd of new people, or simply not know what to say.
Whatever the reason, here's the good news: You can accomplish more by being yourself than by stretching beyond your comfort zone and pushing yourself to do what you really don't want to be doing.
Consider this example:
About six years ago, Beth Woodward left corporate America to start her own Professional Life Coaching business. With a background of 11 years in corporate communications, it seemed like a no-brainer for her to start her own business. However, even though she had years of communication skills training, the minute it came to making those marketing calls or going to networking meetings, she smacked right into a wall of her own resistance, or what she calls, "getting in the way of yourself."
Fortunately, because she was a creative, out-of-the-box kind of thinker, she knew there just had to be a better way to make the whole marketing piece of her business come alive, and it became her new challenge to discover what this fun, and more "comfortable," new way of marketing might be.
In the process, Beth not only accomplished her goal of finding a fun way to market her business, but she also discovered that she didn't necessarily have to go the traditional route of taking out advertising in newspapers or magazines, or making appearances at networking events, or becoming a speaker if it didn't fit with who she was.
In fact, her new way of understanding the marketing component was so exciting and fun to her that she let go of the Professional Life Coaching business to launch her own marketing company, called Marketing On The Playground™.
Talk about a 180-degree turn-around! She went from hating marketing to creating a marketing business in which she began to teach others how to discover their own inner marketer.
What Beth discovered is that, when it comes to marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all; there is no one way to market oneself, or one's services or products that is right for everybody. However, Beth further discovered that there is one critical component that is key to any business person's marketing success.
This key involves finding the form of marketing where entrepreneurs feel the most at ease, versus pushing themselves out of their comfort zone and struggling with the "I should's," as in, "I should make phone calls," or "I should push myself to go to that networking event that I really don't want to go to."
By focusing on one's passions and strengths, and by incorporating one's best learning style, the form of marketing that comes most naturally to an entrepreneur can be found. Let's face it, some of us do well in large group situations, while others of us enjoy more intimate one-on-one interactions.
If you are a networking powerhouse, by all means, hit those networking events. On the other hand, if you love playing online, write some short tips' related articles or press releases about your product or service, then place them with various online press release and article distribution services and PR newswires.
Now, if the idea of shaking hands with a bunch of strangers at a conference gives you the willies, or the idea of marketing online conjures up images of the used car salesman in a seer-sucker suit selling products on the internet, a one-to-one scenario, might be the easiest way to go.
But, if a stop sign pops up in your head at the idea of picking up the phone to arrange for a one-on-one interaction, think of it this way: Everybody likes to eat. Invite someone to join you for lunch or coffee with the intention of building a relationship, rather than on figuring out how many leads you can swap. Ask to learn more about this person's business so that you can better understand the kinds of people you can refer to them to send more business their way.
Says Beth, "Marketing on the Playground means to find your own playground of marketing. By focusing on one's passions and strengths, solopreneurs can find their genuine "inner marketing person," and get their message across in a more unique and authentic way."
What propels Beth's success as a marketing coach is helping entrepreneurs to discover the areas in which they feel the most comfortable and playful, and then to create a solid game plan to achieve one's goals.
Says Beth, "I hurt when a solopreneur has a service or product they are passionate about, but they let the marketing piece stop them. I don't care if you are introverted or extroverted; there is a marketing person inside of us all. The key is to honor who you are on the inside, and to honor your own individual style.You have a gift, a tremendous business or service that you need to get out to the world, and by not marketing and getting the word out about yourself, you are depriving others of your gift."
Beth Woodward, CPCC, CEK (Chief Executive Kid) is the creator of the "MY WAY"™ Marketing Plan, and The Top 10 "MUST KNOW" Marketing Basics for Success. For a free, 5-week eCourse in which you will learn how to market your way, visit: Marketing on the Playground.