What are you banking on this year?
What are you counting on to support you, sustain you? What will you lean on for your livelihood, your sustenance, the funding of the great pleasures of your life?
As solo business owners, we often bank on some cool new strategy, the insight and direction of some new advisor, the discipline of a new program.
We may bank on Spirit, and the trust that the Universe will support us even when we don’t have a plan or strategy.
We may bank on the loyalty of long-standing customers. The strength of the local market.
As a recovering romantic idealist, I often went all in, investing time and money big time on the new thing I was sure would be the ticket to the greater abundance and reduced anxiety I seemed to always be searching for in my business.
Sometimes it paid off (the year I spent in a high-end mastermind I significantly raised my profile and my gross income). But often I crashed and burned.
I spent $7,000 of a contracted $10,000 on a marketing strategist who did some market research but offered neither analysis of the results nor solutions to the problems that weren’t identified and who spent a good portion of my budget on a day with four of us to brainstorm new names for the three levels of my Mojo Training (the new names? Words for Yourself, Words for Your Audience, Words for Your Business. Names if I recall, I came up with.)
I spent $6,000 of a contracted $9,000 on search-engine optimization that I had “conservatively” estimated could increase my income from product by thousands a month, which as far as I could tell produced no increase in traffic, no increase in sign-ups to my list, and no increase in sales.
Humbling experiences. Not just the wasted money. Or the disappointing results. Or the shame of having bought in to the fantasy. But the emptiness of thinking “well, now what? Now, how do I grow?” Of having to start over how to figure this thing out.
As far as I can tell, there are no surefire marketing strategies. No one really knows what will work in any given situation. There are good guesses, and likely outcomes, and intuitions. There are things that have worked before, or worked for other people. But any business situation has so many moving parts and so many variables that it’s hard to make confident predictions. Marketing and business growth for most of us is more of a messy experiment and constant gamble than a science.
I’ve been in business, mostly successfully, for twenty-two years. I don’t have it all figured out.
What I suggest is that above all you bank on YOU.
I don’t just mean that as a happy, feel-good sentiment.
I mean it like this.
Bank on the belief that you have inherent value. Bank on your commitment to keep developing that value.
Bank on the realization that if you’ve done good work for some people at least some of the time that that is something you can build on.
Bank on your ability to learn what you need to know and put it into practice.
Bank on being wrong with your business and marketing predictions a good percent of the time.
Bank on your stubbornness and determination to figure out how to make your business work.
Bank on your willingness to show up day after day, week after week, to engage fully in these questions until you get answers that satisfy you.