Whoo whoo! This week is an amazing week to be an entrepreneur (she says jumping up and down, clicking her heels and giggling like a school girl)! This week we finally got on track, the gears are all turning and everything is coming together. This is a very good week to be in business.
So how do I know that this is a good week? Because last week was not so great. We were pounding out what to do with some little bits here and little bits there that were not coming together. We hadn’t heard from a client and worried that we were getting dumped, we had opportunities that did not match our vision (we really weren’t sure what our vision was but knew that those were not them!)
If you are an entrepreneur I know that you have had my “last weeks”, but have you ever had a this week? One were you KNEW you were getting somewhere? Cherish that feeling because it is usually followed by a lot of hard work to implement all your gloriousness!!!
Ideas are not strategies
My marketing partner, Rebekah, hates that we call one of our talks 100 Free Marketing Ideas. She loves the talk but hates that we use the term “ideas”. Ideas are for suckers is pretty much her take on it. Entrepreneurs can churn out ideas a dime a dozen. She wishes that we would talk to them about important things like strategies, systems and implementation (all things that I love too by the way). Just having given the talk about a million times so far, I know that free ideas get butts in seats at events and so we stick with ideas.
That said, you SHOULD have ideas, but it is implementing those ideas as strategies that will make your business better. And not half ass implementing of a million things, pick three rock star ideas and then run with them. I say three because entrepreneurs are categorically incapable of having just one idea. That feels too limiting and way less fun than chasing after a bunch of different things all at once, driving yourself nuts, right?!?!
So what are our ideas?
We have a strategy for exposure, for reaching beyond the limits of our current client base, for moving beyond the borders of our state lines and going big, like worldwide sensation big. Okay, that sensation part is not really true, we really want to help way more people, in way less time for a fair price WHILE getting to hang out together in fabulous places like New York, London, Dublin and other cultural and interesting cities.
We have tried many things that are not quite that like:
TINY CHEAP CLASSES. Holding in person classes in the Denver area for a small amount of money and a huge amount of time. We did this mainly so we could get to spend time together talking about marketing and make some money. Problem was that the effort required to put on these classes (securing a room, marketing the heck out of them, attending to teach, splitting the profits) meant that we were making barely above minimum wage for a highly skilled and valuable product. We tried taping them and selling them, but because of the interactive nature, they didn’t come across great on videos.
FREE NETWORKING GROUPS. Rebekah’s background is in promotions and networking so having free networking events is not hard, the mechanics are in place and hey, how much time could they take? Well we are back to the promotions, marketing and wrong clientele of it all.
SPEAKING LOCALLY. We still speak locally to small groups, colleges and the like, but that cannot be our only avenue for exposure. If we want to make it to London, we are going to have to get beyond Centennial CO and be out in the world, spreading the marketing word!
MEMBERSHIP SITE. I made membership site years ago and packed it with tons of great content. It took about 4 months of back breaking labor, but I bought into the whole, “you can get recurring revenue every month”…yeah right. I sold about 20 of them and then was on the hook to keep producing content every month to make them happy…sigh. I do not like things that I have to commit for years for.
COACHING PROGRAMS. So a couple years ago I got caught up in a sales pitch and bought a coaching program from someone who said they could help with speaking. Come to find out it was a coaching program about coaching programs. That was not my passion, but I did think, “well what could it hurt?” Holy buckets am I a bad coach. I am a great accountability person. I am a great masterminder. I am a great ideas gal. I am not great at meeting with someone on a weekly or monthly basis and building them up, holding their hand and telling them everything will be alright. I feel bad about taking someone’s money so they can feel good that they are “doing something” if that something is just hiring me but not changing in any way.
There are lots more, been there, done thats like the “recurring revenue from a newsletter”, affiliate marketing that worked for a while but then they changed our salesperson and we never sold another one, the list goes on and on.
What is your theme?
So why have I told you all the bits of our business that were not working? Hopefully you can write down all of your experience like that in a row, enumerating all your efforts (not failures) to see if there is a theme to them. Here is our theme…
1. We love working with entrepreneurs
2. We love teaching entrepreneurs
3. We love talking about marketing
4. We want to reach more people with less time
5. We want to hang out together
6. We want to make money
Over and over we came up with ideas that accomplished some of those things. We would teach and not make money, or we would make money but not reach as many people or we would….well you get the point. What you should do now is figure out what the main idea of all your great ideas that you implemented poorly was and write them down.
This all sounds horrible. Like we have been flailing around with no direction and have failed over and over. Do not get me wrong, at the time these all made us money but did feel like failures, like we wasted our time and were never going to figure it all out. Then a lightbulb went off this year. We could still do all those things, maybe not in same ways but in some way, so “what to do, what to do?”
As Barbara Corcoran says, “There’s great power in moving forward, whether you’re moving in the right direction or not. At least you’re moving forward.”
So now we have our three things. Three ways we are currently lead generating, helping entrepreneurs and working together. They are all doable, accomplish our goals and will add to the business world in ways that we can be proud of.
Writing a book a week for a year. I didn’t say they were easy! We are writing a business book a week for a whole year. We are about a third of the way there right now and there is nothing that is going to stop us from hitting that goal. We KNOW we are going to make some money on the book sales but that is not the point. The point is that we have already been offered numerous speaking opportunities, a book deal from a real publisher and a great deal of advice from people who say we are stupid and wasting our time. They do not understand that this actually a part of a larger plan. If you have your strategy and know what you are doing ignore the nay-sayers. They are too busy worrying about you to build their business.
Starting an internet show. We put our first internet show in the can this week. It is live on YouTube (we are using Google Hangouts to record it) and will be in the iTunes store as soon as they approve our account. The website is up and running and ready to go. This fulfills our helping entrepreneurs and spending time together. What it also does is allow us to highlight a book a week and sell more book and consulting services.
Selling courses. Remember the giant membership site debacle? Well that soured me for YEARS about making big, giant courses that take eons to make and sell well only if you are devoted to them alone and get hundreds of partners to beat the street in your name. But what about little courses? Based on our books? WHA WHA…the clouds parted and the sun shone through. We are recording the first videos today.
Seriously, this post is just for me. One day that seems to be glorious, where everything is lined up and I can see the future so clearly that I should be wearing sunglasses. My wish for you today is that you stop, look at what you have done, what you are doing now and what could change your life for the better in the future. If you figure it out, please let me know! You can comment, send an email or an owl, whatever it takes, just let me know you have made up here with me!!