And no, I wasn’t going to jump from a tall building, or even slit my wrist.
You see, when I started out on my quest to build my business, like most newbies, I turned to the so-called gurus.
Every time I discovered a new one, I was directed to yet another one.
My email box became so full, until it made my head swim.
My own reality check revealed that I was…..
… still confused.
… still broke.
… and still not closer to achieving my goal.
Yet, I continued to participate in teleconferences, sign up for webinars, purchase programs, and download free offers.
Before I knew it, I had signed up for roughly 100 email lists.
No wonder I couldn’t sleep at night, and no wonder my head felt like it was about to explode!
Unfortunately, the saga continued…
Amid the chaos and confusion, I was fortunate enough to discover that I had not clearly defined my target audience and my marketing message was confusing.
And at this point, the sleep deprivation that I was experiencing was no longer cute and had in fact become a real nuisance in my life.
However, it wasn’t until I received an email from a savvy marketer that I finally got the kick in the butt which I needed to make me stand up, take notice, and want to do something about it.
The email read “perhaps it’s time for us to say goodbye.”
In the email, the marketer could not understand why I didn’t see the value of the information that had been shared in previous emails, and why I hadn’t already pulled out my credit card to place an order.
Insulted by the hard sell, I immediately unsubscribed from the email distribution.
To my amazement, the marketer wanted to know why I was leaving the email list.
I mean really?
Well, I responded to the request and used it as an opportunity to express how I was offended by the email.
Interestingly though, after reflecting about the exchange, I quickly realized that the marketer was right.
Perhaps, it was time for me to say goodbye, to all the so-called gurus who were whispering their jargon in my ears, and making hard sells and false promises relentlessly.
After experiencing more than my share of false starts and listening to far too many gurus and their “expert” opinions, here’s what I did to silence those voices. And if you’re experiencing these same challenges, then you should consider applying these strategies:
1. Limit Your Choice of Marketers, Mentors, or Coaches
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of expert voices and opinions in the marketplace for you to choose from. Trust me, I know because remember I fell prey to more than my fair share of them.
From the start, limit the number of marketers, mentors, and coaches that you follow. You can always expand your universe to include more voices, as you become more familiar with what’s out there and who the real “experts” are.
You want to definitely avoid the “Sybil complex” and not be held captive by multiple voices and multiple personalities solely for the sake of exposure and access to all kinds of information. By not allowing yourself to be swept away by the latest frills and thrills, you can improve your chances of reaching the outcomes and goals you’ve established for your ideas, business, or venture.
Instead of listening to 100 so-called gurus or experts, focus on no more than three marketers, mentors, or coaches. Three voices are much more manageable than 100, especially if each offers a unique marketing perspective. Ultimately though, the key is being able to discern and decide which ones to devote your time and energy to, even if you do end up concentrating on more than three.
2. Narrow Your Choices and Get Focused
First, be clear about defining your target audience. Try not to overlook this crucial step because it will help you structure your marketing message and respond better to the pains, problems, and frustrations of your audiences.
Second, identify your pressure pains. I discovered that mine were web design, securing clients, and identifying my competition. By organizing my very long email list into these three categories, I determined that my focuses should be on securing clients and identifying my competition.
I eliminated web design because it was not something I wanted to master beyond the basics. It made more sense for me to outsource this task to a real web designer.
After getting organized, I was in a better position to evaluate my competition and begin to align myself with persons who were veterans in my targeted field (which is book publicity for self-published authors) and others who had experienced some level of success as an entrepreneur.
Narrowing my choices and getting focused allowed me to shrink my email list. At this point, I had more quality time to spend reading the blogs and contemplating the email marketing strategies of a select number of competitors who operated in a niche similar to mine.
I went through the same process of elimination as I tried to identify effective strategies for securing clients and getting the best results. The organizing and purging allowed me to focus on gurus and experts in this particular area as well, and to separate the fakes and pretenders from those who represented the real deal.
3. Know When to Switch Gears
If you haven’t already discovered from this article that marketing is your number one avenue to building your business and securing clients, then let me make it crystal clear right now. Marketing is the most essential building block for developing, growing, and profiting in your business.
And if you haven’t already experienced this, then you will find out pretty quickly how difficult, and sometimes painful, it is to come up with the best marketing strategy for your business or idea. So don’t be afraid or shy about changing strategies mid-stream, because some schemes and approaches need more or less time than others, it just depends. The key is to go with your gut feeling, when you do decide to switch gears.
For my business, I chose an overall marketing approach which focuses on writing press releases, blogging/guest blogging, and pitching trade publications and traditional magazines.
As you can see, all three components of my marketing plan focus on generating content. If your goal is to build a successful online business, then you can’t escape the fact that content is king.
Some of the other marketing strategies that can be pursued include email marketing, video marketing, and Adwords, just to name a few.
If you are a sole proprietor or small business owner, then I would suggest starting with three strategies and not try to utilize too many different marketing plans at the outset.
Give each strategy at least six months before declaring it a failure. Don’t jump ship too soon because your golden nugget might be closer than you think.
4. Know When to Hire Helpers or Outsource Certain Tasks
As you build and grow your business, it’s always good to know your strengths and weaknesses. This will help as you decide what type of professional help you should hire and what tasks make more sense to outsource.
As I mentioned earlier, I chose to outsource my web design work, but I still developed a basic understanding of the web design process.
For example, a professional or entrepreneur who chooses WordPress.org (which I recommend) as a content management system (CMS) would find it beneficial to learn some of the basic CSS and HTML coding, because this could save time and money.
With respect to decisions to hire outside helpers or outsource, if the idea of writing causes you to break out in hives, you’re probably better off hiring a ghostwriter. (Sharon Hurley Hall provides this service.)
An outsourcing decision could also relate to the need to complement the use of video with a transcript version, as a way of providing your audience with options.
In case you’re wondering, I’m no longer hearing voices in my head – at least not the initial 100 I started with before implementing these strategies.
If you find yourself struggling, it’s not because you’re insane. It may be because you’re hearing too many voices and perhaps it is time to say goodbye to many of them.