There’s a conversation I’ve been having with myself and others. I’ve been stuck on it for a while, and I’m aware that I’ve been stuck on it.
Even with everything I’ve been able to accomplish to this point, I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with my work life. And I’d like to shift the ratio from 80/20 client/me to 80/20 me/client.
I remind myself that my business is self-funded, and bootstrapped, and I must do whatever it takes to keep it afloat. And that might mean working long hours and making certain sacrifices.
I’m also aware that the conversation itself is entirely in the realm of survival. Survival is instinct, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but it does cause a certain malady I like to call solution blindness. Symptoms may include feeling stuck, aversion to trying new things, and missing opportunities that are right under your nose.
I shared my predicament with one of the leaders in the leadership program I’m taking, and they offered an answer I hadn’t heard yet.
It wasn’t around social media, or SEO, or building an SMS list, or some other digital marketing tactic.
They simply said:
Uncover what’s authentic to you and highlight that because that’s what people will be drawn to.
I wasn’t expecting that answer. It caught me off guard. It drew me right out of the recurring conversation I’d been having.
Yes, some people have a marketing problem. Some have a sales problem. Some have a trust, credibility, authority problem.
But some just need to know and to be who they are. Because being who they are would attract the right audience.
Knowing whether something is worth marketing is, especially for the solopreneur or independent business owner.
When you’ve created a product or service with resonance, it will almost seem to sell itself. Put it in front of your target audience, and they will respond.
When you’ve created a product or service with zero resonance, it will sit on (virtual) shelves mostly untouched. Put it in front of a larger audience, and the chirping of the crickets will be deafening.
Now, there are many shades of grey in between – products with some resonance, products with a little resonance, and so on.
But we’re usually much too quick to turn to tactics before creating something that’s worth marketing.
I have no tactical issues. I know all the platforms and can share my products to hundreds of channels blunt force trauma on zero budget, and maybe even sell a few.
Will it be worth it? Not if it means pulling myself away from what I’m good at so I can spend all my time and energy doing what anyone could do.
You’ve got to know whether you have something worth marketing. That’s the hard part.
Make things that are worth promoting. Then promote them. The appropriate time to discuss tactics is when your product is the strategy.
With each new post, your body of work grows. And it represents a great opportunity. If not now, then in six to 12 months, when SEO kicks in. Of course, there’s always the chance that some of the content will do nothing for you.
But the world, unfortunately, doesn’t care that much about what you created yesterday. The archive can continue to benefit you and your audience, sure, but there are no guarantees that whatever reputation or authority you’ve built up will hold up tomorrow based on what you’ve created yesterday.
Even if you’ve got it, and you know you’ve got it, people want to know that you’ve still got it.
A creator needs to keep creating. They need to take their eyes off the stats and instead focus on finding their voice, developing their message, becoming better communicators, understanding human psychology and copywriting, telling better stories, and enhancing their leadership.
Don’t give too much thought to what has already been done. Surrender your thoughts to what’s next.
There are more devices, channels, personalities, companies, and organizations competing for our attention than ever.
And whether it’s blogging, podcasting, or making videos, it’s no longer the Wild West. Now we occupy a world of expectations. And where those expectations go unmet, audiences disengage.
What do we do now that the bar is higher than ever? What does it mean for content creators and artists? How can we continue to get ourselves and our works out into the world? Does our passion still mean something when it doesn’t produce the expected outcomes in terms of audience, independent income, or otherwise?
In this episode of Thought Thursday, I introduce the topic, offer context, and share one of the reasons the bar is elevating higher faster.