“I think I’ll try to handle this and figure it out on my own.”
Well, hey . . . Amen.
This is how I’ve done most of my business. I’ve bootstrapped it and, for the most part, not spent money I couldn’t afford to spend. Sure. If you can figure your business out on your own and not spend the money, I would urge you to do that.
But, what if you can’t?
For years, I had a website I was embarrassed by. I kept meaning to fix it but I didn’t know how. Finally, one day, my friend Jaime Almond made me get on the phone with her and, together, over the phone, we built a wordpress website together. And it’s basically the website you see today.
I kept meaning to do it on my own.
But I never did.
I needed help.
Should we be able to do it all ourselves?
I have no idea.
Are we able to do it all ourselves?
It doesn’t seem so.
Modern culture is all about this Lone Ranger, self-sufficiency thing where everyone is an island. It’s the American Dream of everyone pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. And I see that approach keeping so many entrepreneurs stuck at whatever level they are currently at – even if what they offer is really compelling and excellent.
One of the simplest ways to get unstuck is to ask for help by doing a five minute support asking blitz. It sounds too simple but I’ve seen it utterly change the fate of people’s businesses.
However, asking for help and ideas on marketing from friends doesn’t always cut it because your friends likely aren’t marketing experts or anything close.
Worse, they might give you terrible advice that can hurt your business.
The following truisms are so burned out these days that I even hesitate to state them, but they’re still accurate:
if you are a singer, you’d hire a vocal coach.
If you were an athlete you’d hire a coach.
If you were serious about learning any craft, you’d apprentice.
If you were serious about just about anything you would find a mentor or a coach; and yet in marketing our businesses, we often get the impression that this model no longer applies.
You may have heard the theory that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master something. And for many entrepreneurs, they’ve invested many hours in master their craft but very few, if any, hours on learning about marketing. In other words, they’re an expert in what they do. They’re not an expert in how to market what they do.
These are two distinct skill sets.
And, in business, unless you’re extraordinary at what you do and good fortune introduces you to the right people who talk you up in the right circles in the right moment so that everything grows from word-of-mouth alone . . . Marketing is something you likely need to learn.
If your business is more of a hobby? No need to even think about marketing.
But if it’s a business? Well . . . Of course you need to think, and perhaps even more important, learn about marketing.
It’s not indulgent to get help. It’s not indulgent to get a coach or a mentor in business. It’s important.
I can’t tell you how many people I meet who struggle in marketing their business because they try to figure it out on their own. It’s most of the people I see. I see the difference even a one day workshop with myself or others makes in their marketing approach. Huge blunders are avoided. Thousands of dollars are saved that would have been spent on the wrong thing (or even the right thing at the wrong time).
If you want to grow, you need help.
A good mentor or coach can shave years off your learning curve.
But, how do you know when it’s the right moment?
First of all, it’s important to know which of the four stages of business you’re at. If you’re at Stage One then it’s natural and important to be experimental in your approach. Sometimes you need some time to just noodle around and figure some things out on your own (such as, “Do I even want to be in business?”). Unless you’ve got a very deep clarity inside that this business is the one you want to grow, it’s a fine thing to give yourself time to test out your ideas in small, low risk ways. Before you start a business, you might just host a workshop in your living room. You don’t need a marketing coach for this.
Second of all, some of your issues can be handled by doing a five minute support asking blitz. Truly. Just doing a Facebook shout out can handle more issues than not.
But, if you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve asked for as much help as you can think to ask for an you’re still stuck? If you’ve been plateauing for months if not years? It might be time to spend the money to hire someone you trust or invest in your marketing education in other ways.
But, even so, it’s vital to get the right kind of support. In my experience, there are a series of steps that need to be achieved and it’s important to know where you are so that you get a support that meets you there. I’ve seen people spend thousands of dollars on workshops that were three steps ahead of where they were and so they weren’t able to apply it.
Here’s what I see.
What Kind of Help To Get When: The Three Phases of Growing Your Business
Phase One: Marketing feels gross. This seems to be the primary place people feel stuck. Even the idea of marketing is abhorrent. As long as this is true, I don’t care what they try to learn, they likely won’t do it. They’ll avoid it. This is what I cover in my Marketing for Hippies 101 workshop.
Phase Two: Niche. Once you’re okay with the idea of marketing yourself, then the next question becomes, “What am I marketing? And to whom?” or, “What is the role I want to be known for in the marketplace?” I see so many people skip this step to try to learn how to ‘get clients’ but, ironically, this makes everything ten times harder. 99% of the problems I see in marketing have to do with a fuzzy niche. True story. It’s so central to growing a sustainable and resilient business that I created a whole website about it, wrote a book on it and launched a home study course about it.
Phase Three: Getting found. Once you’ve got a clear niche, then you’re ready for what most people think of as marketing coaching. This is when you’re ready to learn about social media marketing, networking, public speaking, writing guest posts, blogging etc. But, if you try to skip the first two phases it’s not unlike flushing your money down the toilet. The best approach I know to getting found I’ve written up in my eBook Hub Marketing.
Don’t try to do it all on your own. Get the help you need.
If you’re interested in getting my help, I encourage you to check out my Mentorship Program but, whether or not you get it from me, if you’re serious about growing your business in the next year, I urge you to invest in some help (at whatever level makes sense to you).