Have you ever felt like you were doing the right ‘things’ to market your business but that you somehow didn’t feel like yourself in the process? Like somehow these steps were ‘proven’ to work by experts, but that they didn’t feel right for you?
I know I have.
Now, let me start by saying that marketing wasn’t new for me when I started my own business.
In university, I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, specializing in marketing.
I worked in a marketing-related career for about seven years.
Somehow, marketing someone else’s product or service seemed so much easier than marketing myself. I have to believe in a product to promote it, and when I started my own business, my ‘product’ was me. To be completely honest, I didn’t fully believe in my product. Who was I to say I could help people in areas that I still found myself struggling with? Maybe I had learned a lot along the way that could be helpful, but I definitely didn’t have all the answers, and I still don’t.
Despite this self-doubt, I tried to get clear on what I did and for whom. Who WAS my ideal client? What were they looking for most of all? And then the question would reappear: What made me feel qualified to help them in any way?
I tried and tried, getting so frustrated with the lack of tangible, visible results. Yes, I learned – and continue to learn – a lot from the entrepreneurial journey. Yes, I grew – and continue to grow – as a person.
And, at the same time, my marketing was starting to annoy me, so I assumed it would annoy my ideal clients as well. I felt like it was template-y, trying to do what the experts told me I needed to do, not a true expression of what makes me who I am.
I decided to take a giant step back from my ‘business’. After over a year away, the wheels started turning again. The passion started flowing through my veins.
And then – a renewed moment of clarity that sounds obvious: Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated.
It’s the complicated marketing, the one that becomes SO much about the strategy that it risks losing the human touch, that leaves me feeling like I don’t want any part of it. Yes, strategy is important, but not at the expense of connection with others and with the deepest parts of ourselves.
The human marketing, the one focused on building relationships, on having deep and meaningful one-on-one conversations, feeds my soul.
For example, I was recently speaking with a coworker at my ‘day’ job. She is currently a student in the same business program I graduated from years ago. On one of her last days at work before returning to school, she asked me if I had any advice for her.
I advised her to not fall for the external perceptions of success – that a successful career is not the one with the fanciest title or with the biggest firm, unless that’s truly what she wants. I told her not to just do it because that’s often seen as success. I told her to never lose sight of what is most important to her, even if others, including the program itself, seemed to want to convince her otherwise.
And it struck me – those are the kinds of conversations I could have all day long. They are meaningful and significant, while providing me with an opportunity to share my message.
Simple. Human. Powerful.
The only way I will feel successful in this business is if it is a true reflection of me, who I am, what I value, and what is most important to me. I will only feel like it is worthwhile if I can still look myself in the mirror.
So now I ask you:
- Where and how can you simplify your marketing and add a renewed ‘human touch’ to your activities, even if you already focus on building deep relationships?
- And how do you measure success right now? Are these measures what truly matter to you?
Elizabeth Spevack is the founder of Heart and Soul Living (www.heartandsoulliving.com). Elizabeth is a Champion for Mental Wellness, building on her personal experiences with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and discussions with women who feel weighed down by the pressures of nearly impossible expectations and the pursuit of perfection. She is passionate about helping women break through the barriers of fear and self-doubt that are keeping them stuck, inspiring them to pursue that maybe unlikely dream and live a truly heartfelt and soulful life.