I Did Everything Wrong In My Business And Here Is What Happened
Inexplicably, there is a Photoshopped image of a small, cute, furry creature on my blog.
I have a secret email account that I use to subscribe to:
// Lists I want to test-drive before deciding whether it’s worth it (or safe) to use my REAL email address
// Friends’ lists I want to secretly watch so I can help them
// Friends’ lists whose spirits I don’t want to crush should I choose to unsubscribe later
// Seemingly successful marketers I want to spy on but not necessarily purchase from
// Marketers who are clearly smarmy, inauthentic, or in some other way distasteful to me, whose emails I want to read so I can gather material for what NOT to do
Yeah, and my confession is around that last category.
(What? You thought I was ‘fessing up about the secret account? Don’t YOU have one?)
Okay. . . I’ll get to my confession in a minute, but first I want to let you know that. . .
Even though I consider myself a rather masterful (mistressful?) marketer, I have done EVERYTHING wrong.
Like, soooo wrong.
For instance? I haven’t set up nearly enough social media accounts.
I’m basically on Facebook and Twitter. And by that I mean I’m basically on Facebook. ‘Cause Twitter is for cool people. And I’m … not.
I’ve made videos that were way too long and didn’t get to the point fast enough and didn’t have professional or even semi-professional lighting and backdrops and production (and that a bunch of people wrote to tell me they loved).
I’ve written about stuff I just wanted to write about on my blog. Like stuff that wasn’t particularly business-y but I felt moved to write it so I did.
I’ve failed to plan launches far enough in advance to get partners with ginormous lists to promote my programs (and still managed to enroll lots of fabulous students within only a few days).
I haven’t gone to conferences to try and meet A-listers.
When I had a year-long teleclass series, I never asked a single A-lister to get on the line with me and I almost always chose people with smaller followings, because I wanted to give them exposure and introduce new voices for people to listen to instead of the same recycled group of about 5-10 that I seem to see interviewed over and over and over (and over and over) again.
(BTW- I kinda hate the term ‘A-lister’ but I only used it here because it’s pretty recognizable. And I want this article to flow somewhat. It’s probably too late for that though.)
Back to my walk of shame.
I almost never go to networking meetings.
I don’t have business cards.
I don’t really SEOptimize my website or my blog posts.
I don’t issue press releases.
I’ve only guest-blogged… once?
*scratches head trying to remember*
I don’t write to you with strict, schoolmarm-like consistency.
I’ve only taken a few programs online to teach me how to market. I mean, like 4 different ones over the past 16 years or so. Everything else I’ve learned by reading and observing closely.
(And by closely? I mean obsessively.)
Anyway, I can’t even think of all the other things I do wrong right now.
This list is mortifying enough, especially for someone who calls herself a marketer.
I mean, how on earth am I even making money?
*scratches head trying to work out answer*
And yet here I am, a single mother, living in Southern California— a rather expensive-ish place to live. And this gorgeous little business has done quite well supporting me and my son, despite all my many egregious mistakes and glaring omissions.
I’m not even eating Ramen noodles.
(In fact, today I ate mostly organic fruits and vegetables and drank mostly organic white tea with birch sugar. Which is a much prettier name for Xylitol. Which you should totally check out as a sweetener because even dentists give out candy that is made of it.)
Back to this amazing life that I love.
I have loads of freedom over my time. In fact, I have the freedom to get waaaay behind when things hit the fan.
For instance, recently while I was dealing with one of the most stressful experiences of my past few years, I basically set my business aside for awhile.
I mean, I did some stuff, but not nearly ‘enough’.
And no one gave me a demerit, or whatever you would call it in the corporate world.
I have the freedom to sleep in when I want or take a nap during the day.
I can take my son to the pool now that it’s summer, or take him to the movies in the middle of the day, and work when I want to work.
Sometimes I like to stay almost up all night and work. And other times I like to go to bed really early and just sleep for 10 hours straight.
And I get to do that.
(Okay, not ALWAYS. My son needs breakfast. And I’m his wheels around town. But you get the point.)
I have control over my schedule. I don’t have to sit in a gray cubicle waiting for Lumbergh to swing by, sip his coffee, and tell me he’s gonna have to go ahead and ask me to come in on Saturday. And Sunday too.
I get to be an independent. And still make plenty of money.
And I’ve done everything wrong.
Did you get that?
Basically I haven’t done anything right.
And I’m doing really well.
(Okay, just making sure you got it.)
But here’s the thing.
You remember my confession above—the one about those marketers whose lists I wanted to spy on to gather How Not To Market stories?
Well, I was cleaning out my fake inbox the other night and I got to thinking.
Or rather I got to nearly puking.
Yes, I admit it! I was kinda hating on those entrepreneurs in my mind!
Every other email was like, Look at my triple-platinum client who just brought in $6 million dollars this month! She’s dripping in money and she travels the world in style! You too can get these results if you pay me $15K for a half-day!
And I was all, Yuck. Pewww.
And I’m not one of those who readily cops to that kind of attitude, because I’m like all about the Tao and I totally believe that it is a waste of time to dwell on hating what other people are doing, since there really isn’t anything good or bad, ultimately.
(And also because it’s a great way to get insight into what YOU are doing. And I don’t want to believe that I am smarmy or inauthentic. But anyway.)
Back to the smarmy marketers.
Let me first say that I have NOTHING against a $6 kazillion dollar month. Or traveling the world in style.
And I don’t have anything against a $15K half-day!
I couldn’t care less if someone wants to charge or pay that much for coaching or consulting, or what-have-you.
What makes me want to puke is two things, which I will address separately.
Thing #1 // The pure emphasis on material success
Even the spiritual ‘goddess-y’ types are so often ALL about the dolla’, as well as about taking photos of themselves in fabulous locations all over the world, dressed in ball gowns and wearing tiaras, throwing their heads back in laughter so they look like they MUST be perpetually joyful and dripping in riches.
And as a marketer, I am well aware that this is what sells.
If you craft your marketing materials with an emphasis on the financial and lifestyle benefits your potential client or customer will gain—you’ll get her attention.
That’s a given. I even teach it to my private clients and students.
Your marketing has to show prospects that your product or service is worth more than the money they’re about to fork over for it.
But there’s a line—I really think there’s a line—that gets crossed between doing that, and just blatantly focusing on money, money, money, money.
Five-figure months. 6-figure years. 7-figure empires.
Trips to Italy, Spain, and the South of France. Sprawling homes. Champagne bubbling over onto poolside patio tables at posh parties.
An emphasis on money + materialism, without the soul of life itself.
(More on that in a minute.)
Thing #2 // None of it seems inspiring or original or of REAL substance
If a quick scan through my inbox yields 14 different ‘newsletters’ that look exactly the same with different logos (same basic template, same message, even the same wording), there’s something not quite right.
I’ve already talked about the emphasis on money over soul.
But what about creativity?
What about the ART of entrepreneurship?
Groove Armada once said, If everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of lookin’ at each other. . . and I for one agree.
I’m tired of looking at everyone looking the same!
In fact, I’m taking a stand.
And I’m making a promise.
My stand: I will NOT encourage you to do anything (for instance, any of the things I’ve massively skipped doing) that makes you feel icky, bored, or like you’re trapped in another 9-to-5 job, all so you can make a buck.
(In fact, that’s the reason I haven’t done all those things I listed above. They all sound boring, icky, and way too ‘required’ for me to want to do them.)
I will never create a program that has the word platinum, diamond, gold, silver, or any other precious metal or stone or semi-precious stone in its name.
I just might create the Cubic Zirconia Mastermind.
Or the Silver-Plated Copper Marketing Mentorship.
And since I’m a big tiara fan, I may adorn one lucky client with a 3-pound bronze one as a special bonus for subscribing to one of my programs.
(Okay no. I’m not a tiara fan.)
But I will NEVER ask you to join anything that makes you feel like you need a ball gown, or business casual attire, or even a stack of hey-let’s-kill-some-more-trees-when-we-could-just-be-exchanging-true-conversations-and-then-sharing-our-digital-deets business cards in order to fit in.
I will never take pictures of my oozing-with-money clients and tell you that if you learn my system for upselling and reselling and overselling, you too can ooze with money.
I will never put the emphasis on six or seven figures rather than on your ability to change lives.
Okay, so I know I need to talk about money here for a minute.
Because you may be thinking right now, “Dude. Chill out. You HATE money, don’t you?”
And that’s NOT true at all.
I think money is fantastic.
In fact, I hate being poor.
Eating Ramen noodles. Having to count and roll pennies to pay for gas (yes, I did that once many years ago, right there at the gas station counter). Logging on to an overdrawn bank account. Not being able to sleep at night worrying about how I’ll pay rent.
Look. I’ve done all those things, and I am not in love with them. Not at all.
I love having money SO much more.
So just in case it’s not clear: I really, really appreciate money.
I’m truly grateful when I have plenty of it.
But you know what?
It’s been my experience (and I’m pretty sure it’s also the experience of most if not all of those whom we consider ‘heroes’) that. . .
Abundance follows you around when you’re on a mission to transform lives.
It’s like, as soon as you forget about the moola, it can’t help but come find you. (Hey, over here! Didja miss me?)
So how am I making this comfortable living in Southern California even though I’m doing everything wrong?
You might ask.
Well, here’s the thing.
I’ve realized over the years that I do some things extraordinary well.
Just a few key things. And really, I don’t need to do a ton of things well to succeed.
And neither do YOU.
So what do I do well?
I tell stories.
I make people laugh.
I open up about what’s really going on in my mind AND behind the scenes of my business (as well as other people’s businesses – while maintaining confidentiality of course!).
I write purdy good. ;)
I connect with my clients and my students.
I listen. REALLY listen.
I give people permission to be who they are. (Sometimes even when they don’t realize they need permission.)
And I really, really, really, REALLY want to see my clients and students and friends succeed.
I also want to see the world be the best it can possibly be. And I think that starts with me.
And that is why I have 5 simple rules for business that I encourage everyone to follow.
Don’t be deceived by how simple they are— they’re incredibly effective.
And they’re basically the reason I’ve been successful despite doing everything ‘wrong’.
Without further ado …
My 5 simple rules for having an awesome business (and life):
1. Be yourself.
2. Trust yourself.
3. Don’t do a bunch of stuff you hate just because someone else said you should.
4. Show up. Be as brilliant as you know you really are. (Yes, when you’re not busy bashing yourself, you know you are brilliant.)
5. Give us the transformation we’re looking for.
Now on that last point—if you’re unclear on the transformation people are looking for, you should totally check out this free resource I created for you.
But I don’t want you to think this novel-length post was a prelude to me telling you about it.
(As if! Everyone knows people don’t read sh#t that’s this long so you’re probably not even reading anymore.)
Still, if you’re interested, go here and get yourself hooked up so you don’t miss out on it.
‘Kay, I’m over and out for now.
Shine on, crazy diamond.