Finding Momentum from Behind

This is a guest post by Grace Judson.

look at how far you've comeHas it ever occurred to you that being in business sometimes feels rather alarmingly like being in high school?

Will your business be voted Most Likely to Succeed? Will you be one of the Cool Kids, or one of the outcasts? And will you be invited to the Prom — or will your prospective date turn you down?

The effort we put into building a following — whether it’s an email distribution list, the comments on our blog, or the number of Likes on our Facebook page — can feel just as painfully difficult as the effort to be part of the In Crowd in high school. And — with great respect and compassion for the angst we all experienced as teenagers — there’s even more pressure on us now than there was then.

After all, if our business doesn’t succeed … let’s just say things won’t be pretty.

So we try to find a balance between apparently competing needs.

The need to be authentic and ethical

versus

the need to market ourselves in a way that gets clients.

The need to serve the people who need us

versus

the need to serve people who can pay us.

The need to acknowledge — and rest from — our hard work

versus

the need to keep on going and work harder so we can succeed.

And so on — I’m sure you’re all too familiar with your own internal competing dilemmas!

There are three things I tell my clients (and remind myself) when these struggles come up.

Thing One:

These needs only appear to be in competition. In fact, it’s completely possible to reconcile them.

  • You can market yourself authentically, ethically, and be very effective in gaining clients who love you and your work. (You might have already guessed this, since you’re reading the Slow Marketing blog.)
  • You can serve clients who are ideal in every way, from their need for and appreciation of the unique value you give them … all the way to the bank.
  • You’ve got to take care of yourself if you want to be truly effective in caring for others (i.e., your clients). And that means self-acknowledgement, rest, and time away from your business.

Thing Two:

No one in business — not even those wildly popular, hugely successful, apparent overnight success stories — avoids these struggles. You can bet that the Cool Kids you’re admiring (or resenting) from afar have experienced similar thoughts and feelings at some point in their business journey. They’re just a bit further down the road than you are.

Which brings me to Thing Three:

You’re doing better than you think you are. In fact, stop thinking so much. Relax. And take a look behind you.

As entrepreneurs, we’re not accustomed to looking back — it’s all forward, forward, forward, what’s next, keep the momentum going!

But the rear view offers valuable insights, the biggest of which is likely to be something along the lines of “Wow. Look how far I’ve come!”

Entrepreneurs are not generally known for patience. But Slow Marketing takes patience. Building real relationships doesn’t happen at one single networking event. Discovering who your best, most rewarding clients are requires time and curiosity. Learning what your clients truly value in your work (it’s usually not what you expect!) and how to talk about it is an evolutionary process.

Evolutionary means incremental, which unfortunately also means it can be easy to overlook, especially when you feel like you’re struggling.

Taking a look behind you, seeing where you’ve been, gives you a basis for comparison, allowing you to see just how much you have accomplished, grown, and gotten better. Better at your work, sure, but also better at communicating about it in ways that connect with your audience while helping you feel good about yourself. In short, better at Slow Marketing.

So let go of the high school angst. You already are one of the Cool Kids for your best clients. Focus on them, and focus on what you’ve been giving them that makes them love you.

photo credit: Dinohyus via photopin cc

About the Author

judson_grace_d2Grace Judson is delighted by uniqueness and driven to understand why people do what they do. She helps her clients discover, describe, and communicate the unique value of their work, and says that knowing your unique value is a catalyst for ease, joy, and success in marketing, business, and life. Her website is http://www.svahaconcepts.com.