There Are No Free Lunches

There Are No Free Lunches

We all must start somewhere. So, starting with free and affordable marketing is not wrong. Testing out the waters before diving headlong into unknown depths is nothing if not wisdom. It gives you a chance to see what all the hubbub is about.

But social media is not a place to park and set up home. There are far too many tradeoffs, and most people are woefully unaware of them.

Here’s but a partial list:

  • Competing for attention on social media is mostly a losing battle
  • Trying to get your audience to immigrate off social media to an outside destination (that has the potential to benefit you) is an uphill climb
  • You could get canceled, banned, or deleted in an instant for less than satisfactory reasons
  • Your favorite platform(s) could be gone tomorrow thanks to acquisitions, insolvency, changing trends, and so on
  • You don’t have control over scammers (there are scammers on every social platform exploiting your audience, leaving a bad taste in their mouths)
  • You don’t take seriously what you don’t pay for
  • You never expand beyond your comfort zone, and therefore never expand period

The question is, when will you graduate from free and affordable? When will you really invest in your marketing?

Your answer can’t be “tomorrow,” because tomorrow is not tomorrow. It’s just another today when you get there. If your answer is “tomorrow,” then, you’re firmly rooted in the land of conceptual. You don’t have a grasp on reality.

Social media followings aren’t useless. They do serve a purpose. They are notoriously difficult to monetize, but indirect opportunities that come from having a sizable following – be it speaking engagements, record contracts, sponsorship deals, or otherwise – can be lucrative.

But you’ve got to be crystal clear on the objective. Otherwise, it’s not worth the trouble. You won’t take it far enough. You will give up. You won’t post 30 times per day. You won’t take out advertising. You won’t split test creative. You won’t gather intelligence. You won’t buy courses and invest in your unfolding. If anything, you’re balking at the cost – mental, physical, emotional, financial – already.

There are no free lunches. There’s always a tradeoff for the free lunch you think you’re gaining.

The journey truly begins when there’s skin in the game. And if there is no willingness to problem solve the obtaining of resources, there is no willingness to stick with it long enough turn pro either. Those who want to make it happen always find a way, hell, or high water.

It’s No One’s Business

It’s No One’s Business

It’s no one’s business how you get stuff done.

People may notice your constant posting to social media and assume you must you have a lot of extra time on your hands.

When accurate thinking dictates that it’s far more likely you:

  • Prioritize the activities that bring in business
  • Have a plan and an editorial calendar
  • Batch process the creation, editing, and scheduling of your content

Being prolific requires at least one of two things if not both – 1) a plan and 2) discipline. You can get by on a plan, you can get by on discipline. But the two together are near unshakable when it comes to producing brilliant work at a moment’s notice.

People may wonder how you’re able to do everything you do in a day.

Your clients may wonder why you’re not in communication. They may ask you when their projects are going to be completed when it seems like you’re only prioritizing your own (when it’s far more likely that you’ve scheduled out a month’s worth of posts in advance).

So long as you’re in integrity with the deadline that’s been created with your client, there are no issues, no matter how much they whine about you being halfway across the world, spending time on other projects, or enjoying your life as you see fit.

Anyone who watches you that closely doesn’t have a life, and they may even be obsessive to an unhealthy extent. Sure, you may be enjoying life “on their dime,” but if you’re turning in good work, it should not matter.

Which is why, I repeat, it’s no one’s business how you get stuff done. That includes the velocity at which you work, the volume of work you produce, and any processes you use to boost your productivity and efficiency (your own processes, by the way, are your own intellectual property).

If a promise has been broken, then do everything in your power to make it right.

But others should not be permitted to question your methodology, approach, or processes, when you’re fully delivering on the promises you’ve made.

Stories You Want to Tell

Stories You Want to Tell

Every story can be told a different way.

Losing a parent at an early age can either be spun as a tragedy or a heartwarming comedy. Both versions have been done.

Zoom out, and you’ll find a multitude of other variants in existence – horror, thriller, action, Sci-Fi, romance, drama, you name it… stories have been told every which way. The director uses every device imaginable to tell the story they want to tell it – location, actors, dialog, music, fonts, colors, and more.

But story spinning isn’t just applicable to works of fiction. It’s applicable to our lives too.

While you may not have been conscious of it, the stories of your life have already spun off into multiple variants.

Our memories are too faulty, in fact, to tell the same story in the same way twice. We get caught up in the moment and begin taking creative liberties with our stories, to the point where they’ve taken a long detour from the source material.

This is what it means to be human.

If it’s all the same, then, we should be more intentional about the stories we tell. If it’s all made up anyway, shouldn’t we be making up the stories we want to tell?

What’s the payoff of telling the same sob story you’ve been telling for years? Attention? Affection? Sympathy? No matter the payoff, there’s always an equal or greater impact you have yet to acknowledge.

Beware. The people around you subtly manipulate your story to convince you to do things that benefit them. The better they know you, the more ammunition they’re potentially equipped with to steer you towards the answer they want you to arrive at.

Truth is muddy. It’s more like a river after a storm than the crystal-clear oceans of the Maldives. We’ve been conditioned to believe it’s the latter rather than the former, and that’s a story too. That’s subtle manipulation. Plenty of people benefit from you believing that truth is “snap your finger easy” to pin down.

But your power lies in choosing the stories you want to tell.

Protecting Your Time

Protecting Your Time

Put more stringent measures into place to protect your time, and there will be immediate pushback from your partners, colleagues, collaborators, clients, and peers.

“Who do you think you are? Do you think your time is more valuable than mine?”

“Does this mean we can’t have three-hour conversations sorting out all the details of our next event?”

“I never knew you took your time and boundaries so seriously. Has this always been a concern for you?”

What your colleagues don’t appreciate is that you’re looking to create a workable, sustainable schedule for yourself. And by the time you’ve established a tenable plan, your productivity isn’t going to suffer. It’s going to increase. The people around you are the ones that are ultimately going to benefit from you setting more rails around your time.

You know yourself better than anyone else. That also means you are more qualified to devise a plan and stack the deck in your favor than anyone else. No one else can tell you how to live. They may have helpful suggestions, but at the end of the day you’ve got to make up your mind for yourself.

If you want to achieve next level productivity, then it’s all about setting yourself layers behind the frontlines. It’s about batch processing your email, returning texts when it best suits you, selectively ignoring communication as you see fit. It’s about delegating tasks and activity that are below your paygrade and handing off tasks to other capable people.

God forbid you might get a book written if you had an hour to spare in your day.

Fundamentally, most people aren’t going to be onboard with you opting to protect your time, and that may well be one of the greatest challenges you’ll face in setting up a moat around your castle.

But it must be done. You can’t get to where you want to go in life if you’re distractable, interruptible, contactable at all hours of the day. Someone will always be there to add to your to-do list.

Certainly, take on anything that’s aligned with your goals. But do it on your own terms. Choose when you return communication. Don’t let someone else tell you how it’s supposed to work. You make the rules.